In the north, where the sea is rougher than in the south, the most popular water sports are open water fishing, surfing and bodyboarding. Have a go at these in Ofir, Póvoa de Varzim, Leça da Palmeira and Espinho.
From Figueira da Foz down to Sines, there’s another world waiting to be discovered. Because the sea is calmer south of Lisbon, the coastline between the central region of the country and the coastal region of the Alentejo province is fabulous for diving and sailing. Our tips include diving or spear fishing in Peniche and Sines, surfing in Ericeira and Praia Grande and sailing between Cascais and Sesimbra.
In the Algarve, the choice is enormous. On the windward side, underwater activities reign. Diving and spear fishing are available in the Sagres and Lagos areas.
For sailors, the entire Algarve region is home to numerous regattas, but Portimão and Vilamoura are the best places to hire a boat and get away from it all. For open water sport fishing, Vilamoura and Tavira are the best locations - the waters in these areas are internationally renowned.
On Madeira you can fish, dive, sail and surf at a number of locations. A highlight is a dive at the Garajau Nature Reserve. But Porto Santo, with its transparent water, is also becoming an obligatory stop-off point.
The archipelago of the Azores is less well known, but equally beguiling for divers, fishermen and sailors. Islands such as São Miguel, Faial, Terceira, Santa Maria and Flores are all well worth a visit.The choice is yours.