By Jay Lloyd
PORTO SANTO, Portugal (CBS) — With Columbus Day on the horizon, this week we detail an exotic getaway to an island that may have inspired the explorer’s first voyage to the Americas.
Local lore on the island of Porto Santo, off the coast of Morocco, suggests that Columbus learned of lands to the west, ripe with gold for the picking, while living there.
I heard the tale while visiting the 15th-century home he shared with his wife, the daughter of the Portuguese governor. It’s now a museum of Columbian-era artifacts, documents, and maps.
But, beyond history, the island boasts sparkling beaches and uniform temperatures throughout the year. Waterfront restaurants serving fabled Portuguese seafood stews crowd the shoreline (photo below).
Few Americans have seen the island, because getting there isn’t easy. It’s best visited as a side trip while vacationing in Europe.
TAP, the Portuguese airline, flies from Lisbon and London to Madeira. Then, a ferry or commuter plane lands you on an island that harbors shops selling some of the world’s finest lace goods and rich Madeira wine.
Columbus found little gold but left a life of tranquility that defines Porto Santo.