Porto Santo – A Unique Beach Destination
Madeira‟s best kept secret is its neighbouring island of Porto Santo. Located just 40 kilometres from the island, this small 42,17 sqm „Golden Isle‟ offers a nine kilometre
stretch of pure golden sand with proven healing properties, washed by clear blue waters, providing a natural sanctuary for rest and rejuvenation. Porto Santo currently enjoys an absence of mass tourism and the island‟s unique eco-system and
culture is maintained by strict planning control.
The Healing Island
Over the last decade scientific and medical research has been conducted to prove that the sand of Porto Santo contains therapeutic properties. The island‟s sand was produced from the erosion of a coral reef, developed on the northern platform of the island around 30,000 years ago. This, in combination with the mild climate, has produced a fine sand which is rich in organic matter (calcium oxide, magnesium oxide and strontium) as well as a carbonated chemical composition. These elements are all highly beneficial for bone density and digestion when absorbed in controlled quantities. Visitors to the island who suffer from rheumatism or arthritis are advised to ease their condition by lying immersed under the sand for thirty minutes, three to four times a week.
The seawater of Porto Santo is rich in iodine, chromium and strontium, all of which benefit the health. The beneficial properties of the seawater and seaweed are already being used in thalassotherapy treatments on the island, at the Hotel Vila Baleira.
It has also been found that the fruit and vegetables grown in Porto Santo‟s sandy
carbonated soils have a greater capacity for absorbing calcium, magnesium, strontium
and iron, thus making the natural elements of Porto Santo all the more conducive to
health and wellbeing.
Spa and Wellbeing
In 2001, Hotel Vila Baleira‟s Thalassotherapy Spa www.vilabaleira.com was built to
leverage the unique properties of Porto Santo‟s water through comprehensive water
and massage treatments.
Two new spa-geomedicinal centres are being developed and will open in Hotel
Porto Santo(www.hotelportosanto.com) in the beginning of 2007 and a new five star
property, Colombo‟s Beach and Spa Resort is set to open in 2008. The Spa at
Hotel Porto Santo will occupy an area of 1,500 square metres offering treatments
using Porto Santo sand, in addition to the traditional beauty and wellbeing
Colombo‟s Beach and Resort‟s new Spa will also offer indigenous treatments using
therapeutic sand, mud and water ingredients as well as serving a selection of locally
grown fruit and vegetables as part of the Spa menu.
The emergence of new indigenous Spas on Porto Santo aims to create the perfect
environment for detoxification, rejuvenation and ultimate wellbeing.
Capital: Vila Baleira
Sports and Activities
Landsports: Porto Santo‟s flat terrain lends itself well to a variety of land activities
including: horse riding or off road jeep safaris. Cycling is a good way of travelling
from one end of the island to another and there is a go-karting circuit available. The
more adventurous will enjoy climbing up to the top of the peak and hang gliding or
paragliding over the gold sands and blue water.
Tennis: Porto Santo boasts the region‟s best tennis centre in Campo de Baixo and is
equipped for top-level tournaments, offering a central court with stands seating
1,000 people, five secondary courts and two paddle courts. The surface is green set
prix base. In addition, the tennis complex offers a modern club-house with a shop,
bar and restaurant, changing rooms, first aid post and locker rooms.
Estrada da Calheta
Campo de Baixo
9400 – 015 Porto Santo
Tel.: +351 291 983 274
Fax: +351 291 983 165
Watersports: The island‟s beach and strong winds provide excellent conditions for
windsurfing and kitesurfing. The clarity, colour and warmth of the water make
Porto Santo a strong favourite for divers. The best dive can be found south of the
harbour where the Madeirense shipwreck has been sunk since 2000. Sailing,
canoeing and rowing along the coastline are also popular pursuits.
Golf: The Porto Santo Golf Course was designed by Spanish golfing champion
Severiano Ballesteros and has already completed its first phase, with 72 par nine-hole
circuits available and a nine par-3 “pitch and putt” holes. The second phase will
include another 18-hole course, giving the Golden Isle the largest golf course in the
region and certainly one of the best in the country.
Porto Santo Golfe
Sítio da Lapeira de Dentro
9400-162 PORTO SANTO
Tel.; +351 291 983 777/8
Fax: +351 291 982 584
Food & Beverage
The island‟s signature dishes include seafood cuisine such as bodião salgado (salted
teleost fish), sun dried gaiado (tuna fish), swordfish fillets, bacalhau (salted codfish) and tuna. Local to Porto Santo is the delicious bolo do caco bread made from flour and sweet potato, cooked on top of a hot stone (caco) and served with garlic butter.
Grilled limpets cooked in butter and lemon juice and traditional kebabs are
traditional favourites and for cooler days, tomato and onion soup and mutton stew
are the preferred fare.
Traditionally Porto Santo comes to life in the summer as the islanders from Madeira
come to spend their holidays relaxing in the beach during the day and partying
through to the early hours. Visitors can kick off the evening dining at beach
restaurants including the Pé na Água, Calheta‟s, Salinaswhich serve fresh seafood cuisine, before continuing the evening in Penedo do Sono, a cluster of nine bars and several restaurants and clubs which offer a laidback poncha filled evening/night entertainment.
10 to 12 – Porto Santo @ Paradise,
As part of a month full of activity, the island of Porto Santo hosts a musical event
dedicated to lovers of electronic music, from 10 to 12 August.
14/16 – Christopher Columbus Festival – Vila Baleira, Porto Santo
A feast is held in honour of Christopher Columbus which includes many cultural and
14/17 – World Beach Volleyball Championship “Praia do Porto Santo
This event is sponsored by the Madeira Volleyball Association and takes place in the
Penedo do Sono beach, whre teams from around the world participate.
Porto Santo currently offers a range of four star properties, including Vila Baleiro
(www.vilabaleiro.com), with its thalasso treatment centre and the Hotel Porto Santo (www.hotelportosanto), and Torre Praia, (www.torrepraia.pt) which are both
located by the beach.
A new four star property Pestano Porto Santo, Beach & Golf Resort
(www.pestano.com), will open in 2008 offering 250 rooms (half of which will be suites). The hotel will be built in the traditional local style architecture of Porto
Santo, with an overriding aim to preserve the local culture.
The resort will feature a Pestana Kids Club with outdoor and indoor pool and a spa
which will use the indigenous Porto Santo sand in treatments with a special food &
vegetable diet to compliment the programme.
Also opening in 2008 is the Colombo‟s Beach & Spa Resort
(www.colombosresort.com), which will be the first five star hotel in Porto Santo.
The project will include a five star hotel with 104 rooms, 68 luxury serviced
apartments and 193 residential units available for purchase. In addition, a 3,000
sqm spa, 11 restaurants, shops, bars, a casino and games area plus extensive meeting
and conference facilities will be available.
Getting to Porto Santo
Porto Santo Airport has international capability providing a 20 minute flight to
Madeira, on average eight times a day and a 1hr 20 minute flight to Lisbon three
times a day. The Porto Santo Line‟s new ship ferries a daily two hour service from
Madeira to Porto Santo.
Madeira Promotion Bureau
Ruos duos Aranhas, 24/26
9000 – 044 Funchal, Portugal
Tel: +351 291 203 420
Fax: +351 291 222 167
Madeira Tourism Board
Av. Arriaga, 18
Tel.: +351 211 900
Fax: +351 291 232 151 firstname.lastname@example.org www.madeiratourism.com
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Nomi Kakoty/ Jo Brown
Tel: 020 7259 1100
Fax: 020 7259 1101