If you have not considered Portugal as a yacht charter destination, you are missing out. Incredible coastlines and trendy cities await! With the news that Portugal is reopening borders for tourists this week, it is time to discover the best sailing hotspots in the country.
Although overshadowed by the much larger Spain, Portugal still proves popular with many European tourists, and the yacht charter industry seems to be increasing rapidly. Offering some incredible coastal views and some culturally rich metropolitan hubs there is clearly an abundance of opportunity and fun to be had here. Vamos!
In Terms of Sailing...
No, it is not the tranquil, turquoise Mediterranean that most popular European destinations offer. Yes, the temperature of the Atlantic tends to be a little colder than its temperate counterpart. But where is the fun in predictability?
The Atlantic sometimes offers calm seas, but other times presents an invigorating and energetic temperament, which creates adrenaline-pumping sailing experiences. Do people forget that this country was at the forefront of the Age of Exploration? Sailing is ingrained in the heart and soul of the people.
The prevailing wind in the summer months is called the Nortada (North Wind, as the name suggests). These months can also see temperatures soar to the low 30s, so make sure sun cream is packed in your suitcase.
Where should I charter my yacht?
The most important thing to know about sailing in Portugal is the difference between west and south. The weather in the south is more appealing, with the Algarve region already proving to be a holiday hotspot with EU and UK tourists.
On the west, you get the added benefit from being able to dock near rivers, and in the case of the Guardian, even sail on one. Be wary that fog incidence on the west coast tends to be more so than the south, although this is still a minimal possibility. The west coast is where you will find the amazing and vibrant cities of Porto and Lisbon, which offer some of the most amazing dining, exploring, and sailing opportunities.
Towards the south are some well-known stretches of coastline, particularly near Faro and Lagos, but there are also hidden gems that display true Portuguese natural beauty. It is not a case of one region being better than the other, but rather what you want from your sailing holiday.
Essential Destinations during your Yacht Charter in Portugal
Love the Lifestyle of Lisbon
An obvious starting point in terms of Portuguese hotspots, but a tremendously underrated European city. Here is the perfect influx of culture, music, history, and architectural beauty. Those iconic red roofs, and some curious hidden gems mean there is endless exploration opportunities here.
What’s great about Lisbon is the freedom and diverse feeling of the city, where everyone is friendly and welcoming, and the atmosphere in crowded places is always pleasant. Sailing from the city to nearby Cascais can provide welcome relief from the metropolitan hub, but we doubt you will want to leave Lisbon in any hurry.
Something to drink: Pensão Amor – a former speakeasy turned bar which is unlike anything around.
Somethinig to do: LXFactory – the perfect representation of the culture, art, and food of Lisbon (with amazing photo opportunities.
Something to never forget: The view from Christ the King Statue – try and see if you can spot your yacht.
The Beauty of Porto
Even the most reluctant of readers should visit this exquisitely designed library, often coined the most impressive and elegant in the world. It feels straight out of a Harry Potter movie with the grand, sweeping staircases and intricate designs from floor to ceiling.
While visiting a library may not be at the top of most people’s itineraries during a sailing holiday, enjoying a glass of wine, a good thriller, and some Portuguese tarts while watching the sunset from your yacht… well that’s just heaven.
Something to drink: 17° Bar – the best panoramic views of Porto combined with some luxurious décor makes for a rather scrumptious drinking night.
Something to do: District Exploration – specifically Ribeira, Baixa, and Bolhao districts where the majority of Porto’s historical marvels can be found.
Something to never forget: Sailing along Miradouro da Vitória – there is simply no better way to see a city than from the water, and that is a fact.
Algarve's Rugged Coastine
Sailing the Algarve
There is something about chartering a yacht in the Algarve that feels like reaching the epitome of paradise… whether it is the unparalleled sunshine, the dramatic carved shoreline, or the exquisite coastal towns, the magical Portuguese South is as enchanting as it is breathtaking. Marina de Lagos is possibly one of the most inviting marinas, thanks to its centrality of the town. Be sure to sail towards Alvor for some of the country’s most inspiring beaches.
Something to drink: 3 Moneys – Look, it is the place where you will have the worst karaoke rendition of Like A Virgin, but the best time.
Something to do: Pego do Inferno - or Pit of Hell (charming) is an immensely beautiful swimming spot that is a little off the beaten track.
Something to never forget: Skydiving in Alvor – if the views from your yacht are not enough, take to the skies in an incredible and heart-pounding experience.
How do I know if a yacht charter in Portugal is for me?
Portugal's appeal lies in its diverse landscapes, sailing experiences, and wonderful cities. The capital is a cultural hub, with endless exploration opportunities and a lively social scene. The south of the country sees some of the best weather conditions of Europe, and the rugged, carved coastline is simply jaw-dropping.
The Atlantic is a different sailing playground than the calmer Mediterranean, but do not let that scare you. What you need to decide is whether you want to play it safe with the same sea as always, or try something new, innovative, and memorable.
A yacht charter in Portugal is a yacht charter you will never forget.