PORTO SANTO: The best beach in world
50 km northeast of Madeira lies the island of Porto Santo, a 10 minute plane
flight away from Madeira airport, 20 minutes by helicopter, or 21/4 hours by
boat. Discovered in 1418 by João Gonçalves Zarco and Tristão Vaz Teixeira,
this was the first island of the archipelago to be discovered. What was then
a safe harbour to navigators escaping a storm is now a haven of tranquillity
to those who visit.
On this still not very populated island, there is a most magnificent beach,
bathed by a tepid, shimmering blue sea. The 9 km of fine golden sand make it
a paradise for holidaymakers, especially families.
Comfort and quality service are mainstays of the island’s hotels. Porto
Santo also has spas, as well as thalassotherapy and geomedicine centres.
Treatments draw on the unique elements of the island’s sand, rich in iodine,
calcium and magnesium, to promote the cure of many orthopaedic and rheumatic
illnesses or treat those in need of physical medicine and rehabilitation.
There is a wide choice of stimulating natural options that will restore you.
Make the most of your stay in Porto Santo and take some time to explore what
it has to offer. Visit the house where Christopher Columbus lived, cycle
around the island, or go horseback riding; play golf or go scuba diving in
the calm sea that’s heated by the Gulf Stream. You’ll be spoilt for choice
in Porto Santo!
To talk of Madeira is to talk of Nature. God’s Botanical Garden, Pearl of
the Atlantic, or Garden of Eden, as many have called it, are some of the
terms that define this island, abundant with exotic flora, lush with species
brought from every corner of the world by navigators, botanists and
Delight at the wonders Madeira has to offer, and explore firsthand one of
Portugal’s greatest treasures, classified by UNESCO as World Heritage
Natural Site. Considered a relic of the subtropical forest, that existed in
the Tertiary Period in southern Europe and the Mediterranean basin, the
Madeira Laurissilva Forest is currently the largest and most well conserved
area of Laurissilva in the world. Spreading over approximately 15,000
hectares, mostly on the island’s north coast, it is made up of flat leaf
shrubs and trees, ferns, mosses, lichens, liverwarts and other small plants,
with endless endemisms.
Go for a walk along the mountain trails and admire the levadas madeira (water
canals), a unique engineering feat almost 600 years old, that spread 2,150
km across the island.
About 50 cm deep, levadas are irrigation canals built into rocks that
capture rainfall and water from natural springs and deliver them to the
population, in places difficult to access. With close to 200 different
routes and varying levels of difficulty, choose a path and discover unique
unseen landscapes that would be inaccessible by any other means. Or follow
one of the walks along the mountain trails that will take you from the sea
shore to the island’s highest peaks, and soak up breathtaking views of
unique natural beauty.