A Complete Guide to Surfing Portugal
Sandwiched in between Spain and the Atlantic Ocean, with over a thousand miles of unspoilt coastline to explore, Portugal is a haven for surfers.
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This is our complete surf travel guide. Read for everything you need to know about surfing in Portugal.
Portugal is one of the best places in the world to surf. With a coastline that stretches for over 1,000 kilometers and plenty of spots that are perfect for all levels of surfer, you’re sure to find a place to catch some waves.
Not only is Portugal an amazing place to surf, but it’s also one of the most beautiful countries in Europe. With its stunning coastal towns and villages, rugged cliffs, and sandy beach breaks, you’ll fall in love with Portugal the moment you arrive.
So let’s get into it!
Here’s our Complete Guide to Surfing Portugal.
The best time of year for surfing in Portugal depends on what kind of waves you’re looking for. If you’re after big waves, then the winter months are typically the best time to visit.
The main surf season in Portugal runs from December to February. During these months you’ll find some of the biggest and best waves in Europe. You can expect waves measuring anything from 2 meters up to a sizeable 15 ft.
If you’re a beginner or intermediate surfer, then the summer months are the best time to surf Portugal. From June to August, the waves are smaller and more manageable, making it the perfect time to learn or improve your surfing skills.
The Portuguese coast can be divided into 3 main surfing regions:
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, there are plenty of great surf spots to choose from when surfing Portugal.
Just north of Lisbon, benefiting from the winds of the Atlantic coast, Ericeira is widely considered to be the surf capital of the country. Named an official World Surfing Reserve by the Save the Wave coalition, it’s the only destination in Europe to receive such an honor. Acknowledged for most consistent surf, the coastline is also a rich ecological area, with more than 1,000 marine species identified.
As one of the best spots for surfing Portugal, it’s no surprise that it’s also home to some major tournaments, including the coveted EDP Billabong Pro.
If you’re looking to surf the big waves when surfing Portugal, then Nazaré is the place to go. This world-famous spot is home to some of the biggest waves in the world. Surfers from all over the globe come to Nazaré in search of monster waves.
Thanks to its underwater ‘canyon’ which is 5km deep and 230km long, it creates gigantic breaks ideal for big wave surfers. Famously, in 2013 Carlos Burle rode into history here, with one of the largest waves ever surfed!
The peninsular of Peniche makes an ideal spot for surfing Portugal. There’s plenty of choices here, from the beach breaks of Supertubos (Europe’s most famous beach break) to the easier to navigate waters of Prainha. As such, it attracts some of the world’s best surfers especially come October during the Rip Curl Pro.
See also: A Complete Guide to Surfing Peniche
Located just outside of Lisbon, Cascais is a great place to learn how to surf. The waves here are relatively small and consistent, making them perfect for beginners surfing in Portugal. Plus, there are plenty of surf schools in the area that can help you get started (we recommend taking a look as Surf Cascais or The Salty Pelican Cascais for the best packages).
See also: A Complete Guide to Surfing Lisbon
Santa Cruz is a small town with a big surfing culture. Located halfway between Peniche and Ericeria, the town is situated on a beautiful stretch of coastline, and is home to some of the best waves in the country. Although Santa Cruz is not as well-known, it is definitely worth a visit for any serious surfers out there.
If you’re looking for a great place to hone your surfing skills, you can’t go wrong with Portugal’s Porto region. The city of Porto is situated on the Atlantic coast, providing perfect conditions for waves. There are many surf schools in Porto, so it is easy to get started even if you have never surfed before (we recommend checking out Golden Waves Surf Lodge).
The city also has a lively nightlife scene, with many bars and restaurants to enjoy after a day on the waves.
Located in southwestern Algarve region, the town of Lagos has a long history of surfing. Fortunately, there are plenty of great surf spots to choose from in Lagos. Beginners typically head to Praia do Camilo, where the waves are relatively small and the water is calm. And for those looking for a more challenging experience, Ponta da Piedade is the perfect spot.
Although it’s not as well-known as some of the other surfing spots in Portugal, Sagres is a great place to catch some waves when surfing Portugal. The town is located on the southwest coast of the country, and it offers a wide variety of surf breaks for all levels of ability, although it tends to be more popular with intermediate and advanced surfers.
The best time to surf in Sagres is from October to March, when the waves are at their biggest. However, even during the summer months, there are usually plenty of small waves to ride.
Staying in a surf camp when surfing Portugal has a lot of benefits. For one, it gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the surf culture. You’ll be able to meet other surfers and learn from them, and you’ll also get to experience the local scene in a way that you wouldn’t if you were just staying in a hotel.
Additionally, surf camps usually offer lessons for beginner and intermediate surfers. So if you’re new to the sport, this is a great way to learn the basics and improve your skills. And even if you’re already an experienced surfer, lessons at a surf camp can help you take your surfing to the next level.
Here’s our pick of some of the best surf camps in Portugal:
If you’re looking to surf hard and party harder, The Surf Experience is the perfect place for you. This lively Surf Camp is located in the beautiful old Portuguese town of Lagos, just 45 minutes from Faro Airport.
Designed to be as sociable as possible, the accommodation consists of comfortable shared rooms, a large modern kitchen, free Wi-Fi, a secure boardroom, and two huge terraces with a barbecue area.
This modern surf retreat is located in the charming fishing town of Ericeira just 30 minutes from Lisbon Airport.
The newly built villa sleeps up to 40 guests in a combination of private and shared rooms. Most rooms come with a private terrace and ocean views. There is an open plan living area, covered outdoor dining area, a swimming pool, yoga deck, a poolside cafe, and a wellness centre offering massages and body treatments.
