Porto Santo is a small island that belongs to the archipelago of Madeira, famous for its beautiful and enormous golden sandy beach.
With a 42,48Km2 area and 5500 inhabitants, this small island with a 9km golden sandy beach is in many aspects different from Madeira Island despite the short distance between them. The soil is sandy, the rainfall is below average registered in Madeira, is flat and its landscape is characterized by huge palm trees. The madeiran use it as an escape during the summer months and it offers all kinds of facilities, from fine hotels to restaurants and entertainment services!
You can get to Porto Santo in just 15 minutes by plane, or you by boat (Lobo Marinho - Porto Santo Line) in 2h30m.
The main attraction of the Island are the 9km beach that correspond to almost the entire length of Porto Santo. In 2012 it was named one of the "Seven Wonders" of Portugal in the category of “sand dune beach”!
Recent studies show that this golden sand has two therapeutic effects: A thermo one that is based on the sand’s ability to receive and accumulate the natural heat from solar radiation (heat improves the blood flow and also increases the openings of the skin pores), and a chemotherapeutic, which is based in the skin absorption of the ions #existentes” in the grains of sand.
And if we are talking about the sand and the beach, then we must speak about the sea!
An average temperature between 18 and 22 degrees and a clear, translucent water with a beautiful seabed, make diving in these waters an irresistible feeling. You may go scuba diving near the harbor, where in 2000 the ship "Madeira" that used to make the Porto Santo-Madeira route sank and now serves as a reference point to scuba divers. Many have visited it, and all of them agreed that this is undoubtedly "amazing for diving". Sailing, rowing, canoeing and if the weather conditions allow, Windsurfing, Surfing Kit, Water skiing and Jet Ski are suggestions that you should not dismiss.
Porto Santo Golfe is the second major attraction in the island. The amazing view that it offers and the course itself are the main reasons why we find this Golf course at the 70th place (in the Top-100) in the European Golf in a universe of 6600 golf courses. The prestigious magazine "Golf World" also ranked it between the top 100. It was designed by Severiano Ballesteros (spanish golf champion).
Recognized among 7000 courses across Europe, this course is itself a strong argument to visit this Island. And if you are not in love with this sport, then at least you should visit it for a coffee or tea at the ClubHouse. Porto Santo Golf also features 2 restaurants, turkish bath, sauna, a golf shop and a wide view over the island and the course that make this a place of relaxation.
The center of Porto Santo is at the Vila Baleira city. It’s where the all locals gatter to celebrate our traditional festivities in this calm and peaceful island.
In case you don't know, one of our customs is, when leaving the beach or at night after dinner, is pass by the city and have a “Lambeca” (an emblematic Porto Santo ice cream). These are the best homemade ice cream in the archipelago… At least, is what we believe.
If you are into sport, then you must try to go cycling around the island. Some of the views are very picturesque… most of the island is flat and exposed to the wind, so now and then you will see the traditional windmills!
You should also visit the “Fonte de Areia” (Fountain of Sand) that it used to be where years ago we could find the purest water in the island. The water so pure that could be used for medicinal purposes. Nowadays, the visit is still worth it due to the marks of the wind erosion in the sandy rocks. The effect caused by the wind over the centuries is magnificente.
... And a ride to the top of “Pico Castelo”, where in the sixteenth century was built a small fortress. This amazing viewpoint, which once served as a warning place against pirate raids, offers us a panoramic view of the whole Porto Santo. You can also visit the “Pico do Facho”, that with its 517 meters above the sea level is the highest peak in the island!
Throughout the year, there are several events that make your visit worthwhile. The “Festival Colombo” takes place in September and during this week, the era of Christopher Columbus on the island is re-enacted. This event features cultural activities, musical performances, street circus, juggling, exotic dances, and all kind of activities from the time of the Portuguese Discoveries.
For all of this and more, you must visit Porto Santo. It's the perfect place for a short break!