About Porto Santo beaches
Laid-back Porto Santo, a pleasantly low-key resort island renowned for a 9km (6-mile) stretch of fluffy golden sand that flanks the southern shore, has been attracting savvy holidaymakers for over 40 years. Part of the Madeira archipelago, this compact island, which encompasses just 42 sq km (16 square miles), boasts an appealing natural landscape, with barren hills in the north giving way to sandy beach in the south. Cast adrift in the Atlantic Ocean 40km (25 miles) northeast of its larger sibling Madeira and 100km (62 miles) from mainland Portugal, Porto Santo’s relative isolation has prevented over-development. Folk traditions also thrive on this tranquil and unspoiled island. Porto Santo’s serenity, good food, year-round sunshine, upmarket accommodation and a raft of outdoor activities that include almost every watersport imaginable make the island a winning destination.
The 9km (6 miles) of unspoiled golden sand that cling to Porto Santo’s southern coast constitute the island’s biggest attraction. Visitors gravitate here to plunge into the crystal-clear sea, or to try their hand at watersports that range from snorkelling to jet-skiing. Even in the height of summer, holidaymakers can always find room to unfurl their towels.
Beyond the beach:
Island minibus tours that pick up from hotels allow you to appreciate Porto Santo beyond its golden sand and azure sea, with parched soil, craggy hills and the black volcanic cliffs on the interior and north coast rearing into view. Vila Baleira, Porto Santo’s main town, rewards exploration with a warren of cobbled streets and white-washed buildings. Porto Santo also has a great golf course offering spectacular sea views, a riding centre and tennis courts.
Family fun in Porto Santo is centred firmly on the beach, which is adjacent to the island’s resort hotels. After tiring themselves out getting active in the sea, kids can refuel at child-friendly restaurants. Children will also enjoy the swimming pools and sports facilities at Porto Santo’s hotels.
Take the two-hour ferry ride between Porto Santo and Madeira Island. Porto Santo’s larger sibling impresses visitors with the sights and shops of Funchal, the São Vicente Caves and the dramatic vistas from the pilgrimage church of Nossa Senhora de Monte, as well as the lofty heights of the Pico do Arieiro and Pico Ruivo mountain peaks.
Banish the stresses and strains of everyday life at the Baleira Thalaso & Spa. Put the fabled healing qualities of the island’s salt water to the test in the spa’s pools, tubs and showers, or let yourself be encased in therapeutic mud. Massage and other treatments are also available.