The Salty Pelican offers a 1-week all-inclusive package. This includes daily surf lessons, shared or private accommodation, surfboard and wetsuit hire, unlimited yoga, and a daily breakfast buffet.
See also: 8 of the Best Surf Camps in Ericeira
This trendy surf camp is located in Cascais just 30 minutes from Lisbon Airport.
The villa is divided into six large bedrooms, offering both private and shared rooms. There is a fully equipped kitchen, a communal garden and swimming pool, a large lounge space, and a bar where good times and good drinks are always guaranteed.
Guests can choose from a 5-day or 1-week all-inclusive package when staying with Surf Cascais. Both packages include daily surf lessons, shared or private accommodation, surfboard and wetsuit hire, and a daily breakfast buffet.
Guests can also upgrade to include morning yoga sessions with the 1-week surf and yoga package.
This relaxed eco lodge is located in a secluded spot, surrounded by pine trees, a 10-minute drive away from the famous surf spots of Peniche.
The rustic resort offers a combination of wooden bungalows and glamping tents. Amenities include an airy restaurant, a skate bowl and a sauna, as well as a sundeck and an outdoor saltwater pool heated by solar panels.
Bukubaki Eco Surf Resort offers a 4-day all-inclusive package. This includes daily surf lessons, shared or private accommodation, surfboard and wetsuit hire, and a daily breakfast buffet.
For more experienced surfers looking for flexibility, Bukubaki Eco Surf Resort also offers a room-only option.
See also: 6 of the Best Surf Camps in Peniche
When only the best will do, be sure to check out the new eco surf resort that is Noah Surf House. Situated in Santa Cruz, 100 meters from Praia do Centro, this resort has everything you need for a luxurious surf stay when surfing Portugal.
The industrial style resort offers a combination of wooden bungalows and shared dorms. Amenities include a guest kitchen, a restaurant and a bar, plus a seasonal heated outdoor pool, a hot tub and a skate park.
Guests can book a room at Noah Surf House and then add-on surf lessons, surfboard and wetsuit rentals, and surf guiding after they check-in. Yoga is also available as an add-on.
See also: 16 of the Best Surf Camps in Portugal
Surf hostels are a great option for travelers who want to experience the best of surfing Portugal without breaking the bank. While some hostels can be quite pricey, there are plenty of budget-friendly options available.
So whether you’re a seasoned surfer or a first-time traveler, here are some of the best surf hostels in Portugal:
Set within a whitewashed villa in the fishing village of Peniche, this hip hostel is a 1-hour drive from Lisbon Airport.
Airy 6-bed and 8-bed dorms feature bunk beds. All have Wi-Fi, lockers and linens, as well as shared bathrooms. Private rooms are also available. Amenities include a Mediterranean restaurant, a bar and a rooftop terrace, a screening room, and a shared kitchen.
Guests can book a room at Selina Peniche and then add-on surf lessons with surfboard and wetsuit rental after they check-in. Group surf lessons are priced at €33 per person and private surf lessons are priced at €125 per person.
This airy house sits on a cliff overlooking Praia do Sul in Ericeira. The closest airport is in Lisbon, which is a 30-minute drive away.
The clifftop house is made up of 7 spacious bedrooms, with private rooms and shared dorms available. There is a large communal terrace overlooking the ocean, as well as a lounge with a fireplace, and a fully-equipped kitchen.
Guests can book a room at Laneez Surf House and then add-on surf lessons, surfboard and wetsuit rentals, and surf guiding after they check-in. Yoga is also available as an add-on.
This well-equipped hostel is located in Sagres, a small village in the Algarve, 1 hour and 30 minutes away from Faro Airport.
The newly-built villa is made up a combination of private and shared rooms. There is a salt water pool, a selection of fitness machines, board storage and personal lockers, and a poolside cafe and bar for guests to enjoy.
Sagres Sun Stay offers a 1-week all-inclusive package. This includes daily surf lessons, shared or private accommodation, surfboard and wetsuit hire, and a daily breakfast and dinners.
For digital nomads or more experienced surfers looking for more flexibility, Sagres Sun Stay also offers a room-only option.
Many who come for surfing Portugal return time and again. As one of Europe’s prime surf spots, it’s also well equipped for those starting out.
The gentle beach break of Ribeira d’Ilhas in Ericeira is known for a multitude of surf schools where you’ll learn all the basics, from positions to paddling out. There’s also plenty of rentals available too. Kid’s lessons start from €25, with adults costing €35 for an hour’s tuition.
For the fully committed, the nearby Salty Pelican is a dedicated surf camp where you can enroll in daily lessons with an instructor, theory lesson, and fitness training. A week of ‘studying’ plus accommodation starts from €425 per person.
With Portugal being a top surfing destination, there’s no shortage of affordable kit to hire wherever you choose to stay. This allows visitors to travel without the stress of bringing cumbersome surfboards with them.
On the northern coast, Surfing Porto offers surf board and wet suit hire from just €25 an hour.
While down south, the Lagos Surf Centre provides boards from just €10 an hour.
For anyone flying into Lisbon, the Magic Quiver Surf Shop offers a selection of Awayco boards that can be pre-booked online.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner just catching your first waves, travel insurance should be at the top of your packing list.
Surfing can be an unpredictable sport, and accidents can happen even to the most experienced surfers. Travel insurance will protect you in case of any accidents or injuries, as well as lost or stolen equipment. It can also provide valuable assistance if your flight is delayed or cancelled.
So before you start surfing Portugal, make sure you’re covered by a good travel insurance policy (we recommend checking out Nomad Travel Insurance for Surfing).
Need help planning your surf trip to Portugal? Use our FREE Surf Trip Planner to get a list of top-rated surf camps, hostels, resorts and just for you.