Sail in sunny Portugal

Enjoy the peace and quiet of the Alentejo region while you sail on one of the largest manmade lakes in Western Europe, Grande Lago Alqueva.

When the building of the Alqueva dam on the Guadiana river was finished in 2002 one of the results was the creation of the 250 km2 large lake Grande Lago Alqueva. Since then the lake has been an almost perfect destination for a boating holiday.

Made for hydroelectric and irrigation purposes the lake offers 745 km of coast and more than 400 islands that used to be hilltops before the area was flooded. You can moor by these islands and explore their beautiful nature.

Grande Lago Alqueva offers an unusual boating holiday on the clear waters of the lake, perfect for bathing, fishing, diving and other water activities as well as for nature lovers.

You’ll find no locks here and you can moor where you want. It is a boating holiday that leaves you total freedom of choice in where you want to sail.

If you’re into history the you’ll love the Alentejo region. Here you’ll encounter old customs and traditions that you can explore by stopping at one of the many villages along the lake. Be sure to stop at the new town of Luz, which replaced the old town of the same name, when the lake flooded the area.


Riverboats in Portugal

Grande Lago

The many hours of sunshine make Lago Alqueva a nice spot for a boating holiday. Here you can sail almost year around and the clear waters are perfect for many different water activities. If you prefer to explore the shores, you’ll find a lot of fortified historic villages around the lake.

Highlights around Grande Lago: 

  • Great weather most of the year
  • Excellent swimming and water sports and also fishing
  • Cycling routes for mountain bikes
  • A world of fauna and flora
  • Local Attractions: fortified villages, archaeology, local crafts (ceramics) and regional traditional cuisine
Map of Lago Alqueva

Practical information about sailing in Portugal

At Lago Alqueva you can enjoy your boating holiday without worrying about locks as you glide smoothly across the waters. Here you’ll find som useful information, that are nice to know, when Lago Alqueva is your destination.


You’re allowed to moor at any spot along the banks unless you see a sign that says, “Mooring forbidden”. Close to the village quays you’ll find mooring buoys where you can spend the night.

Aboard your boat you’ll find two anchors, but they are for emergencies such engine failure only. Lago Alqueva is manmade lake and thus there are trees and bushes on the bottom of the lake, where the anchors might get stuck.

Running ashore

There is a marked safety route on the lake, that is tested free of shallow areas. However, you need pay extra attention to your sonar, if you want to explore the many small islets you see in the lake. The sonar helps you watch out for shallow areas as you approach land.

If you run ashore outside of the marked safety route, you’ll need to pay in order to get towed.


The clear waters of the lake are perfect for a refreshing dip. Feel free to hop in, but while you do, keep a watchful eye on the banks, turn of engine and remove the keys from the ignition. This is to avoid accidents where swimmers get to close to the propeller. All boats have a bathing lather and a shower on the bridge.


Angling is allowed on the lake, but you need to have a license, which can be purchased at official bureaus. You can also pay the base to acquire a license for you. In that case you need to send a copy of your ID beforehand.

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