Seixal natural pools in Madeira – a backpacker guide (2023) (2023)

Giant lush cliffs, water rushing from falls into the sea, thick, dark volcanic rocks, and pristine waters – no question, the Seixal natural pools are a hotspot. This is your guide to navigating your way through the natural clusters of crystal clear water on the northern coast of the island.


  • What are the Seixal natural pools
  • How to get to the Seixal natural pools
    • By car
    • By bus
    • Exact location
  • Entrance fee
  • What to bring
  • Other natural pools in Madeira
  • Best time to visit
  • Our tips for Seixal natural pools
  • Is it safe
  • Where to stay in Seixal
  • What to do nearby

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What are the Seixal natural pools

A beautiful thing about Madeira is that it has everything from beaches to natural pools. This island’s natural pools look like they were carved out of the ground by the Madeira gods of water. The walls containing the lava rocks are artificial, but the seawater fills them naturally thanks to high tides.

Similar to the more popular pools of Porto Moniz, the Seixal natural pools known – as Poça das Lesmas – are special tidal baths because they were created amid lava formations. Another main feature of these pools is this picturesque rock arch. It’s one of the access points to the water and is a great spot for photos.

Despite being particularly beautiful, the pools of Seixal are still relatively undiscovered.

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The large rock formations are scenic and the view of these pools is stunning. The water is fairly warm during the summer and gets quite chilly, but still pleasant enough for a dip, in the winter.

One thing to keep in mind is that the pools have different depths. The largest and main pool of the formation is surprisingly deep. It’s great if you are looking to have some fun exploring the pool bed and do freediving.

NOTE: Just like Porto Moniz, there are several natural pool complexes in Seixal. One pool complex is located right next to the popular Seixal beach and the harbour, and a different one – which is the one mentioned in this post – is located on the other side of the town (in the direction of Porto Moniz). We suggest you hit up this one that has the lava arch formation, the others, while still nice, are not as wow.

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How to get to the Seixal natural pools

Seixal is a town on the northern coast of Madeira in the municipality of Porto Moniz. Its natural pools are located near the Praia daLaje beach, which also goes by the name Jamaicabeach.

Get to the Seixal pools by car

There is a relatively new tunnel that connects the southern side – near Ribeira Brava – to the northern side in São Vicente, which makes the trip relatively easy. It will take you about 45-minute to drive the 41 km that separate Seixal from Funchal.

Once you get to the town of Seixal, drive along the only road that goes all the way through the city (Estrada de Setor Antão).

Once you’re nearby, look for a small road that goes down, in the direction of the ocean. The road might look narrow and steep (which it is), but there is parking both mid-way and down at the pools. Expect to find free spaces especially in low season or early in the morning.

Is there a bus from Funchal to Seixal?

Yes! There are several bus rides a day connecting Funchal with Seixal. The best option is bus n°139, which goes direct from Funchal to Seixal. Alternatively, you can head there with bus n° 6 + bus n°150 (which requires a bus change in São Vicente).

Check out bus details on rodoeste website.

From the bus stop where you get off, you’ll need to do a bit by foot to arrive to the pools, following the same road mentioned above. You’ll notice there are stairs alongside the road leading to the pools.

Exact location

Since finding the tidal pools of Seixal isn’t so straightforward, we’ve pinned Seixal natural pools exact location for you:

To get to the pools, take the narrow (and very steep) “Frente do Mar do Seixal” road. You can either drive your car down the pools during low season, where there is a small parking lot or go down the stairs on foot during busier months.

Seixal natural pools entrance fee

There is no entrance fee at Seixal natural pools. You can access these pools at any time of the day.

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What to bring at Seixal Natural Pools

There are no cafès, restaurants or toilets at the Seixal natural pools, so head there prepared (and on an empty bladder!).

We recommend bringing the beach essentials here, such as swimwear, a towel, flip flops, sunscreen, a hat, and water.

You may want to bring also a scuba mask to explore the pools and possibly some food if you’re planning on staying more than a couple of hours (trust us, you don’t want to walk all the way up for a snack).

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Other natural pools in Madeira

Madeira island has more than one natural pool, there are actually a few sprawled around. Try to check them out. Our favourites are the ones of Porto Moniz, Porto Das Salemas and Poças do Gomesalso known asDoca do Cavacas.

Porto Moniz – Located northwest of Funchal, these natural pools combine the comfort of a resort with the beauty of natural pools. Check out our full guide on Porto Moniz for more details to plan your visit.

