This month, MAGG visited Porto Santo, the smallest and most populated island in the Madeira archipelago. It’s two hours from Porto, where we boarded the first EasyJet flight that connected Invicta to Ilha Dourada. This route runs on Thursdays and Sundays.
Now that you have an idea of how to get to Porto Santo, you need to think about what you are going to do to keep yourself entertained. The island is only 42 km long and has about five thousand inhabitants, but there is no shortage of activities to get to know it better. After relaxing on the beach, which this year is considered the best in Europe, go on an adventure.
When on vacation, you don’t want to get too tired, so walking isn’t as inviting. Bearing in mind that there are areas that are difficult to access on the island, it is always better to choose an alternative mode of transport. From a jeep tour of the steepest slopes to a kayak tour of the most beautiful coastal areas, there are several possibilities.
Travel around the island in a jeep
A safari or “Jurassic Park” is guaranteed in this activity, which costs 15 euros per person. Jeeps from Angie Travel, the travel agency in Porto Santo, are the best way to get to the steepest parts of this volcanic island. As you line up for this adventure, you’ll have to answer the question: “with or without emotions?”.
Driving along bumpy trails, the guide talks about the main treasures of the island. We passed through the driest area, similar to a mini-Sahara desert, the sands of which are used for medicinal purposes in rheumatic diseases due to the high concentration of minerals.
We also got to know most of Ilha Durada’s lookouts, from Portela’s lookout, which overlooks most of the island, to Furado Norte’s lookout, from where we observed (as best we could) Ilhéu do Ferro, one of of six uninhabited islets around Porto Santo, as well as Miradouro dos Morenos, which showed us a rocky wall of volcanic origin, struggling with severe erosion.
We tightened our belts on the way to the natural pools of Porto das Salemas, a true masterpiece of nature, and got to know the various legends associated with the corners of this island. (involving many lovers, as in the case of Pico de Ana Ferreira, alleged mistress of the king, who was excommunicated in this cave). Price per person: 15€.
Take a boat trip along the coast
Shaking ourselves off, we set sail on the warm waters of Porto Santo in a semi-rigid boat from Mar Dourado, a marine travel entertainment company that specializes in boat trips.
The cost of the experience is €45 for adults and €25 for children and includes a tasting of regional products such as poncha and honey bread from Madeira. Fed up, we passed by some of the islets to get a better look at their composition and learn about their history. They are quite inhabited by crabs and one of them resembles a wild animal – and we do not say more so as not to spoil your impressions with spoilers.
Since this is a boat trip through Porto Santo, you can of course dive into the clear and crystal clear waters that seem to beckon us. Despite this, The icing on the cake was the observation of dolphins, which, as a group, follow the path of the boat and delight tourists with their characteristic jumps. Some older ones and others still babies who could barely dive, we managed to see when they circled around the boat.
Get to the best places with Moto 4
Prefer to stay dry? It shouldn’t be boring. With a quad bike that you can rent from Auto Accessories Colombo, you can travel around Porto Santo in the coolest and most radical way. While the jeep tour has a driver, this time you are in charge of driving.
A helmet is essential, as is a stop to watch the sunset. Late afternoon sunlight reflecting off the ocean around Porto Santo is something indescribable. The increasingly famous Golden Island (because of this phenomenon of the sun, the desert color of the scenery or even 9 km of sand) provides truly relaxing moments.
On an ATV, you can go the route alone or with a partner, clinging to your back. As long as you appreciate them, these vehicles can reach great speeds and take you instantly from one end of the island to the other. And they are easier to ride than a conventional motorcycle. A two-hour tour costs 50 euros.
Line up for a two way ride at Twizy
If you don’t like bulky vehicles like jeeps or ATVs, then that’s not why you have to walk around the island alone. Moinho Rent-a-Car allows you to rent a Twizy (two hours cost €40) to get around Porto Santo’s roads easily, quickly, conveniently and easily.
Twizy are those very small cars, even bigger than Smarts, that can fit two people (for the price). They have only two seats: the driver’s seat and the passenger’s seat, which is located immediately behind the driver’s seat. These electric vehicles only have brakes and accelerators and are very easy to maneuver.
The people in charge of the rental company will teach you how to start the car and how to use its basic tools. Do not forget to check the battery, which, although capacious, is not eternal, and it is not advisable to leave it somewhere. This is without a doubt one of the most interesting and varied ways to get to know Porto Santo. How about a trip to the center, for example?
Challenge the waves in a kayak
This is for athletes. Did you miss working out at the gym? The Porto Santo Destination Tours kayak paddle will finish them off. What at first seems easy, in fact, requires a lot of concentration and skill. This paddle, which allows you to leave this place and go where you want (and not where the waves take you), can say a lot.
Certain postures and movements will help you navigate the sea. There are kayaks for one or two people, and in the case of Matthias, the instructor, for one person and a dog. It’s true: here the star of this activity, Sherlock. This water dog accompanies its owner on all sea adventures. (including snorkeling where you can hunt octopuses).
Obedient and brave, Sherlock will show you the way to get to the most hidden corners of the island, where walking access is a nightmare. Departure from Calheta beach. After that you can enter some caves (not recommended for claustrophobic people) and get to know Zimbralinho beach where the land is rocks. The experience starts from 25 euros per adult.
Explore all the nooks and crannies on an electric bike
It’s all very beautiful, but do you prefer the classics? Ready. Take the opportunity to get to know the Porto Santo tourist area, with even more attractive shops and restaurants, with an electric bike from Auto Accessories Colombo, ideal for clean days.
The way they glide down the bike path with just a few pedals is impressive. So that your legs do not get tired, these bikes, on which you can develop considerable speeds, are great for making the right stops and getting into tighter spots. A trip on one of them for 4 hours will cost you 20 euros.
Don’t forget to apply sunscreen all over your body as you will be exposed to the sun directly, and prepare an entire itinerary so that you won’t be able to leave the island without seeing it. These electric bikes allow you to practice your daily dose of physical activity, but always remember that you are on vacation.
*MAGG visited the island of Porto Santo at the invitation of easyJet