Coasting down the wild Atlantic across Northern Spain and into Portugal, the ancient Iberian Peninsular is every inch as dramatic, dreamy, and diverse as it sounds. The lush coastal landscape of Northern Spain crosses from the Basque Country across to Galicia and down, unlike the drier Spanish climate, the shores here as green, rugged, and semi-tropical as anything you would see in Costa Rica. Portugal too, is pure perfection with its sleepy fishing villages, streetwise surf culture, historical cities, and award-winning vineyards. For fresh seafood, fine wine, and an epic time, Iberia is intricately fascinating.
Reasons to Charter a Yacht to Iberia
From Galicia’s smooth longboard waves to the gargantuan surf of Nazare, the whole coastline that runs from Northern Spain down to Portugal’s Faro serves up some of Europe’s best known-surf spots. Nazare is home to one of the biggest waves in the world and it makes for quite a thrill to see ant-sized surfers attempt to ride it. Further down south, and there’s plenty of surf culture to be had with pop up surf schools, laid-back bars, and barefoot living.
The Pilgrims Way
This end of Northern Spain is also known as the Pilgrims Way and you will see plenty of people hiking the famous Camino de Santiago. For yacht charter guests who want to blend a sailing adventure with long rambling walks, this side of Europe is heaven sent. The landscape changes from sleepy ancient villages to rolling Pyrenees mountains, Game of Thrones shooting locations, and Blue Flag beaches, the Pilgrims Way keeps on giving.
Wine and Dine
The Basque region is famed for its high number of Michelin starred restaurants ranging from lauded chefs to farm to table bolt holes and hip little bars. Further down into Portugal and you are welcomed to mountains cloaked in vineyards and the young grape variety of Vinho Verde. Tawny port tasting, open cellar doors, signature sardines, and robust cheeses – Iberia is a smorgasbord for the senses.
Where to Visit in Iberia
Some of the worlds best art and food can be found in the streets of Bilbao making it one of the must-see places along the Iberian Peninsula. The proud Basque city is home to many magical Pintxos bars where you can sip and snack your way to Michelin starred heaven. Bilbao is all about food and offers endless market halls, tapas bars, and restaurants have become institutions in the dining scene. Soak up incredible art in the silver swirled sails of the Guggenheim and explore the charming old town on foot.
The historic heart of the Iberian Peninsula, Porto is all romance, sweeping rivers, and late nights sipping the ruby red drink that shares the same name beneath the moon. A world of woven alleys, graffiti art, minimalist museums, and highly celebrated chefs make up the foundations of this fantastic town. Porto retains its old world and truly authentic charm with its hand painted tiles at every turn and its sloshing harbor. Its filled with gardens, hidden gems, and ancient miradors that serve up sparkling sea views.
Portugal’s capital is the king of culture and there’s forever a party spirit in the air. Listen to Fado music in tiny bars on nights out in the Barrio Alto area, ride the old trams that trundle up the steep cobbled hills of Alfama, visit gothic inspired castles and monuments, and get your gorgeous fill of boutique shopping and the edgy modern art of gastronomy. Don’t leave the trendy capital without tasting the creamy custard tarts that are a local specialty.
When to Charter a Yacht to Iberia
Portugal sees long summers and sweet temperatures from spring until late autumn making it a great destination throughout the year. The Atlantic swells are at their highest in the winter months and the water temperatures can be chilly right up until the summer. Spain’s northern coast sees plenty of rainfall and cooler temperatures. The summer months can be the best time to visit for balmy bright days and a party atmosphere.