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Hear from our experts: In Portugal, explore the Grande Lago from the Amieira base!

Bathed in the warmth of the Mediterranean and the breathtaking scenery of southern Portugal, you will find Amieira Marina on Grande Lago. Let yourself get carried away by the sound of Portuguese fado and the soothing scent of rosemary, and discover the nautical base with Tiago.


Met Tiago: our expert

At 38 years old, this is Tiago's third season as manager of the Amieira base.  He loves nature, his region and his country. Speaking about countries, he’s been to a lot of them. Born in Portugal, he grew up in Luxembourg, before moving to Holland, France and all over Europe.

As a result, it comes as no surprise that the man who currently manages 15 boats - of all sizes - speaks a total of seven languages: French, Portuguese, Spanish, English, Dutch, German and Italian.

But Tiago does not manage this nautical base on the shores of Europe's largest man-made lake on his own. Between 6 and 8 employees (depending on the season) are on hand to ensure that your river cruise in Portugal is a pleasure without a hitch.

The Amieira base is not just a starting point for Nicols clients to start their boat holidays. As well as offering mooring places for private boats, Tiago offers cruises lasting from 1 to 2 and a half hours on the Grande Lago and the Guadiana River. Come aboard the Guadiana, the boat of the same name, for a lunch, cocktail party, corporate event, or a simple sightseeing tour of the region!
Trained as an agricultural engineer, our kind-hearted base manager is particularly sensitive to issues of environmental preservation and nature conservation. For this reason - all the more so in a semi-desert environment like the Amieira region - Tiago fights all unnecessary expenditure of natural resources, from running water to fuel. A word of advice: don't leave your boat's engine running for no reason in Tiago's presence!


Team of Amieira Marina


The region's strong points?

When asked about the strong points of his region, Tiago sets the tone straight away: this is southern Portugal, the weather is fine, very fine indeed, and in the summer it gets hot, sometimes very hot. With temperatures easily exceeding 40 degrees in full sun, all the boats are air-conditioned, thankfully. That is an advantage, because here you're almost certain not to get a drop of rain during your week's cruising. And even if it does, it won't last long - as Tiago likes to say, "nature needs it".  And it's true!

The base fits into the region perfectly. There are no large seaside or river resorts here. Nature is present and preserved everywhere. You’re surrounded by peace and quiet, animals, vegetation made up mainly of cork oaks and, above all, virtually no pollution in the region.

In fact, the nights are so beautiful and clear on Grande Lago that in December 2011 the site was the first place in the world to receive the "Starlight Tourism Destination Certification", awarded by the Starlight Foundation, with the support of UNESCO, UNWTO and IAC.

Just because the area is protected doesn't mean there are no facilities for yachters - on the contrary. Here, every village has at least one quay where you can moor up and spend a meal or a night, lulled by the sound of the water!

Starry night on the Grande Lago



Tiago's top picks

For our expert, if there were only 3 things to do during a river cruise in Portugal, it would be :

  • Go stargazing at Campinho (see our article "destination Starlight")
  • Visit the Museum of Luz, a village swallowed up by the waters of the Grande Lago after the construction of the Alqueva dam, and rebuilt on the shores of the lake.
  • Last but not least, for an unusual and surprising experience, take a mud bath on Monsaraz's Golden Island!

Luz village house



In Portugal, the food is great!

For Tiago, who is a connoisseur, picking a favorite place to eat is a heartbreaker, as the restaurants, guinguettes and other small food stalls are all better than each other.

One address is La Lanterna, in Luz. Here you can enjoy the best clams – but only during the months that don’t have an "R" in their name, insists the specialist - prepared Portuguese-style.


Unlike oysters... 

"Clams are the opposite of oysters," explains Tiago. At first surprising, this explanation is easy to understand. Clams, the region's specialty, are only eaten during the months that don't contain an "R" (May, June, July and August); they're no good, he says, during the other months.

Trust the connoisseur!

Clams plate



An app to help you find your way around

To make sure you have as much fun as possible, Tiago not only provides you with maps, advice and navigation charts, but also a smartphone app. It's there to make sure you never take a risk, whether it's getting too close to the dam's exclusion zone, or the lesser risk of not finding a great restaurant along the 100+ kilometers of uninterrupted river cruising on the Guadiana.

Here are a few tips, which Tiago and the whole team will obviously repeat to you during your navigation instruction, and which you'll find on the app:

  • Respect the signs, especially those indicating the exclusion zone of the dam.
  • Respect the main navigation channel (a portion of which is in Spanish territory) marked by numbered buoys.
  • If you accidentally stray from the main navigation lane, look at the GPS and depth sounder screens provided on all boats to avoid running aground on a shoal, and return to the riverbed.

And, of course, when in doubt, don't hesitate to give Tiago a call - he knows the area like the back of his hand!

How do navigate the Grande Lago?



How not to be disappointed with your first river cruise?

According to our expert, there's only one thing - and it is true for all our bases - that can prevent you from enjoying your week's river cruise in Portugal: not reading the map correctly and, above all, not listening to Tiago's recommendations during the training course.

The region is not complicated to navigate, as long as you follow the signs and maps. If you deviate, there may be a few dangers, but don't worry: they'll all be explained to you during navigation instruction upon boarding!

Navigation training with Tiago


Tiago's treasure: his region

No matter how much we insisted, searched or investigated, there isn't a single place in his beautiful region that Tiago doesn't cherish more than another. He cherishes and treasures his environment. He speaks of it in terms of smells, sunshine, hospitality, seasonal differences in scenery, vegetation and fine weather.



Amieira in a nutshell

Tiago gets so talkative when it comes to his region, that it's hard to get him to sum it up in a few words. Nevertheless, it's the words color, warmth and welcome that come to mind when sailing Portugal's Grande Lago. And we're convinced about it, too!



Come see it for yourself!

As if you needed convincing to come, Tiago welcomes you with an open heart and invites everyone to come and recharge their batteries in this beautiful Guadiana region. Come to be isolated, calm and forget about the stress of your daily life.

"You'll get back into shape, recharge your batteries and leave on the last day with a smile on your face and the desire to come back again", concludes Tiago, who pours his heart out into making his clients happy.

Would you like to discover our suggestions for river cruises in Portugal? Visit our page dedicated to Portugal.

Coucher de soleil sur le Grande Lago

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