Guide to Sailing and the Best Marinas in Andalusia

Andalusia has a reputation for being a brilliant place to enjoy all kinds of watersports, and that includes sailing! Boat rental is booming in the region, with visitors travelling from all over the world to enjoy the landscapes and coastlines that make Andalusia famous, but from a whole new perspective.

The good news is that sailing in Andalusia doesn’t have to be expensive: contrary to popular belief, it isn’t a hobby that’s only for the rich! By sharing the cost of your boat hire with several other people, the cost can be driven down significantly. With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about sailing in Spain, as well as our guide to the best marinas in Andalusia:

When to Sail in Spain

With its year-round favourable climate, there’s always somewhere you can sail in Spain, making it a year-round destination. The best places to sail in the country though will depend on the time of year you visit:

  • Between November and February, the Canary Islands are the best Spanish location for sailing. These islands offer a warm and sunny climate during the winter months with temperatures rarely dropping below 18 degrees, and sea temperatures a new-constant 22 degrees.
  • If you want to sail in the spring or autumn then head to the Mediterranean coast. This is the perfect time of year for escaping the summer crowds, and the weather is wonderful without the fiercest heat of the sun.
  • During the summer months is the best time to sail around the northern coast of Spain. Whilst the Atlantic Ocean can be rough no matter what the time of year, it tends to be calmest during the summer months of July and August. Water temperatures can also be much cooler here than in other parts of Spain.

Sailing Conditions in Spain

The sailing conditions in Spain will vary depending on where in the country you choose to sail, but with the Mediterranean the most popular location, you can expect the sea currents here to be gentle and hardly noticeable, whilst waves occur primarily because of the wind blowing, rather than any other external forces. Normally, the heights of waves in the Mediterranean range between 0.5 and 1.5 m, and very rarely exceed 5 m, making it a very gentle and easy place to sail, particularly if you’re new to the hobby.

By contrast, on the Atlantic and Cantabric coasts, waves can often exceed 10m during the winter months and the biggest wave recorded in this region was 27,81 meters high: this is great news for surfers, but might not be the ideal option for novice sailors!

The Winds in Spain

Understanding the winds, their speeds, and how best to harness their power, is integral no matter where in the world you hope to sail. To help ensure your Spanish sailing trip is, ahem, smooth sailing, here is a full breakdown of the most common Spanish winds:

  • Borrasca - this is a violent squall or sudden thunderstorm that you are most likely to experience in the Mediterranean and the Northern Part of Spain. It usually comes from NW, W.
  • Chubasco -this is a rapid and strong downpour, that stops almost as quickly as it starts.  It is very common throughout the country, has minimal impact, and doesn’t come from a specific direction.
  • Levante - this is a hot wind from E, NE, that can be especially strong in the area of the Strait of Gibraltar, where the local conditions increase its power and speed.
  • Lebeche - this is another warm wind from SW, this one coming from the Sahara, bringing elevated temperatures and sand from the desert. As they are relatively close to the Sahara, this wind is most common in the Canary Islands.
  • Galerna - this is stormy, hot and very humid NW wind that arises unexpectedly on the North Coast, especially during the summer season. Wind gusts can go up to more than 100 kilometers per hour.
  • Tramontana -this is a wind that originated in the French Central Massif and the Pyrenees, it is a N wind that blows strongly over the Balearic Islands and some parts of Catalonia. Sometimes it can reach speeds close to two hundred kilometers per hour, and it can be very destructive.

The Best Marinas in Andalucia

If you’re ready to try your hand at sailing on your next trip to Spain then Andalusia is a great place to visit, thanks to its warm and calm seas as well as its excellent climate.  The marinas here are not only places to collect a chartered boat, they are also cultural hubs tourist attractions in their own right, and often at the centre of local communities. Here is a list of the very best that the region has to offer:

  • Puerto Banus, Marbella, Malaga. This is the most famous marina in Spain, and also the most luxurious. Here you will find billionaire’s yachts with supercars parked along side. Even if you don’t charter a boat of your own, it is a destination well worth experiencing. 
  •  Puerto Marina, Benalmadena, Malaga. In both 1995 and 1997, this marina was given the title of ‘the best marina in the world’. Offering beautiful ships and incredible access to the sea, this huge marina complex also offers considerable shopping and dining options, as well as a huge aquarium for families to enjoy.
  • Port of Barbate, Cadiz. This is a smaller marina with just 256 moorings, and a particular focus on sailboats. The port itself is surrounded by an area of outstanding beauty, making it a great place to sail from and enjoy the incredible views from the water.
  • Port of Estepona. Estepona is often referred to as the garden of the Costa del Sol, and the port certainly lives up to this name! The port here has a beautiful promenade, and also hosts a weekly street market which lends it a fun vibrancy that lingers all week long.
  • Sancti Petri Port, Chiclana, Cadiz. Perhaps the most laid back and relaxing port on this list, what makes Sancti Petri stand out from the crowd is its unique views. From the port you can see the old castle of Sancti Petri built on a small island, where the Temple of Hercules Melkart was once located. This is also a great place to try your hand at a whole host of different water sports.

 To find out more about what it’s really like to live on the Costa del Sol, or for expert advice and support on making the move, why not get in touch with our property specialists today? We love to help people just like you find the Spanish property of their dreams.