There is no doubt Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, has become one of most popular destinations in Europe and not only for tourism. It is considered one of the coolest cities with a vibrant culture and a hotspot for entrepreneurs, artists, surfers, international students or scientific researchers.
What many people don’t know yet is that Lisbon is becoming the city of sails of Europe.
If you already had the pleasure of being in Lisbon it is certain that you noticed this city gives you a sense of being at the beach and this is special true at the riverfront.
This is due to the combination of its Mediterranean climate that produces long warm summers and short mild winters and the presence of the imposing river Tagus.
Its estuary area is around 320km2 and since the beginning of the first settlements in the Neolithic, people took advantage of this mighty river for their subsistence. It was from here that naus and caravels departed during the Portuguese Discoveries in the XV and XVI centuries and later in the XX century a vibrant fishing industry established. Nowadays we are beginning to see a rise of its usage for recreational purposes.
It is home for several types of fishes, mollusks, crustaceous and especially thousands of birds who stop here during their annual migrations reaching 50 000 individuals.
If you take a stroll along the riverfront on a sunny day you will notice the fair amount of sailing boats elegantly making their way across the calm waters.
This image became part of Lisbon’s landscape and you can also enjoy a relaxed tour on one of this sailing boats through several existing tour companies.
I recall one summer afternoon when I was quietly sailing past the old quarter of Alfama, looking to the packed white houses with red roofs along the hill mixed with ancient stone religious buildings and traces of green foliage and colorful flowers, and being stricken by the beauty of this never before seen perspective of the city.
Moreover, Lisbon has become known for hosting events such as the America’s Cup World Series in 2010, the Volvo Ocean Race stopover in 2012, the La Route des Princes in 2013, the Tall Ships Races in 2012 and 2016, the Extreme Sailing Series Act 7 and currently it is where the Volvo Ocean Race boatyard is located preparing the boats for the next Volvo Ocean Race edition following the city’s aspirations of one day becoming the VOR headquarters.
There is still much to be done but it is absolutely undeniable that the river Tagus together with the sunny weather and charming Lisbon offer one of best packages for a truly unforgettable sailing experience.
Here is a selection of some nautical moments from around Lisbon.