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Porto Santo is a tiny island fifty kilometres north east of Funchal in Madeira. Its barren landscape is in sharp contrast to the verdant hills of Madeira growing as it does only palms, vines and very little else. The glory of Porto Santo lies in its beaches and its laid back life style.
A Porto Santo holiday promises total relaxation by both day and night. The long unspoilt beaches are never crowded and you can always find a sheltered dune where you can enjoy your day in splendid isolation. There is almost no rainfall; the longest time between showers was five years!
A Porto Santo holiday appeals to families with young children, couples and water sports enthusiasts. Surprisingly on such a small island there are two eighteen hole and one nine hole golf courses.
The holiday season lasts from February to October when the temperature ranges from eighteen to thirty degrees.
Porto Santo is probably the least developed of all European resorts and because of this offers complete relaxation for those who want it. It is a volcanic island with a predominantly lunar-like landscape. Apart from palms and vineyards the island lacks vegetation. However it does have marvellous beaches. Christopher Columbus came to Porto Santo in 1478 and married the governor’s daughter. The house where he lived has been restored and is now a small museum depicting his life and voyages. It contains some rare maps and engravings.
The capital Vila Baleira is a very small port with a tiny white church in its centre. A supermarket is found here as well as a few gift and souvenir shops. Most of the hotels are found on the waterfront as are many of the restaurants.
The beach is eight kilometres of golden sand and rolling dunes and the sea is always warm. The water here is ideal for wind surfing, sailing, deep-sea diving and snorkelling.
The island boasts a large golf course comprising two eighteen hole and one nine hole courses. It is said it can accommodate several hundred players at any one time.
A good way to explore the island is by taking the fairly inexpensive mini-bus tour.
A Porto Santo holiday promises warm sunshine, tepid seas and relaxation on glorious sandy beaches. It is the perfect place to go to forget about the pressures of work and life in general.
Nightlife on Porto Santo is very quiet. Hotels provide in-house entertainment and there are a surprising number of restaurants providing relaxing venues for your evening meal. Vila Baleira, the tiny capital, has a number of bars with local flavour.
As expected on an island of this size shopping opportunities are fairly limited. The ferry to Funchal takes roughly an hour and once there shoppers can have the time of their lives.
As you would expect of an island in the Atlantic, Porto Santo cuisine relies heavily on fish. Simply prepared produce straight from the sea is hard to beat. La Roca is considered to be one of the best restaurants on the island while Mare Sol, on the water front, offers very good value.