Vila Real de Santo Antonio - General Info

Select your download option below


The river Guadiana, at its seaward end, forms the border between Portugal and Spain and has been a centre of trade for thousands of years. The town of Vila Real St António was rebuilt in the 18th century after being wiped out in a flood and has some typical Algarve-style buildings.

The river is navigable for 20 miles to the town of Alcoutim.

The current can be very strong so plan your entrance carefully.


37°09.68’N, 07°23.71’W (river entrance)

Read and Post Related Comments

If you have information for this section, or feedback on businesses used, please let us know at [email protected]. We also welcome new information about businesses you have used (see Related Businesses).

Select your download option below

Next Section: Profile: Clearance

Vila Real de Santo Antonio was last updated 6 years ago.

Related to following destinations: , , provides high quality courtesy flags that are manufactured in durable Knitted Polyester fabric. Knitted so that the fabric itself does not deteriorate in the constant movement that marine flags are usually exposed to, and polyester so that the flag does not weaken in the strong UV-light usually found in the main sailing areas of the world. offers a discount to Noonsite members.

Use the coupon code NOONSITE_5A2B when checking out to get 10% off today.

Buy Now On provides high quality courtesy flags that are manufactured in durable Knitted Polyester fabric. Knitted so that the fabric itself does not deteriorate in the constant movement that marine flags are usually exposed to, and polyester so that the flag does not weaken in the strong UV-light usually found in the main sailing areas of the world. offers a discount to Noonsite members.

Use the coupon code NOONSITE_5A2B when checking out to get 10% off today.

Buy Now On

You must Login or Register to submit comments.

  1. October 30, 2019 at 12:48 PM
    johnseddon says:

    Pay attention to the tide when entering the river and do not shortcut the channel markers. Depths are changeable. When leaving later I left close to low water in order to catch a forecast easterly wind, and I got into trouble, going around in circles to find a way out without touching. Luckily little swell that day.
    The inside of the Santo Antonio marina is exposed to the river currents, so take care. Arriving from Spain in September 2019, I found this place overpriced (especially if you stay on the inside of the outer pontoon, even though it’s not your fault because the marina is full). All the staff speak English. You can get fuel at the berth outside, in the river – check opening times. The pleasant town is lively in the evening, with lots of eating places. A nice first taste of Portugal for me, but if you are just headed up the river, I would recommend Ayamonte across the river which is cheaper, just as nice and lies outside the river currents.
    By the way, I highly recommend the trip up this lovely wide river: easy and with hundreds of safe anchorages outside the marked channel. You can tie up to the pontoon in Sanlucar, Spain, but there’s little space on the Portuguese pontoon opposite. No matter: there is a cheap shuttle boat every few minutes which I took to dine well and cheaply in Portugal. You may be asked to pay a small fee (I paid <10 euros), otherwise I advise leaving Sanlucar without paying. I went to the townhall (hard to find) and found myself in a tragi-comic movie in which I feared I might be flung in jail "for not booking in advance". The many documents all had to be countersigned by the mayor who was out fishing "but might be back later". Functionaries from another planet. Just leave!

  2. September 8, 2018 at 3:49 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    We stayed here for three nights, September 2018. Luckily we have lots of tidal docking experience, so it all went well. But be forewarned – you need to preplan your entrance here, taking into consideration which way the current is flowing; it can be very strong.

    We watched several boats try to dock which did not seem to have any clue regarding the current. Thankfully for them, lots of people were around to help them, and the boats they glanced off had fenders on their non-dock side.

    It is best to just initially tie to the long reception pontoon, which runs the length of the marina. In all likelihood, you will not get a dock and therefore just stay on the reception pontoon.

    This is fine, as getting in/out of the very tight docks in the ever-present current would be a challenge. Unfortunately, you are charged an extra ‘fee’ for staying on the reception pontoon, even if there is no room on the docks; we thought that a little underhanded.

    The office staff is very nice and speak very good English; the Marinaros much less so. The showers are hot and quite clean, but rather small. The town is nice and not too overrun with tourists.

    Very unfortunately, we will not return here as there is a ‘disco’ just outside the marina which starts blasting music at 1800 hours (and I stress the term “VERY LOUD”, and does not stop until 0600 hours the next days – this went on the three nights we were there!

    We took the ferry to Ayamonte and that’s where will go next summer. There were plenty of open docks, no current to deal with once inside the mouth of the harbour, and the town has a much better vibe. There is a huge grocery store “El Jamon” just to the left as you get off the ferry.

  3. October 26, 2017 at 12:44 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    I am writing this post to warn boat owners about using the boatyard and repair services of Marina Guadiana. This is the first yard you’ll see on the Portuguese side after entering the mouth of the river.

