Small ship cruising holidays in Spain

Our best small ship cruises from Spain take you around the Iberian Peninsula, across the Strait of Gibraltar and out into the Atlantic Ocean – even exploring neighbouring countries like Portugal and Morocco. They also give you the chance to explore fishing villages and capital cities on dry land.

Setting sail is a real adventure. You might kick back on a small sailing cruiser or help sail a tall ship down the Spanish Costas. Don’t forget that this is a holiday, so you won’t have to walk the plank if you prefer to sunbathe and soak up the sea views with a beer or two rather than splicing the main brace and staying awake for the night watch. It’s up to you how involved you get with the sailing and how much you want to learn from the experienced skipper and first mate.

Keep reading to discover where you can go on a small ship cruise from Spain.

Portugal to Spain via Morocco

A small ship cruise from Portugal to Spain skirts the Iberian Peninsula and crosses the Strait of Gibraltar as it opens up the shared heritage of Southern Europe and North Africa. Stopping off at ports such as Carvoeiro, Huelva, Chefchaouen and Sotogrande gives sailors a real understanding of the Iberian Peninsula and Morocco. You’ll finally anchor in Malaga after a week of explorations – a great place for celebrations.

La Coruna to Portugal

Sail around the Atlantic coastline of north-west Spain as you set a course to Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal. Starting from the Spanish port city of La Coruna, famed for its Roman lighthouse the Tower of Hercules, this voyage to Portugal takes a week to complete. There’ll be time for overnight anchorages around the Spanish and Portuguese coasts, with fresh seafood dinners and plenty of salty sea dog stories to listen to as stars fill the sky above. It’s a brilliant opportunity to learn the ropes of sailing a tall ship or – when the wind is in the right direction – simply sit back and relax.

... or Spain to Portugal via Morocco

Flip the trip and set sail from Spain to Portugal via Tangier in Morocco to explore this region of Southern Europe and North Africa from a different angle. It holds a treasure trove of medieval heritage, as well as some superb sailing opportunities. From visiting the Alhambra Palace in Granada and spending the night in Tangier to experiencing the Gothic architecture in the Andalusian capital of Seville – a leisurely small ship sailing holiday from Malaga to Lisbon is a must for culture lovers.

Read our Lisbon to Malaga cruising guide for more.
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Spain or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.

Tall ship sailing in Spain

There’s a great sailing route from the Basque Country in Northern Spain that takes you all the way along the French coast via Brittany, Normandy and the Channel Islands, before skirting Belgium and finally finishing in Amsterdam. Sailing through the Bay of Biscay, English Channel and North Sea is an adventure for inexperienced sailors and gnarled sea dogs alike, and takes around 10 days to complete.
Santa Cruz on the island of Tenerife is an ideal anchorage for giving sailors the chance to learn the ropes before embarking on an adventure around the Canary Islands. From the volcanic shoreline of Tenerife, you’ll head to the islands of La Gomera and La Palma, where you can explore some of the best walking trails in the Canaries. Expect great food, warm ocean and star-filled nights.
Some trips give you the opportunity to take part in tall ship races, such as from Dunkirk to La Coruna, a Spanish port city famed for its Roman lighthouse the Tower of Hercules. You’ll get the chance to join the initial sailing regatta and parade in France, as well as the closing ceremony and end-of-race fiesta in Spain. The whole experience involves around 11 days at sea, giving you time to get to know your fellow crewmates as you learn the ropes and discover strengths you never knew you had.

Other routes are non-competitive. There’ll be time for overnight anchorages around the Spanish and Portuguese coasts, with fresh seafood dinners and plenty of salty sea dog stories to listen to as stars fill the sky above. It’s a brilliant opportunity to learn the ropes of sailing a tall ship or – when the wind is in the right direction – simply sit back and relax.
Written by Chris Owen
Photo credits: [Page banner: Michael Martinelli] [Spain, Portugal & Morocco: Louis Hansel] [N. Spain to the Netherlands: Vishwas Katti]