Vila Baleira & Camacha
Enjoy an old-fashioned ride in a horse drawn cab around the island’s only settlement of any notable size, Vila Baleira. Holding a wealth of things to do in Porto Santo this capital ‘town’ is home to a small market on the Rua Joao Goncalves Zarco, a small town hall and a church, Nossa Senora da Piedade, originally founded in the 15th century. The main attraction of Camacha is its windmill. Although it has not been used since 1993 it has been kept in working order by the friendly mill owner who will open up the mill for visitors. The Porto Santo winery, where the island’s local produce can be sampled, is nearby.
Walking & Sports
Given that the island is so small it can be easily covered on foot and there are several interesting look-out points, amongst them, Pico das Flores, Pico do Facho and Pico do Castelo, commanding wonderful views over the island and out to sea. The Porto Santo Golf course offers two 18 hole courses and one 9 hole pitch and putt and also features 8 tennis courts and a horse-riding centre. For those looking for relaxing things to do in Porto Santo, the Vila Baleira Thalassa hotel has a thalassotherapy centre (open to non residents) which offers a variety of treatments and cures using sea-water and the healing properties of Porto Santo sand.
Casa de Colombo
Porto Santo’s main claim to fame is its links to Christopher Columbus. Although there is no evidence that Porto Santo was ever his home, it is claimed that Columbus and his wife lived in Vila Baleira for about two years around 1480 and that Columbus’ son, Diego, was born on Porto Santo. Casa de Colombo is a 15th century property built of rough-hewn stone which now houses maps, paintings, engravings and details of Columbus’ life and is by far one of the most popular things to do in Porto Santo.