A voyage for enquiring minds
The Lisbon Ocean Experience participants are ocean lovers and have in common a fascination for the marine world and its mysteries and wonders. With this experience you will be thrilled by unique moments with a deep connection with the ocean and the Portuguese cultural traditions. Our participants are seeking authentic adventures full of nature, culture and history, that will enable them to return home with lifelong memories, having gained a unique and intimate insight into Lisbon’s coastline above and below the water. Participants in this experience are helping to grow a wider community of ambassadors for the conservation and knowledge of the ocean.
The newly renovated Santa Maria Manuela
Santa Maria Manuela (SMM) is an acclaimed Portuguese tall ship that was launched in 1937, in Lisbon, Portugal. Between 1937 and 1993, SMM transported thousands of sailors to Newfoundland and Greenland in the pursuit of cod, the prize catch for the people of Portugal.
Having come to the end of her life as a commercial fishing vessel, in 2010 she was rebuilt into a sail training vessel, and, in 2022, after a complete refurbishment, she is today amongst the most modern and comfortable tall sailing ships in the world.
Sailing aboard the SMM, a historic four-masted sailing schooner known as one of the tall ship world’s most elegant vessels, is a truly multisensory experience. The deck and rigging are authentically honest to her origins with the added inclusion of soft seating. Below deck, no cost has been spared during her 2022 renovation. Space for convivial dining and relaxation in comfort is complemented by modern accommodation with ensuite shower rooms in all cabins.
Aboard, the ship offers environmentally conscious hands-on sailing and diving voyages. No previous sailing experience is necessary, and guests, young and old, are invited to get involved in all aspects of sailing under the careful guidance of the professional crew. When not sailing, or immersed in an adventure overflowing with salt water, there’s plenty to do on deck, from climbing the mast, taking part in knot tying workshops, learning to helm or navigate under the stars, or simply enjoying a glass of wine in good company by the ship’s deck bar.
Marine protection and the Oceanário de Lisboa
Recognized three times as "the best aquarium in the world" by Tripadvisor's Travellers' Choice, the Oceanário de Lisboa is a place that brings the ocean to the city through the nearly 500 marine species that inhabit it. The Oceanário's mission is to encourage visitors to learn more about the ocean, making them aware of their own responsibility in conserving our natural heritage by changing their behaviour towards a more sustainable society.
The Lisbon Ocean Experience, founded in 2022 as a programme for ecotourism, aims to help to grow a wider community of ambassadors for the conservation of the ocean and marine ecosystems. By participating in this experience curated by Oceanário de Lisboa, you will also be supporting research and conservation projects by boosting financial sustainability, which will allow for a larger and full-time dedicated team and continuous long-term studies of marine species and ecosystems.
The Lisbon Ocean Experience starts with an immersive visit to the Oceanário de Lisboa, delving into the natural world from start to finish, including a behind-the- scenes exclusive tour - which is also an invitation to join us on a path together towards protecting marine biodiversity.
Lisbon is one of the European cities with the closest proximity to a wonderful and vast marine world.
At the Arrábida mountain, participants will fall in love with the sense of harmony felt here between land and sea. This natural park boasts the highest lime-stone cliffs in Europe, offering a place of incomparable beauty and rich plant life.
Among the dense vegetation that is unique to the Mediterranean region and the imposing mountain ranges that surround the coast, participants will be able to observe up close the colours and textures of the common octopus, be amazed by the fluorescence of the jewel anemones, that can be seen with the naked eye, and marvel at the pod of bottlenose dolphin which are resident on the Sado Estuary.
More about the Lisbon Ocean Experience
Our voyage starts in the company of one local and experienced marine biologist for a private behind the scenes tour of the award winning Oceanário. This immersive experience takes you on a contemplative journey through the underwater world to discover 8,000 sea creatures. There’s little wonder that the Oceanário de Lisboa has three times been recognized as the world’s leading aquarium, both for its content, and for its conservational and educational initiatives.
In the convivial company of our marine biologist, crew, and new-found shipmates, enjoy the delights of Portuguese cuisine and be enchanted by Fado, a song declared by UNESCO as the ‘intangible cultural heritage of humanity’ in 2011.
Travel in the wake of Portuguese forefathers and learn to sail the Santa Maria Manuela as we voyage along Lisbon’s historic city shoreline, under the famous 25 Abril suspension bridge, heading south towards the Arrábida National reserve.
Explore the coast of Sesimbra by kayak and discover the jagged landscape of cliffs, caves and beaches, all bathed by the crystal-clear waters of the Atlantic.
Immerse yourself in the tranquil sea of Luiz Saldanha Marine Park and discover the unusually diverse ecosystem of this unique region. The dive or snorkel is enriched by an educational talk, by our resident marine biologist, on the conservation project, which is protecting this fragile ecosystem, making it one of Portugal’s most vibrant rocky reef systems.
Travel on the Sado Estuary and discover one of only three sedentary dolphin communities in Europe. The flotilla of about 30 bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) is frequently seen in the waters of Setúbal and Troia.
Meet local fisherman and learn how to choose, prepare, and cook the most traditional Portuguese fish dishes.
As the sunset sinks below the horizon with a glass of wine shared with shipmates on the deck of our historic four masted schooner, is there any better way to celebrate the end of this voyage of Portuguese discovery.