This time I decided to tell you a little bit about my absolute favourite beach destination in Portugal. As the title implies, Porto Santo is not located in the continent, in fact it is part of Madeira’s Archipelago. To be precise it is located in the Atlantic Ocean 50 Km away from Madeira Island, 900 km away from Lisbon and 500 km away from Africa.
I hope I can express how magical this little Portuguese paradise is!
About the Destination
Porto Santo island has a total area of 42,17 Km² ( 11,4 km length and 6 km width). Although it is also of volcanic origin its landscape is very different from Madeira Island, since the beach is the dominant scenery and it’s not very hilly.
For sure Porto Santo is a beach destination. Its 9 km continuous beach makes it one of the biggest in Europe. A curiosity that makes it so special is that you can see the whole beach from one end to the other without having to move! This feature also makes it perfect for long walks on the beach. This year was the 4th time me and my family went there and, for the first time, the weather wasn’t awesome (which means it was around 23/25º C and a little bit cloudy some mornings), therefore we walked every morning about 6/7 km on the beach and we never got tired of it. I think it also important to enhance that, yes the weather wasn’t amazing, but I went to the beach and to the pool every single day, the ocean was amazing and I still got very tanned.
Another aspect I love about Porto Santo is how smooth the sand is. I’ve been to some beautiful beach destinations, but I’ve never felt a sand as soft as in Porto Santo! Besides being very comfortable to walk on, it is also well known for its therapeutic qualities. There are some wellness centres (normally integrated in the big hotels/resorts) where you can do sand treatments. According to academic investigation this sand is indicated to treat rheumatic and orthopaedic diseases.
Still on the south shore you can enjoy the warm, calm ocean that allows for a wide variety of water sports (scuba diving, paddle board, surf, windsurf, kayaking, among others) and go for a walk in the main village, Vila Baleira. The south shore is also where the hotels, rentals houses, restaurants and animation companies are mainly located.
Although the south is more developed it’s very worthy to rent a bike, a scooter, a 4 wheel motorcycle or a car to travel the whole island. You can do it in a day or an afternoon! Visiting the north shore is specially interesting because of it’s steep cliffs, a totally different landscape from the south of Porto Santo. There are also some great viewpoints and some natural pools that can be visited depending on the tide.
To finish, I want to enhance that this is not a destination for people who are looking to party or have a lot of activities to do! In Porto Santo everything works on a slower pace and it’s definitely a destination to relax – it’s very family friendly. In terms of accommodation you can either choose from big resorts (such as Pestana or Vila Baleira), smaller hotels (such as Inatel – I always stay here because my parents are associates, but also because the staff is very friendly, the food is amazing, it’s located on one end of the island so there’s plenty of space for everyone on the beach and it’s medium size so there’s not much confusion and noise!) or rental houses.
In terms of how to get to Porto Santo there are two options: you can either catch a plane directly to the island, which are quite pricey, or fly to Funchal, in Madeira, and then go by boat which takes around 2 hours. One year we spent a week in Madeira and then went by boat to Porto Santo where we spent another week, this is also a good option specially if you’re travelling from far away.
Unfortunately my smartphone had some problems this summer so I lost all my pictures when I send it to be fixed. Therefore I had to use the photographs I uploaded on instagram so the quality is quite poor. This said, I’ll also leave the link for the official promotional video of the island: http://www.cm-portosanto.pt/porto-santo/video-promocional/