Insider's Guide to Islands of Portugal

Major attractions, tips and our top things to see and do.

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  • Address: Madeira Island
  • Admission: Free

Draped across the volcanic cliffs overlooking the sea, pretty Porto Moniz is most famous for its sapphire swimming pools, protected from the Atlantic by photogenic rock formations and a few artificial barriers. 

When you've finished working on your tan, however, there's much more to see and do in this appealing little city. The Aquário da Madeira, or Madeira Aquarium, offers a closer look at some 70 native species and 1730 São João Baptista Fort, built to protect Porto Moniz from pirates.

Next door, the Living Science Center has family-friendly exhibits that explore Madeira's unique ecosystems, while the Achadas da Cruz cable car offers access to less populated beaches. 

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