Spend your time among the movers and shakers in the sun of Porto Santo
At just three hours and 40 minutes direct from UK airports, the island – and all the pampering that comes with it – is enticingly close.
Palm trees and eternal sunshine grace the streets of sublime Vila Baleira, said to be the home of Christopher Columbus before his discovery of the New World. The site of the seaside town is said to have been discovered accidentally in the 1400s, but what you’ll find today is a location that’s definitely beautiful by design. That’s summed up in its architecture, best seen in Pacos do Concelho – the town hall – and in the 15th century Matriz Church, which houses artworks by Max Romer and Martin Conrad. Every corner of the town has a story to tell, and the locals, museums and tours are happy to share them.
Living the high life in Porto Santo
Taking it easy is expected in Porto Santo. The golfing here, positioned among the rolling hills and landscapes, is acclaimed worldwide for its challenge and pacing. The wines you’ll find on Porto Santo and neighbouring Madeira are one of the viticultural world’s best kept secrets. Well known for their rich flavours, these tasty wines are best enjoyed on a balcony overlooking the sea.
This island also rewards those who appreciate its beauty, so try your hand at horseriding through the heartlands, sailing off the coast of Porto Santo Bay or treating yourself at a health spa. The dark clay and golden sand of the island are rumoured to hold rejuvenating properties.
Other popular holidays in Portugal
Portugal’s prestige is easily found when you know where to look. For a more developed island experience, look to Madeira and see why its lush greenery and rolling coastlines give it the nickname The Floating Garden. You can also scout the Algarve’s most prestigious retreats, as even this mainstream tourism hotbed has plenty to offer the discerning holidaymaker. We recommend Praia da Luz on that front for its style and serenity, although Porto Santo easily matches its secluded charms. Check out our Porto Santo travel guide to see the benefits of this beautiful island for yourself, and consider our favourite hotels below as potential places to rest your head.
This retreat in the foothills of Vila Baleira has an almost fairytale quality. A shuttle bus ensures that you can get to and from the beach free from fuss, while a tropical shower and on-site saunas let you soak in some rejuvenation. Lounging by the pool is a definite must, although you can instead admire the garden views from your room's personal balcony. Each room is tastefully decorated in warm and welcoming hues, similar to the restaurant, where fine flavours entice your palate. Service with a smile is guaranteed here, so make sure you ask for wine recommendations from the hospitable staff.
You're right near the beach here, so expect suitably impressive sea views over your cocktails. A five-minute drive has you at the famous golf course of Porto Santos, making this hotel a popular choice with sports fans. The gym and spa keep you on top of your physical health, while one of the six restaurants offers adults-only service to replenish your energy when the time comes. Plus, a stay here gives you access to the neighbouring Pestana Porto Santo, where you can go to enjoy two outdoor pools, multi-purpose sports courts and a spa area complete with Turkish baths.
Pools here are vast, rivalled in their blue beauty only by the sea, and with the beach only five minutes' walk away, you can compare for yourself. Meals are enjoyed in a range of plush restaurants, from traditional homegrown classics to Italian dishes and exotic Japanese flavours. The adults-only wellness centre includes a generous number of spa treatments, as well as access to top-of-the-line gym equipment. An indoor pool lets you take a dip free from noise and fuss – once you're suitably reinvigorated, you can hire bicycles to tour the sights.