With road transport becoming more sophisticated, bringing much of the continent within reach, there has never been a better time to relocate your boat and expand your horizons
Lazing in Lisbon
Portugal is one of my favourite cruising countries – far enough south for real sunshine and out in tidal water with refreshing breezes. Portuguese folk are genial, their cooking is delicious and the seafood sublime. The Algarve is a classic destination and boats are often trucked down to Lagos or Portimão.
However, some UK companies move boats down to Lisbon, a fantastic base steeped in the romance of adventuring by sea. Lisbon’s famous mosaic of colourful old buildings looks south across the River Tagus and a stately suspension bridge.
Marina Parque das Nações is five miles upstream past the bridge, a welcoming place to start a Portuguese interlude. Barely a 15-minute taxi ride from Lisbon airport, this chic modern marina is close to city sights but also has a prime location near the wild shallow creeks of the Tagus nature reserve.
Cascais is an alternative drop-off, a quietly luxurious marina in the Tagus approaches. With its desirable villas, fragrant pines and sandy beaches, Cascais is like a slice of the Riviera with an agreeable oceanic climate. The yacht club is next to a 15th-century fort and you stroll along its ramparts into town.
Derek McClarron, an experienced driver with Interboat Transport, told me about his recent trip through balmy Cascais carrying a Broom 50 hardtop. The transit looked pretty dramatic, but everything went smoothly and the high-tech trailer made light of some tight roundabouts. From the Tagus, it’s easy to cruise on south to the Algarve.
Moving your boat to Lisbon
UK low-loaders use the Portsmouth to Bilbao or Santander ferries and then cut inland to Salamanca and the E80 towards Lisbon.
For Portugal’s more northerly marinas, they can turn off at Arrifana towards, for example, Figueira da Foz. In Lisbon, the Marina Parque das Nações is convenient for unloading.