The Portuguese once used to be a great seafarers nation, even if Columbus finally discovered the new world for the Spanish crown for the simple reason that the King of Portugal didn’t want to finance his plans for the search of a Western route to India. Today the southern European country with 530 miles of Atlantic coast is increasingly becoming a popular sailing beat – initially Cascais was under debate as a venue for the America’s Cup 2007, The ISAF Sailing World Cup was hosted here already.
Starting from Cascais, you can explore the divers coast around Lisbon, discover sophisticated yacht harbours and listen to the poetic-melancholic sounds of Fado. The more popular Yacht Charter beat however is the Algarve – be it solely because of the 3.000 sunshine hours per year and the year-round mild climate; even in winter temperatures seldom drop below 15 degrees. North of the Algarve, the mountains of the Alto Algarve shield off cool north winds, the coast lies leeward hence there are hardly any extreme weather situations. Here the Atlantic presents itself from a milder side as well with relatively little swells. The sailing waters are also suited for beginners and families. White beaches, gorgeous bays, bizarre rock formations and caves form the scenery of the coast; the landscape with citrus trees in the backcountry is green.
Charter yachts can be obtained from Faro, Vilamoura and Portimao – all Yacht Charter bases are within easy reach of the airport in Faro. The maritime infrastructure of the marinas and the means of supply are well developed. If you want to dawdle away from bay to bay, you can enjoy relaxed sailing at leisure with short tacks – for instance during a trip from Faro to Vilamoura, to Albufera, Porimao and Lagos or even to the Southwest cape Cabo de Sao Vicente. But the Spanish coast could be a trip destination as well: Huelva, Cadiz or Tarifa in the furthest Spanish South are just as within reach for charter sailors as the Rock of Gibraltar.
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