Live aboard Motorboats

Alto Alentejo (interior)


  • No driving licence or prior experience required to navigate the boats as instruction given locally
  • It is possible to moor anywhere along the lake so you can swim, kayak, cycle or go for walks (kayaks and cycles can be rented and taken onboard the boats)
  • There is a rich historical heritage to be explored around Alqueva Lake as well as two sand beaches at Monsaraz and Mourão
  • A list of restaurants in the area are given locally – some even deliver take-aways to the boats
  • It is possible to star gaze as this is a protected area certified as a Dark Sky Reserve

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 250sq km. The lake is 93km long. The Alentejo is the driest region of Portugal and the lake will irrigate an area of 1,100sq km.

Nine villages surround the lake and Amieira Marina, 2km away from one of the nine, is the base for 15 live-aboard motorboats on which one can cruise on the lake, visiting the other villages 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 degrees and reaches 32-36 degrees in August, easily matching the Mediterranean. The water is clean and ideal for swimming.

The motorboats sleep from 2 to 10 persons in boats of one to five bedrooms. The boats are easy to use, have a top speed of 6 miles per hour and the Marina staff offer training (c.90-minutes) before setting off. The majority of the beds are doubles and there are only two models which have single beds. All the villages have docking facilities and each night after mooring the boat you can walk to the village (c.1-2km) to enjoy the delightful local cuisine. The boats can be hired from 2 to 7 nights but depending on availability on the day, it is possible to hire a boat for a day locally, as long as weekends and the peak season are avoided.