Madeira’s smaller neighbour is the island of Porto Santo.
Not quite as well known here in the UK as Madeira, the island’s 9km long beach is one of Portugal’s best kept secrets – it rarely ever gets busy as there just aren’t enough people on the island to ever fill the beach.
Accommodation is key to a great holiday and the island has its share of luxurious five-star all-inclusive hotels. We tend to prefer smaller, Madeiran-style hotels with spacious balcony rooms and quiet terraces, leading you directly down onto the sand where you can spend your days swimming and soaking up some rays.
As we tailor-make our holidays, it’s easy to split your time between the two islands – our Madeira bach holiday begins with a week of whale watching, biking, or canyoning on Madeira, followed by a peaceful and stress-free week relaxing on Porto Santo’s golden sands.
The island’s capital is Vila Baleiro – a friendly town with a nice selection of shops and restaurants centred around the pretty main square; with live music at the outdoor teatro and beach club.
Our guided jeep tours are a great way to see the whole of Porto Santo - including a visit to the northern hills around Pico Branco and the preserved traditional house at Casa da Serra, where you can learn more about on Porto Santo’s agricultural past and the farming communities that once sustained the island.
You might like to hire bikes or scooters to ride to the Miradouro das Flores - from this southern-most tip of the island, you’ll see Porto Santo’s tiny neighbour the Ilheu da Cal, (a protected nature reserve), with the mountains of north-east Madeira in the distance.
If you’d like to break up your beach time a little, you could add a boat trip to your holiday, or maybe a paddle boarding or windsurfing lesson; diving and snorkelling trips are also available.
As Porto Santo's a small island, there are only a limited number of hotels. Our favourite place to stay is the family-run Torre Praia Hotel, as it overlooks Praia da Fontainha and Vila Baleira is a five-minute walk away. The larger all-inclusive hotels are a good option if you're looking for a touch of five-star luxury - they're away from Vila on the south-west tip of the island.