Grande Lago, Portugal

Also known as:  Alqueva Lake, Alqueva Dam

Grande Lago, Portugal is Europe’s largest artificial lake. Created in 2002 to provide electricity and irrigation to Portugal’s Alentejo Region, Grande Lago is transforming the sleepy Portuguese countryside by becoming one of the nation’s premier vacation destinations. Although exact dimensions are hard to unearth, the reservoir created by the huge Alqueva Dam across the Guadiana River covers about 61,770 acres with a shoreline of about 745 miles.* The reservoir reached – READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Grande Lago! Article topics include:

Looking for Grande Lago cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Grande Lago! Article topics include:

Looking for Grande Lago cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

All About Grande Lago

Lake Locations: Portugal -

Grande Lago, Portugal is Europe’s largest artificial lake. Created in 2002 to provide electricity and irrigation to Portugal’s Alentejo Region, Grande Lago is transforming the sleepy Portuguese countryside by becoming one of the nation’s premier vacation destinations. Although exact dimensions are hard to unearth, the reservoir created by the huge Alqueva Dam across the Guadiana River covers about 61,770 acres with a shoreline of about 745 miles.* The reservoir reached its full capacity in 2010 and is now busily being explored by boating enthusiasts and fishermen. The tops of over 400 submerged hills now offer islands for mooring and exploration.

The Alentejo Region is semi-arid and sunny; farming, vineyards and small industry have been the mainstay of the area’s residents. Water for irrigation will improve their ability to produce valuable crops and allow for development, but the biggest economic driver around the reservoir may well turn out to be tourism. Already, a well-developed commercial marina has grown up at Amieira which provides all types of boating services, rents a variety of boats and provides guided boating tours of the hundreds of new islands, coves and now-waterfront towns and villages. With an average 300 days of sunny weather a year, Grande Lago is quickly becoming the place to enjoy a holiday filled with swimming, fishing, sun-bathing and water sports.

The marina is accessible by road, making it possible for visitors to launch their own watercraft at the marina’s ramps. Because of the vast expanse of water, houseboats, single-and double-berth cruisers are popular rentals by the week, but canoes and kayaks can also be rented by the day or for a few hours. Marina staff provide a short course in watercraft operations with each rental, but novice boaters may prefer one of the chartered cruises. Grande Lago is quickly becoming a well-know destination for the sailing and yachting crowd in Western Europe. Experienced boating vacationers often rent bicycles to take along for shore transportation at the many villages with landing facilities. Driving the area is also possible, with car rental facilities in Amieira. Cycling trails and old roadways around the lake offer excellent bicycling opportunities. New tourism conveniences are being developed yearly, so repeat visitors can expect to find additional amenities on each successive trip.

One development is eagerly anticipated: Grande Lago is expected to become a prolific fishing destination due to the large varieties of fish already present in the Guadiana River. Other existing reservoirs along the river have proved to provide some of Western Europe’s best fishing. Already black bass, barbel, pike and carp are known to be making themselves at home, and a world-class sport fishery is expected to be a few short years away. The huge meandering reservoir is being carefully managed to provide good spawning habitat, with an area protected to provide much submersed vegetation. Another area is set aside for a ‘no-motors’ zone.

As tourism in the Alentejo Region has been scarce, holiday visitors can expect to experience a Portugal far removed from the bright lights and bustling cities. The small villages, friendly and welcoming, are still small neighborhoods, often with their own picturesque churches and fortifications. Most have local restaurants and cafes or bars, with some interesting local specialty dishes. Because the area around Grande Lago was often the scene of territory disputes, eventually being freed from the conquering Moors by the Knights Templar, many old castles, forts and local legends are still visible and venerated in the countryside. Some of the more interesting of these villages are: Juromenha (fortified city with church, chapel and houses with traditional fireplaces), Monsaraz (another fortified city and archeological site and museum. Monsaraz also has an arena still used for Corridas, or bull fighting) and Mourao (castle and fortifications dating to the 13th century). Mourao and Monsaraz both hold traditional church fetes during the year. Estrela is known for the lovely view it provides of the reservoir and its surrounding area, while Luz is a complete duplicate of the old village of Luz which was submerged when the reservoir was filled. Luz has a museum focused on the old village where homesick villagers often go to view their ‘old’ homes. And Barrage d’Alqueva – Alqueva Dam – has a visitor’s information center.

