This Island Is Part of Portugal, but South of Casablanca, Morroco

It’s 600 miles/967 kilometers from Lisbon, Portugal to the island of Madeira. About 1.5 million tourist visit the island each year — most take a 3.5 hour flight from London or 90-minute flight from Lisbon. On the map — it’s just south of Casablanca, Morroco which means it’s warm year-round. Occasionally temps dip into the high 50’s F/13 C.

There are three golf courses: Palheiro Golf, Santo da Serra and Porto Santo Golfe, which is a short plane hop away on Porto Santo Island.

Two of the three reported increased rounds in 2018. A spokesman for Discover Madeira said: “This is good news for the tourism sector on Madeira and is something we will be looking to build upon in 2019. We are particularly encouraged by the number of new visitors coming to the archipelago to play golf on our three excellent courses.

A rare place where banana trees grow next to vineyards

The par-72, 6,656-yard (6,086m) course at Palheiro Golf is situated within the magnificent Palheiro Estate, which is more than 200 years old. At nearly 1,640-feet above sea level, the location enjoys dramatic views of Madeira’s mountainous skyline and the ocean, as well as, nestling below, just 10 minutes away, the island’s capital, Funchal.

The original course at Santo da Serra, dating from 1937, was redesigned in 1991 by Robert Trent Jones Sr., who created a new and spectacular 27-hole complex. The third and fourth holes of the Machico course are regarded as the signature holes, sitting atop cliffs more than 2,200-feet above sea level, providing views of the bay of Machico, where Portuguese navigators first landed in 1419.

The 27-hole, Severiano Ballesteros-designed Porto Santo Golf is a short plane hop away. The par-72, 7,036-yard (6,434 meters) course, which opened in 2004, comprises two distinct nines. The southern route, a U.S. style layout is dotted with lakes, requiring a long and precise game; while the northern route is atop fantastic cliffs, near the stunning beach of the same name.

Seve Ballesteros-designed Porto Santo Golf

Madeira, also known as ‘the islands of eternal spring’, has a population of only 260,000. On the same latitude as Morocco, the Atlantic archipelago has a sub-tropical climate, a rich volcanic soil and a unique eco-system. It is one of the only places on the planet where banana trees grow next to vineyards.

In 1999 the archipelago was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site and five areas have been declared nature reserves. The Madeira Nature Reserve covers a substantial two-thirds of the main island, where development is prohibited.