About Porto Santo IslandPorto Santo 

About Porto Santo Island

Porto Santo is a city that occupies the entire Portuguese island of Porto Santo, Madeira, headquartered in a town with a name other than the municipality: the city of Vila Baleira. Is 42.48 km ² and 5483 inhabitants (2011). It is one of the six municipalities of Portugal that have a single parish, which has the same name. The city closest to it is to Machico on Madeira Island, situated southwest.

Porto Santo

Porto Santo is an island located off the coast of Portugal. The island is part of the Madeira archipelago and is known for its stunning beaches, crystal clear waters, and lush, green landscapes. It is a popular destination for tourists who come to relax and enjoy the untouched beauty of nature.

The island is home to some of the best beaches in Europe and has a wide array of activities for visitors to enjoy. From water sports, to hiking, to golf, to horse-riding, to wine tasting, the possibilities are endless. The island is also home to a variety of wildlife, and is an ideal spot for bird-watching. Porto Santo is an excellent destination for those looking for a relaxing and peaceful holiday in a stunning natural environment.


Porto Santo was the first Portuguese discovery in the 15th century. This island marked the beginning of the great age of the discoveries launched by Prince Henry the Navigator.
Years later, Christopher Columbus stayed on the island for a while and prepared his voyage of discovery to America.
Porto Santo was discovered in1418 by the Portuguese mariners João Gonçalves Zarco, Tristão Vaz Teixeira and Bartolomeu Perestrelo, who was later appointed the first Capitão Donatário of the island.

Some years later, Christopher Columbus stayed on the island for a while and married one of Perestrelo’s daughters.
In 1446, Prince Henry the Navigator donated Porto Santo to Perestrelo. It was promoted to municipality in 1835.
In August 1996, its capital, Vila Baleira, was made a city.
There are two theories as to the origin of the name Porto Santo. They agree on the event that gave rise to the name but differ on the date and origin of the navigators.

According to a folk legend that dates back to 1418, João Gonçalves Zarco and the other mariners gave it its name because the island gave them shelter during a terrible storm.
The second version, which has historical confirmation, says that in the lower Middle Ages, a vessel found safe port on this island after a violent storm. This confirms that the island had already been named Porto Santo before the Portuguese began settling there in 1418.

There can be no doubt about the year when the Portuguese mariners Zarco and Tristão Vaz Teixeira arrived in Porto Santo – 1418. It was this voyage and this island that marked the beginning of Portugal’s overseas discoveries.
Another important aspect of the island’s history is the fact that Christopher Columbus lived here after marrying Filipa Moniz, daughter of Bartolomeu Perestrelo. Colombus, the Genovese discoverer, prepared his voyage of discovery to America in a house in the centre of Vila Baleira, today Casa Museu Cristóvão Colombo.

porto santo island

Beach Bliss in Porto Santo

Porto Santo boasts one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. With its 9-kilometer shoreline of white sandy beaches, it’s the perfect place to lie back and relax in the sun. The crystal-clear waters of the Atlantic are perfect for a refreshing dip and are home to a variety of fish and marine life. There’s also plenty of space for beach games with family and friends. The beach is lined with cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy delicious local cuisine and cool drinks.

Exploring the Magic of Porto Santo

Porto Santo is a great place to explore. There are plenty of sights to see, such as the historic old town of Vila Baleira, the 500-year-old chapel of Nossa Senhora dos Desamparados, and the lighthouse of Ponta da Calheta. Nature lovers can take a hike in the hills of the island or go birdwatching in the wetlands. For those looking for a bit of adventure, there are plenty of watersports available, such as sailing, surfing, and diving.

A Tropical Getaway of Fun

Porto Santo also offers plenty of fun activities for the whole family. From waterparks to amusement parks, there’s something for everyone. For a unique experience, take a ride on the Porto Santo Tram and explore the island from the comfort of a vintage tram. Or take a scenic drive around the island and stop at some of the stunning viewpoints to take in the views.

Diving into Crystal Waters

Porto Santo is a great place to go diving. The waters are crystal clear, allowing you to see the colorful fish and marine life up close. There are two main dive sites in Porto Santo – the Baía das Cigaras and the Baía de Vila Baleira. For experienced divers, there are plenty of advanced diving sites such as wreck dives, cave dives, and night dives.

A Relaxation Paradise Awaits

Porto Santo is an ideal destination for those looking to relax and unwind. Take a leisurely stroll along the beach and soak up the stunning views. Or pamper yourself with a massage in one of the many spas on the island. Enjoy a delicious meal in one of the waterfront restaurants and watch the sunset over the horizon.

Captivating Sunsets and Stunning Views

Porto Santo is known for its captivating sunsets and stunning views. Head to the west of the island and watch the sun go down over the ocean. Or take a boat ride around the island and admire the stunning views of the cliffs, forests, and beaches.

Authentic Cuisine and Local Culture

Porto Santo has a vibrant local culture and is full of delicious traditional food. Sample some of the local specialties such as fried octopus, seafood stew, and sweet desserts. Take a stroll through the cobblestone streets and explore the quaint shops and cafes. Or visit one of the many markets to pick up some great souvenirs.

Unforgettable Memories in Porto Santo

Porto Santo is the perfect destination for an unforgettable holiday. With its beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters, and vibrant culture, it’s the perfect place to relax and explore. Whether you’re looking for a beach getaway or an adventure holiday, Porto Santo will not disappoint. So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and head to Porto Santo for an unforgettable holiday experience.

Porto Santo is an incredible Portuguese island and an ideal holiday destination. With its stunning beaches, crystal clear waters, and vibrant culture, it’s the perfect place to relax and explore. Whether you’re looking for a beach getaway or an adventure holiday, Porto Santo will not disappoint. So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and head to Porto Santo for an unforgettable holiday experience.

Where to stay in Porto Santo

Vila Baleira

Vila Baleira is the largest town in Porto Santo. It is the main town in the area and offers all the main services such as supermarkets, pharmacies, shops, as well as a long sandy beach overlooking the town centre.

The concrete jetty juts out into the sea for a hundred metres, giving the opportunity to enjoy the magnificent view of the island’s skyline. It is the perfect place for an evening stroll.

The hotels in Vila Baleira are mostly small structures, guesthouses or boutique hotels. You will have to travel a few kilometres to find larger structures with swimming pools and other facilities.

Cabeço Da Ponta

Along the coastline linking Vila Baleira to Cabeco Da Ponta there are numerous beachfront hotels, often favoured by guests who wish to enjoy all the amenities and an all-inclusive experience. Staying along the coast is the perfect solution for those who wish to enjoy a peaceful and relaxing holiday overlooking an ocean beach with crystal clear waters.


Camacha is the closest town to the airport. It is located inland, almost in the mountains. The closest coastline to Camacha is the high, rocky north coast. Staying in Camacha is the perfect solution for those who want to immerse themselves in the nature of Porto Santo, or for those who need to enjoy a little rest when arriving on the island or before flying back home.

Location and Climate

Porto Santo is the smallest inhabited island in the Madeira Archipelago. It is situated in the Atlantic Ocean, in the extreme south-west of Europe.It is a Portuguese island, therefore part of the European Union.

Municipal holiday: 24 June
Population: 4,474
Area: 42.17 km2
Accommodation: 1,500 beds


The climate in Porto Santo is dry and stable. The temperature does not vary much between seasons and so we can normally go to the beach all year round. The sea around the island is calm and crystal clear.

Average air temperature: 23ºC (summer) – 19ºC (winter)
Average sea temperature: 22ºC (summer) – 17ºC (winter)

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