Adventure Sports Holidays Sailing in the Algarve
With a maritime tradition stretching back thousands of years, over 200km of stunning coastline and clear blue seas. The Algarve is one of the top sailing destinations in Europe. Although, in many people’s minds, the Atlantic Ocean is awash with towering 50ft waves, gale force winds and powerful swells. Take a boat out in Portugal’s tranquil, blue waters and you might just be surprised. Three-thousand years ago the Phoenicians set up trading posts all along the southern Iberian coast and in the 15th century Henry the Navigator, a pioneer of sea fearing exploration, had his base at Sages.
Christopher Columbus also set sail on his famous voyage to the New World from just across the Spanish border. So if you do decide to take a sailing holiday in the Algarve you’ll be in good company. Although hopefully your fate won’t resemble that of the doomed Mary Celeste, found mysteriously abandoned off of Portugal’s shores. If you’re lucky enough to have your own boat, or have hired a vessel for you holiday, then the Algarve is your oyster. Traditional fishing villages with their pretty white washed houses dot the coastline and pristine bays and inlets make great swimming spots.
One of the most popular marinas is at Vila Moura, the largest luxury tourist complex in Europe. Here you can find all of the facilities you’ll require, as well as lively bars and restaurants and sun-drenched beaches. It’s also a great place for a quick game of golf, with several championship courses nearby. Thirty kilometers east of Faro is the ancient city of Taveras. One of the first Phoenician settlements in the Algarve and ruled by the Moors for 500 years, Taveras is a fascinating place for a few days stay.
Although most of the original buildings were destroyed by the earthquake, the city was rebuilt, and much of the Moorish influence remains. Situated right on the Portuguese-Spanish border, on the banks of the Guadiana River is the pretty town of Vila Real de Santo Antonio. With its marina right in the heart of the town, you have easy access to the waterside bars and restaurants as well as the other facilities the town has to offer. Peaceful all year round, Vila Real de Santo Antonio is ideal for anyone wanting to enjoy the traditional, relaxed Portuguese lifestyle.
If you enjoy exploring the coastline, the nature reserve makes an ideal playground. Made up of a 60-mile lagoon system, the reserve is a haven for al sorts of wildlife, especially birds migrating to and from Africa. For a truly unique experience, sail west past Sages, towards the very edge of Europe. Here, at Cape St Vincent you’ll be able to see the end of a continent and imagine what it would have been like hundreds of years ago for one of Henry the Navigator’s sailors setting out to discover new worlds. There can’t be a better spot from which to sip an evening cocktail while you watch the sun set over the ocean.