Madeira’s Sister Island of Porto Santo

Porto Santo Madeira golden beachPorto Santo is a small island that was discovered by Portuguese navigators in 1418 and it was the first of many islands to be discovered by the maritime power of Portugal during the 15th and 16th centuries.  The island is located 29 miles northeast of Madeira Island; the larger of the two islands in the Archipelago. The islands location is approximately 520 km off the African coast and 1000 km from the European continent; around a 90 minute flight from Lisbon. This is a white sand lovers paradise as the coastline stretches the entire island; providing ample leisure room on these clean, pristine beaches. Although a small island in size and in terms of population with just over 5500 residents living on the island the Porto Santo community has its own schools, health-care centre, police detachments, Churches, several local squares, museums, shopping centres, bars, hotels and of course some great local restaurants.Sidewalk to the beachIt was here that Christopher Columbus began his life as a young navigator and married the governor’s daughter Filipa; where they had a son they named Diogo. The residence of the family still stands today and it was in this home that Columbus poured over ancient maps and weather charts of the seas and wind patterns inherited from his father in law; the islands discoverer. The home of the famous discoverer is now used as a museum with many of his original artifacts and information about his Atlantic journeys still exist in their original form. This is a popular spot for academics and historians to come and explore the early life of Columbus and his family, while gaining a first hand experience of an island culture that has changed very little over the centuries. AdobeStock_142819587.jpegThe flora and fauna of the island have however changed dramatically since it was initially discovered in 1418, although the Portuguese government has put great emphasis on restoring and preserving the unique ecosystem of the island. The legend of the island of Porto Santo became a cautionary tale for all subsequent discoveries and colonization of new uninhabited lands. It was the 1st Governor of the island when he began colonizing the island in 1419 brought with him a pregnant female rabbit that caused a mass overpopulation of the island with rabbits that began to consume much of the islands original flora. The island, unlike Madeira which is mountainous, has a similar temperature to that of the Canary islands which belong to Spain and are located south of the island. Their are many unique, unpaved marked trails that lead through the plains and hillsides of the island which offer breathtaking views out into the ocean and on clear days you can see the larger island of Madeira.Porto Santo island in the Madeira archipelago This is a popular destination for golfers, surfers and beach lovers alike since it offers some of most beautiful coastlines and clean blue water the Atlantic has to offer. The golf course on the island; which has hosted the European Cup, is an 18 hole course with various terrains making it a challenging course in the middle of the ocean. Also another sport in recent years that has been gaining popularity and international awareness is surfing. The islands location, temperature and water currant fill are the requirements for making this an ideal surf location. In the winter months where the waves tend to be 3-5 feet and the water temperature is warmer then anywhere in Europe, makes this a lowkey spot to get in a great surfing session. The summer months are big with stand up paddle boarding and other water activities where the crystal blue ocean and white sand beaches are popular with kayakers who want to admire the coastline and unique rock formations of this untouched paradise. Porto Santo

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