A beautiful corner on the Tagus

It is hard to describe Seixal. It is one of my favorite corners of the estuary. Some say Seixales as a funny reference to the Seychelles archipelago, but unlike the latter, Seixal is no beach destination.
A city of 31,600 inhabitants situated along the Judeu river, just a bit over 1 hour sailing across the Tagus river estuary from Lisbon, the municipality of Seixal evolved over the centuries, always with the connection to the river.
A land of fisherman, it was across the river that the region’s products were carried on sailing boats to Lisbon and various dockyards and shipbuilders began constructing river boats and ocean going sailing ships. Due to the great effects of the tide in the river, several tidal mills were built along the intertidal muddy shores.
It was here that Paulo da Gama was based in his manor house supervising the construction of the fleet of vessels that would take him and his brother Vasco da Gama on their voyage to India in the 16th century.
By the 18th century, the municipality became an aristocratic retreat for the nobility in nearby Lisbon, resulting in the construction several vacation properties or villas which rich architectural heritage endured until nowadays.
A booming oyster industry established here in late 19th century and early 20th exported them mainly to France where they were much appreciated.
Nowadays there is a nautical station on the bay in front of Seixal equipped with a quay and anchorage area besides other support services to the sailing community. While taking a stroll along the river side it is possible to see traditional sailing wooden boats, appreciate the fish cousine, the historic center of Seixal, the natural landscape just opposite where lots of birds migrate to.

 

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When entering the river Judeu it is common to see kids diving from the pontoons next to the Ponta dos Corvos beach
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Another look to the Ponta dos Corvos beach when entering the river Judeu
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Sailing boats from far away in the quay in front of the city
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More sailing boats
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Tidal flat at Ponta dos Corvos beach
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View from the Seixal sailing club with Lisbon in the background

 

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Top 5 water experiences to do in Lisbon

You have seen everything on your list, don’t feel like do more walking, bored of doing every time the same thing, want to try new things or want to surprise someone. Here are a few exciting things that will change your routine and put a smile on your face.

Top 5 water experiences sailing tour
A creative engagement proposal

Sailing Tours

These are my favorite. There are plenty of sailing tours companies mostly located at one of several marinas but not all of them are the same. Some of them have scheduled sailings for which you can buy a ticket and you will sail together with other people. It is really easy. Just buy the ticket and sail. Other offer a more personal tour where you book a trip. You can take your partner on a romantic sunset tour, do a bachelorette party, have dinner onboard after a birthday party and even stop for a swim. The limit is your imagination.

Speed Boats

Speed and adrenaline are your thing and you are not afraid of getting a bit wet? If so, this is the right experience for you. This high-speed ride is done on powerful rigid inflatable boats with much horsepower. You will be taken in a high-speed run with lots of turns that will make you feel like in a roller coaster. In between of all these emotions there is also time to enjoy the views towards Lisbon and see some of the riverfront iconic monuments.

Helicopter Tours

See things from another perspective and be blown by the view over the city, the 25 de Abril bridge, the Cristo Rei, the full extent of the Tagus estuary and see the blue ocean stretching as far as the view can see. Sit back and enjoy the unique views over some of the most iconic landmarks. There are several routes you can choose from.

Surf

Certainly, you have heard about the giant waves at Nazareth beach and Garret McNamara. If they are too much high for you there are lots of beaches to choose from around Lisbon being the nearest and most popular Carcavelos which is served by the urban train. Other near destinations include the beaches at Costa da Caparica located south of Tagus. New to surf? No problem. You can always find some surf schools at the most popular beaches and if you already have the skills there is material for renting.

Amphibious Bus

Have you ever taken a bus that also goes on the water? Pretty cool no? These bus tours start on dry land and take you on a sightseeing tour to some of the best locations in Lisbon and there is a guide onboard that will give you an explanation of what you are seeing. Then at some point of the tour you will be driven down a ramp leading to the river and that is when you start doubting if your bus really floats. With a splash on the water all your doubts start to disappear as you cruise calmly through the river waters. During this second part, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the view and see some of the most iconic riverfront landmarks.

Feeling already excited about these experiences?

Have you ever tried on of these experiences?

Lisbon the capital of the Atlantic

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.

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Terreiro do Paço Square

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.

Anchored yachts in front of Caxias beach, Lisbon
Anchored yachts in front of Caxias beach, Lisbon

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.

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View towards Alfama old quarter

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.

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Emirates Team NZ and Oracle Team USA at the America’s Cup World Series Cascais

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.

Volvo Ocean Race 2011 - 2012 Lisbon Stopover
Volvo Ocean Race 2011 – 2012 Lisbon Stopover
Tall Ships Races Lisbon 2012
Tall Ships Races Lisbon 2012
Cunard Line Queen Mary II, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth meeting at Lisbon in 2014
Cunard Line Queen Mary II, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth meeting at Lisbon in 2014
Team SCA and Vestas Wind at Volvo Ocean Race 2014 - 2015 Lisbon Stopover
Team SCA and Vestas Wind at Volvo Ocean Race 2014 – 2015 Lisbon Stopover