Leisure 

Sailing Extremadura

Light sailing, canoeing or windsurfing is certainly possible in a region in which the freshwaters coastline stretches over 1,500 km.

Sailing an inland sea

Light sailing, canoeing or windsurfing is certainly possible in a region in which the freshwaters coastline stretches over 1,500 km.

La Pinta, La Niña and La Santa María sailed the waters of Extremadura many years ago. No, not that many - we are not taking about the three caravel ships that sailed to the New World under the command of Christopher Columbus at the end of the 15th century, but of the three Vaurien boats which in 1965 took part in a regatta in the Borbollón reservoir, in the Sierra de Gata area. Since then, this sailing regatta, the oldest in Extremadura, is organized every summer by the Club de Vela de Barlovento, under the name of Criterium Extremeño de la Vela.

Although the sea cannot be seen even from Extremadura’s highest hills, the conditions of the area are ideal to practice light sailing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, water skiing or stand up paddling (SUP), among others. It is also an ideal spot for other water sports more typical of inland waters, such as canoeing.

Turismo naútico

Its 1,500 km of freshwater coastline, along the Tagus and Guadiana rivers, which makes this region unique in Western Europe, its mild climate throughout the year and the presence of specialized infrastructures and organizations, including the Sailing and Canoeing Federations in Extremadura, as well as clubs, schools, activity companies and other tourist and sport agents make Extremadura a paradise to be sailed.

Its many reservoirs, including Gabriel y Galán, Borbollón, Alcántara, Orellana, Alange y Alqueva, among others, host regional, national and international competitions... and it is also where children and adults make their first plunge into these sports. In Extremadura it is possible to sign up for beginner and advanced canoeing or windsurf courses, to undergo your sailing baptism or to loan a kayak, among other options.

Turismo naútico

According to the Sailing Federation in Extremadura, four of the seven sailing clubs in the region are in the province of Cáceres (Club de Vela Barlovento, in Santibáñez el Alto (Borbollón Reservoir); Escuela Náutica de Granadilla, in Guijo de Granadilla (Gabriel y Galán Reservoir); Asociación de Navegantes Amigos del Tajo, in Alcántara (Alcántara Reservoir); and Club Náutico Tajomar, in Garrovillas de Alconétar (Tagus Reservoir)); and three of them are in the province of Badajoz: (Club Náutico Marina Villarreal, in Olivenza (Alqueva Reservoir); and Centro Ibérico de Vela and Club Náutico Orellana, both in Orellana la Vieja (Orellana Reservoir).

The latter can boast to have been the first inland leisure port in Spain to be awarded a Blue Flag, as it was in 2018. Eight years earlier, it had been the freshwater beach in Spain to be awarded a Blue Flag award, which has been renewed every year since.

Canoeing lovers, as do sailing and windsurfing lovers, have many options in Extremadura. There are canoeing clubs in Badajoz, Mérida, Plasencia and Alcántara, and companies organizing canoeing activities, from beginner courses and easy routes in calm waters to multiadventure packs. The most intrepid can brave the Jerte River’s troubled waters and canoe several kilometres down rough waters.

One of the most important days of the year for the canoeing community is the descent of the Alagón River at the beginning of August: hundreds of canoeing enthusiasts paddle down the 19 km stretch between the Puente de la Macarrona bridge in Riolobos, and the Puente de Hierro bridge in Coria.

Let’s sail along!

Water Guide (Guide for River Tourism and Activities)

 

*Photos courtesy of Federación Extremeña de Vela, the La Jarilla Centre for Sailing and Adventure Activities in Alange and the Granadilla Sailing School.

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