Beach day on the eastern side of Madeira!

Location: Madeira, Portugal

Itinerary duration: 1 day

Places of note: Machico, Garajau, Santa Cruz & Prainha

What good would a summer vacation be without some beach time, right?!! Luckily, the island of Madeira has plenty of sunny beaches for you to enjoy. We'll first be visiting Machico, where a lovely golden sand beach awaits you! Then it's off to Garajau to see the Christ Redeemer statue and swim in the marine reserve below, followed by a stop in Santa Cruz to either watch the airplanes land or visit the pebble beach. Our little road trip ends with a visit to Prainha, a natural black sand beach tucked away on the easternmost side of the island.

A. Caniçal
My family and I stayed in a house in Caniçal, a town on the easternmost side of the island. It would definitely be possible to do this itinerary from Funchal - you would just have to change the order in which you visit the places. I would recommend: Machico, Prainha, Santa Cruz and then Garajau. In terms of time, Caniçal is a 30 minute drive from Funchal.

B. Machico

From Caniçal, we drove west to nearby Machico and straight to its man-made beach. Since there aren't many natural sand beaches on the island, the golden sand was imported from Western Sahara to create this beach in Machico's harbour. There is ample parking available and many places to grab something to eat. We really had fun here swimming to the float in the middle of the water and back.

C. Ponta do Garajau

After a refreshing swim, we drove to Ponta do Garajau, famous for its Christ Redeemer statue similar to the one in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The views from this point are amazing! Walk down the steps to get a nice view of the statue and surrounding landscape. After exploring here, we drove down to the beach below. You can also access it by cable car. This pebble stone beach is great for swimming and snorkelling due to its 
crystal clear waters and prime location, a marine reserve! There's also a café here - try the limpets (lapas)!

D. Santa Cruz

From Garajau, we decided to drive back towards 'home' and stopped in Santa Cruz for an ice cream. This seaside town is the best place to watch the airplanes land at Madeira's airport nearby. You can easily forget about the time here. There's also a pebble stone beach for all the beach-goers wanting to work on their tan!

E. Prainha, Caniçal

Our last stop is located just outside of Caniçal before you reach Ponta de São Lourenço, the easternmost tip of the island. Prainha is a black sand beach - the only natural and fully sandy beach on the island. Not only is the sand colour so unique and beautiful, the surrounding rocks truly showcase the island's volcanic origins. It's a must for all visitors! But bear in mind that a short walk is required from the parking area to the beach below, and up again. A great place to swim - we stayed here until after 7pm!