Porto Santo’s local government is extremely environmentally conscious. For some years now, the island (nibbled bare by rabbits in times of yore) has been undergoing a massive reforestation program. Tens of thousands of trees have been planted, turning once dusty slopes into swathes of green. Local residents are even offered free plants for their gardens at municipal nurseries. And people realise that the island’s main asset is that long, unspoiled beach. Development is strictly controlled, with a height limit on new buildings, and a stipulation that they must be set back from the beach, behind the dunes.

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