Excellent sailing conditions, great marinas, wonderful weather, friendly people, delicious food and a wealth of history and tradition - what's not to love about a sailing holiday in Portugal?
Portugal is an exciting new sailing area with two very distinct bases to choose from. A charter from Lisbon allows you to soak up the sights of this fascinating city before heading out to sea to explore the pristine coastline and bustling seaside towns. An area which is steeped in sailing history as many a transatlantic voyage has set sail from these ports. The open Atlantic provides some exhilarating sailing and be sure to look out for the dolphins and turtles who reside in these waters.
For something completely unique, take a trip up the River Douro with its three UNESCO World Heritage Sites - the historical city of Porto, the archaeological park of the Coa Valley and the breathtaking Douro Valley. Said to be one of the oldest wine making regions in the world, the terraced hillsides are a feast for the eyes and are home to the many vineyards which produce the famed regional wines.
Start your week's sail at Belem Dock, a large marina with a supermarket and numerous restaurants nearby.
Leaving Lisbon you can appreciate all the surroundings including the majestic Ponte de 25 Abril bridge behind you, the River Tagus and finally the “Bugio” lighthouse which resides on an island in the estuary on the Fort of São Lourenço do Bugio. Shortly after you will arrive at Oeiras, a charming port located just next to the São Julião Fort. Go for an afternoon stroll on the seaside promenade or take a taxi to Marquês de Pombal Palace to view this 18th century palace built in the Rococo and Baroque styles.
Leaving Oeiras you will pass several beautiful beaches; Carcavelos, Parede, São Pedro, São João and Cascais. All of these beaches are golden sandy beaches and fantastic for swimming. Cascais is a beautiful and traditional fishing town which was once the summer retreat of the Portuguese nobility. Now you will find a bustling holiday destination which still maintains its historic charm. Wander around the pretty town centre or visit the Castro Guimaraes Museum. From Cascais you are not far from the most westerly point of mainland Europe, Cabo da Rocha, which on a clear night provides you with a fantastic sunset!
Leaving Cascais, tack south and head to Espichel cape. Predominant wind blowing from the north usually makes for a great day of sailing. Crossing the cape, you find Sesimbra, a picturesque fishing village with a cozy marina and a beautiful bay.
Leaving Sesimbra behind, continue NE to appreciate the view of Arrábida coast, the isolated beaches and clear blue water. On your way to the new Tróia marina you are almost guaranteed to encounter dolphins who often swim around the boat, inviting you to play. Tróia is a peninsula between the Sado River and the Atlantic ocean. White sandy beaches, clear waters and excellent services ashore. Restaurants, shops, casino and bars are all at your fingertips.
A day of beaches! From Comporta to Sines, the coast is an unbroken strip of sand with great beaches such as Pinheirinho and Galé. Sines is one of the most important cities on the Alentejo coast and is an industrial port and a cape as well, making it a natural stopping point for visitors to the region. A traditional fishing port, it was here that Vasco da Gama, the great navigator, was born. Who knows, his travels may have inspired the Festival Músicas do Mundo, the world music festival that is held here annually in early summer.
Leaving Sines, you will head North towards Lisbon. If you are lucky you will get a breeze from WNW that will take you directly there! Entering the River Tagus, enjoy the sail up river, discovering the old town of Lisbon from the water. Terreiro do Paço, Saint Jorge’s Castle, Parque das Nações are just some of many sights you can see. Arriving at Parque das Nações you can appreciate one of the longest suspending bridges in Europe, Vasco da Gama’s bridge. Return to Belém Marina to enjoy your final night in Lisbon.
Take the opportunity to explore the enchanting city of Porto with its historical monuments, characterful shops and traditional restaurants. Of course no trip to Porto would be complete without a visit to the famous Port Cellars which you can find across the river.
Start your leisurely sail along the river with all its verdant surroundings. Stop for lunch in Bitetos before carrying on to Caldas de Aregos, a small town famous for its natural mineral baths.
