Porto Santo Island is located in the North-East of the Madeira archipelago and is about 42 km². It is accessible by boat or by plane from Madeira Island. The main town is Vila Baleira, with a little over 5500 inhabitants. It is the only inhabited island of the archipelago, together with Madeira. There are more than sixty hotels if you want to stay there. The island has a Mediterranean climate, and with a particularly low relief, is very exposed to the wind. The landscapes are quite deserted.
The second island of the archipelago was discovered in 1418 by the navigators João Gonçalves Zarco, Bartolomeu Perestrelo and Tristão Vaz Teixeira. It was named "Port-Saint". It was only one year later that Madeira was colonized. Bartolomeu Perestrelo was the first governor, he did not inherit the most beautiful island of the archipelago.
What to do and see in Porto Santo?
We will skip Vila Baleira, which is obviously a seaside resort for tourists looking for a vacation. The only museum is that of Christopher Columbus, who stayed a few years on the island and married the daughter of the captain of Porto Santo, Bartolomeu Perestrelo. All this brings us back to the time of the explorers, which is perhaps not unpleasant! Below, the most famous SPOTS. Also check out my article on the places to REALLY discover in Porto Santo.
Pico do Facho and Pico do Castelo
Pico do Facho is the highest point of the island, with only 540 m. Nevertheless, there is the possibility to make a magnificent hike with many viewpoints in this desert region. You will come across vegetation that is very different from the rest of the Madeira archipelago: aloe vera, cactus... and you will be able to discover the island from a 360° perspective, with landscapes that are really different from Madeira.