Portugal is home to the best surfing spots in Europe. Its unique geographical conditions and wide exposure to the Atlantic makes surfing an enjoyable experience for those looking for the thrill. The endless coastline from Porto in the north to Europe’s most southwestern point in Sagres continues eastward through the Algarves ending in Faro. Its fairly mild climate makes surfing possible throughout the year and a variety of waves in different beaches, makes this an exciting adventure to be a part of. So if you’re planning on a surfing holiday to Portugal, why not consider some of our favourite suggestions in Portugal’s West Coast, the Algarves as well as well as a few exotic islands.
The west coast of Portugal is known as the Gold Coast of Europe. It’s a surfers paradise with miles of surfing coast and are home to some of the best places to surf in Portugal.
In Lisbon, Sesimba and Costa Da Caparica are popular areas in the west coast and are just a 15 minute drive from the city centre. These two areas are home to the Lagoa da Albufeira and Praia Nova Vaga – beaches often populated with surfers catching waves. While the fierce waves of the beach are suitable for professional surfers, there are also surfing lessons available for those looking to pick up some basic surfing lesson.
The beaches of Peniche have built Portugal’s reputation as the surf capital of Europe and attracts more surfers than at any other part of the country. Cantinho da Baia is the most popular surfing spot in the area. Known for its long beach breaks, it is suitable for beginner and intermediate surfers looking to catch a wave. The long beach breaks have made surfing lessons increasingly popular in the Peniche area.
Another hidden gem in Portugal’s west coast, Lourinho is home to several surfing spots. Praia da Areia Branca is one of these. Only a 65 km journey from Lisbon, it is also an exciting day trip for surfers looking for a sense of adventure or simply for surfing lessons. Often visited by locals, this beach is still under the radar and is not usually frequented by most tourists. The waves around Lourinha are also among much calmer with accumulations of smaller swells compared to the beaches higher up in the west coast.
Especially popular off season, Ericeira beaches are mostly uncrowded and draw a largely local surfer crowd too. Some of surf spots in Ericeira also play host to major surfing competitions, a testament to its great surfing conditions. Popular spots include Pedra Branca, Coxos and Fox do Lizandro. Beach breaks here work best at the low and mid tide, making it an ideal time to learn how to surf and master a few basics.
Best known for white sandy beaches and limestone cliffs, the Algarves are where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic. Surfing is possible 365 days a year as the climate is quite mild with temperatures averaging the 15 degrees in winter. You can catch the best waves in Lagos, Amado and Sagres.
Surfing in Lagos may not be a common sight as in the beaches of Amado or Sagres but when the right swell hits, it’s definitely a surfers paradise. At Meia Praia, beginners may feel at home as the waves are calm and the sea has a rock free sandy bottom. Other popular spots include Porto de Mos and Praia da Luiz which have similar beach break conditions but it is the winter swells that bring in the big waves. Coupled with offshore winds, the waves get as high as 6ft with the beach break anywhere between 2 -3ft
The beach break works for on all tides at Amado, making this a friendly surfer beach for beginners and a popular spot for surfing school. Amado is particularly popular in the summertime and draws crowds looking to catch its strong waves. This area is also a protected national park, so it’s a perfect spot if you’re looking to get some nature time. Camping is also especially popular here
The southernmost tip of mainland Europe, Sagres is a terrific spot to surf. Its best waves can be caught during spring, autumn and winter, as the cold swells from up north brings in the surfable waves. This region of Portugal gives you the best of both worlds, as the geographical nature – a tip that sticks into Atlantic means that changing surfing location from west to south is possible if the currents get too rough or crazy
Portugal’s unique geographical position on the edge of Europe and facing the Atlantic ocean with temperate weather conditions makes surfing at one of its islands an exciting adventure – Madeira is one of the popular among these.
One of the venues for the World Surfing Championship in 2001, Madeira’s large waves make it a thrillseekers spot for surfing. One of the more popular beaches on Madeira include Ribeira das Galinhas, quite of remote place but is sure to be as authentic of an experience as it gets. Other popular spots are several beaches on Porto da Cruz – home to surfing schools as conditions are viable for lessons. The beaches include Praia de Alagoa where you’ll experience a small bay reef break and sand that has quite consistent surf and Praia de Maiata where an exposed reef break makes sure there is consistent surf and where it is rarely crowded too.