Spain: Recommendations from Cruisers
Published: 2012-05-10 15:21:17
May 2012: Subsequent recommendations from cruisers added to this article in itallics.
The following comments are from sailors who have recently cruised in Spanish Waters and contributed to a survey run in co-operation with Segeln magazine, about Mediterranean cruising recommendations (note there are also comments here about the Canary Islands).
Spanish Marina prices vary wildly. The privately owned ones and sailing clubs cost MUCH more than the local authority ones. All are generally good, so check carefully before arrival.
Spain is nice overall, nice weather, nice current north to south, nice food, nice people, easy!
Port Olympia, relatively cheap and you can get to the centre of Valencia via tube quite quickly.
Very interesting town, the aquarium the most famous of the Med.
The best city and friendly port so far.
You have ancient and modern side by side.
Good for wintering but there is a chop in the harbour most of the time. Rubber shock absorbers on shore lines essential.
The costs at Yacht Port Cartagena (YPC) are the best, friendly, English speaking among others.
We have just been lifted for a wash and antifoul by Astilleros de Cartagena, the yard right next to Yachtport Cartagena marina. They took good care of the boat and did a good job overall - Tony Boas.
35 Nautical Miles east of Malaga, near a village called La Herradura, there is a small & beautiful marina (36.43.40N, 3.43.33W), very friendly place, good restaurants by the marina.
A popular port for leaving the boat during the winter. Though Ryanair does not fly Almeria in winter, Air Berlin offers a reasonable alternative. When staying in Almerimar don't forget to visit Restaurant La Solea. It offers a surprising good quality at a reasonable price. Their Pinxos menu is very tasteful and inspired.
Great place to winter. Good prices. Excellent services. Look forward to going back.
Almerimar Marina. Eric Oosthuizen (cell phone number +34 677 341 844), ex-South African. Speaks English and Spanish. Very helpful with boat repairs etc. Very little English is spoken here and he proved a life saver. Also the marina is very cheap for cruisers. Many boats stay for the winter as well. Nice beaches 5 minutes walking away. Restaurants ok - lots to choose from and a great supermarket, Mercadona, in the port.
Punta de la Mona & Marina del Este
Anchorage - Punta de la Mona - fabulous, great holding in sand just off the beach protected from all sides except the east. Marina del Este - cheap and very well sheltered for the winter.
Alcadeisa Marina (La Linea, Spain) - new and cheap. You can negotiate excellent berthing fees.
Portals Vells for eating out. Really nice restaurant and amazing anchorage.
Cala de Figuera for anchoring and restaurants.
Sa Colobra for anchoring.
Don't be put off by Majorca's reputation as a crowded cheap beach destination. Most of this is around Palma bay. Soller and the calas on the east coast are beautiful. The water is warm and clear - great for snorkelling. The train ride from Soller to Palma is fun for all the family and there are great shops and restaurants when you get there.
For supplies after a few days at anchor, Puerto Pollensa is good. Supermarket, market and shops near marina and a swimming pool in the marina so you can avoid the crowds. The laundry is good but a bit expensive.
Visit Cabrera south of Mallorca.
If visiting Mallorca take time to go to Cabrera. This island is 12 nm south of Sa Rapita (30 nm from Palma). It is a National Park with a magnificent lagoon that you can visit. There is also a 15th Century Castle and a beach. You are not meant to anchor but have to pick up a mooring. These are free but you have to book. Apart from the National Park staff there is a small garrison of 20 or so troops left there since a German submarine was spotted in the first world war. This means there is also a small Cantina to relieve their otherwise busy lives spent guarding the island. Although in July and August you are meant to be limited to a one day stay, we have found that if you ask the harbourmaster in the morning he will often let you stay longer. To book email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for a form. For more info. on Cabrera visit the national park website.
Really nice the bay of a natural protected area on the Island in front of PARQUE NATIONAL del Archipielago de CABRERA (but you need to ask permit by fax to the ministerium of Madrid to have an ""anchor-ton"" reserved.... if not, it can be that they send you away, because no anchor permit). The Island is beautiful because nature pure, there are only students from University to have summer-seminars on the Island - really special atmosphere and protected in all wind directions.
In Menorca, with the wind out of any southerly point, Cala Algareyens makes a delightful anchorage - and a fine first or last anchorage in Menorca when arriving from or leaving for northern Mallorca or Barcelona. It offers great holding in sand, wonderfully clear blue waters for snorkelling and a broad and interesting sheltered haven for dinghy sailing. We spent several days at anchor there in August 2011, and they proved several of the best days of our month-long cruise.
Cova d'en Xoroiâ, Carrer de Cova. 07730 Cala en Porter, Menorca 971 377 236 - www.covadenzoroi.com. You can visit in the day or night. This club/restaurant is cut in the side of a dramatic cliff. Just to the West of the club is a narrow cove that makes a perfect anchorage. Access via dinghy to steps on the right wall of the cove. The surrounding town, Cala in Porter, is nice but non-descript. If you are looking for a unique place to visit day or night with a unique musical flair, this is it. For a taste of music and scenery, I recommend a visit to their website.
West coast, Ciudadella, Cala Coves.
East coast, Bahia of Mahon.
North coast lovely bays, protected, sand.
Menorca and Majorca are bombed out, but Ibiza is possibly the nicest day boating in the western world. You can anchor in almost every cove and inlet, and hence I have just spent several months there, never staying in a marina, partly because it's over 100 Euros for a 39 ft boat, and 450 for an 80-footer PER NIGHT in summer - and that's in San Antonio, not Ibiza old town where it's about double. You'll anchor in San Antonio bay, free of charge.
In Salinas, Ibiza, book lunch at the Jockey club (www.jockeyclubibiza.net). Es Torrent is also good for lunch or dinner (www.estorrent.net) at nearby Porroig. If it's windy, zip back to San Antonio and have dinner at Villa Mercedes.
It's cheaper to anchor in San Antonio and hire a limousine to drive you around Ibiza rather than stay in any of the marinas in the capital. El Olivio restaurant is nice.
The island of Espalmador - which is really an extension of Formentera - is the nearest thing to a Caribbean beach. It is a "must" to visit . It is crowded during the day but if you can stay on over night the day trippers have gone back to Ibiza. The marina on Formentera (San Sabina) is the most expensive in the Med.
Stroll naked along the endless beaches of Formentera. Nothing quite like it.
This island has good holding in crystal clear waters off the beach but poor holding off the town to the west of the harbour entrance.
Check out the mud baths (and swimsuit optional beach!) on Formentera.
Chef-Chouen in Morocco is a fantastic little town showing traditional village life...like women washing clothes on the rocks by the river or boys headed to the public ovens with their family's loaf of bread for baking.
Indulge yourself at Marina Rubicon in the South of Lanzarote at Playa Blanca. After sailing to the Canaries you need a reward and this Marina provides everything you could need. There is an excellent boatyard, a welcoming reception and a reasonable chandlery ........ Helpful and knowledgeable people who will genuinely help to resolve your problems and satisfy your requirements. Ashore you will be spoilt for things to do, the choice of excellent restaurants is extensive, there are a variety of shops, a large market is arranged twice a week, car hire base and when you start overheating there is a large pool and sunbathing area available to berth holders. The base provides excellent day sailing opportunities - Team Telefonica worked up here in August 2011 in preparation for the Volvo race. This Marina is world class, and having now sailed in many areas I have yet to find a better package.
Wait in Las Palmas for the ARC to start, rent a car and visit inland. Dunes in Maspalomas (south). Attend WOMAD (Festival World of Music and Dance).
San Sebastian - great for families with children.