The biggest lake in the southern Alentejo

The lake of Santa Clara

19 sqkm of water, fun and nature

The lake of Santa Clara was finished in 1969. It is a reservoir lake built on the Mira river. The dam itself is unusal, as it’s like a pyramid.

It is named after the village of Santa Clara a Velha, a village that’s a few kilometers from the dam.

Depending on rain, it has a long cycle of filling and emptying that lasts several years. In 2019, we are reaching the limits of low water on the lake, and it was last full in 2014.

Even when it is not full, the lake provides kilometers of clear water for boating, water skiing, windsurfing or just paddling. The temperature of the water in the summer is usually above 25°C, reaching higher temperatures in some places.

It is a protected area : no houses are allowed to be built except for special projects. Thus the lake is usually very quiet, with no more than a few boats cruising on the main part each day. Most access to the lake is done from the dam itself, which is located a few kilometers away.

If you take a boat on the lake, you’ll have to be careful of some trees close to the edges, and a few lower hills that were covered by the lake. With a little bit of experience, you’ll know quickly the safe areas. Not very wide except close to the dam, the lake may even get narrow in some areas at the junction between the lake and the river.

If you wish to make the tour of the whole lake, it will take you several hours on a boat as the water takes circuitous way. Ideal for fishermen that have many different spots to find the best fishes of the lake. By foot, it will take you several days…

The house is close to the bigger portion of the lake. That part is long and wide enough for many many activities.

If you sail, during summer you will enjoy thermic winds almost every afternoon, between 4 and 6 on the Beaufort scale. On the bigger portion of the lake, that wind is pretty consistent, which makes it nice and fun for sailing.

At the bottom of the house, the wind follows the shapes of the hills: good for a little fun windsurfing, but not consistent enough so you don’t feel frustrated.

The only thing that’s forbidden on the lake is jet ski, although the police presence is scarce and it has been tolerated for many years. 4 stroke motor is mandatory. There are a few places around the house where you can put a boat in the water. Once it is in the water, you don’t take it out often.

There used to be a big jetty down on the front lake, now we only have a buoy with a jet-ski jetty to jump from or attach boats and windsurfs, and you can access it rapidly with the stairs. Concrete stairs were built in 97 when the lake was its lowest. I have not yet seen these stairs uncovered.

View the gallery of pictures from the lake