Quiet golden beaches
Holidays to Porto Santo are synonymous with days spent relaxing by the sea. This town's beaches offer wide, quiet stretches of golden sand and warm, calm water, which is perfect for swimming and splashing about. The volcanic sands here have therapeutic qualities, with naturally high concentrations of minerals known to be beneficial to health. So your beach and seaside activities in Vila Baleira will genuinely do you good.
The most popular beach in Vila Baleira is Porto Santo beach, which lies just to the east of the centre. Head here for your relaxed, sunny beach days. You can create some great holiday memories by taking the family and kids paddling, or meander slowly with a partner or friends and take time to enjoy and savour the moment.
You'll find plenty of space to stretch out, dig your toes into the sand and sunbathe, read or snooze. If you feel like a change of pace, you can up your adrenaline and try out one of the good selection of watersports available.
Everything within easy walking distance
Vila Baleira is small enough to reach everything easily on foot – so you'll feel right at home in no time. Whether you're looking for somewhere to eat or heading for the beach, nothing is more than a short walk away.
The centre of town is Largo do Pelourinho square which is a charming, quietly-bustling hub shaded with trees. You can linger here over a coffee or a long lunch in one of the cafes and soak up the easy pace and laid-back atmosphere. Nearby is the leafy Infante Gardens – a pretty park where you can take a picnic, or simply lie back in a shady spot under a palm tree.
There are a number of good restaurantsin Vila Baleira where you'll find delicious fresh fish and seafood cuisine, as well as several bars around the town's O Penedo do Sono port area. There are quirky places to enjoy some shopping and browse for locally hand-crafted goods such as intricate embroideries and linens.
The beauty and tranquillity of Vila Baleira attracts weekend visitors from neighbouring islands, which adds a gentle buzz of activity to the town centre and port area.
Things to see in Vila Baleira
There are a few things of interest in Vila Baleira that you can explore during Porto Santo holidays. The town has a museum which celebrates its most famous former resident – Christopher Columbus. Columbus married a Portuguese noblewoman and lived here with his wife and children and the museum is located in what is believed to be his former home. It displays interesting artefacts, ancient maps and some fine paintings.
If you're visiting the town at the beginning of September you can join in the celebrations of the Christopher Columbus Festival. This fun event honours Columbus with live music, shows, exhibitions and a town parade.
The 15th-century Matriz Church lies in the main town square. This pretty church was ransacked by French pirates in 1556 when many of its treasures where stolen. It now houses several beautiful paintings by Martin Conrad and Max Romer.
The Pacos do Concelho – the Town Hall – is also located in the town centre. Built in the 16th century it displays some fine architecture and has an interesting history – it has been used both as a jail and a palace.
Warm weather all year round
Vila Baleira offers warm weather and clear skies all year round. You can expect to bask in average temperatures of between 20°C to 25°C from May to November. In the winter months – from December to February – it's still pleasantly warm, with temperatures averaging between 18°C and 20°C. This makes Vila Baleira ideal for winter getaways as well as summer breaks.
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