A guide to the best beaches in Porto Santo

Porto Santo is a small island that’s part of the Madeira archipelago and is frequented by many residents of Madeira itself who want to make use of its most famous entity – a six-mile stretch of sandy beach. This wonderful beach is situated on the southeast side of the island and is known locally as ‘The Golden Beach’ or A Praia Dourada. With fantastic scenery and year-round great temperatures, holidays to Porto Santo are all about unwinding in the sun.

The island's hub and where the beach begins Vila Baleira

This is Porto Santo‘s capital and where much of the local and tourist life is focused. The white-washed town houses, the square Largo do Pelourinho, quaint cafes and small port give this area a distinctive feel.

This is where the nine-kilometre stretch of golden sands begins and where a sweep of beach is backed by sand dunes. If you’re staying here, the hotels offers volley or football as well as the usual sunloungers and parasols. This area also impressed the likes of Christopher Columbus, who chose to get married here.

Watch the fishermen at Praia da Fontinha

This is one of the most popular beaches. Beginning at Cais Velho – Old Quay – it goes on for 720 metres in the direction of Vila Baleira, which means you’re not far from all the shops and services this colourful hub has to offer.

Put your feet up on the golden sands, take a dip in the tepid sea, and watch as fishermen try their luck from the jetty. And you’ll have enough amenities to make it a comfortable experience as they include sunloungers, parasols and a restaurant.

Popular with locals Praia das Pedras Pretas

Translated it means the beach of black stones and is where many Porto Santo families like to head on the weekends. So, if you want to try a little bit of local paradise head here.

This remote beach doesn’t have all the facilities of more popular beaches, but perhaps this is what makes it more attractive. Follow the wooden walkway that leads to the golden sands to enjoy a stroll. Look out for stunning birdlife that frequents the area.

Away from the crowds at Praia do Penedo

Located in the far southeast of the island, this is thought to be on of the most idyllic spots, as it’s a fair way from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Relax on this blue flag beach in the safe knowledge that lifeguards are on duty. After a long day’s sunbathing, you can always head to the beach restaurant for something to eat and watch as the sun sets along the bay.

Plenty of amenities at Praia do Cabeco

Wander along this vast stretch of beach and you will come across a selection of restaurants and bars. It’s a well serviced area providing all the other beach amenities, including sunloungers and the much needed parasols for the midday sun.

Sit back with your favourite novel while peering at the fantastic backdrop, including a forest brimming with ancient olive groves and cork trees.

Where the beach ends and the link to the north Ponta da Calheta starts

Framed by Porto Santo’s impressive mountains, this area is the dividing point between the sandy south and the striking, rocky north coast of the island. Enjoy an environment that looks strikingly like the beaches in the Caribbean.

It’s one of the island’s favourite swimming spots, while hidden, secluded areas nearby provide even more of a getaway. It’s worth staying a bit later to watch as rocky outcrops create eerie formations and the clear blue seas laps the soft golden sands. Then head to the lovely seafront Restaurante O’ Calhetas for some Madeiran cuisine.