This month, MAGG visited Porto Santo, the smallest and most inhabited island in the Madeira archipelago. It is 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 have fun. 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 resting on the beach, considered the best in Europe for this year, set off on an adventure.
When on vacation, you won’t want to get too tired, so walking isn’t that attractive. Keeping in mind that there are areas of the island that are difficult to access, it is always better to opt for an alternative means of transport. From a jeep ride through the steepest areas to a kayak ride to reach the most beautiful coastal areas, there are several possibilities.
Embark on an island tour by jeep
The vibes of the safari or the “Jurassic Park” are guaranteed in this activity which costs € 15 per person. The jeeps of Angie Travel, a tourist services agency in Porto Santo, are the best way to reach the steepest areas of this volcanic island. When you line up for this adventure, you will have to answer a question: “with or without emotion?”.
While driving the vehicle through the rugged trails, the guide tells about the main treasures of the island. We crossed the driest area, which looks like a mini Sahara desert, and whose sands are used in medicine for rheumatic problems due to the high concentration of minerals.
We also got to know most of the Ilha Dourada viewpoints, from the Portela viewpoint, overlooking a large part of the island, to the Furado Norte viewpoint, where we closely observed (as far as we could) Ilhéu do Ferro, one of the six uninhabited islets around Porto Santo, and also the Miradouro dos Morenos, which showed us a rock face of volcanic origin, which has fought strong erosion.
We tightened our belts on the way to the natural pools of Porto das Salemas, an authentic masterpiece of Nature, and we got to know the various legends related to the corners of this island. (with many lovers involved, as in the case of Pico de Ana Ferreira, the alleged mistress of a king who was excommunicated in that cave). Price per person: € 15.
Take a boat trip along the coast
After dusting off, we sailed on the warm waters of Porto Santo in a semi-rigid boat of Mar Dourado, a maritime-tourist entertainment company dedicated to boat trips.
The experience costs € 45 for adults and € 25 for children and includes tasting of regional products, such as poncha and Madeiran honey bread. Fed up, we passed closely in some islets, being able to better observe their composition and learn about their history. They are quite inhabited by crabs and one of them resembles a wild animal – and that’s all, so as not to spoil your spoiler experience.
As this is a boat trip through Porto Santo, you can, of course, dive into the clear and crystalline waters that seem to invite us. In any case, the icing on the cake was the sighting of dolphins that, in groups, follow the path of the boat and delight the tourists with their characteristic jumps. Some older children and still others children, who barely knew how to dive, we were able to see them as they circled the boat in progress.
Reach the best places with a Moto 4
Do you prefer to stay on the ground? This doesn’t have to be boring. Using a quad, which you can rent at Auto Accessories Colombo, you can visit 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. The sunlight of a late day reflected in the ocean as it bathes Porto Santo is something indescribable. The increasingly famous Golden Island (due to this phenomenon of the sun, the desert color of the landscapes or even the 9 km of sand) offers moments of true relaxation.
On the quad you can do the route alone or with a companion, holding on to the back. As long as you enjoy them, these vehicles can reach great speeds and get you from one end of the island to the other in no time. And they are easier to ride than a conventional motorcycle. A 2-hour tour costs € 50.
Line up for a two-way trip in a Twizy
If large vehicles like jeeps or quads aren’t to your liking, that’s not why you’ll have to walk around the island on your own. Moinho Rent-a-Car allows you to rent a Twizy (two hours at a cost of 40 €) to be able to move around the streets of Porto Santo in a light, fast, comfortable and easy way.
The Twizys are those very small cars, even more than the Smart ones, where two people can stay (for a fee). They only have two seats: the driver’s seat and the passenger seat, which is just behind the driver’s seat. These electric vehicles only have brakes and accelerators and are very easy to maneuver.
The managers of the rental company will teach you how to start the car and use its main tools. Don’t forget to check the battery, which, although long-lasting, is not eternal, and it is not recommended to start somewhere. This is, without a doubt, one of the funniest and most diverse ways to get to know Porto Santo. How about a trip downtown, for example?
Challenge the waves in a kayak
This is for athletes. Missing an arm workout at the gym? The Porto Santo Destination Tours kayak paddle will finish them. What seems easy at first glance actually requires a lot of concentration and mastery. This paddle, which is what makes you manage to leave the place and go where you want (and not where the waves take you), has a lot to say.
Specific positions and movements will help you navigate the sea. There are kayaks for one or two people and, in the case of Matias, the instructor, for one person and one dog. It’s true: here it is the star of this business, Sherlock. This water dog accompanies its owner on all adventures at sea (including snorkeling, where octopus can be hunted).
Obedient and brave, Sherlock will show you the way to the most hidden parts of the island, where pedestrian access is a nightmare. Departure is from Calheta beach. Afterwards, you can enter some caves (not recommended for people with claustrophobia) and get to know Zimbralinho beach, where the terrain is rocky. The experience starts at € 25 per adult.
Discover all the nooks and crannies with an electric bike
All very nice, but do you prefer the classics? Ready. Take the opportunity to get to know the tourist area of Porto Santo, with even more inviting shops and restaurants, with the help of an Auto Accessories Colombo electric bike, perfect for clean days.
Impressive the way they glide along the cycle path with the impulse of a few pedals. So that the legs do not get tired, these bikes, with which you can reach remarkable speeds, they are great for making the stops you want and for entering narrower areas. Driving one for 4 hours will cost you € 20.
Don’t forget to apply sunscreen all over your body, as you will be directly exposed to the sun, and prepare a whole itinerary with what you can’t leave the island without seeing. These electric bikes allow you to practice your daily dose of physical activity, but always keep in mind that you are on vacation.
* MAGG visited the island of Porto Santo at the invitation of easyJet