Spain Atlantic Coast: Costa Verde and Gibraltar Strait

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Surrender to the Spanish conquest! BoatPlanner transcends your imagination, offering a virtual tour that imbues you with the spirit of Iberian waters before you even set sail! Will you be cruising along the Atlantic coastline? Or enjoying the Mediterranean sun-kissed Spanish shores? Wherever you may roam on Spanish territory, sea, and land, you will find a rich amalgam of history, culture, natural beauty, and the Spanish brio that brings that ‘Ole!’ Feeling.  Buen Viaje!

Atlantic Coast: ‘Costa Verde’ and Gibraltar Strait

The Atlantic Coast of Spain is often referred to as Green Coast or ‘Costa Verde’, with its dramatic cliffs, windswept beaches, and charming fishing villages. This wild region in Spain offers diverse sailing and yachting experiences with notable distinctions between its northern and southern sections, including areas near the Gibraltar Strait.

Galicia: The NW region of Galicia is characterized by its Celtic heritage and beautiful river estuaries. Ports like A Coruna and Vigo are popular starting points for exploring the Galician coastline, while Rias Baixas are famous for their sheltered anchorages and delicious seafood.

Asturias: The port of Gijon is a perfect gateway for sailors looking to explore the region’s natural beauty. Fishing villages and a stunning unspoiled coastline await visitors.

Cantabria:  The Real Club Maritimo de Santander, in the capital of Cantabria, is a well-equipped marina. Laredo, San Vicente de Barquera, Comillas, and Santona are alternative options, each one with its own grace and Spanish flair.

Andalusia: Malaga is a popular sailing destination in the Andalusian region. Muelle Uno, the port of Malaga, also serves as a yacht marina. Marbella, on the Costa del Sol, offers a more upscale and glamorous experience for sailors. The Puerto Deportivo de Marbella and Puerto Banus, offer access to the town’s luxury amenities, shopping, and nightlife.

Gibraltar Strait: Marinas in places like Algeciras and Tarifa serve as ideal bases for exploring the Strait, or even sailing to Africa’s coast. Costa de la Luz, or else Coast of Light is also famous within the sailing community. Ports like Cadiz and Huelva are popular yachting spots in the area.

Canary Islands: Although you may need a ferry or a flight to reach the Canary from Spain, you can go on with your sailing trip, by rechartering a vessel once you get there. Santa Cruz de Tenerife has a well-equipped marina. You can also anchor in the nearby bay. Marina Las Palmas in Gran Canaria is a popular starting point for intra-insular crossings. Puerto Calero and Marina Rubicon serve the island of Lanzarote and Gran Tarajal is a convenient stopover for sailors in Fuerteventura.

Weather & Climate

The Spanish Northern Coast enjoys navigable weather, almost all year round, with mild summers and relatively wet, cool winters. The Cantabrian coast has relatively small tidal ranges. Northerly winds prevail in the Cantabrian Sea, which can occasionally create challenging sailing conditions.

The Andalusian/Gibraltar Coast has a more Mediterranean-like climate with hot dry summers and mild wet winters. The Levante and the Poniente winds can cause challenging easterly and westerly wind patterns in the Strait.

History & Places of Interest

The historic past of the Cantabrian Coast bears the legacy of Celtic, Roman, and medieval cultures, leaving enduring imprints for contemplation, still resonating today.  

Santander’s old town is adorned with cultural landmarks like the Magdalena Palace and the Cantabrian Maritime Museum. Bilbao, in the Basque Country, is an artistic hub, known for its Guggenheim Museum. A stunning natural park awaits outdoor enthusiasts and hikers a little further inland in the Cantabrian Mountains. It’s the Picos de Europa National Park.

If you don’t want to leave the shores, another historical coastal city is Gijon, in Asturias. The charming old town and the Evaristo Valle Museum can be a wonderful break from the Atlantic waves.

The Costa del Sol, the southern coast has a rich history, influenced by Phoenician, Roman, and Moorish civilizations. Malaga, the birthplace of Picasso, boasts the Picasso Museum and the Alcazaba fortress.

 Beyond the glitzy beachfront lifestyle, Marbella’s old town is a beautiful stroll ashore. Enjoy the view from the famous ‘Balcony of Europe’ in Nerja and explore the impressive caverns and the Nerja Caves.

Travelling eastbound to the Strait you feel the Mediterranean vibe knocking through. The Rock of Gibraltar is the ultimate gate to the Umbilicus of the World’ and St. Michael’s Cave is right at the center. A stunning natural cavern within the rock, occasionally playing host to a number of events. Pay a visit to the Main Street, too. The lively shopping district in Gibraltar offers a blend of British and Mediterranean culture.

Beaches

Feel the verve on the Costa Verde beaches, such as the likes of; Torimbia, the northernmost beach, in Asturias; Rodiles in Villaviciosa, a remote beach in Asturias with a couple of beautiful anchoring spots; the popular San Lorenzo Beach in the city of Gijón; Lastres in Colunga; Arnao in Castropol, Galicia.

The southernmost region of Andalusia provides a stark contrast to the northern Costa Verde. In the famous Costa del Sol, Playa de la Malagueta in Malaga, and Playa de Puerto Banus, in Marbella, are luxurious marinas giving access to both beach fun and high-end shopping, restaurants, and nightlife. Playa de Fuengirola and Playa de Estepona share a more relaxed atmosphere.

Playa de Tarifa on the Atlantic side of the Strait is a windsurfing and kitesurfing haven. Nearby Valdevaqueros Beach offers kiteboarding adventures. However, it’s Playa de la Linea dela Concepcion where you will be able to sail and swim in beautiful scenery with the iconic Rock of Gibraltar as a backdrop!

Canary Islands: Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, and Fuerteventura are an excellent choice for hop-on/hop-off stops and a perfect way to capitalize on your Spanish sailing adventure.

Activities

Tune in to the Flamenco vibes. Savor traditional seafood dishes such as ‘paeglia’ and ‘pulpo a la gallega’ in Galicia. Join the local fiestas like the San Fermin festival in Pamplona. That is of course only if you are willing to make another 51 miles (82km) inland from the coastal city of San Sebastian, in the Basque Country. The Pamplona Bull Run is definitely less violent than the traditional bullfighting in arenas around Spain as the Plaza de Toros in Madrid, but altogether risky. So, we wouldn’t do injustice to those who would prefer another kind of fun. And we came up with interesting suggestions. For adventurers of this kind, Tarifa is the ultimate watersports beach. Test your adrenaline in the region’s rugged terrains; go canyoning, rock climbing, or paragliding. Trekking along the Camino de Santiago is a more relaxed activity. If you want to live your sports experience without letting go of the helm, then participate in one of the thrilling regattas along the coast.