The Columbus Festival is based on the historical re-enactment of the time when this famous merchant lived in Porto Santo Island, recalling his stay in the Madeira Islands.

The festival takes place during the month of September, in the city of Vila Baleira, and features a set of activities that seek to recall the epic Portuguese Discoveries.

The event includes the disembarking of Columbus, a sixteenth-century market with food, crafts, street performances, circus arts, theatrical representations and staging of peace and war ordeals common at the time, games of skill, weapons training, acrobatics and juggling, lots of music and exotic dances, ensuring permanent entertainment and a constant uproar among the various figures characteristic of the time.
Find out more about what to expect from the Columbus Festival in Porto Santo:


Disembarkation and Historical Parade to welcome Christopher Columbus:
One of the highlights of this event is the arrival of Columbus. On the first day of the festival, by nightfall, hundreds of people gather on the beach to witness the navigator’s arrival. The show begins with the arrival out on the horizon of a replica of Columbus’ ship, the Santa Maria, with the Genoese navigator and his crew on board on the way to one of his visits to Porto Santo. The ship lies off the coast and the disembarkation is done by transferring them to shore in small boats. Once the Admiral sets foot on the beach, there is an instant commotion and welcoming reception, which includes speeches, salutations and gifts for the captain-major, music and dance and a theatrical representation of this period’s daily routine. Then, numerous elements representing the various social classes and the clergy form a welcoming parade through the main streets of the burgh, in order to announce the arrival of Columbus on the island.

Other initiatives included in the programme:

Sixteenth Century Market

The sixteenth century market is no more than a recreation of the frenzy of markets of that time. Besides the “things to market”, it includes a great tumult that goes from food, fights between merchants and traders, a military garrison, trial of heretics and offenders, circus arts, theatrical scenes and continuous varied entertainment, with popular festivities that comprise a variety of music, as well as European and Oriental dances.



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