Sailing in Portugal

Sailing near Lagos


Come sailing in Portugal! We offer sailing charters in Lisbon, the Algarve, PortoMadeira and the Azores as well as sailing courses and scenic boat trips. Sightseers, beginners and experienced sailors are all welcome.

If you want to experience life on the ocean wave, then Portugal is an ideal place to do it. Ever since the age of the discoveries, when Vasco de Gama, Pedro Álvares Cabral, Afonso de Albuquerque and company set out to discover new worlds and trading routes, sailing has been in Portugal’s soul. Our mini guide to sailing in Portugal includes information about boat trips, yacht charters, learning to sail, chartering a boat or bringing your own, sailing championships and river sailing in Portugal.

From island-hopping in Madeira and the Azores to beach barbecue cruises in the Algarve and from world class racing to laid-back cruising around Lisbon, Portugal offers a wealth of experiences all year around. So why not make the most of the spectacular coastline and sunny climate and join us in Portugal?

Boat Trips and Yacht Charters

When you go on a boat trip or cruise you’ll really benefit from the crew’s local knowledge- where the biggest fish are to be caught, where the dolphins feed, where the best photos can be taken, where the sun sets over the cliffs and so on…. Being out on the sea always makes you work up an appetite and the crew might cook you up a barbecue on the pristine beach of a deserted island or take you to one of those amazing restaurants that only the locals know! Many boat trips and cruises offer extra activities such as snorkelling, swimming, water skiing, jet skiing, dolphin and whale watching or fishing or you can just take in the views and relax in the sunshine. In my opinion this makes them ideal days out for families as there’s plenty to keep everyone entertained.

Sightseeing Boat trips 
Portugal, Madeira and the Azores lend themselves to interesting boat trips with shoals of dolphins and whales, breath taking views, intriguing grottoes and caves to explore, excellent fishing and bird watching. In most marinas you’ll find a wide choice of craft including small sailing boats, RIBs, catamarans, power boats and traditional fishing boats. If you’re interested in Portugal’s maritime history, or have a wannabe pirate in the family, you can even take a trip on a restored or replica cutter, schooner or caravela. Some of the companies with really modern boats swear that you won’t get sea sick sailing in Portugal but personally I’d probably still pack some pills just in case! Check out our boat trips in Vilamoura,Albufeira, Ria Formosa and Lagos in the Algarve, in Lisbon, in Setubal, in Porto and in Madeira. 

Algarve boat trip

Yacht Charters
Portugal’s marinas shelter gleaming, state-of-the-art motor cruisers, beautiful, streamlined sailing yachts and lovingly renovated classic boats. For a memorable day out, you can charter a motor or sailing yacht privately. From the luxury of champagne cruises to the romance of sunset cruises each cruise is designed to take in the best of the Portuguese coast and make you feel a million miles from everyday life! We can arrange tailor made charters for you in boats of all sizes. They are ideal for special occasions including family parties and days out, wedding receptions, romantic cruises for two, school groups, stag or hen parties and corporate events. Please contact us with your requirements.

Learning to sail
Portugal’s coast, particularly in the central and southern regions, provides the ideal conditions for learner sailors. If you fancy taking the helm of a yacht you can choose between informal lessons and formal courses such as RYA qualifications for all levels from Competent Crew, Day Skipper and Coastal Skipper to Yachtmaster. Why learn at home in the rain when you can now book all inclusive holidays offering expert tuition, the chance to take the exam at the end of the course and time to enjoy all the good things sunny Portugal has to offer! If you are living in Portugal you can join sailing club for a small monthly fee. This means you can use their facilities, get lessons, make friends, and from October to May take part in the regular club regattas.

Please contact us to discuss any aspect of sailing in Portugal.

learning to sail
Licensed Sailors
If you have an appropriate sailing license, insurance and proof of identity then you can hire a yacht (bareback or with some crew) or motor boat. It is best to contact us beforehand to discuss your exact requirements and the rules and regulations as under Portuguese law not all foreign sailing qualifications are recognised. We have bareboat or skippered charters available in Lisbon, the Algarve, Porto, Madeira and the Azores. If you have your own boat there are marinas and ports all along the coast offering over-wintering, temporary and long-term moorings. Many sailors from across Europe choose to moor their yachts in Portugal all year around as the sea conditions are good and the modern Portuguese marinas are attractive with lots of amenities and generally reasonable fees. From a base here you can not only enjoy sailing in Portugal, Madeira and the Azores but it is also convenient for Gibraltar and the coasts of Spain, Africa and the Mediterranean. For more detailed information about sailing in Portugal its coast, conditions, regulations and facilities I’d recommend getting hold of ‘Atlantic Coasts of Spain and Portugal’ published by the Royal Cruising Club Pilotage Foundation.

The favourable sea conditions mean that Portugal attracts international competitions with this year seeing the Volvo Ocean Race, the Azores and Back Yacht Race, stages of the European Sailing Championship, the Atlantis Cup, Sea Week Azores and more. It is also a common stop in the Tall Ships Race.

River sailing in Portugal
While Portugal’s coastline is breath-taking there are also three navigable rivers that are well worth exploring. These are the Minho and the Douro in the north and the Guadiana in the south. These will take you into the very heart of the country through beautiful, unspoilt landscapes and interesting towns and villages. Please bear in mind that the rivers are not always navigable in winter and you may have to remove your masts to pass under some bridges. If you are looking for an unusual day out boat trips along the estuaries will give you an interesting new perspective on two of Portugal’s most important and interesting cities, Lisbon and Porto.

Thrills and Spills
Finally if you’re after a quick adrenalin rush then have a go on jet skis, water skiing, banana boats, power boat rides, parascending and more. They’re available at most marinas.