The island of Porto Santo (42 sq km) is the second largest island of the Madeira archipelago. This island is located in the Atlantic Ocean about 43 km north-east of Madeira and about 800 km south-west of the Portuguese coast. The island is inhabited by fewer than 5,000 people, most of whom reside in the capital of Vila Baleira.
Porto Santo was discovered in 1418 by Portuguese navigators João Gonçalves Zarco, Tristão Vaz Teixeira, and Bartolomeu Perestrelo. The island was donated, in 1445, by the king of Portugal to Bartolomeu Perestrelo. The history of the island is also linked to Christopher Columbus. Here, in fact, the famous Genoese navigator lived for a few years. And always here, in 1479, Christopher Columbus married Filipa Moniz Perestrelo, one of the daughters of the donor of the island Bartolomeu Perestrelo.
Porto Santo is very different from the neighboring island of Madeira. This island can be divided into two areas. The northeastern part is mountainous and rocky. Here is the highest point of the island, the Pico do Facho (517 meters). While the south-western part has a large coastal plain and a long sandy beach that stretches for about 9 km. This beach is also the main tourist attraction on the island. The main activity of the island is tourism.
HOW TO GET TO PORTO SANTO
The island is served by ferries that daily connect it to Madeira. The journey time is 2 hours and 15 minutes. Day trips are also possible from Madeira.
Porto Santo is served by an international airport, the Porto Santo Airport (PXO) which has frequent flights to Madeira (Funchal) (15 minutes flight). But also several flights with Lisbon and Porto. The best way to reach the island is to take a TAP Portugal flight, which stops in Lisbon. During the summer there are also international connections including charters that come from different European countries.