New flights launched to stunning golden sandy island known as ‘Madeira’s little sister’ – just 3 hours from UK | The Sun

A TINY island with golden sandy beaches dubbed "Madeira's little sister" is about to get much easier to get to from the UK.

TUI is relaunching flights to Porto Santo, a Portuguese island just 25 miles off the coast of Madeira.

TUI suspended flights to the island back in July, much to the disappointment of holidaymakers.

However, the relaunched flights will operate on a weekly basis from London Gatwick Airport from May 2024.

Holidaymakers may have found themselves on the island by accident in recent years.

It's just a 15-minute flight from Madeira and is often used as an emergency landing when there are high winds at Funchal Airport.

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While small – you can fit Porto Santo six times into Madeira – its main appeal is its beautiful 8-mile-long golden sand beach.

Porto Santo Beach has been named one of the best in Europe on several occasions, with it being given thousands of 5* reviews by tourists.

One person wrote on TripAdvisor that it was "one of their favourite beaches in the world" while another said it had the "best sand in the world".

The sands are believed to have health benefits due to their anti-inflammatory minerals such as strontium.

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So don't be surprised if you see beachgoers buried up to their necks in the sand.

The seawater is even used in some of the spas on the island too.

On the other side of the island are huge mountains formed by volcanic rock, which have some of the best views of the ocean at the Pico Castelo viewpoint.

Despite the stunning coastline, the island remains relatively untouched, unlike the rest of Portugal, with most tourists overlooking it.

More often visited by locals from the mainland, there is just one town on the island, Vila Baleira, where most of the 5,000 islanders live.

The town has whitewashed houses and large plazas, perfect for a late-night glass of wine.

There are more than 50 restaurants and bars to choose from, serving fresh seafood and Portuguese classics.

Make sure to try the local cuisine, the most well-known being the bolo do caco – bread baked on a piece of tile – and a sugar cane brandy cocktail called a Poncha.

And there is even an 18-hole golf course on the island, designed by former world no.1 golfer Seve Ballesteros.

Other popular activities include horse riding, 4×4 off-road experiences and fishing tours, along with watersports.

The TUI holidays will include a stay at the Hotel Pestana Porto Santo in Vila Baleria, one of the best resorts on the island, with all-inclusive breaks from £927pp.

One person wrote: "Paradise on earth, not crowded of people, very Amazing for snorkeling, there is beaches, mountains."

Another agreed: "The pearl of the Portuguese islands."

There is no UK time difference to get used to and the island has mild temperatures all year round – it remains around 20C even in winter, only dropping to 17C in February.

if you can't wait until May 2024, Europe has lots of other tiny islands you may not have heard of.

Patmos, in Greece, is popular with celebs but yet to be as well known as Mykonos or Santorini.

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Also in Greece is Paros, which has been dubbed the 'new Mykonos.

Otherwise the UK is home to some beautiful islands with sandy beaches and dolphins.

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