The Golden Beaches of Porto Santo

One of the things I love the most about Portugal is the diversity of landscapes. Some years ago, I had the chance to go on vacation to Porto Santo, the little island of Madeira archipelago. In spite of distancing only 68km from the Madeira, this island couldn’t be any more different from the big island.

At first, I must say I wasn’t very excited about it but my mood changed as soon as we landed on the golden island. The weather, the landscapes, the people – it all gave me such a feeling of serenity and peace. It’s definitely a place to return.


Porto Santo is part of the Madeira’s islands and was discovered in 1418 – a year before the big island (Madeira island) – by João Gonçalvez Zarco and Tristão Vaz Teixeira.

As a result of the successive and massive attacks by pirates, nearly all the population was murdered and enslaved until the Philip III of Spain determined the construction of a fortification to protect the people and allow the repopulation of the island.

The Island

Porto Santo is, par excellence, a beach destination that attracts many tourists for its turquoise waters and 9km of golden sand beaches. This lil’ island’s sand is well known for its rare therapeutic features – due to its main component, calcium carbonate, the sand has very particular thermal properties which makes it highly sought for the hot sand’s treatments.

Nature and unique landscapes are as well as the beaches one of the island’s strengths. You can rent a car and discover them on your own or you can book a tour and get to know the island with a guide. Of course, both options have advantages and disadvantages, so I suggest you choose the one that suits you best. In my case, I went with a group that stayed in the same hotel as me and we spent the day learning more about Porto Santo while we were amazed by the outstanding views we found along the way.

Despite the different paths you might take to discover the island, some of the must-sees of the island are:

  • Miradouro das Flores
  • Portela
  • Ponta da Calheta
  • Pico da Ana Ferreira
  • Fonte da Areia
  • Porto Santo’s marine

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