Taking a ferry is a good inexpensive way to cruise the Tagus River. But we found a much more interesting and fun way to enjoy this busy waterway that flows into the Atlantic here. We spent a glorious summer evening on a classic ketch sailboat, enjoying splendid city views and a brilliant sunset while sipping wine and snacking on local cheeses.

Sunset river cruises are a popular pastime among visitors and locals. During our stay, we eyed some of the commercial big-name tours that left from the nearby ferry center. Too often they looked crowded and uncomfortable – 40 or more guests with no room for everyone to sit. Plus, they stressed there would be ONE welcome drink and a SMALL snack. No thanks.

After much searching, we found a cruise that got our attention with the promise of free-flowing wine. We also liked photos of the beautiful classic Ketch sailboat with happy passengers – no more than 12. It was priced at $45 per person, about the same or less than the others. We booked Furanai Sailboat Tours for what turned out to be one of the hottest days of our stay, when river breezes were a welcome antidote to the heat.

We made the right decision. The boat was clean and well-maintained. The seats were comfortable, with room for a little folding table to hold plates of cheese and charcuterie. And as promised, the wine, white or rose, was cold, delicious, and poured throughout the two-plus-hour cruise.

There were only six guests, and we were fortunate to have two amiable Londoners to share the fun with. The evening was perfect with a soft cool breeze and calm waters. Landmarks and the Lisbon skyline were in clear view as we sailed from Belem under the iconic 25 April Bridge to the cruise port and back. It was fun to think of great explorers like Vasco da Gama plying these same waters centuries ago.

But best of all, our captain and first mate regaled us with stories, answered many questions, and positioned the boat perfectly for stunning sunset shots. Wine notwithstanding, it was a brilliant Lisbon evening,

Here’s a link to the Airbnb listing; https://www.airbnb.ie/experiences/567343