Porto Santo vs Madeira Island

Only 50 km of very deep ocean seperate Porto Santo from Madeira Island.
Both islands have a volcanic origin and are part of the Madeira Archipelago.
They form an autonomous region of Portugal and share there own government.

The inhabitants share the same culture and background. Agriculture and especially the fish industry, including whale hunting, used to be the majour source of (small) income.
Support by the European Union has to end poverty in this region and organisations such as AP Madeira ("Association for promotion of Madeira"), ACIF ("Association for Commerce and Industry in Funchal") and now also ACIPS ("Association for Commerce and Industry in Porto Santo") help with the modernization of both island and the further expansion of tourism.

But with the above we have in fact summarized the majour similarities of Madeira Island and Porto Santo. For anything else, both islands have huge differences, especially when it comes to geography and nature.
It are those differences that make Madeira Island and Porto Santo are a very different holiday destination with their own and distinct type of tourism.

With this page i want to provide an overview of what a tourist can expect during his holiday.

surface = 798 km2
300000 inhabitants
Small island.
surface = 42 km2
Only 5000 inhabitants
Very steep mountains.
Highest mountain is 1862 meter high (Pico Ruivo).
Flat beaches in the south, rising to the north with a rather hilly landscape.
Highest mountain is 507 meter (Pico do Facho).
madeira landscape Porto Santo landscape
Madeira is called the "Flower Island".
The island has very green nature with the presence of the Laurisilva (laurel forest, many flowers and gardens.
Porto Santo is called "the Golden Island" due to the mainly light brown colour of the dry landscape.
Humid air saturates above the laurel forest giving the North of Madeira a humid climate. Rainfall is no exception. Porto Santo has a dry climate with mostly constant temperatures throughout the year.
Steep roads make it nearly impossible to use a bicycle. A car, taxi or bus are the preferred transportation means. The bicycle is a perfect means to explore the island.
There are a very few and small sand beaches. Porto Santo has a stretching of 9 km white sand beach. The sand is said to have healing properties. Relaxing holidays include spa and wellness.
The coast of madeira The coast of Porto Santo
Touristic high season from October to May. Touristic high season from June to September.
Madeira Island stands for an active holiday.
It is the perfect holiday destination for those who :
  • love nature, mountains and walking
  • love diving, fishing and boating trips
  • love luxury holiday resorts on beatifull locations
  • love to make an island tour
Porto Santo stands for a beach holiday. It is the perfect holiday destination for those who :
  • love residing on a beach
  • occasionally do some activities
  • love water sports such as snorkelling and boating trips
  • want a romantic holiday, honeymoon etc.


More info about Porto Santo

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

Click for our home pages about Porto Santo and Madeira