Today you will be entering the oldest wine region in the world. Either side of the river you will see the terraced hills which produce the famous Port wine. Stop halfway at Regua for lunch and a visit to the Douro museum to learn about the history and culture of the region. Pinhao, the heart of the wine region, is a quaint little rown with several restaurants and a beautiful old railway station.
Today you enter a rockier landscape. Stop at Ferradosa or Senhora da Ribeira for lunch before continuing on to Foz do Sabor to enjoy the river beach. Spend the night at Pocinho, close to the Spanish border, and be sure to visit the Archaelogical Park of the Coa Valley.
Carry on up the river 13 nautical miles or so and you reach Barca de Alva, the last Portugese village before the Spanish border. This sleepy little village is surrounded by olive and almond groves amd is steeped in medieval history. Making your way back down the river now, take your time and admire the beauty of this region.
For a refined lunch with spectacular views over the river and an impressive wine collection, stop off in Folgosa and visit DOC, one of the most popular restaurants in the region. After lunch, carry on your sail towards Lamego where you can visit Quinta da Pacheca, one of the best wineries in the Douro Valley, for a tour of the vineyard and some wine tasting. Spend the evening in Caldas de Aregos.
Enjoy a leisurely final day of sailing stopping at one of the river beaches or taking a walk on the picturesque little island of Ilha dos Amores, close to Castelo. Once you arrive back in Porto, enjoy one more evening exploring this unique city.
Average winds Force 3-5 which are more predictable in the summer months. The ideal sailing window is May-October. Some open Atlantic sailing and longer distances.
Sailing from Porto, you will be on calm inland waters.
We have rated this destination a 'Level 2-3' (levels info) and you will need RYA Day Skipper or ICC qualification for bareboat charters in Portugal.
If you are at all unsure about a destination then please get in touch and our sales team will be more than happy to make their recommendations for you.
EasyJet have direct flights from Gatwick, Luton, Bristol, Manchester and Edinburgh. British Airways fly from Heathrow. TAP Air Portugal has direct flights from Manchester and Gatwick.
EasyJet fly from Gatwick, Luton, Bristol and Manchester. TAP Air Portugal have direct flights from Gatwick. British Airways fly direct from Gatwick.
Yacht charter rates are shown WITHOUT flights giving you the flexibility to book your own flights. If you would prefer a flight-inclusive holiday then Nautilus Yachting is a fully bonded ATOL tour operator and can book flights from the UK to fit your sailing holiday. Choose from a wide choice of airlines - we are not tied to any particular airline. All flight-inclusive holidays are fully bonded for your financial protection under our ATOL 3016.
"Booking process is always smooth and efficient. The local Maltese charter company was very good and helpful. This was the third charter with Nautilus and it won't be the last."
To skipper a bareboat charter or flotilla yacht, you need to hold a practical sailing certificate equivalent to RYA Day Skipper Practical qualification or RYA International Certificate of Competence (ICC). For charters in Greece, you must now have the ICC certificate. You must also be assisted by at least one competent crew member over the age of 18.
For charters in Croatia, Malta and the Canaries, at least one member of the crew or the skipper will also need a VHF licence.
RYA qualifications can be obtained by RYA sailing schools in the UK or alternatively choose from one of our overseas centres in Gibraltar, Greece or Turkey.
For Caribbean and Tropical charters, formal qualifications are not compulsory, however, you should be Day Skipper standard and be assisted by at least one competent crew. A brief sailing resume should be provided to outline your experience.
If you don't hold the relevant qualifications then why not add a skipper?
Winds force 2-3 (4-11 Knots)combined with generally shorter distances. Good for beginner or intermediate sailors. Line-of-sight navigation but basic knowledge of charts and ability to plot your position required.
Winds force 3-5 (7-21 Knots) with approximately 15-20nm per day. Intermediate experience required. Predominately line of sight navigation but an understanding of how to sail in open water.
Winds force 4-6 (11-27 Knots) with mileage of approximately 20nm+ per day. Ideal for experienced skippers looking to venture out to new destinations. Day skipper standard but with experienced crew would be recommended.