Portugal is popping up a lot on the “best destination” lists these days, and it’s easy to see why.
The borders of Portugal, along the Atlantic Coast of the Iberian Peninsula, have remained almost unchanged since the middle of the 13th century. One of the oldest nations in Europe, Portugal is now a republic but once was a kingdom that grew into a powerful maritime empire. Its rich seafaring history dates all the way back to the Age of Discovery, when Prince Henry the Navigator began sponsoring voyages of exploration in 1418. These voyages included the first European contacts with the Canary Islands, the Azores, Madeira and the Cape Verde Islands. Exploration of the West African coast, first in rounding the Cape of Good Hope, and first Europeans to reach India, Japan and Brazil by sea — all accomplished by Portuguese sailors. Today, superyachts can visit Porto, Lisbon, and the southern region of the Algarve. The Mediterranean cruising season, from mid-May to mid-September, is the best time to visit Portugal.
Located along the Douro River, the historic center of Porto and the Monastery of Serra do Pilar are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In the early 1700s, the fortified wine known as port began to be exported to England from trading posts along the banks of the Douro in Porto. Experience the mournful tunes and expressive lyrics of fado at the nightclubs of Porto. Fado singers, accompanied by a uniquely designed Portuguese guitar, represent a musical genre traced to the 1820s, when sailors and dockworkers along the waterfront began singing about the sea and life of the poor.
The second oldest European capital city, Lisbon lies along the estuary where the Tagus River meets the Atlantic Ocean. From the end of the 15th century to the beginning of the 17th century, most Portuguese expeditions departed from Lisbon, and the city became the European hub of commerce between the Far East, India, Africa and, eventually, Brazil. With profits from a monopoly on the spice trade, a royal palace, monastery, monuments and towers were built along the river, ushering in the Portuguese Renaissance.
Dramatic sandstone cliffs, golden beaches, sea caves and nature preserves, combined with tourist villas and resorts, all make this Portugal’s prime warm weather, sunny destination. The Algarve is dotted with hiking trails to hilltop villages, and lighthouses with stunning vistas of lagoons and sand dunes. Attractive fishing villages along the coastline harken back to the days before the tourism boom of the 1960s.
DID YOU KNOW …
- Portugal is one of the oldest nations in Europe, and Lisbon is believed to be four centuries older than Rome.
- Lisbon is home to the oldest operating bookstore in the world: Livraria Bertrand, located in Chiado, was founded in 1732.
- Portugal, which has the world’s largest cork oak forest, produces 46% of the world’s natural cork, and exports about 63% of the world’s supply.
- Portugal decriminalized all drugs in 2001, the first country in the world to do so. It now has some of the lowest drug usage rates in the EU.
- The maximum prison sentence in Portugal is 25 years. It was among the first countries to abolish the death penalty and life imprisonment.
- Portugal currently has one of the lowest crime rates in the world and was ranked No. 6 in the 2022 Global Peace Index of the world’s safest countries. Oh, and speaking of crime, it’s illegal to pee in the ocean in Portugal. Don’t believe us? Look it up!
Port of Entry Marinas
Marina Porto Atlantico
+351 229 964 895
Dockage up to 115 feet (35m) LOA
Entry basin depth: 13 feet (4m)
Yacht basin depth: 11.5 feet (3.5m)
Marina de Cascais
+351 214 824 800
Dockage up to 148 feet (45m) LOA
Maximum beam: 33 feet (10m)
Marina de Portimao
+351 282 400 680
Dockage up to 164 feet (50m) LOA
Entry depth: 28 feet (8.5m)
Quay depth: 13 feet (4m)
Upon arrival and check-in at the port of entry marina, the marina staff will contact the local immigration department, who will clear in the crew and guests either aboard the yacht or at the marina office.
Portugal is part of the Schengen Area, a bloc of 27 European countries that allow free movement of people between each country. Therefore, passport holders from any of these countries do not need a visa to visit Portugal if they are staying less than three months.
Citizens from the U.K., Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, the U.S., Israel, Japan, and Singapore can stay in Portugal for up to 90 days in any six-month period without a visa. Non-Schengen European countries and some Latin American nations share the same privilege.
However, passport holders from a number of countries, including South Africa, India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Turkey, need a visa to visit Portugal.
For further details, click here to consult Portugal’s official government immigration website.
As far as customs clearance is concerned, if the yacht is planning a typical transient stay at the marina, there will be no need for the local customs department to be involved upon arrival. However, if the yacht is planning a haul-out due to emergency repairs while at the marina, the customs department may get involved to make sure there are no VAT issues related to an extended stay while repairs are being completed. The general rule of thumb is that if customs has any questions, they will contact the yacht upon arrival.
For further details, click here to consult Portugal’s official government customs website.