Amieira Marina
In Portugal, as in the rest of Europe, the law does not require you to have a boating license for boats under 15 m long and with a maximum speed of 12 km/h. The entity renting the boat is also responsible for ensuring the ideal technical conditions and for providing safety equipment, such as an eco sounder/sonar, a GPS navigation technology, special maps and a mobile phone. You are also required to take out an insurance policy with a security deposit to cover all the inherent risks and to limit the area where the rental takes place.

All our houseboats (Nicols) meet these criteria, therefore in the light of European legislation we comply with the conditions for its application. Clients are briefed in detail about the characteristics of the boat, sailing conditions on the lake and technical details, and will have to do some practical exercises to show that they are fit to sail the boat. Note that after the 2-hour training (approx.), the client is fit to sail that boat on the Alqueva Lake during the rental period. No title or aptitude certificate will be given for any other boat anywhere else or at any other time other than specified for this rental.

Like other European countries, the Portuguese law on this activity does not require a "seaman's book" for the rental of boats such as ours, under special conditions, as the client himself will sail the boat:

1. We provide specific training for the local sailing conditions and regulations, adapted to the particular characteristics of the vessel in question, which implies that clients must wait at least two hours before they are handed the boat, so that they can receive theoretical and practical training and are declared fit for sailing the boat;

2. This privilege is possible because the rental site - the Alqueva Dam - is enclosed and is not connected to the sea, has no currents or the typical ripples of the sea, and because sailing is not allowed at night;

3. The boats only have one engine and their maximum speed limit is 6 knots, i.e., about 11 km/h;

4. Out boats are equipped with special auxiliary sailing equipment, for e.g., GPS with local mapping and indication of safe routes, eco sounder /sonar to scan the lake depth with active alarms and mobile phone;

5. In addition to the GPS/Chart Plotter, clients receive a paper map showing the navigation channels and other information;

6. The Amieira Marina guarantees the safety conditions and characteristics of the rented boat;

7. When the client rents a boat, a 650€ security deposit must be paid to ensure damages to the vessel and civil liability in the amount of 4 600 000 Euros;

8. The fact that you have receive the required training for sailing your rented boat does not entitle you to rent any other boat (even if a similar one), anywhere else or at any other time. It is only valid for your rented boat, on the Alqueva Lake, during the rental period.

The boats are specially designed for recreational sailing and no specific competence is required to navigate it. On the day you leave the Amieira Marina, a technical team will accompany the client to the boat and will explain the operation of the main equipment and devices onboard, followed by an introduction to sailing. All you need is the key for the ignition, the forward and reverse gear (to brake and stop) and the will to learn. Anyone one can become a sailor in no time at all!

The boats are equipped with double side protective rails, and the back door has a child lock for more safety (unique on the market). If you want to take your children with you, we recommend the Sedan and Estivale series, with a terrace at the back on the same level as the remaining living space, for various reasons: no stairs for the little ones; the terrace at the back has 1-meter high side protections in polyester; good clear view of the back deck from behind the steering position, so you can keep an eye on the children.

However, every tour poses risks: we recommend that children wear lifejackets at all times. You can find smaller-size lifejackets for children at the Amieira Marina (up to 30 kg), you just have to ask for them.

The Amieira Marina has a repair and maintenance service available for clients every day during normal working hours. Provided that this is necessary, the technician will be available 24/7. Should your boat break down, contact the Amieira Marina using one of the phone numbers available on the boat to inform about the nature of the malfunction, and its location. A technician will meet you as soon as possible. If the fault is not the responsibility of the client, there will be no charges.

At the beginning of the training you will be given a map of the Alqueva Lake with all the important references. The boats are equipped with easy to use GPS. These devices have a specific map for the Alqueva Lake, indicating the main safe routes and the location of buoys - which will help you move around as they are numbered and show the initials of the rivers or tributaries where they are. You'll see that the explanations given at the beginning will make it easier for you to work with the GPS. The GPS also shows the lakeside village jetties and some of the places where you have to be extra careful because of the shallow water. The surface of the Alqueva Lake is of about 250 km2 and 83 km in length, so you can sail from Amieira to the Juromenha village on this large body of water.

A dam can be safe provided that proper precautions are taken and some obstacles are avoided. There is a tested safe route available to all clients, so you just have to follow it.
In addition to the GPS, the boats at te Amieira Marina (houseboats) are equipped with a sonar. This device gives you the exact depth of the lake and shows the obstacles along the way, especially those below the water level. The sonar displays the information at 90 ° to the front of the boat and also gas an alarm set for about 3 m deep, which will be activated when the boat sails in shallow waters. you can enjoy and adventure and explore the various secluded places on the Alqueva Lake in search of calmer and sheltered spots, beautiful landscapes, and the simple contact with nature.