Portugal’s largest ostrich farm is located near Amieira, with a well-known restaurant on the property that features ostrich meat dishes. Esporao and Monsaraz areas are known for their excellent vineyards and quality red wines. Holiday accommodations and vacation rentals are available in the area and growing in number each year. Agri-tourism is a popular way to spend a quiet countryside vacation, with bed-and breakfast facilities, cottages, hotels and lodging in private residences also a common way to base a vacation at Grande Lago. Many towns provide space for caravans and camping.

First proposed in the 1950s, the Alqueva Dam project has been the focus of several disputes and false starts. Much of the dissension has been focused on the loss of a large number of cork oak trees and much of the world’s largest collection of prehistoric rock art under the rising waters. Several archaeologically-important ancient fortifications were also lost to the growing lake as the need for a constant water supply and source of renewable power eventually won out. Today, the area around Grande Lago is receiving the benefits of electrical power from the generators capable of producing 126.9 MW of power and an abundance of reliable water for crops. Another, far smaller reservoir downstream – the Pedrogao – allows water storage that can be pumped back into Alqueva Lake to be regenerated into electricity over and over again.

Visitors to Grande Lake may wish to work with a reputable tourism agent, as the area is very new as a tourism destination, but facilities and amenities are growing rapidly. Now is the time to add Grande Lago to your list of favorite destinations – while it still maintains its status as a piece of unspoiled Portuguese countryside. Let’s hope you visit soon!

* most statistics are close estimates as the reservoir is so new it hasn’t yet been completely mapped.

Things to Do at Grande Lago

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Museum

Fish Species Found at Grande Lago

  • Barbel
  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Carp
  • Pike

All About Grande Lago

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Grande Lago

The Grande Lago map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.


More Ways to Book a Grande Lago Vacation

While our interactive map above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME rental homes (with VRBO) and nearby hotels (with Booking.com), there might be times when you need to expand your search with a different type of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you might want to explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our full disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a Grande Lago Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a Grande Lago Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


Recommended Sites to Book a Grande Lago Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Grande Lago lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.
ALL TRAVEL RESOURCES

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: EDP Energias de Portugal

Surface Area: 61,776 acres

Shoreline Length: 745 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 499 feet

Maximum Depth: 328 feet

Water Volume: 3,364,460 acre-feet

Completion Year: 2010

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

More Grande Lago news from LakeLubbers.com

  • Advertise your vacation rental property or local business: DETAILS HERE
  • The Grande Lago forum has been discontinued: HERE’S WHY
  • New Grande Lago photos coming soon!
  • You’re invited to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!
  • Share this Grande Lago article with your fellow LakeLubbers:

Do you have a vacation rental property at Grande Lago? Coming in 2022, LakeLubbers will have an opportunity for you to showcase your listing and put it in front of thousands of lake lovers searching our site for homes, condos or townhomes to rent for their upcoming lake trip this season.

Please get in touch with our advertising team HERE and we’ll provide you more details on this upcoming advertising opportunity.

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Looking for the Grande Lago forum?

LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here.

We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!

Click here to advertise your Grande Lago vacation rental or local business.

The former Grande Lago forum is closed. Find out why here.

New Grande Lago photo gallery is coming soon.

Please share this article with your fellow lake lovers!

Spread the word! Share our Grande Lago article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!

Explore local Grande Lago vacation rentals and hotel accommodations using our interactive map. Clicking on listings below will allow you to compare nearby properties, best rates and availability for your dates.

Looking for the old Grande Lago forum group? Click Here

New Grande Lago photos coming soon!

Vacation Home Name

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  • 2 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • hot tub
  • wifi