Porto Santo, Portugal's golden island

Porto Santo, island of the Madeira Archipelago.

Together with Madeira and the uninhabited islands Selvagens and Desertas, Porto Santo is part of the Madeira Archipalago.
It is a small island with a surface of only 42 km2 and hardly 5000 inhabitants, situated 950 km to the Southwest of Lissabon, Portugal, and 50 km to the North of Madeira.

The 9 km long sand beach and the subtropical climate make it a attractive destination for a relaxing beach holiday.
Porto santo is called the Golden Island due to the light brown colour of the landscape which becomes hillier towards the North. The highest peak, the Pico de Facho reaches 507 meters.

80% of the inhibitants live in the capital, the village of Vila Baleira.
Other places such as Portela, Calheta and Camacha will surely sound familiar to those who already enjoyed a Madeira holiday.
Porto Santo and Madeira are very different, eventhough they are close to eachoter and share the same volcanic origin.
Click here for a comparison between Porto Santo and Madeira.

View upon Porto Santo

Weather forecast for Porto Santo

Click for Porto Santo, Madeira Islands Forecast

Portugal's best kept secret

Some say that Portugal wanted to keep the island a secret for as long as possible.
With the untouched nature, the small size of the island, the white sands of the beach, the soft climate and the presence of exotic birds, make Porto Santo look like a hidden paradise.

Tourism on Porto Santo, a new holiday destination

The airport of Porto santo was first constructed in 1960 and became internation with the expansion in 1973 . It caused the development of hotels but remained unknown for tourists.
It was only in 2003, witg the arrival of the new ferry between Funchal, Madeira and Porto Santo that this holiday destination became more popular.
Nowadays many tourists cross the ocean to visit the island for one or more days.
Porto Santo is especially attractive to families with children, to couples looking or a romantic holiday destination and to those who like outdoor leisure activities such as golf, tennis, snorkelling, diving and windsurfing.

Recent development as a new holiday destination can be illustrated by some exemples:

  • Since summer 2008, the tour operator Thomas Cook offers travel packages to Porto Santo and includes beach holidays in Hotel Pestana Porto Santo and Hotel Torre Praia.
  • Easyjet, The low cost flight agency offers direct flights from Londen Gatwick.
  • The famous football player Cristiano Ronaldo, who was born on Madeira, recently bought a piece of land on Porto Santo with the purpose to construct a new hotel.
On the page with Porto Santo hotels you can find a description of the Luamar Aparthotel and Hotel Torre Praia. You'll learn how to book these fine hotels online or using the Porto Santo Line who provides the ferry connection between Madeira and Porto Santo.

Getting to Porto Santo?
  • By plain from Funchal airport (15 minutes)
  • By ferry from Funchal using the Porto Santo Line (2 hours)
  • Direct flight from London Gatwich using Easyjet (4 hours)
  • If you're having a holiday on Madeuira, then you can make a day tour using the ferry towards Porto Santo or you could expand a Madeira island tour with a beach holiday on Porto Santo.
    The ferry passes the impressing coast of Madeira and if you're lucky you may see dolphins or whales during the trip.
  • High season from Februari to October with nice sunny weather and temperatures between 18 and 30 degrees.
  • A bus can bring you from the harbour towards Vila Baleira. (cost 1 Euro).
  • The entire island can easily be explored using a bicycle.

More info about Porto Santo

Porto Santo vs Madeira
The Porto Santo Line Ferry between Funchal, Madeira and Porto Santo
Porto Santo hotels
Things to do on Porto Santo

Special thanks to Alexandra Pontes of the Porto Santo Line, for providing photos and information about the island, the ferry and hotels.