Sailing in Southern Portugal


Why Sailing in Portugal

This historical country is among the safest in the world making it ideal to visit with friends and family from all ages. 

It’s a diverse country that has its own unique culture and a variety of beautiful natural landscapes. In particular, Portugal has the cliff beaches of Algarve, beautiful rural countryside, energetic cities, a traditional culture, beautiful lush green vineyards, and so much more. This beautiful country has managed to maintain its own unique rich culture while other nearby countries in Europe merge and modernize. It has rural areas that still feel a world away from the nearby cosmopolitan cities. There are parts of the country that still feel like you’ve stepped back in time.

The average daily cost of living is under 35 Euros per person per day, making this one of the cheapest countries in Western Europe, perfect for a sunny vacation.

With its mild climate, 3000 hours of sunshine per year and 850 kms of splendid beaches bathed by the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal is the perfect holiday destination all year round.

This is a country that has the oldest borders in Europe, with an exceptional range of different landscapes just a short distance away, lots of leisure activities and a unique cultural heritage, where tradition and modernity blend together in perfect harmony. Its superb cuisine, fine wines and hospitable people make this a tourist paradise of the highest quality. 

Situated in the extreme south-west of Europe, just a few hours from any of the other European capitals, Portugal attracts visitors from all over the world. 
Come and discover the charms of this country too.         


Portugal is situated at the south-west point of Europe and also includes the Madeira and Azores archipelagos in the Atlantic Ocean.  Mainland Portugal occupies an area of 88,889 km2. It is 218 km wide and 561 km long. It has 832 km of Atlantic coast and a 1,215 km border with Spain.

The Azores are situated in the Atlantic Ocean between Europe and North America. They have an area of 2,355 km2 and consist of nine islands – São Miguel and Santa Maria in the Eastern Group, Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico and Faial in the Central Group and Flores and Corvo in the Western Group. It takes about two hours to get from the Azores to mainland Portugal by plane.

The Madeira Archipelago has an area of 741 km2 and lies in the Atlantic Ocean about 500 km from the African coast and 1,000 km from the European   continent (1½ hours flying time from Lisbon). It consists of the islands of Madeira and Porto Santo and the uninhabited Desertas and Selvagens islands, which are nature reserves.


Mainland Portugal
The climate in Portugal varies considerably from one region to another and is influenced by the relief, latitude and proximity to the sea, which offers mild winters, especially in the Algarve.

In the Porto e Norte area and Beiras region, particularly inland, nearer Spain, the winters are colder, although the temperatures are still mild when compared to the rest of Europe. There is some snowfall. It occurs most in the Serra da Estrela mountains, where we find the highest point in mainland Portugal (1,991 m) and where it is sometimes possible to ski. 

The summers are hot and dry, especially in the inland areas (Trás-os-Montes in north-eastern Portugal and Alentejo). Temperatures are slightly lower in the coastal areas, because of the influence of the sea. 

There are often warm, sunny days in autumn. Nice weather at the beginning of November is often called “St. Martin’s Summer” as this saint’s day is on 11 November.


Portugal has a population of about 10 million. 
The population density is at its greatest in Lisbon, the capital and its suburbs, where about 1.9 million people live. The second largest city in Portugal is Oporto in the north. 
Generally speaking, there are more people living in the country’s coastal regions than in the inland areas.


The majority of Portuguese are Catholics, but the Portuguese Constitution guarantees religious freedom and there are a number of different religions in Portugal.


From a Latin root, Portuguese is spoken by about 250 million people in every continent, and is the 5th most spoken language in the world and the 3rd, if we only consider the European languages.

The Portuguese-speaking countries are scattered all over the world. Portuguese is spoken in Africa (Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique   and São Tomé e Príncipe), in South America (Brazil) and in Asia, (East Timor, the youngest nation in the world), and it is also the official language in Macao Special Administrative Region of China.

In Portugal there are lots of people who are able to communicate in English, French and Spanish.

Marinas in the Algarve

Marina de Portimão

Marinas in the Algarve

The local Portiate crew would like to introduce you to some of the main Marinas in the Algarve.

Marina de Lagos

Marina de Lagos is a modern marina located in the Bay of Lagos (Latitude: 08º 40• N – Longitude: 37º 06• W), next to the Historic Center of the city of Lagos (West Algarve).

It was inaugurated in 1994 and receives leisure boats that visit this region of Portugal or that are passing through, by sea, to other stops. It has 460 moorings for vessels and respective support facilities (toilets/showers, laundry, etc.); It has shopping and dining areas, a hotel (Marina Club), residential areas, green and leisure areas, offering activities such as deep sea fishing and boat trips for visitors who want to discover the Algarve from the sea.

