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Porto Santo

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Porto Santo is the northernmost and easternmost island in Portugal's Madeira archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean. The only significant settlement on the island is the town of "Vila Baleira". The island is about 9km long, and the main industry is tourism.

Porto Santo's beach viewed from a nearby hill

Porto Santo is an ultra-peripheral region of the European Union.

Get in[edit]

There is a small airport with flights to and from Funchal, Madeira about 15 minutes away. The airport also has links to mainland Portugal, and coastal Africa.

It takes roughly one and a half hours to fly to Porto Santo from the airports at Lisbon and Porto.

There is also a ferry from Funchal (Porto Santo Line It leaves Funchal at 08:00 and Porto Santo at 18:00. Journey time approx. 2.5 hours. Costs about 50 Euros for a round trip (foot passenger).

There is a bus into Vila Baleira that connects with the ferry (it costs about 1.55 Euros).

Get around[edit]

  • Rent a Car - Porto Santo has a good road network, that links the main points of the island. Several companies rent cars in Porto Santo, such as:

Insularcar [2], Moinho Rent-a-Car [3], Auto Jardim [4] and Rodavante [5].

You can also rent scooters, motorbikes and quadbikes from the kiosk next to the petrol station in Vila Baleira.

  • By bus (Town center next to the petrol station) - Tel.: (+351) 291 982780 / 291 982403.
  • By Taxi (Av. Dr. Manuel Gregório Pestana Junior) - Tel.: (+351) 291 982123.

See[edit][add listing]

Christopher Columbus house
  • Christopher Columbus' house, now a museum. Exhibits about the Portuguese discoveries, Columbus, and his stay on the island are featured. The collections in this museum include maps, navigation tools, portraits and other art displays. Columbus married on the island and lived there for some time.
  • Matriz Church (Largo do Pelourinho) - Built in 1430 and pillaged in 1556 by French buccaneers. Situated in the heart of Vila Baleira, in this church beautiful paintings of Martin Conrad and Max Romer are displayed, which attract the attention of passing visitors.
  • "Pico Castelo" viewpoint (437m) - This 437m-high viewpoint has a magnificent view over Vila Baleira and the rest of the Island of Porto Santo, as well as some nearby small islands.
  • Paços do Concelho (Largo do Pelourinho) - Also known as Town Hall, it is located in the city centre. It was built in the sixteenth century, and ever since it has been used as a jail and as a palace.
  • Miradouro dos Flores viewpoint. Beautiful viewpoint at the western end of the island. Take the turning to the right just before Ponta towards Morenos and the golf course, then next left towards Morenos.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

Porto Santo's beach in the afternoon
  • Porto Santo's beaches - With 9 km of beach, these are the best beaches in the archipelago. They are also known for their alleged healing properties, relieving the pain of rheumatism and helping to accelerate the recovery of bone fractures. There are some impressive rocks sculpted by the wind and the waves at the western end of the beach. You can see the sun rise and set from the beach.
  • The "Nossa Senhora da Graça" Feast - The main feast of the island. The feast is composed by a mass, followed by a procession and an "arraial", a traditional party.
  • Porto Santo Golf Course - [6]. Has two 18-hole golf courses and one nine-hole course. It is promoted by Severiano Ballesteros, the Spanish golfing champion.
  • Portelo viewpoint and windmills. Situated at the eastern end of the island, above the port. Great views over the island. 3 typical Porto Santo windmills can be found here.  edit
  • Walk around Pico da Facho. At 516m a.s.l. this is the highest peak on Porto Santo. There is a circular walk around the hill with great views over the island. Hire a scooter / car or take a taxi to the viewpoint (end of the road) and start the walk from there. If you choose to walk from Vila Baleira be aware that 95% of the route to the viewpoint is on asphalt road through suburbs - there is no walking path.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Pingo Doce supermarket. Good supermarket in the centre of Vila Baleira near the petrol station.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Restaurante Baiana (Rua Doutor Nunes Silvestre Vieira Teixeira) - Tel.: (+351) 291 984 649.
  • Restaurante Gazela - Tel.: (+351) 291 984 425.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Pestana Porto Santo, Estrada Regional 111, Nº 120 Sitio do Campo de Baixo 9400-015 Porto Santo, (+351) 291 144 000 (, fax: (+351) 291 144 099), [1].  edit
  • Casa Rosário Coelho - Turismo de Habitação (Rua Dona Berta Teixeira Aguiar 6) - Tel.: (+351) 291 984 306; fax: (+351) 291 984 571. The ideal place for those seeking quiet. This residential manor was built in 1837.
  • Pensão Central (Rua Coronel Abel Magno Vasconcelos) - Tel.: (+351) 291 982 226; fax: (+351) 291 983 460.
  • Hotel Praia Dourada *** (Rua Doutor Estevão Alencastre) [7] - Tel.: (+351) 291 982 315; fax: (+351) 291 982 484.
  • Hotel Torre Praia **** (Rua Goulart Medeiros) [8] - Tel.: (+351) 291 980 450; fax: (+351) 291 982 487. Right next to Porto Santo's beach.
  • Hotel Vila Baleira **** (Sítio do Cabeço da Ponta) [9] - Tel.: (+351) 291 980 800; fax: (+351) 291 980 801. The hotel has a SPA, and the only thalassotherapy center of the island. The rooms have a beach-view.
  • Hotel Porto Santo **** [10] - Tel.: (+351) 291 980 140; fax: (+351) 291 980 149.

Get out[edit]

Madeira - The larger island of Madeira is only 15 minutes away by flight. A visit to the beautiful city of Funchal and the Madeirense countryside would be a good idea. Boats can also be rented for the trip.

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