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    Sailing holidays in Portugal

    A Guide to setting sail in Portugal: Romantic landscapes and a taste of adventure

    Zizoo's Guide to Sailing in Portugal

    A holiday spent on a yacht charter in Portugal is every sailor’s dream. With excellent sailing conditions in the summer, exploring the length of the coastline is a breeze and allows you to discover varied landscapes, coastal towns and enjoy excellent food and wine in this picturesque corner of Europe.


    • The bustling capital of Lisbon
    • The blue lagoons of Ria Formosa
    • Excellent local cuisine
    • Best time to sail
      June – September
    • Currency
    • Boat base locations
      Porto - Cascais - Lisbon - Grândola
    • Languages spoken
      Portuguese, English
    • Closest airports
      Porto (OPO), Lisbon Portela (LIS), Faro (FAO)
    • Tips
      The Algarve, Azores Islands, Water Sports at Peniche
    Sailing in Portugal

    Portugal is in the far west of Europe, on the coast of the Atlantic and bordering Spain to the east. It enjoys a gorgeous Mediterranean climate with excellent sailing conditions in the summer from June to September. Portugal is in the European Union, so travellers from EU countries and several others won’t need a visa to enter the country.

    You can get to your Portugal sailing holiday by flying to Lisbon Portela, the country’s largest airport situated in central Portugal. Porto is located in the north and Faro in the far south. All destinations are right by the coast and make great mooring points for your sailing holiday in Portugal. To get from the airport, you can easily take a shuttle service, car hire or a taxi. The local currency is the Euro, and main marinas in Portugal include Porto Atlântico, Cascais near Lisbon and Lagos in the Algarve.

    Sailboats in Portugal

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    City of Lisbon in Portugal

    Portugal has a long maritime history, as a nation built by explorers. Enjoy learning about its fascinating history in the great coastal cities, such as the capital of Lisbon while on your sailing holiday in Portugal. Lisbon is honoured with two UNESCO World Heritage Sites right on the river; the Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery- both worth exploring. 

    After discovering the local sites, it’s time to satisfy your hunger. Cascais, near the capital of Lisbon, is a seaside town with well-regarded restaurants around the port such as Hemingway and Mar do Inferno. Baluarte and Skipper Cascais Bar are just two of the many great nearby bars where you can enjoy excellent local wines. Cascais Beach and nearby Estoril are among the many beaches along the coast of the capital region, and Porto and Faro are also popular spots for swimming and sunbathing.

    There are also a range of exciting and relaxing activities to do on your sailing holiday in Portugal. From excellent surfing in central Peniche to lounging on the superb beaches of the Algarve, you’ll always find something to do in Portugal. Kitesurfing, diving, and a visit to the Sportágua Water Park are all popular activities in Peniche which is conveniently near Lisbon.

    Faro is a popular spot for sailors, offering stunning blue waters and some of the country’s best weather. The small archipelago of Berlengas, with its unspoilt nature reserve, a short distance from Peniche, is one of many sites only accessible by those taking sailing holidays. Here you can go hiking among the grottoes and visit the spectacular Fortress of São João Baptista.

    West coast of Algarve, Portugal
    Coast of Algarve

    Catamarans in Portugal

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    Sailboat in Algarve, Portugal
    Sailing yacht in Algarve

    As the Atlantic Ocean provides a different sailing experience as compared to neighboring Mediterannean Sea, it is recommended for novice sailors to sail along the coast of mainland Portugal, rather than a sailing trip to the offshore volcanic island chain of the Azores. Although it’s possible to start at the south and head north, you’ll have an easier time starting up around Porto and heading down along the coast to the Algarve via Lisbon.

    Sail around some of the world's most popular cruising ground such as Cascais bay, near Lisbon, and Lagos bay in the Algarve, which host several important regattas. Take in Portugal's striking coastline which is definited by golden cliffs and long stretches of alluring beaches. The Algarve offers over 150 km of beautiful coastline where you'll find more calmer waters in the east. 

    The Azores Islands to the west of the mainland are a particularly attractive sailing destination for more experienced sailors. The volcanic landscapes and rainforests of the Azores and historic cities such as Horta and Angra do Heroísmo are particularly worth seeing when choosing Portugal for your sailing holiday. 

    Porto, Cascais and Lagos will be your main mooring locations, as well as Terceira and a number of other harbours on the beautiful Azores Islands. This is a country that begs to be toured by sea, with the best sites and superb island locales to be explored with your Portugal sailing holiday. You’ll land right on the best beaches, with many areas of historic and cultural interest to see as well.

    Waterfall in the Azores
    Tropical forest in the Azores
    Coastline of Sintra, Portugal
    Coast of Sintra

    You’ll find sailing the coast of Portugal from north to south particularly pleasant in general. The Portuguese Trade Winds generally reach no higher than F6 in the afternoon from around 12pm to 7pm. It’s good to start early and appreciate the scenery in the morning sun. Then, stop to take in the city sights and relax on the beach in the afternoon. Around Cascais, for example, speeds rarely exceed 30kmh, with air temperatures regularly rising above 30°C, and water temperatures averaging 20°C.


    It’s good to start early and appreciate the scenery in the morning sun.

    The seas around Peniche are slightly rougher with wave heights sometimes up to 1.5 metres, although rarely. You’ll find much of the west coast harbours have sandy sea beds, making anchoring opportunities somewhat rare. That said, the availability of marinas is vast, and all the major spots are well served with anchoring buoys. You can also book a skipper together through Zizoo with your sailing holiday in Portugal. Then you are free to sit back and enjoy the boat trip.

    The Azores Islands to the west of the mainland are a particularly attractive sailing destination for more experienced sailors.

    Coast of Beira Mar in Portugal
    Beira Mar

    Motorboats in Portugal

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