Far away from the bustling tourists resorts, crowded beaches and commercial hubs of Portugal’s Algarve, lies the port town of Viana do Castelo and a beach that will make all your windsurfing dreams come true. Located in the far north of the country and less than 40km from the border of Spain, the beautiful Cabedelo Beach is Planet Windsurf’s favourite new holiday destination.
Opening just a few short months ago at the start of their windsurfing season, the FeelViana sports hotel offers an adventurous experience like no other. “This area of Portugal is not commercialised in any way shape or form so you get a very authentic experience in an area of outstanding natural beauty,” says Stuart Tandy of Planet Windsurf.
More about FeelViana
Owner run by a competitive windsurfer who represented Portugal back in his day, FeelViana is a sporting hotel for the outdoor enthusiast. Suitable for couples, young and old, or families with kids of all ages, FeelViana provides a relaxing atmosphere where you can get back to nature with a fully equipped sports centre right on site.
Nestled on lovely beach, fringed by natural pine forest, the FeelViana hotel stands in an enviable location. With picturesque mountain scenery as the backdrop, the undeveloped Cabedelo Beach stretching out in front and the Lima River running up the side of the property – it simply doesn’t get any more beautiful.
The hotel offers a four star boutique experience that is homely while still providing pops of colour with contemporary art and small details. Here natural elements combine with modern architecture to create a contemporary environment you will simply adore.
Why windsurf in Portugal
This area of Portugal is said to provide the most consistent wind in the whole country. The pristine Cabedelo Beach lies within a horshoe-shaped bay that provides amazing windsurf conditions no matter your skill level. Beginners learning to windsurf will enjoy the large area of flat water created by the port’s breakwater while a couple hundred yards down the beach, the waves start to peal creating the perfect playground for more advanced sailors. The thermal wind picks up through the day so it is not uncommon to be able to windsurf from sunup right through to sunset but with strong winds building towards the afternoon, beginner’s lessons are normally held in the morning.
“I probably had the best session I have ever had personally. The Friday afternoon I was there I spent a solid three hours on the water and I probably learnt more in those three hours than I’ve learnt anywhere else. It was amazing!” says Stuart Tandy of Planet Windsurf.
The season runs from May to September, with locals often hitting the water in the fringe months of April and October to enjoy the last of the sunshine and the great wind! The wind blows side shore and there is no real danger of getting washed out to sea due to the shape of the harbour. But even so, the hotel has set up an amazing agreement with the local lifeboat society who offer a free rescue boat service during the summer months to anyone using the beach. When chatting to one of the lifeguards about this service they offer, we were told, “it’s really funny because you see people floating around in the water and by the time you reach them they are very relieved and very happy to see you, and by the time you get them in the boat and tell them that its free then they are even more happy – so they are happy twice!” And it is this super friendly atmosphere that underpins the entire experience at Cabedelo, with kitesurfers and windsurfers sharing the same space in peace.
Clear skies and warm temperatures combine with these amazing conditions to make this area of Portugal pure windsurfing heaven.
In fact it is an area so popular with windsurfers that between 14 and 24 June 2018, FeelViana will be hosting a PWA 2018 event at the hotel! Planet has exclusive rates for this so be sure to contact them if you want to witness some of the best windsurfers in action.
Things to do
From SUPing adventures, to fishing excursions, surfing, sailing, trail running, hiking and mountain biking – you can do it all in this area of Portugal!
One thing not to miss out on is FeelViana’s guided cycling tours. Utilising only the best equipment and offering over 400km of tracks to explore, in the mountains and on the roads, by the river or by the beach, FeelViana offers a cycling experience second to none. Run by an ex-professional cyclist, each route has been personally mapped and you can follow the trails on your own, making use of a GPS with all tracks described with supplementary information, or book yourself on a guided tour to discover the amazing natural beauty and historical sites of the region. You can even cycle up the river to an ancient village to enjoy some fine wine and cheese or pop into spain, enjoy an afternoon of tapas and fine wine, and make it back to Portugal in time for a sunset windsurf session!
Alternatively, take a leisurely 30 minute stroll across the river or make use of the hotel’s boat transfer and enter the traditional, classical Portuguese port town of Viana do Castelo. Here you can enjoy the vibrance of the local bars and restaurants where you may even find a band playing live music in the central square. Authentic, well priced cuisine and a proper local atmosphere will have you returning again and again.
So even if there is a day when the wind is not working, you won’t run out of things to do!
Viana do Castelo is easily reached via a 45 minute road transfer from the city of Porto. There are lots of flights to Porto available from the UK, from London as well as some of the regional airports, making this a very accessible and affordable destination – even in the busy summer holiday months. While a car is nice to have it is not essential and Planet recommends not bothering with car rental from the airport as the hotel has cars for rent right in the forecourt area, complete with local insurance.
You can also add to your windsurfing beach holiday with a couple nights exploring the sights in the historical centre of Porto or cruising the Douro River. With 210 navigable kilometres of waterways and home to the oldest demarcated wine region in the world, some say that this is the most beautiful river in Europe.
So what are you waiting for, contact Planet Windsurf Holidays to book your trip to West Portugal today!