Poças do Gomes – Funchal’s natural pools has direct sea access and full facilities like a toilet, shower, changing rooms, restaurants and bars. With more facilities come more visitors, but it’s beautiful and worth going.

Outside Madeira – Porto Santo Island

Porto das Salemas – Porto Santo is the island located on the northern side of Madeira. These rugged, small pools are stunning. The water is crystal clear and when you’re there you feel far away from the world.

🗺️ HOW TO USE THIS MAP: Click the top left icon to get more info about this map. Use the star icon next to the title to save it in your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, then go to “your places“, tap on “maps” and you will see this map on your list.

Best time to visit

May to October are the warmer months for visiting and taking a swim.

But, even during colder months, the weather is pleasant on the island and you can still head over there, sunbathe and relax. The water will be chilly but you can wet your feet.

Keep in mind that Seixal is on the northern coast so it’s usually colder than the southern. Here the sun also sets earlier compared to the southern side of Madeira.

Our tips for Seixal natural pools

  • Visit the main natural pool, as shown earlier on our map – it’s the most beautiful
  • If you plan on swimming, bring swim essentials
  • Snacks and water as there are no services nearby
  • Camera! There are beautiful shots of lava formations and if you take a walk nearby to the lookout point to see the waterfall you’ll want to take a photo

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Is it safe

All the natural pools are tidal, which means the rough waves are what fills them. Is it safe? Yes, but it’s safest to swim when it’s low tide. If you see the water crashing the rocks a little too hard, consider staying near the shore.

Where to stay near Seixal Natural Pools

🎒 HOSTELS: The only hostel not far from Seixal is The Waves Hostel, located in São Vicente, about 9km from Seixal. It features private single rooms only and it has great views of the ocean. Private rooms go for €25 EUR ($27 USD)/night.

🏠 GUEST HOUSES: The best budget-friendly option in Seixal is Janela para o Atlântico, with a standard double room priced at just €40/night.

Another great option in Seixal is Casa Das Videiras, which offers doubles from €55 EUR ($59 USD)/night. Casa do João da Eira is another great find, often fully booked in high season, with double rooms from €72 EUR ($77 USD)/night.

Lazy Lizard by the Ocean is yet another budget-friendly option. This accommodation, which is located by the ocean, offers a one-bedroom apartment for just €62 EUR ($67 USD)/night.

🛎 A UNIQUE STAY: In Seixal you can sleep in a unique location! The Dock House is an old building that has been completely renovated and transformed into a modern yet quaint accommodation with beautiful arched-wooden doors and stonework. What’s great is that you are walking distance from the pools, in less than 5 minutes you’re there! It can accommodate 4 guests, has 2 bedrooms, 3 beds and 1 bath. It has a minimum 3-night stay policy and costs €150 EUR ($161 USD)/night.

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What to do near Seixal natural pools?

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Visit the Seixal Beach

A visit to the Seixal beach is a must when visiting the Seixal natural pools. Seixal beach is a black sand beach with incredible scenery as a background.

There is a parking nearby, and the beach is quite wide so there is plenty of space even during high season.

Photo credits: Lucille Michel

Try Canyoning!

Seixal is a haven for those who are looking for a little canyoning adventure in Chão da Ribeira. It’s a sport for all ages that takes you from the tops of mountains down to waterfalls.

This adventurous activity combines everything from hiking to jumping and is bound to get your adrenaline pumping. Check our Madeira Canyoning guide to learn more.

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Miradouro do Véu da Noiva

Between Seixal and São Vicente is one of the most famous waterfalls on Madeira island, ‘Véu da Noiva’ known as the ‘Bride’s Veil’.

The name holds true to the look of the rushing water falling from the cliffs, completely covering them like a veil.

By car, you can park your car on the side of the road and get a glimpse of this beauty! It’s not a full-on lookout point, but it’s worth the stop.

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Praia da Ribeira da Janela

Praia da Ribeira da Janela is located between Porto Moniz and Seixal, just 9km from the Seixal natural pools.

It’s a pebble beach known for its impressive rock formations that emerge from the sea.

Praia da Ribeira da Janela is easily accessible by car as there is a wide parking nearby.

Panelo Feast

Travelling to Seixal in January? Every year, on the last weekend of January at the Chão da Ribeira doSeixal, individuals and families come together and for one of the Island’s oldest traditions. This social gathering features the famous “panelo”. This traditional meal is made out of vegetables and blood sausage, similar to a Portuguese stew known as Cozido á Portuguesa. The feast usually takes place Sunday morning after the religious feast of St. Antão. You can try this local dish and others while enjoying live entertainment if you’re lucky enough to catch this feast!

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