On the 8th February 2002, the 96m high floodgates of the Alqueva dam were closed, damming the River Guadiana and creating the largest artificial lake in Europe. By 2006, the lake had been filled to the planned level and the water covered an area of 250 sqkm.
Amieira Marina is the base for 15 houseboats on which one can cruise on the lake, visiting the nine villages which line the shores (max. distance of a village from the lake is 2.8km) and generally enjoying the lake and its surrounding landscape of olive and cork trees. By mid- May, the water temperature of the lake is around 25°C and reaches 32-36°C in August, easily matching the Mediterranean. The water is clean and ideal for swimming.
- There are 7 boat types, all built by Nicols, ranging from 10.85m to 11.10m in length (sleeping 2 to 12 persons) and are equipped with GPS, sonar and a communication system
- All boats have a bathroom (wc and shower), living room, kitchen, one to five bedrooms (predominantly double bedded although two boats models have single beds), a drinking water reservoir of 750 to 1,200 litres and a green diesel tank of 270 to 300 litres which are adequate for all trips
- The kitchen is equipped with a gas oven and hobs and electric fridge/freezer
- Other equipment includes a ladder to access the water, life jackets, exterior shower, gas barbecue, TV and DVD player, radio with CD player and 220v electric socket
- All crockery, towels and bed linen are provided
- No driving licence required to navigate the boats. Minimum age to steer the boats is 18 years
- Refundable deposits of 900 Euros for the boat insurance and 150 Euros for cleaning are taken by credit card at the beginning of each rental
- Technical assistance is available seven days a week
- There is no charge for mooring at the docking facilities of the various villages surrounding the lake
- Electric sockets provided for mobiles and laptops (excluding hairdryers and toasters)
- Welcome pack included (bread, fruit juices, milk, eggs, ham, cheese, bacon, coffee, tea, typical sausages and water)
- There is a golf course within a two and a half hour sail of Amieira Marina, located near Morinho do Merinho
- It is possible to moor anywhere along the lake
- All of the villages surrounding the lake have docking facilities and each night you can walk to the village (max. 2.8km) to enjoy the delightful local cuisine
- There is a rich historical heritage to be explored around the lake
- Amieira Marina boasts an excellent panoramic restaurant with a large cellar of Alentejo wines. Traditional cuisine is served for lunch and dinner on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and lunch only during the week (Monday-Thursday)
- The journey from the south (Amieira) to the north (Juromenha) of the lake is 93km (c. 4 nights return journey)
- Boats can be hired from 2-7 nights
- Day cruises are available (excluding weekends and the peak season) and costing c.13 Euros per person (minimum 6 people) or c.30 Euros per person including lunch in the panoramic Amieira Marina restaurant (excluding drinks)
Note: The Alqueva Lake is part of the first region to be granted official 'Starlight Tourism Destination' certification by UNESCO and the UNWTO, making it one of the best locations for star-gazing in the world.