archipelago lies in a remote area of the North Atlantic ocean approximately 500
kilometres from the coast of Africa and 900 kilometres from continental Europe.
Lying roughly 50 kilometres to the north east of Madeira, Porto Santo is a
surprisingly small island - only 11 kilometres long and 6 kilometres wide. The
island covers an area of approximately 40 square kilometres and has a coastline
38 kilometres long. Porto Santo's major feature is the golden beach running the
length of the south coast. While most of the island is faily flat there are
several hills - the most notable are Pico do Facho (516m), Pico Castelo (438m),
Pico da Juliana (450m) and Pico da Gandaia (413m). Like Madeira, Porto Santo is
of volcanic origin and dates from the Tertiary period - as a consequence much
of the island is limestone rock although basalt is also present. The islandís
main town is Vila Baleira, home to several thousand people. Other significant
settlements include Camacha to the north, Campo de Baixo to the West and Serra
de Fora to the East.