Sailing in the Algarve is the best way to enjoy the beautiful coastline of the Algarve, escape life on shore, and become part of the impressive, deep blue Atlantic Ocean Portugal. When you sail in the Algarve, close to the coast you will have a perfect, undisturbed view of impressive rocks, caves, cliffs and beaches. When you sail South, further into the Atlantic Ocean, you have a good change to meet various types of dolphins and even whales.
The western part of the Algarve, offers excellent wind conditions for sailing in the Algarve. During the summer there's a steady pattern: light wind in the morning, a northwesterly wind force of 4-5 bft, during the afternoon. The winds in the Eastern part of the Algarve are generally lighter, but can be effected by strong Easterly winds, originating from the Gibraltar straight.
An holiday in the Algarve is nice to combine with sailing in the Algarve. There are a few harbors from where you can hire a sailing boat with skipper. Whether you are an experienced sailor, or never have done one step on a sailing boat, the Algarve offers a variety of possibilities. Sailing in the Algarve is an different experience. It gives you a feeling of freedom, a perfect way to see the beautiful coastline of the Algarve from the Atlantic Ocean Portugal. You can choose to have an active sailing in the Algarve experience, or just relax on the sailing boat with a drink, enjoy the sun, and let the skipper do the hard work. You can choose between a short experience of 2 hours up to a whole day sailing in the Algarve. Sun set trips, or even 2 or 3 days trips. The Algarve also offers sailing courses, to teach you sailing in the Algarve. The choice is yours!
Marina's (harbors) where you can arrange sailing in the Algarve Portugal:
West Algarve: Lagos Marina
Central Algarve: Portimao, Vilamoura and Albufeira Marina's.
Algarve Housing offering a wide range of accommodations from West to East. The luxury villas Algarve, are all located not more then 30 minutes drive from the coast, where you can find the harbors Algarve, to arrange your sailing in the Algarve Portugal. Please ask your contact person for more details about sailing in the Algarve.
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Sailing from West to East Algarve
The Atlantic West coast of the Algarve is known as the Costa Vincente. a national park, very popular among surfers, with numerous beaches and steep cliffs, where the sailor in the Algarve will meet steady northern winds, known as the Portuguese Trade wind, or Nortada, and a long ocean swell. The first port of call to the north is Sines. When you are heading south, once you have rounded the impressive Cape de Sao Vincent Algarve; Europe's most southwesterly border, you'll find the first sheltered anchorage in the bay of SAGRES.
When you continue sailing East you will sail close to a rough, unspoilt coastline. You'll pass by little pretty village like Burgau and Luz, west of Lagos. Lagos Portugal is the first, most westerly marina of the Algarve Portugal. It then takes a couple of miles until you can round the gorgeous rock and cave formation known as Ponte de Piedade, providing an excellent and sheltered anchorage.
Some care is needed when entering the small channel leading to the Marina of Lagos Portugal. There is a sandbank south of the entrance, and in the summer months it will be busy with all sorts of tourist traffic. The marina Lagos offers excellent facilities and is located adjoining the historic town center of LAGOS as well as being close (10 mins walk) to the beaches of Lagos, known as Meia Praia.
The busy Lagos Marina is the home of all sort of water sport activities Algarve and dolphin watching.
Leaving Lagos heading for Portimao we will pass the entrance of the Alvor estuary halfway. When entering make sure your tidal calculations are in order. There's little water on the bar at low tide. Once inside you can drop the anchor straight away, or continue to sail towards Alvor. In the afternoon you will pass by numerous kite surfers. Kite surfing is very popular over here because of the steady force 4 winds and shallow waters. The busy anchorage of Alvor offers a good starting point to explore this small, attractive town, which can become a little crowded during August.
Next port will be Portimao. You stay close to shore, pass praia da Vau and Algarve's largest stretch of beach, praia da Rocha. The marina of Portimao Algarve, is situated on the west bank of the river Arade. For many international top sailors it's recognized as the access point to one of the best sailing grounds of Europe. As the trainings base for ABNAmro Volvo 70 team, Dutch and UK Olympic sailing teams, and hosting the TP52 cup and the world cup Match Racing, the Marina of Portimao Algarve, has established itself as the main sailors port of the Algarve.
It is also the home of Algarve Ocean. They offer active and instructional sailing trips Algarve, on a exciting J/120, a very fast state of the art 40 footer. Well worth dolphin watching trips are presented by Seafaris, an established company in the Algarve.
To the south the Marina Portimao, joins the lively beach. A 15 minutes stroll north brings you to the center of PORTIMAO, a busy town little effected by tourism.
The traditional fishing village FERRAGUDO is situated on the other side of the river.
Sailing up the river Arade around high tide the historical town of SILVES can be reached by dinghy or tourist boat.
The next leisure port East of Portimao is Albufeira. It will take you 2 to 3 hours sailing, passing a stunning coastline of rocks, caves and small deserted beaches, which are only accessible by sea. Although Marina de Albufeira is surrounded by some quite strange modern architecture it makes a good stop to visit the old center of ALBUFEIRA, one of the most popular holiday destinations of the Algarve, especially among younger people.
While sailing east, keeping an endless stretch of beach to your port you reach Vilamoura The luxurious and fashionable marina Algarve, surrounded by shops, bars and restaurants and an amazing beach, is a popular spot among jet setters and powerboat owners. The surrounding town of Vilamoura Portugal, and its famous, renowned golf courses Algarve, accommodates thousands of tourists, bringing a healthy market for all imaginable water sport activities Algarve. One outstanding opportunity is to sail in the Algarve, the gorgeous clipper Condor de Vilamoura.
Continue sailing the Algarve, entering the estuary of Ria Formosa, some 12 miles East of Vilamoura, is not an option but a must. It needs some care, tides can run very strong, but you will be welcomed by a different world. Gone are the busy beaches Algarve, gone are the golf courses and five star hotels; you are surrounded by birds, marshes and sandy islands. One of the islands of the Algarve, CULATRA, offers a very safe anchorage, with plenty of room on 5 – 10 mtrs of water. On this sandy island time has stood still. The tiny fisherman village is crossed by sand roads, the only means of transport are a couple of tractors dating back to the fifties. The beaches on the northern shore are endless and desolate. A small inlet in the south is the home of a curious collection of catamarans, dyi yachts and their inhabitants, stuck on Culatra while continuing their dreams of a world voyage.
It needs careful navigating to reach either Faro or Olhao Portugal. As the capital of the Algarve, Faro has everything to offer apart from a Marina Algarve. Anchoring in the river and visiting the town by dingy is the only option. The neighboring town Olhao offers an insight to the Algarvian life. It's got an attractive center, dominated by original architecture and offering a variety of shops and good restaurants. It's even got a Marina, which for unknown reasons is not open to visitors. So to visit Olhao by dinghy, water taxi or the ferry from Culatra are the only options.