On our final day in Madeira, we were in serious need of something lazy. In the morning, we parked at a ramp near the water and bought two tickets for the small cruise ship that swims to and from neighboring island, Porto Santo. Arid and dry, Porto Santo is just two hours away with over 5 miles of public sandy beach.
- Check timetables here: https://www.portosantoline.pt/index.php
- We purchased tickets at the ferry terminal 40 minutes before departure. Our cruise left Madeira at 8am, and came back from Porto Santo around 7pm
- In high season, tickets cost €57.40 for “tourist class”, or €80.80 for “first class”. Make sure to bring photo ID.
- If you’re arriving to the ferry terminal by car, drive to the public car park (next to the hotel CR7 Pestana) which is closer to the gate area of the Ferry “Lobo Marinho”, then walk to the Porto Santo line (it’s the only huge white ship in the terminal, you won’t miss it). This cost me about €10 to leave my car here all day.
In the name of honeymooning, we paid extra for first class tickets. First class was smaller with a complimentary buffet, bar service, and couches for seating.
The “tourist class” was much larger with multiple food options including a more formal dining area with movie theater style seating in the common areas. We would have been comfortable either way.
The ride from Madeira to Porto Santo is smooth and offers sunrise views of Madeira as you sail away.
After docking at Porto Santo, we snagged one of the many taxis waiting at the dock. It’s a seriously short ride, about 3 miles, to the small capital, Vila Baleira.
From there we snagged two chairs and an umbrella along the beach. Chairs and umbrellas are only for hire. We suggest reading the signs and sticking to that price, or the approaching man may up-charge you €7.
And there we sat, enjoying the sun, the waves, and cold gin and tonics from the bar nearby.
For dinner we ate at a nearby restaurant overlooking the beach.
As the afternoon grew long, we grabbed some ice cream and strolled along the sand, all the way back to the cruise ship. The walk takes about an hour from the Cais do Porto Santo pier, give or take, so keep this in mind when making it back to the boat on time!