Travel to Porto Santo

Miradouro da Portela no Porto Santo

During the summer peak season, it is easy to travel to Porto Santo from Madeira by ferry. However, I was there in January, which is the off season. So, the only way to get there was with a short flight. It was definitely worth the journey because the natural beauty of Porto Santo is incredible! Mountains and beaches, very near to each other. And Pico do Castelo had gorgeous views in every direction.

Also, it is relatively small, so I didn’t need a car. I could just run, hike and walk around. Unfortunately, a lot of the cafes and restaurants were also closed for the season so food options were limited. However, there were some options, and supermarkets as well.

Pedras Pretas beach
Views from Pico do Castelo
Pico do Castelo


  • Miradouro do Pico Castelo and hike up to Pico do Castelo
  • Miradouro da Portela no Porto Santo and windmills
  • Praia da Fontinha pier
  • Long beach walk from Pedras Pretas to Porto Santo beach
  • Ponta da Calheta at the far western point
  • Casa de Cristóvão Colombo museum

Before you go

  • During the off-season, many places are closed. The high season is over the summer
  • GoogleMaps is sometimes approximate especially on the hiking trails
  • Bring good shoes for hiking as the paths are rocky
  • Unlike Madeira’s pebble beaches, there is a long, sandy beach on the south side of the island
  • Weather is generally mild but the winds can be strong
Views from Pico do Castelo
Moinhos de Vento de Porto Santo
Miradouro da Portela no Porto Santo


  • During the summer season, there is a ferry between Madeira and Porto Santo. However, in January my only option was to fly with Binter Canarias
  • Porto Santo Airport is an international airport located in Vila Baleira. It is possible to leave there with a hired car or by foot. You can also hire bicycles in town.
  • To get around the island, I decided to go on foot. During the day, I was able to see a lot by running, walking and hiking around the island


  • I just made a day trip to Porto Santo from Madeira, so did not stay overnight.
  • As usual, I recommend checking reviews on or using AirBnB
Pontão de Porto de Santo
Praia Ribeiro Salgado
Ponta da Calheta
Bean tart from Pastelaria Pimenta QB
Lupin beans as a snack at Cafe Helio’s Bar
Burger and fries at Cafe Helio’s Bar


Restaurant O Calhetas was the only place open towards the southwest side of the island. It’s a small restaurant/cafe with a beautiful view of the sea. Service was not very friendly, but the snacks were tasty and reasonably priced.

At Pastelaria Pimenta Q. B., the serving lady recommended the sweet bean tart so I got one of those and a pasteis de nata. Both were very tasty and a perfect afternoon snack.

Back near the airport, it was difficult to find a restaurant that was open at 17:00 during the off season. Luckily, I found Cafe Helio’s Bar which was a casual, local, place with outdoor seating. The staff there did not speak English but were helpful and managed to take my order. I just had a burger, fries and diet coke. It was tasty and very cheap!


Q: Do I need a tour guide?

A: No, it is easy to find the places of interest using a map. However, sometimes the map isn’t completely accurate so you may need to make some educated guesses about the directions. At least, you can usually see the sea from any elevated point.

Q: Do people speak English?

A: Yes, most people speak some English and they are used to having tourists

Q: Is it a walkable city?

A: Yes, if you like walking a lot and have time. Otherwise, hiring bicycles or a car may be more convenient to get around. There are some buses, but I saw very few while I was walking around.

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