As the Alqueva Lake has only recently considered as a tourist destination, it doesn't always have all the comfort and conveniences we're used to in our day-to-day life. While coverage of mobile operators does exist, it's not always homogeneous to ensure coverage across the entire lake area. To minimise this inconvenience, the Amieira Marina has equipped its boats with a mobile phone to be used by clients.

The Great Lake is surrounded by paths and trails that make for fantastic bike rides. You can enjoy them while you explore nature or go shopping. The bicycle is an excellent way means of transport to the lakeside villages, even if it's just for shopping for fresh bread, vegetables and other foods.

Holidays mean swimming and diving! You'll find plenty of places suitable for diving in. Don't forget that a dam is not the beach; pay attention to the margins, don't dive in head first, and pay close attention to where you swim. Swimming is always at your own discretion.

Whether you're on holiday or just relaxing, rain means boredom. But if you're onboard a houseboat, you can still sail even if it rains. Although the weather isn't ideal, you can still take your cruise without changing the programme or chosen itinerary and enjoy the 360-degree view over from your boat, in other words, the best place to enjoy the surrounding landscape and nature even if it's not the best weather. If you prefer, you can also watch a DVD film onboard.

Besides, the weather on the Alqueva Lake is good most of the time.

Do you think you'll be bored on your lake cruise? Ask for the activity programmes available at the Amieira Marina. There's more to it than just sailing on calm waters of exceptional quality! You get to choose where to and how long you want to stay, so if you find your "paradisiacal spot" where you'd like to stay for several days, you can! All you have to do is return the boat on the agreed day and time.

We recommend that you visit the small villages around the Alqueva Lake. This is where you'll find the region's gastronomy, history, events, festivities and typical culture.

If you're more into sports, the Amieira Marina rents fishing rods, canoes, kayaks and bicycles. Don't forget to bring your camera or your videocam to record your adventure on the Alqueva lake.

The small docs or jetties found at the riverside villages should be used only for accessing these villages. If you want to stay longer and visit it, or if you want to stay overnight, leave your boat moored close to the jetty, giving clear access to any one else wanting to use it. The Amieira Marina moorings are easily identifiable by the buoys and are to be used by our clients only.

As mentioned before, our boats are equipped with a sonar to allow you to explore the various coves on the Alqueva Lake, look for calm and sheltered spots, or even islands, which the young ones will surely enjoy. You can stay overnight at these islands, stroll around or just stay for a certain period of time.

If you don't feel like cooking, you can always try one of the restaurants in the lakeside villages, places that offer typical Alentejo dishes. The Amieira Marina has signed protocols with several restaurants. All you need to do is make your reservation at least 3 hours beforehand. A transfer car will then take you from the jetty to the restaurant or village, or vice-versa. if you prefer, you can also use the takeaway service of the Amieira Marina Panoramic Restaurant. Ask for it when you check-in. Ask us about the restaurants available or check the guidebook on the lakeside villages, which you will receive when you check in, to see which restaurants to try.

Compared to other tourist destinations, river tourism is not entirely expensive. With the exception of the sailing hours that clients have to pay at the end of the cruise (set aside between 15€ and 30€ / day for this), boat holidays are economical and have no " “false expenses”, i.e., you can cook onboard or have a picnic; the activities are not extra expenses and they include: between 4 and 5 hours of sailing a day, walking or cycling tours, fishing, swimming, visits to the lakeside villages, etc.

For example, at the “holiday clubs” some of the suggested activities are often expensive; winter sports holidays such as skiing include rental costs and extra costs; the price for travelling to beach destinations is per person, among other examples. In the case of river tourism, the cost is not per person, but per boat. Do the Maths and see if the price per person at the end of the cruise is not more affordable than you thought.

The booking costs include a boat and civil liability insurance. However, you are required to leave a security deposit on the day you leave (see details in the "price" section), which will be returned to you at tne end of your cruise if the boat is returned in perfect condition. If you want a specific and more comprehensive insurance, we have custom-made solutions. Ask us! El valor de la reserva incluye un seguro sobre la embarcación y de responsabilidad para con terceros. No obstante, debe dejar en depósito una fianza el día de partida (ver detalles en el punto tarifas), esta será restituida al final del crucero, si la embarcación se entrega en perfectas condiciones. En caso de que desee un seguro personal específico y más completo, disponemos de soluciones a medida, solo tiene que preguntar.

First, you need to choose the boat that best suits your group, according to the number of people on board and the cruise dates. Then you must contact the Amieira Marina or, if you prefer, your travel agency, to see which boats and dates we have available and to make your reservation. That's it! You're booked for the Alqueva Lake cruises.

You have 72 hours to confirm your final reservation in writing. You'll receive your reservation form as well as all the documents needed for your cruise.