Porto Santo boasts six miles of pure white sandy beaches, ideal for horse-riding, beach games and parties, and relaxing. A year-round mild climate makes Porto Santo ideal for scuba-diving, jet and water-skiiing, surfing, sailing and wind-surfing. Other activities on offer include Jeep safaris and gliding, while sporty types can play a round at the Porto Santo Golf Course, or make use of the island's Equestrian Centre and Tennis Academy. History buffs can visit the Christopher Columbus House Museum, while hiking trails up the north east peaks are worth it for the views.
WHERE TO STAY
The four-star Vila Baleira Thalassa Hotel offers 256 rooms, conference facilities, a Thalassotherapy spa, beach club and diving centre. When work is over, groups can make use of the beach volleyball court or games room.
For smaller groups, the Hotel do Porto Santo features 97 recently renovated guest rooms with balconies overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, gardens, bar and restaurant and mini-golf.
Located on the beach close to Vila Baleria town centre, the Hotel Torre Praia is another four-star with 62 rooms and four suites, three restaurants, a gym, sauna and Jacuzzi.
The island is also starting to attract investment from larger hotel groups, including Portuguese chain Pestana, which opened a new five-star resort in April, just a five-minute drive from the Porto Santo Golf Course. Porto Santo Pestana is made up of 275 units including rooms, suites, apartments and bungalows featuring private pools. Starwood is also opening a five-star resort later this year. Part of the group's Luxury Collection, Columbo's Resort & Spa (above) will offer a range of accommodation, including 100 rooms, 62 suites, 12 villas and four spa suites when it opens in December.
Porto Santo is the smallest Island in the Madeira archipelago, located 25 miles from Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean
- Atlantic Holidays has launched direct flights from Gatwick to Porto Santo, running from May to October. It can also be reached from Funchal on a short 20-minute flight three times a day, or from Lisbon with TAP Portugal
- DMCs operating in Porto Santo include Abreu and Island Events
- The island has a warm climate and can be visited year-round with temperatures ranging between 19-23degC
- The Porto Santo Cultural and Congress Centre can host up to 300 delegates in its auditorium
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK
The island's signature dishes focus on the sea and feature delicacies such as teleost fish, tuna and swordfish. Beach restaurants including the Pe na Agua, Calheta's and Salinas all serve fresh seafood, while Penedo do Sono, a cluster of bars, clubs and several restaurants is one of the main areas for evening entertainment. The new Porto Santo Pestana has four restaurants including an Italian option, while Columbo's will offer 11 eateries serving cuisine from around the world including Portuguese, Asian and Italian. The Beach Club at the Vila Baleira Thalassa Hotel is a great place to enjoy a sundowner, while numerous informal beach cafes and bars stay open past midnight.
Maderia Promotion Bureau
Tel: +351 291 20 34 20
Web: www.madeira promotionbureau.com
"Pushing frontiers: Time for ... Porto Santo." Conference & Incentive Travel (2008): 25. Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Collection. Web. 27 Oct. 2009.
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