The initial buildings (administration/reception; housing; commerce) were designed by Gonçalo Byrne. Outdoor spaces designed by João Nunes and Carlos Ribas.

Website of the Marina de Lagos

Marina de Portimão

This is where Portiate Charters office is located. From here we rent motor boats and sailing yachts and brief our clients. 

Surrounded by some of the most beautiful beaches of Europe, the Marina de Portimão, has assumed the leading position in Portugal as a preferential super-yacht destination up to 50 meters.

Marina de Portimão is framed by the historical forts of Santa Catarina and São João, and affords excellent back-up facilities. The water in the marina is deep, so the vessels can come and go at any time of the tide. Located within a luxury condominium that includes its Exclusive Beach, Restaurants, Shops, Bars and fabulous Oceanic Swimming-pool all facing the sea. 

Marina de Portimão has been the stage for a number of important international events. Continuing the tradition of nautical sports and an initiative with great social impact, we continue to support the Solidarity sailing Project, that also includes disabled sailing, an area that has had been gaining participants.

With 620 moorings available for rental for short and long stays, the Marina de Portimão can receive boats up to 50m long, drawing a maximum of 4 meters. This Marina provides a variety of sea related tourist activities.

Website of Marina de Portimão

Marina de Albufeira

The Marina de Albufeira is part of a high-quality tourist complex which includes in its development hotels, restaurants, bars, a nautical club, shops, swimming-pools, apartments, villas and a recreational and leisure centre. 

The most sophisticated support services are available to all sailors and their boats, in addition to a permanent, friendly and highly professional service.Marina de Albufeira enjoys an ideal geographical location, in the Algarve, right at the end of the motorway from Lisbon and 40 kilometres from Faro airport, providing all the necessary conditions to keep even the most demanding seafarers happy.

The environmental impact of the marina was one of our top priorities right from the beginning. On this matter, in 2020 the marina, was once again awarded with the European Blue Flag and has been distinguish with the 5 Gold Anchors Award of The Yacht Harbour Association and British Marine Federation.

Website of Marina de Albufeira

Marina de Vilamoura

With its 825 berths, the Marina at Vilamoura is the largest in the country.

The harbour is divided into two separate areas for boats with different draughts and is navigable by boats with draughts of up to 4 metres and up to 50 metres in length.

There are all kinds of shops around the marina (including a chemist’s and banks), as well as restaurants, hotels and a yacht club, all of which help to make the visitor’s stay even more pleasant.

Situated in the heart of the Algarve coast, the Vilamoura Marina is surrounded by magnificent beaches and prestigious tourist developments, with several golf courses close at hand.

Website of Marina de Vilamoura

When booking one of our day trips in Portimão, you can expect many more tips about some of the Marinas you should visit in the Algarve.

The Climate in the Algarve

Climate Algarve

The Climate in Portugal

Portugal has long been a popular year-round holiday destination for Europeans. This is, in part, due to its relatively warm winters and long hot summer days. The climate in Portugal can vary considerably from one region to another and is influenced by the topography, latitude and proximity to the sea. If you are planning to travel throughout Portugal, expect the Northern region, including Porto and the Douro Valley, to be cooler. A good sweater is highly recommended, especially at night, during all but the summer season.

A Nossa Senhora da Rocha Church near Vila Vita in Porches, Algarve
Beautiful church view while sailing in the Algarve from the Praia Nova in Porches

The Algarve, being influence by the sea and southern latitudes, is much warmer with an afternoon or evening breeze almost guaranteed. Let’s have a closer look at the climate in the Algarve.


The Cliffs by Praia do Coelho near Albufeira
The stunning cliffs at Praia do Coelho near Albufeira Marina

The Algarve is the sunniest and one of the warmest regions in all of Europe with mild winters and hot, dry summers. Though bordering the Atlantic, it has a Mediterranean climate similar to Spain and Greece. The average high temperature is 25ºC / 77ºF with it’s peak in July and August at around 29°C / 82ºF with averages in September and June falling around 26°C / 79ºF. In the evening, the temperature rarely goes below 20°C / 68ºF making it an ideal climate to go out for al fresco dinning in the evening. 

The predominant wind direction in the summer is from the North, overland. These prevailing winds and the afternoon land breeze provide a reliable beam reach while under sail. Since the wind is coming over land, the sea state remains calm with relatively small waves. 

The surface water temperatures allow for an refreshing swim at an average of 20ºC / 68ºF throughout the summer months and peaking in September. The water temperatures are at their lowest around the Cape of St. Vincent near Sagres and increase as one navigates towards the Gulf of Cadiz. 


Autumn Sailing in the Algarve
Private sailing trip – Autumn in the Algarve

If you prefer to avoid the summer heat and the crowds, Autumn is a great time to visit the Algarve. 

