Porto Santo

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About Porto Santo

With a volcanic, almost tropical, landscape unlike anywhere else on Earth, the Portuguese island of Porto Santo offers an exotic blend of African and European culture. Only 12km by 7km, the small island has been a popular Portuguese holiday destination since its first discovery in the early 15th Century. Porto Santo has been considered a paradise by many including Christopher Columbus, who chose to settle there after his many expeditions around the world.

With a location close to the equator, the weather in Porto Santo is consistently warm and clear - the highest temperatures peaking around September. While there are few man-made attractions, the island’s true appeal is its natural beauty, including smooth white sand beaches, colossal rock formations and spectacular reefs to dive around.

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Hotels in Porto Santo

As a popular Portuguese tourist destination, there’s plenty of accommodation on the island of Porto Santo. Most hotels on the island are in a resort style, with plenty of entertainment for families that can occasionally come off a little dated. However, if you’d prefer something a little more modern you can book at the Pestana Ilha Dourada which offers slick, chic rooms. Those looking for a slightly more rustic option should try the Hotel Quinta Do Serrado set a little further away from the developed areas of the island.



Shopping in Porto Santo

There’s plenty to do on Porto Santo for families, couples and backpackers. Hitting the Praia Do Porto Santo beach should be your top priority as its tropical white sands and gorgeous crystal-clear waters make it a near-paradise. If you’re more the active type, then there are plenty of places on the island to walk including the beautiful Pico De Ana Ferreira cliffs, where you can find volcanic rock formations to rival Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway. And if you’re a bit of a history buff, you can dive into the island’s rich past by visiting both the Porto Santo museum and the house of Christopher Columbus.



Food & Drink in Porto Santo

One of the things that makes the island of Porto Santo so distinctive is its unique cuisine, which has evolved from a lack of livestock on the island. Most dishes are either vegetarian or fish with the notable exception of Espetada, a type of beef kebab made from large slow-cooked chunks of meat. If you want to sample some of the islands fish then you must try Espada, which looks ferocious and tastes delicious. There are lots of sweet treats to be found on Porto Santo as well, however, the island’s pride is its custard flan which is unrivalled in the world.



Events in Porto Santo

Porto Santo has far more holidays than anywhere else in Portugal with many traditions dating back to the founding of the island. These celebrations are unique to Porto Santo and well worth your time if you get the opportunity to take part:

Columbus Festival

Celebrating the world-famous explorer Christopher Columbus and his expeditions around the world, the Columbus Festival that takes place in mid-September combines the island’s history and culture. Expect parades, dancing and the opportunity to learn a little more about Columbus and his exploits.  

Feast of St. John

The feast of St. John is a festival dedicated to the island’s strong Christian beliefs. Held in June, it involves a long parade followed by an incredible meal and late-night dancing across the island. The locals are extremely welcoming at the festival so you can quickly find yourself with food and drink to spare.

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Key facts

Language:Portuguese
Currency:Euro
Time zone:GMT +1
Flight time:3 hours 55 mins
Airport code:PXO
Holiday type:Beach / Summer Sun

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