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Porto Santo - The Basic Facts

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The Madeiran 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.










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