Island of Porto Santo

Ilha de Porto Santo
Place: Porto Santo
Photo: Turismo da Madeira
Photo: Turismo da Madeira

The Island of Porto Santo is a haven of gold and blue, where the pace of everything is tranquil, inviting relaxation and rest.

Right in the Atlantic Ocean, Porto Santo, 11km long and 6km wide, has been long dubbed the Golden Island, for its extensive, stunning 9km-long beach of fine and silky sand, bathed by turquoise waters. The climate in Porto Santo, mild all year round, with a sea temperature ranging between 17ºC and 22ºC, makes this island always attractive, even in the winter.

The Portuguese navigators João Gonçalves Zarco and Tristão Vaz Teixeira arrived on the Island of Porto Santo in 1418, the first of the Portuguese discoveries overseas. Having been sent off their course by strong winds while exploring the western coast of Africa, Porto Santo provided them with a safe haven, hence its name which means Blessed Harbour. In 1446, Henry the Navigator appointed Bartolomeu Perestrelo as Governor of the island, which is one of its claims to fame: Perestrelo’s daughter went on to marry Christopher Columbus, who spent some time on the island preparing for his great voyage of discovery to America. Today, it is possible to visit the 15th century house where Christopher Columbus is said to have lived. It is in Vila Baleira, and on display are portraits of Columbus and maps showing the different sea routes that he followed.

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