– the Silver Coast’s water playground
The Silver Coast is a total playground for watersports. Not only does it have miles of open ocean but there are also vast areas of calmer water in the lagoons, bays and estuaries dotted along the coast. Add to this a mild climate and great wind conditions and you have the perfect place for almost every type of watersport imaginable. With the right craft and equipment the Atlantic Ocean offers year-round boating from the main Costa de Prata harbours of Peniche, Nazaré, Figueira da Foz and Aveiro. For more sheltered conditions, or when the ocean is raging, head for one of the four other large bodies of water on the coast.
Located between the coastal resorts of Foz do Arelho and Bom Sucesso and stretching five kilometres inland, Óbidos lagoon provides a huge expanse of water for sports of all description. Covering over 1,700 acres, the lagoon is also very picturesque with forested hills surrounding its shores and numerous bays and inlets to explore. Every kind of watersport is available here, from dinghy sailing to kite surfing, canoeing to paddleboarding, and water-skiing to wakeboarding. The Escola de Vela da Lagoa on the Foz do Arelho side of the lagoon has a wide range of equipment for rent. It also runs courses in most watersports if you fancy trying something new. In the summer months there are kiosks on the southern shore of the lagoon at Covão dos Musaranhos (near Bom Sucesso golf resort) which rent out canoes, paddleboards and bikes. They also run boat tours around the lagoon
São Martinho do Porto
A short distance up the coast to the north is the semi-circular bay of São Martinho do Porto which is protected from the full force of the Atlantic by two massive rocky headlands that guard a narrow strait of water between them. This natural formation has created a large area of sheltered water which is ideal for sailing, canoeing or just floating about on an inflatable boat. The Clube Náutico São Martinho do Porto offers some sailing boats for rental to suitably experienced sailors, as well as canoes and kayaks for those who just want to paddle across the bay. In the summer months there are usually jet skis available for hire from a kiosk mid-way along the beach.
Figueira da Foz and Aveiro
On the northern end of the Silver Coast there are two extensive waterway systems which also offer many varied opportunities for watersports – Figueira da Foz on the mouth of the Mondego river and Aveiro, which sits on the banks of the vast Ria de Aveiro lagoon. This lagoon is ten times the size of Óbidos lagoon and is a popular location for all types of watersport. There are several companies offering courses and equipment for rental in these areas – including Riactiva and Ria de Aveiro Kite Club.
All of the above places provide great locations for the fast growing sport of stand up paddleboarding (SUP). While expert SUPers will enjoy taking on the waves at one of the Silver Coast’s famous surf spots, learners or improvers will find the lagoons and bays a far more forgiving environment for refining their skills. Further inland there are fascinating rivers and lakes which wind through the rural countryside of Portugal and are ideal for a long, leisurely tour of exploration. Local company SUPXscape offers SUP courses, tours and holidays at several locations on the Silver Coast. Check out our guide to top SUP sites on the Silver Coast and beyond.
If you want something a little more challenging than paddling across one of the Silver Coast’s tranquil lagoons head for the rivers found in the northern part of the region. The Mondego River, which flows through Coimbra and reaches the sea at Figueira da Foz, offers miles of leisurely canoeing through wooded valleys. There are several companies in the area who organise downriver day trips with transport provided to get you back to the start point at the end of it. For a bit more excitement try some white water canoeing on the Alva River which feeds into the Mondego. Further north similar experiences are available on the Vouga River which meets the sea at Aveiro. For more details check out the web sites of companies such as Trans Serrano, MuitAventura and Aventur.
For those who prefer to enjoy their watersport in the tranquility of the underwater world, there are outstanding dive spots in the marine reserve of the Berlengas archipelago, a short boat ride away from Peniche on the Silver Coast. The islands offer a unique diving experience, with crystal clear waters, hidden beaches and caves and barrier reefs teeming with vibrant marine life. Peniche has a couple of PADI certified dive schools, Haliotis Diving Centre and Acua Sub Oeste, which offer courses and regular dive trips to the Berlengas.
Please note: Silver Coast Life is not affiliated to any of the companies mentioned in the text above and does not receive commission from them. Links to their sites are provided for information only and do not imply our endorsement of them.