Discovered in 1418 by Joao Goncalves Zarco and Tristão Vaz Teixeira, Porto Santo was the first Atlantic island in the modern era to receive settlers. Its latitude and relative proximity to the African coast are on the basis of its sub-tropical dry climate, allowing swimming in the beach during most part of the year. The flip side is, however, water shortages, worsened by the lack of rain which also creates a landscape of arid vegetation, contrasting with the nearby lavishly green Madeira island. In the island there is only a locality worthy of the name: the city of Vila Baleira. This picturesque simple city, with its quay entering the sea, has developed greatly in recent decades and the population has increased exponentially. The main landmarks are: Columbus House / Museum of Porto Santo, which opened in 1989, housed in the residence where Christopher Columbus may have lived with the daughter of island’s donee, Filipa Moniz Perestrelo, to whom he married. Among the temples of the island, you should draw your attention to the Main Church of Nossa Senhora da Piedade with beautiful altars inside. Nevertheless, Porto Santo’s biggest attraction is its fabulous beach of soft dunes and fine-grained white sands, stretching for more than nine km. It is certainly one of the best in Portugal, because of its temperature and water purity, not to mention the weather. In the rest of the island, you will find a volcanic origin landscape, while the relief is influenced by two major hills, Pico do Facho, which is 517m high, actually island’s greatest peak, and by Pico do Castelo, 438m high. During enemy attacks, locals took shelter in Pico do Castelo. From both places, you will have an excellent view over the sea and the rest of the island.