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Porto Santo Travel Guide
Historically, Porto Santo was the first island in the Madeiran archipelago to be settled by the Portuguese and was also home to Christopher Columbus in the 1400s. This tiny island is only 12 kilometres long and around 6.5 km at its widest.
Today, Porto Santo’s finest asset is its golden expanse of sandy beaches. Stretching for 9 kilometres along the southern coast, the waters are crystal-clear and perfect for swimming. The laid-back lifestyle and a number of excellent restaurants and bars attract both local and international holidaymakers throughout the summer season.
Vila Baleira is the site of the first settlement and the capital of the island. Highlights include the Largo do Pelourinho square, the Christopher Columbus Museum and the Infante Gardens.
The northern coast consists of rugged cliffs, while the eastern part of Porto Santo contains two of the island’s highest peaks, Pico do Castelo and Pico do Facho, boasting spectacular landscapes for walking and sightseeing. Golf, diving and horse riding are also popular activities on the island.
For more places to see and things to do on Porto Santo, take a look at our detailed guide.