Spain is one of the top destinations in the world for sailing holidays, for the simple reason it has literally everything you could ask for a great time on the waves! It has two of the longest coastlines in Europe: its the Northern coast, on the Atlantic Ocean, stretches from wild Galicia to the fabled San Sebastian, and the Southern/Eastern, on the Mediterranean sea, stretching all the way down from historic Cadiz to modern and trendy Barcelona. On top of that there's both the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands (which are actually closer to Africa) to explore, nearly year-round good weather, and a rich and diverse culture to discover - Spain is the land of tapas, flamenco, bull-fighting, fiestas, passion and hedonism. Spain is far from undiscovered but there's still plenty of scope to discover this beautiful and fascinating country in your own way, and with hundreds of ports and marinas where you can charter a yacht the logistics part of your sailing holiday will be easy.
Starting with the Mediterranean coast, the Costa Brava is a great place to hire and boat and get sailing! 'The Wild Coast' is full of rocky coves, cliffs, picturesque fishing villages and golden beaches. Barcelona is a perfect base as you can fly there easily (or to nearby Girona and Reus) and start your exploration, and the city of Gaudi's sensational architecture is famous for its modern outlook, rich culture and party lifestyle. Nearby Cadaques is just one romantic resort within reach, a one-time favourite of Dali and Picasso.
Heading South from the Costa Brava it's possible to sail down the Costa Dorada (past Tarragona with its Roman ruins) and Costa Azahar to the Costa Valencia, topping up your tan aplenty on the way. Valencia is one city definitely worth visiting, with it's beautiful Old Town and the dried river bed - now the Turia gardens - in which sits the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences. This party city is a great place to discover the Spanish way of life, and is famous for it's Las Fallas festival in March... it's all about giants and fireworks! Valencia's port has plenty of companies offering yacht charter and boat hire.
If you're all about beaches you'll find some of the best by sailing down to the Costa Blanca, where white sands and turquoise waters await. There are plenty of touristy resorts to stop off at, like Alicante, if you want to mingle and party with locals and fellow holiday-makers. Denia meanwhile has a brand new marina.
The Costa de Almeria is relatively untouched by mass tourism and good for escapism. The coastal city of Almeria boasts the Moorish palace Alcazabar whilst lunar landscapes and the Cabo de Gata national park can be explored once you've moored your yacht.
No sailing guide to Spain would be complete without a look at the Costa Del Sol... a haven of jet-setters, celebrities, expats and holiday-makers. A love or loathe it place for sure. Golden beaches, bustling resorts like Marbella and Malaga, fantastic golf courses and sensational sights like Alhambra, in Granada. Touristy, but with good reason.
Finally on the Southern coast, joining the point of Gibraltar to Portugal (so technically on the Atlantic, not the Med.) is the Costa de la Luz with its fabulous, dune-backed beaches of fine, white sand, pine woods and fishing villages. Cadiz and Huelva are both worth discovering, whilst inland Seville is not far away, the heart of traditional Spain with its beautiful architecture and of course flamenco tablaos.
On to the North Atlantic coast and we discover a totally different side to Spain. Wet, wilder and more dramatically beautiful, the Galician coast is dotted with capes and villages - and it's not called Costa Marisco 'The Seafood Coast' for nothing. Charter a yacht along these shores means stopping off for some of the tastiest fish and lobster in the world and of course sunbathing on spectacular beaches where the waves crash in! A Coruna is a good day trip with a port for hiring boats.
Asturias (Costa Verde), Cantabria (Costa de Cantabria) and the Basque country (Costa Vasca) make up the the remainder of the coast until France, and a sailing trip along this shore takes in forested cliffs, estuaries and wetlands rich in wildlife and of course amazing towns and cities like Gijon, Santander and San Sebastian - a favourite with Ernest Hemingway. Yacht charter companies operate all along the coast (nearest airport is Bilbao) or you could sail from Biarritz in France.
As well as the diversity and beauty of Spain's 4000km of coast, there's the islands to set sail to, starting with the Balearics. Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera are the four biggest of the archipelago and have attracted travellers for centuries. By chartering a yacht you can avoid the overcrowded beaches and tackier resorts and take your boat to secluded bays and enjoy swimming, sunbathing and snorkelling. Each of the islands has scenic towns and villages to discover, as well as other attractions. Ibiza is famous for being the best clubbing resort in the world and a magnet for party animals - but it has its quiet side too if you're more in the mood for a romantic holiday or vacation!
Further adrift, in the Atlantic ocean, off Africa's coast, are the Canary Islands. Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and La Palma are all popular tourist and sailing destinations, thanks to their subtropical climate (it's sunny and warm nearly all year) and - of course - beaches. In fact there's more to do than laze around. The Canaries are in fact volcanic mountains jutting out of the sea, and as well as there usual resorts to party in, there's arresting and unique landscapes to explore. Naturally there are plenty of companies offering bareboat and crewed yacht charter and boat hire dotted around the islands.
As well as bareboat and crewed sailing trips in and around all the above locations, Spain is a great place to learn the ropes, and we'll bring you more info on sailing lessons and courses in everywhere from the Costa Brava to the Canary Islands soon.
Spain Travel Info
Spain Yacht Charter Info