Porto Santo: Travel and tourism

Vila Baleira: Church
Vila Baleira: Church
At only 37 kilometres from Funchal, the island of Porto Santo has the one thing that Madeira lacks: a wonderful sandy beach that runs for nine kilometres along the whole south coast of the island.

The white sands are said to have healing properties for rhumatism and bone diseases, but it is the possibility of practising all types of water sports (from swimming to deep-sea diving, yatching and windsurfing) which attracts more visitors each year.

Tourists can fly to Porto Santo from Funchal by plane or helicopter, or take a ferry across a rather rough sea till Porto Abrigo, near Vila Baleira, the capital of the island.

Worth visiting is Casa de Colombo: Christopher Columbus is said to have visited Porto Santo in 1478, where he met the governor, Bartolomeu Perestrelo, and married his daughter, Filipa Moniz, in 1479. However, she died soon after giving birth to their son.

The house, built in the 15th century and restored for de 500th anniversary of the landing of Columbus in America, exibits maps, paintings and engravings, as well as an account of the life of the navigator.

Other points of interest are the Mother Church from the 15th century and the Fort of Saint Joseph (18th century).

Ponta da Calheta and the peaks of Atalaia, Castelo and Facho are also worth admiring. From Madeira, the small island of Porto Santo can be seen on a clear day, but, from here, Madeira is always shadowy and involved in mist.
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Hotel Torre Praia Hotel Torre Praia
Porto Santo
$$$$ (100 to 150 euros)

Situated on the unspoilt golden sandy beach, the Torre Praia Hotel provides a tranquil base for your stay in Vila Baleira. You can exercise in the gym, take an energising swim in the pool and dine in one of two restaurants offering a choice of local and international cuisine.

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