    We visited Vila Real de Santo António and Ayamonte in August 2016 and due to rot/water damage to our wooden mast, we had to make emergency repairs. We discussed and negotiated with the owner Enrique who assured us he would scarf in a new wood section and repair with epoxy.

    Our mistake was leaving the boat for a month and not overseeing the repair work and process. Later, we got a call saying the original quote had increased by 200%. We had little choice and assumed at least they would do a thorough and competent job.

    Fast forward a few months and we ended up selling the boat as we sold our house and wanted a bigger boat. I went back to Marina Guadiana on 2 separate occasions to meet the new buyers.

    I explained the whole process to the new buyers and paid the very expensive repair bill. As the mast had been re-fitted, we all assumed the work had been carried out properly.
    After having other problems with the boatyard (not being allowed to work or check their new boat) the new owners set off a few weeks later.

    They soon ran into problems and discovered no repair work had been carried out, they had only re-varnished over the original problem. They ended up with a major mast failure and near loss of life and the boat was severely damaged.

    Guadiana Marina blocked and evaded emails and phone calls and refused to take any responsibility. I would definitely recommend boaters to steer well clear of Marina Guadiana.

  4. October 6, 2017 at 3:59 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Marina, not the best. Electricity costs an extra fee and there’s a 20% surcharge for docking on the long pontoon (the only one that had room for visitors). No Wifi on the pontoons, only in the restaurant.

    Office and facilities are squeezed into the restaurant building and rather “compact” (have to open the toilet door to stand up). Office staff was polite but very inflexible and told us off for not radioing ahead even though we docked without trouble.

    Perhaps this was due to a number of accidents due to the strong current running through the marina. Coming in on the long pontoon is no problem, but turning the boat in the marina is only recommended during slack tide or things can get exciting.

    We paid €22.14 for a 12.4m monohull without electricity in early October (on the long pontoon). If you don’t care about the town, would advise going into Ayamonte on the other side of the river – cheaper, friendlier and much easier docking. There is a ferry connecting both sides of the river.

    The town is very nice though and worth a visit. There is a fuel pontoon slightly upriver from the long pontoon.

  5. June 30, 2015 at 7:13 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    At the end of June 2015, we thankfully had a better experience in Vila Real de Santo Antonio than Stan. While we did not get an answer on the radio, a friendly and knowledgeable Marinero was waiting for us at the reception quay.

    You should definitely enter or leave the marina at slack water. Contrary to the information in the Navioncs chart, slack water is the time of high tide or low tide and not 3h before.

    Manoeuvring inside the marina for boats more than 35″ is not easy as it is very narrow inside and you always have a fast current running except at slack water.

    4 marineros appeared one and a half hours before high tide and turned our boat around 180°, using the current to help them, so our bow was pointing towards the harbour exit.

    At high tide, we had slack water and could drive out of the harbour safely. You can tell the time of slack water by the fish. Costs were €48.76 without water and electricity for a 16m boat.

  6. February 22, 2015 at 12:33 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    We visited Vila Real de Santo António (VRSA) in January 2015. Care must be taken when approaching and navigating the river, as some buoys were unlit. Depths in the channel are still good around HW. We never had less than 3m below our keel upon crossing the bar.

    Mooring on the outside of the large pontoon that separates the marina of VRSA from the river is not allowed – not even to await slack water. The waiting pontoon is on the inside. After checking-in small yachts will be required to move to a berth.

    Manoeuvring in the marina is a challenge: spaces are claustrophobic. We had merely a boat length (we sail a Nicholson 32) to manoeuvre in and out of our berth. Currents can be strong. All of this would be perfectly manageable with proper planning, namely waiting for slack tide to eliminate the current.

    However the staff run the marina more like a hotel than a port, e.g. you have to “check-out” before 12:00, even if that means manoeuvring out of a crammed marina with 4kn of current.

    After having complied with the instructions of the staff when manoeuvring into our allocated berth, resulting in damage to our topsides, we insisted on following our own planning when leaving.

    In spite of some muttering, no extra charges were required for leaving after 12:00(and none would have been paid). Showers are tiny and not very warm. Depths are good. Staff are friendly, but I disliked the unhelpful attitude when it came to basic seamanship and prudence in avoiding damage.

    I recommend mooring at Ayamonte across the river. (That was our first choice from the start, but the marina turned out to be silted when we arrived.) We also saw several yachts anchored over the shallows behind the green channel marker opposite VRSA marina.

    Stan Luyten
    SV Noctiluca

    Facebook Page: “Cruising Vagabonds”