Porto Santo Island
Portuguese-speaking island with a golf course.
A wonderful 5 mile stretch of golden sand and a rugged interior remind one of Sal. But unlike Sal, Porto Santo actually has an operating golf course, designed by Seve Ballasteros and open to visitors. Not quite as warm as Sal in winter and with a little more rainfall, it nevertheless offers a wonderful holiday experience. Daytime temperatures vary between just 18C and 27C.
It has been Portuguese since its discovery in 1418 and settlement under Henry the Navigator, who sent cattle and seeds for wheat and wine. Christopher Columbus, was married in Porto Santo to Filipa and lived there for a while. Like the Cape Verde islands, Porto Santo is volcanic in origins and a series of low peaks rise from the north coast the talles being Pico do Facho. It has a greener climate than Sal, but also plenty of sunshine.
Porto Santo Hotels
Porto Santo is tranquil and old-fashioned, as yet untouched by mass tourism. The local cuisine is Portuguese and so are the wines. There are several smal, friendly restaurants in Porto Santo itself. The better hotels offer tennis, volleyball and windsurfing and there is the opportunity to play golf or to ride through the low sandy hills.. It is a perfect place for snorkelling, sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, scuba diving, jet skiing and kite surfing, and seasonally game fishing.
Porto Santo is tiny , just 7 miles by 4 miles with a population of 5,000. It is dotted with old windmills, some still operating. The old limestone quarries cut into the rocky surface of the hills, adding interest to a walking tour.