In October and November, the average high temperatures are around 24°C / 75°F during the day with evening temperatures around 15ºC / 59°F. The land breeze and prevailing winds becomes less intense during these months, so night-time strolls through our historic seaside towns are still enjoyable, though a sweater is recommended. This is the best time to swim in the Algarve as the seas are still warm from the long summer days. Though you are more likely in autumn to see clouds in the sky and some rain, the Algarve has the least amount of rainfall compared to the rest of Europe and under 150 mm of precipitation falls within these months. 



Doggy morning sailing in the Algarve
Winter Sailing – A beautiful, but rare foggy morning sailing in the Algarve

Winter is the shortest season in the Algarve and lasts from December until February.

The weather is very mild with an average of 16°C / 60°F, though the nights can be fresh with single digit temperatures. The prevailing winds back towards the Southwesterly direction in the winter months, so evenings safely berthed in marinas, or one of our protected bays and channels is highly recommended.  The sunrises and sunsets are at their most beautiful during these months as the Sun rises and sets over the ocean. 

The weather can be stormy with the strongest winds of the year making for some exhilarating sailing. If you choose to charter a boat over this season, make sure you have an experienced skipper and proper wet-weather gear.  


Still morning exploring the sea caves on a private motorboat tour
A warm and still morning – perfect conditions for exploring sea caves and cliffs

March, April and May are great times to visit the Algarve. The average high temperatures climb to 18°C / 64°F in March, 20°C / 68°F in April and 22°C / 71°F in May however night time temperatures remain cool, so a light jacket is advised. 

This is a great time for outdoor activities such as sailing, exploring sea caves and hiking. Though the sea temperatures are still cool in the spring, sunbathing is certainly a popular activity on the numerous beautiful beaches that line the Southern coast.

These are the greenest months in the Algarve as our early spring benefits from the rain that falls during the winter months. The prevailing winds veer towards a more Northerly direction producing increasingly drier days. Some great sailing can be had as the afternoon land breeze increases with raising day-time temperatures. 

Culture in the Algarve

Restaurant Algarve

Restaurants in the Algarve - our skippers' choice

Our local skippers have selected some of their favorite restaurants in the Algarve. We focus on the Western Algarve, in between Portimão and Lagos.

Restaurante Zé Morgadinho

Located in Alvor old town, this is the most genuine Algarve restaurant close to Portimão. The sea food here is amazing at a very reasonable price. There is a guy playing accordion on a chair with a glass of wine always by his side. Amazing food, great service. Make sure you start with the clams!
  • Address: Largo da Ribeira, 8500-018, Alvor
  • Telephone: +351 282 043 957
  • Mobile: +351 917 941 409

Caniço Restaurante Bar

This restaurant / bar is set within the cliffs of the beach of Prainha. There is an elevator that goes in through the rocks, kind of James Bondish… The view is amazing and the service is quite possibly the best we have experienced. In the summer months you should call ahead to book a table.

  • Address: Aldeamento da Praianha, Praia dos 3 Irmãos, 8500-072, Alvor
  • Telephone: +351 282 458 503
  • E-mail:

Tapa Latina – Portimão

If you want to try a few different local petiscos (tapas in Portuguese), this is the place to go. It is conveniently located just in front of our Sail Yacht Base, in the same parking lot. We recommend trying the octopus salad and the quiche accompanied by an ice cold beer. This place tends to get busy in the summer months.
  • Address: Largo do Dique 16
  • Telephone: +351 282 459 129

Adega da Marina – Lagos

This is a big fun loud restaurant, open until at least mid night making it a good place for sailors to enjoy a warm Portuguese meal after having arrived late in the Marina de Lagos. The food is good and affordable, however the service might be slower at times as they tend to a lot of guests.
  • Address: Av. dos Descobrimentos 35, 8600-315 Lagos, Portugal
  • Telephone: +351 282 764 284

When booking one of our skippered boats, you can expect your skipper will share many more tips about where and what to eat and drink in the Algarve. Bom apetite!

Eating and Drinking in the Algarve

Food Algarve

Eating and Drinking in the Algarve

Our local skippers have collected some tips for you about eating and drinking in the Algarve.

Eating  in the Algarve

Traditional Portuguese restaurants offer a selection of fish dishes, one of which is certainly grilled sardines with boiled potatoes and vegetables or salad. Also commonly are a range of salads and some meat dishes, like thin pork slices or chicken piri-piri. Other local meals are Cataplana (fish and sea food stew in a copper pot), Ameijoas A Bulhão Pato (clams), grilled Sea Bass (Robalo) and Dourada (Golden Bream). The prices are reasonable, the food is good and the portions are generous. On average a 2-course meal for 2, including house wine, can cost less than €25. (Soup of the day €1.50, main course €7.00 and a bottle of house wine €8).

