Porto Santo

Porto Santo Island
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Porto Santo is the smaller of the inhabited islands of the Madeira Archipelago. It lies in the Atlantic Ocean, at the South-western tip of Europe, about 500 km from the coast of Africa and 1000 km from Continental Europe. It takes around 1hr 30 min to fly from Lisbon to Porto Santo Island.


First discovered back in 1418, by Portuguese sailors, this archipelago is formed by the islands of Madeira and Porto Santo as well as the uninhabited Selvagens and Desertas Islands. The friendliness and hospitality of its locals, the mild climate all year around, the spectacular unspoilt landscapes and the richness and variety of the natural, historical and cultural resources are just some of the reasons why you should discover this paradise yourself.
A golden isle, washed by turquoise sea and where peace and quiet reign supreme, is all you need for a truly relaxing holiday.
This Atlantic island boasts 9 km fine golden sands ideal for sunbathing and swimming.
Health and wellness go hand in hand on this magnificent beach as, in addition to its crystalline waters, its sands have rare therapeutic properties. The sand is soft, fine and smooth and consists mainly of calcium carbonate in the form of calcite, which has special thermal qualities.
Vila Baleira can tell stories and legends of the distant and recent past, in fact a visit to the Christopher Columbus Museum will allow you to get to know the house in which he once lived.
The primitive beauty of the landscape enchants anyone walking the paths or cycling the island’s trails.
The safety, along with the warm welcome of its locals, the pleasures that nature has to offer, the beautiful beaches of fine sand, and the calm sea currents, turn Porto Santo island into a privileged location amongst other similar destinations.
 
Come and get to know an island where calm and tranquillity reign!
Geography & Geology

Porto Santo is the second largest island of the Autonomous Region of Madeira. This Portuguese municipality has 42.48 km² and its capital is the city of Vila Baleira.

Porto Santo is located in the Atlantic Ocean, in the extreme south-western Europe. It distances 500 km from the coast of Africa and 1,000 Km from Europe, an hour and a half flight from Lisbon.

Despite its proximity, this island differs greatly from Madeira. The soil is quite sandy and very poor in nutrients. It is a very flat island with a 9-km long beautiful sandy beach. The therapeutic qualities of its sand help treat orthopaedic and rheumatic problems, drawing many people to the island every year. The seawater rich in calcium, iodine and magnesium, ideal to recover from lack of minerals caused by stress and fatigue, is another of the reasons that make this destination so unique.

The north part of the Porto Santo has some peaks, and with an altitude of 517 metres, Pico do Facho is the island’s highest peak.
 
Climate

Porto Santo’s climate is dry and stable; its temperature does not vary much between seasons and it is possible to go to the beach all year round. The beach is bathed by a sea of calm and crystal clear waters.

In the summer months, the average sea water temperature is mild, between 24 ºC and 25 ºC, as in the late spring and early autumn. For the remaining seasons of the year when the water temperature is pleasant, there is variation from one to two degrees cooler than in summer.
 
Politics
As Porto Santo is an island of the Autonomous Region of Madeira, its political system is bonded to Madeira’s. Since 1976, Madeira is an Autonomous Region of the Portuguese Republic that has the Legislative Assembly of Madeira and the Regional Government as government agencies.

The municipality of Porto Santo was founded on the 24th of June 1835, and its municipal holiday is celebrated on this day. At the moment, the island’s president is Filipe Menezes de Oliveira, from the Socialist Party, elected in September 2013.

Vila Baleira was elevated to town on the 6th of August 1996.
 
Economy


The main industry on the island of Porto Santo is tourism, based on the attractive beach and mild climate.
Demographics

Porto Santo has 5,483 inhabitants (2011) and has a population density of 129.07 inhab./Km².

According to the latest data released by NSI - National Statistics Institute - in 2011, 13.39% of the population of Porto Santo is more than 65 years old and 14.92% are children or teenagers. This population structure can be better understood if we consider that, for every 100 young citizens, 89 elderly live in Porto Santo.
 
Religion


As in Madeira Island, the population of Porto Santo tends to follow Roman Catholicism. Porto Santo belongs to the Diocese of Funchal, whose bishop is António José Cavaco.
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