Porto Santo Island Tour
Comfortable bus trip to Portela, Pico do Castelo, and Cardina Museum. Plenty of sightseeing along the way and photo opportunities
Pico do Castelo – High volcanic peak on the island
Botanical garden and bird park
Level 2: Moderate - some mobility needed
Appropriate clothing and comfortable walking shoes.
Your comfortable bus will take you to Portela, which overlooks the golden beach and the small town of Vila Baleira. From here, the tour continues to Pico do Castelo, one of the highest volcanic peaks on the island. The summit of Pico do Castelo provides some of the best views over the island. After a short photo op, you will ride to Cardina Museum in the village of Camacha. The museum is the passion project of José Cardina. Fascinated by the artifacts of Porto Santo’s past, Cardina not only began to collect them, but to make beautiful working 1:5 scale models of artisans’ implements. The museum itself is an octagon, built around a life-size wooden windmill, of the sort once found all over the island. Around the walls, you’ll find a vast collection of antique tools and farming implements. The models are similarly arranged on the mezzanine floor. Here, you can taste the Porto Santo wine. The tour continues to Quinta das Palmeiras, a place to the west of the airport that provides a surprising patch of lush greenery in a dry plain. This mini-botanical garden and bird park is the result of a vision of one man, Carlos Afonso, and of 15 years of work. The resulting oasis is a haven of shade, with roses and red hot pokers, hibiscus and angel’s trumpets aplenty. Swans swim around a pattering fountain. There are cooing doves, gorgeous parrots, and all kinds of birds. Enjoy time to visit and have a soft drink.
Your tour will then proceed to Calheta, the western point of the island, where a narrow channel separates the inlet of Baixo from the main island. On a clear day, Madeira is sometimes visible from Calheta. There are almost always magnificent views out over the Atlantic Ocean.
Returning to the town, you will visit a small museum in a house where Christopher Columbus once lived. Columbus married the daughter of Bartolomeu Perestrelo, the first governor of Porto Santo, but left the island long before he set out on his voyages of discovery. From here, you will be driven to your ship.
Included: Porto Santo wine and a soft drink
Remarks/requirements: Appropriate clothing and comfortable walking shoes.
Walking information: In and out of the bus and walking at stops