Wines of the Algarve

Due to the abundant sunshine in the region and the soil which includes clay, limestone and sandstone, the Algarve is a breeding ground for rich vines that produce high-quality grapes. 

Medronho of the Algarve

This is a typical drink that locals consume after a big meal. The Aguardente de Medronho (Medronho fire water) is a liquor distilled from the Medronho (Arbutus Fruit Strawberry Tree). This drink often reaches levels of around 48%alcohol content.

When booking one of our skippered boats, you can expect many more tips about where and what to eat and drink in the Algarve.

Towns in the Algarve


Cities in the Algarve

Our local crew would like to introduce you to some of the main cities in the Algarve.


Overlooking some of the Algarve’s most dramatic scenery, the small, elongated village of Sagres has an end-of-the-world feel with its sea-carved cliffs and empty, wind-whipped fortress high above the frothing ocean.     


As far as touristy towns go, Lagos (lah-goosh) has got the lot. It lies along the bank of the Rio Bensafrim, with 16th-century walls enclosing the old town’s pretty, cobbled lanes and picturesque piazzas and churches. Beyond these lies a modern but not overly unattractive sprawl. The town’s good restaurants and the range of fabulous nearby beaches add to the allure. With every activity under the sun (literally) on offer, plus a pumping nightlife, it’s not surprising that people of all ages are drawn here.


This is the base location of Portiate Charters, If you have chartered a yacht in Portugal with Portiate, then you will eventually end up in this town. Bustling Portimão is the western Algarve’s main commercial centre and the second most populous city in the Algarve. Those expecting a gritty port town will be disappointed/relieved the centre is a small, friendly hub with a pleasant waterfront, an assortment of outdoor cafes, and sizzling fish restaurants in the old quarter and quayside. You can also arrange a boat trip up the Rio Arade. Most people only pass through en route to Praia da Rocha.


Ferragudo is a quaint former fishing village at the mouth of the River Arade across from Portimão and Praia da Rocha.

Ferragudo with its picturesque church, fisherman’s houses and Castel de São João do Arade makes for a pleasant half-day or full-day excursion. This place is well worth a visit.


Carvoeiro is a picturesque Portuguese resort town that is set amidst a stunning coastline, and makes for a fantastic holiday destination for tourists who are wishing a calm and relaxed holiday. Carvoeiro has so much to offer, including pristine beaches, a traditional Portuguese ambience and an extensive selection of restaurants and bars. 

Many tourists visit Carvoeiro purely for a peaceful holiday but there is a lot to do within the region, from challenging hiking trails, thrilling water sports and interesting day trips.


Albufeira is the largest, liveliest and most energetic of all of the resort towns that line southern Portugal’s beautiful Algarve coastline. Albufeira provides stunning beaches, a glorious climate, a vast selection of restaurants and a buzzing nightlife.

Being the largest resort town of the Algarve, Albufeira has an extensive range of activities, attractions and hotels, making the town an ideal holiday destination for families, couples or groups looking to party. This guide will provide an introduction Albufeira for tourists who are planning to visit this fantastic region of Portugal.


Vilamoura is one of southern Portugal’s finest resort towns – offering so much more than just stunning beaches and a glorious climate. Vilamoura was envisaged in the 1980s as an exclusive beach resort and elite golfing center, and today the town has matured into a stylish and modern holiday destination that boasts celebrated golf courses and outstanding tourist facilities.


The Ilha da Culatra (Culatra Island) is a large sand bar island that is located south of the resort towns of Olhão and Faro. The island is part of the Ria Formosa national park and this has limited development, there are no paved roads on Culatra and the only method to reach the island is by ferry.

Along the southern side of the island there are golden beaches, with calm crystal clear waters while on the northern side there are the lagoons. The Ilha da Culatra is the location to head for to escape the crowds and even in the summer season peace and quiet can be easily found.

The main attraction of Culatra Island is the natural scenery and abundant wildlife that is combined with the great empty beaches that run the length of the Island. Ilha da Culatra has two small villages, one on the western side called Farol and the second on the northern banks called Culatra, both villages traditionally supported small fishing fleets but today tend for the tourist trade.

When booking one of our skippered boats, you can expect many more tips about some of the cities you should visit in the Algarve.

Hotels in the Algarve


Hotels in the Algarve

The local Portiate crew would like to introduce you to some of the finest hotels in the Algarve.

Lagos Avenida Hotel

This hotel is brand new, conveniently located directly in front of the reception of the Marina de Lagos. There’s a cool infinity pool at the top of the hotel facing sun rise.

Website of the Lagos Avenida Hotel


When booking one of our day trips in Portimão, you can expect many more tips about some of the best hotels in the Algarve.