Portugal shares its northern and eastern frontiers of the Iberian Peninsula with Spain, while having over 1,000 kilometers of coastline in the west and south. With a long coastline, Portugal produced great sailors like Vasco de Gama, Pedro Álvares Cabral, and Afonso de Albuquerque. These men helped construct a spirit of sailing and adventure in Portugal that still holds true today. It is very easy to experience this sense of spirit and passion while on your own yacht charter in Portugal.
Whether you charter a sailboat, catamaran, motorboat, or houseboat in Portugal, you will have easy access to the Atlantic Ocean as well as other countries. Portugal provides the perfect location for a sailor searching for a boating holiday. Portugal is a fairly small country, but the different yacht charter routes you can experience are numerous, as well as visiting other countries like Morocco and Spain. Though Portugal is in the far west of continental Europe, you still have quick and easy access to terrific coastlines of other countries.
Prior to sailing the open waters that surround Portugal, be sure to drop anchor near Lagos and view the fascinating coastline. Ponta da Piedade is a must visit because of the beautiful section of coastline that is like no other place on Earth. It is the perfect place to swim in the hidden coves and grottos while jumping off perfectly sculpted cliffs that are thousands of years old. Be sure to bring a pair of binoculars when you visit Ria Formosa in order to witness the hundreds of different migrating birds that use these barrier islands as a temporary home in the spring and autumn months.
From the safety of your yacht charter, experience the Boca do Inferno or “The Mouth of Hell,” where you can observe unbelievable thundering waves crashing against the rocky coastline. You are more than welcome to moor and casually stroll the coastline that provides infinite scenic views. However, if you are looking for more of a city feel, travel to the former fishing village of Cascais and sample the local cuisine.
After you experienced enough of the southern Portuguese culture, navigate around the southern tip of Sagres, and head north to Belém, just west of Portugal’s capital Lisbon. Visiting the Belém Tower, a 16th century fortified lighthouse that was built to defend the port, is a must while chartering a yacht in this area of central Portugal. Famous Portuguese sailors, like Vasco de Gama, sailed by this same light house before embarking on their daring sea-expeditions.
Continue your yachting vacation to Lisbon and stop in Alfama, the oldest district of Lisbon. Unlike most of the city, this district survived the earthquake of 1775 and still offers astonishing views from several observation points. Be sure to have a map of this district because it is very easy to get lost walking the cobbled streets while observing the Lisbon Cathedral, the Museum of Decorative Arts, historic architecture and the local bars.
Many people think the Caribbean has the best diving in the Atlantic Ocean, but Portugal provides diving that is just as spectacular. The long Atlantic coastline provides excellent diving in Faro, Lagos, Sines, and Aveiro, where extraordinary marine life inhabit reefs and caves. Diving in Portugal’s warm waters is possible year round with water visibility typically ranging from 3-15 meters but can be as far as 30 meters. Portugal offers exciting and unique experiences that cannot be replicated by any country on Earth.
The greatest advantage to hiring a yacht charter in Portugal is the freedom you have to go to the most exclusive and stunning locations Portugal has to offer. This advantage makes Portugal a huge destination for a boating vacation. You can easily venture off the beaten path to remote locations that provide immaculate views and wildlife. Also, you have the opportunity to experience cities like Lisbon and Porto, or small sleepy fishing villages; wherever you wish to navigate your yacht charter.
Depending on the length of your boating vacation, Portugal has countless sailing opportunities for all sailing expertise levels. Navigating north to south or south to north, will allow you to experience the Portuguese culture to the fullest. Find a route suggestion here for sailing Portugal’s Silver Coast. If you are more interested in experiencing Portugal’s southern coast, we provide a route suggestion for sailing in the Algarve region. Portugal provides abundant ports that make for perfect day trips, allowing you to experience different parts of the country you wish to see.
Portugal’s location in Western Europe gives the country a warm, temperate, Mediterranean climate with a wet season in the winter. During the winter months, the average daytime high temperature is 61°F (16°C) and in the spring months, temperatures gradually rise and reach around 72°F (22°C). In southern Portugal, the summer months last from May to October and the weather is warm with very little rain. Relax on your catamaran, motor yacht, sailboat or houseboat in 85°F (29°C) temperatures in July and August, while a refreshing breeze softly blows. The sun shines for 12 hours per day, allowing plenty of time for outdoor activities like swimming and diving. Because of the shifting current, the best time to swim and dive in Portuguese waters is in July or August when the average water temperature is 70°F (21°C).
The pristine sailing conditions of the west coast are attracting an increasing number of international sailors. Over 300 days out of the year, the Nortada (Portuguese Trade Winds) blow at between 12 and 18 knots which makes Portugal an ideal boating destination. Refreshing breezes, 12 hours of sunshine, comfortable temperatures and warm water, July and August are definitely the best months to charter a yacht in Portugal. Chartering a catamaran, sailboat, houseboat or motor yacht, it is recommended you sail from south to north because of the trade winds and the southern current that flows during the summer.
In order to rent a yacht in Portugal, you must abide to certain sailing and boating regulations. Licenses are issued by the Portuguese Maritime Institute but any sailing licenses issued by another European Union country are automatically valid. Non-EU licenses are accepted and recognized in Portugal if the requisites meet EU standards. They usually have to be translated into Portuguese or English. It is very important to have an ICC (International Certificate of Competence) because it is recognized by most EU sailing authorities and is proof of competency in areas of sailing and boating.