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Cruising Biscay Ports, North Spain, E to W

This bold, mountainous and interesting green coast between France and Galicia is little visited by yachts, most of which rush straight to the Rias. It's an easy 240nm coast of passage. The longest leg between two safe harbours is about 70nm.

Well populated, this coast has big industrial ports, quiet villages, busy fishing harbours, attractive beach resorts. Some ports are cut into clefts in the rock, some protected by massive sea walls, others are hidden in shallow estuaries behind sand bars.  When the fishing fleet is in, it’s often necessary to tie alongside - and wake up as they leave port. Then enjoy sea food to die for.

Sailing the Balearics; Mallorca, Minorca, Ibiza, Formentera

The Balearics are well developed Spanish holiday islands with lots of (fairly light wind) summer cruising and many lovely anchorages. If you're on passage, two weeks will skim the area; four weeks allows a more thorough cruise. There is very good yacht support in Palma, and there are many wintering possibilites.

This is a good (if expensive) area to base a yacht. In high season it's dense with yachts, berths are in short supply, and sheltered anchorages crowded. For a summer pause, leaving the yacht ashore is often good value.

There's a big difference between summer and winter facilities in all except the principal towns. Winter cruising is feasible, though Minorca suffers strong northerlies. There are frequent cheap flights from all islands to most European destinations in summer, and year round from Mallorca


Sailing Mediterranean Spain - Mainland Coasts

Mainland Spain is a coast of passage, or a coast for wintering, rather than a cruising ground, with some interesting cities to visit, and superb seafood to enjoy.

From Gibraltar to Dénia (opposite the Balearics) is about 500 nm of sunny sailing along a coast faced with some of the most over-developed beach resorts of Europe. The coast is easily navigated with day hops from marina to marina. These include some of the sunniest and good value winter live-aboard marinas in the Mediterranean. But anchoring is exposed, and rarely free of swell.

The northern 500nm to the French border has lower lying coastlines, frequent marinas and a better choice of anchorages, especially in the Costa Brava. The magnificent cities of Cartagena, Valencia and Barcelona are "Must Sees".

Rias of Galicia

The North West corner of Spain (between Ribadeo and Bayona), is Galicia, a wonderful cruising ground (8/10) comprising about 180nm of granite coastline deeply indented with steep sided ‘Rias’, each just a day sail from the next.  There is lots of sheltered sailing with good beaches, many anchorages, some interesting pilotage. Yacht support is good, with enough marinas, and some good layup and live aboard locations.  Allow four weeks for a good explore.  There are year-round scheduled flights from Santiago do Compostela,  and Vueling (a low-cost Spanish airline) connects London to Vigo and A Coruña.

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