Family holidays in Porto Santo

 When it comes to family holidays, Porto Santo is the place be, offering proximity, safety and one of the world’s best beaches.

Choosing somewhere to spend summer holidays can be a challenge for many families. Children do not fare well with long distance travel, logistics can be a challenge and, as much as they want to spend time with their kids, parents also want to rest during their time off.

Porto Santo meets all these requirements. And that is why it is growing in popularity with those who travel with children. The sea is easily accessible. Hotels are top-notch and there is plenty of leisurely activities to go around.

Traditionally, Porto Santo has always been the main holiday destination for residents in Madeira. The childhood memories of many Madeirans include summers spent here, enjoying a quiet life, few rules, short distances, a feeling of safety, freedom and, of course, the beach.

Over the last thirty years or so, more and more visitors from other places have come to share these experiences. Among these is Inês Simões, author of the Eu Mãe blog, who spent her last four summers in Porto Santo: ‘It’s the in-laws’ favourite beach, every year they gather children and grandchildren to spend one week as a family’.

Inês Serra Cancela, author of the Inês 3D blog, says that distance is a decisive factor, the island being a mere two hours away by plane from Lisbon.

Influencer Ana Garcia Martins from the A pipoca mais doce blog, sporting over 261 thousand followers also stresses the proximity to Porto Santo: ‘We get to Porto Santo in an instant. One spends 16 hours in a plane when there’s a spectacular one right next door’.

Marina Seara Cardoso, from the Aos Pares blog, also visited the island with her family and adds that ‘one doesn’t need to go long distances to find paradise’. Despite having four children she still had ‘moments of peace, quiet and romance’. Her text describes the experience as: ‘dream days in real paradise’.

Inês Serra Cancela reaches a similar conclusion: ‘it had been a long time since we’d had such fun holidays, when we could enjoy family time, the energy but also respect each other’s’ moments’.

Part of the island’s success as a family destination has to do with the 9 km long golden sand beach. It remains the main attraction. Inês Simões writes that ‘there is nothing better than sleeping with your foot in the sand and having the beach, the waves, a real day’s worth of rest just a few steps away. Again, Porto Santo gives us that freely; the beach is beautiful, long, calm, and there is a really good feel to it, very zen. There is no rush to do anything, the only constraint being the rhythms of children which stretch further and further.’

Ana Garcia Martins agrees: ‘There’s no denying it, the beach is wonderful.’ And one of the things which make Porto Santo ‘a small wonder’.

The weather helps, writes Inês Simões, noting how it ‘is always mild, day and night, with the sky dyed in clouds which alternate between blocking the Sun and scalding one’s skin. The water is wonderful, warm, with soft, fun waves’.

Sofia Santos, tour guide, hosts several of these families and highlights Porto Santo’s ‘simplicity, compared to the big cities’. The children ‘love swimming in the sea which has very nice temperatures all year round and playing, often building castles and sculptures out of the thin, smoothly textured sand.’

The Vila Valeira resort manager, Bruno Martins, adds that the beach ‘is extremely safe, with no strong currents or tall waves’ and recalls that the whole island has been given the ‘blue flag’ label, which also attests to its lack of pollution.

Sofia Santos talks about the much that can be enjoyed besides the beach: Golfing, going for walks, horse riding, cycling, or even just driving around, taking in the scenery.

Safety invites relaxation. Most of the streets in the town centre are closed to traffic. There are several parks and playgrounds.

Hotels have been designed for families, with children’s clubs and entertainment teams available. Bruno Martins notes how the Vila Valeira, for instance, sports a mini club and a maxi club – the former aimed at children aged up to 6 years old, the latter aimed at kids aged 7 to 13 years old. ‘The concept is entirely family oriented’. The entire hotel was conceived in terms of safety and viability, especially for holidaying with children.