Sailing the Different Corners of Spain
Whether your ideal sailing destination is the Balearic Islands with Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera, or the mainland with its different coastal sections at the Atlantic Ocean and at the Mediterranean Sea, or even the Canary Islands with Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria and Tenerife, Spain has a lot to offer sailors of all levels. With beautiful ports all across the coast, picking a destination will not be easy.
While the Balearic Islands are more popular with bigger groups and families due to the high amount of daily flight connections, the Canary Islands score more points with experienced sailors. Galicia in the north as well as the south of Spain continue to captivate everyone with their beautiful small towns and areas of dreamlike nature.
If you look at the range of yachts offered in Spain, you will soon notice that the Balearic Islands currently has the largest selection of yacht charters.
Aside from the larger island of Mallorca, there is a large sailing culture in both Ibiza or even Minorca. The main difference you’ll find for the islands is that Ibiza is often more specialiazed in motorboats and yachts, and Minorca has an overall smaller fleet. This makes Mallorca often the main departure point for the majority of guests. When sailing around the islands, keep in mind that the distance between the islands is approximately 45 nautical miles at the narrowest point, making each trip a night or a whole day.
An island worth seeing is Cabrera, at only 16m2 , it is only 4.5 nautical miles away from Mallorca. If you’d like to stay here overnight, there is a Cabrera Permit that is necessary, which needs to be requested well in advance. From a climate point of view, the Balearic Islands have a temperate, subtropical climate. The short winters are mild and humid and they rarely see snow. During the summer months, the temperature peaks at almost 40°C. The thermal wind, which blows evenly in the morning and lasts until late in the afternoon, usually comes from the northwest to northeast. In summer between May and August, it often turns southeast. In the spring and autumn, there can be stronger winds.
One of the main perks of the Balearic Islands is the offering of anchorages and state of the art marinas. At the moment, there are about 40 different marinas and harbour facilities on Mallorca, which combined have 14000 berths. In addition, there are countless bays that are perfect for stopping for a swim.
The south coast of Spain is not as trendy for charters as much as other parts of the Mediterranean. Many people assume that there aren’t as many bays and anchorages here, but the truth is that Barcelona, Valencia and Alicante have a lot to offer.
There are several advantages to sailing on this coast. One of the perks is the ease of travel, since you can travel both by land and air. Another perk that most sailors find positive is the area is not overcrowded, no matter what time of the year you rent. With the amount of choices you have, you can easily find a route that best suits your needs. For example, if you are departing from the famous Port Olympic in Barcelona, you can either sail north into the bustling Costa Brava or head down south where the region is much quieter. Of course, you also have the possibility to sail to Mallorca if you are a more experienced sailor.
One of the more popular destinations from Barcelona is stopping at Sitges, a quiet small fishing village only 20 nautical miles away. Stop for a day or two and see the unique, quaint restaurants and get to know the friendly locals. On average, harbour fees range from 30€ in the low season in the south to over 100€ in the high season.
On the Atlantic side, you can also find beautiful scenery and breathtaking sailing. One of the most popular departure points is Vigo in Galicia including beautiful fishing villages, beautiful marinas and an incredible landscape.
The Canary Islands in the Atlantic have 7 main islands are divided into two regions, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz de Tenerife. In this region, the temperature is rather pleasant ranging from 19 to 28 degrees all year round. The Canary Islands are indeed a major destination in every season. One easy way to verify this is looking at the price of yacht charters year round. With most destinations, you have several different price points for the high, mid and low season.
In the Canary Islands, there is usually only one price, which is typically valid for the entire year. Unlike other major destinations, the prices will remain the same whether you charter in January or August. For example, the sailing winds of Force 3-4 and a temperature of 22 degrees in December will certainly not deter a majority of sailors.
Even though the Canary Islands are rather far away, it is a sailing secret off the coast of West Africa. If you’re looking to visit as many islands as possible, this is certainly a choice destination. The seven islands, Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro each have their own unique character and offerings. If you’re planning to sail for a week or two, these islands are within a day sails of each other, letting you create a custom itinerary.
What makes the Canary Islands so appealing to sailors is the new development of marinas along with it being a year-round destination. The area does require a bit more experience, but if you have a few nautical miles under your belt, it should not pose any problems with a bit of preparation. Visitors are rewarded with a breathtaking natural backdrop, both below and above the water.