The new marina here not only has very good facilities, it is also one of the cheapest anywhere on the Spanish and Portuguese coasts - in additon to which it is ideally placed for visiting the historic city of Porto. All in all well worth a stop for a couple of days or so.
It is a comfortable day sail (52nm) from Bayona to here, making this a sensible first stop in Portugal rather than Vianha de Castelho, which is of of course an alternative should progress be slower than anticipated. We sailed two or three miles offshore, and when we approached Povoa it was hazy but we identified the breakwater fropm about a mile out. The first thing you will probably notice from further out are the high white buildings silhouetted against the flat coast.
Approach from well offshore and keep away from the ends of both moles, which are likely to have breaking waves in any reasonable swell. In very strong onshore conditions the entrance might be a little frothy, and the harbour is sometimes closed in storms. On entering the channel between the two moles stay in the centre - The Northern mole in particular is foul for quite a few metres off. Once inside the harbour leave the green buoys to starboard then turn right and head for the marina in the SW corner. Try to get on a pontoon one or two ranks in from the entrance, as quite a lot of swell makes its way into the harbour.
(We saw spray breaking over the harbour wall in quite modest swell conditions, and friends overwintering there told us that the harbour had been closed a few times in storms)Formalities
The marina office takes care of all the formalities, with no need to visit any of the other authorities. We later learned that this is unusual for Portugal.Facilities and Charges
The security gates were open all the time, but the marina is some way from the town and felt safe enough. There is water and electricity on the pontoons at no extra charge. The shower block is brand new and the facilities are excellent. There is a washer and separate dryer which are offered on a trust basis with the charge being added to your bill when you leave. Charges per night are very low - we paid 7 Euros for an 8.25m boat, and discounts are available for longer stays.
Wi-Fi is free if you take your laptop up to the marina office. There aren't any shops on site, but there is a restaurant at the yacht club which does very reasonably priced snacks. It's a ten minute walk into town, and the supermarket is not easy to find the first time. There is a big market beside the supermarket - I think it is open every morning.
Free wi-fi connection in the marina office.
Metro into Porto - quick cheap and often. Cheap flights to the UK are available from Porto - Ryanair have a regular service to various airports. An excellent place for a crew change or perhaps to leave the boat for a while and fly home.Things to Do
We didn't find much to do in Povoa, but we didn't stay long. We will update this later when we have spoken to friends staying there over the WInter. There is a big casino, but we refrained. The best value is to be had by taking the metro into Porto, which is a fascinating and historic city.
For a detailed account of Fairwinds' time in Portugal see HERE