10 best surfing hotspots in Portugal

Discover Portugal's best surf destinations / Pixabay
Discover Portugal's best surf destinations / Pixabay
21 May 2019, Marilia Poiares

Portugal’s mild climate, amazing beaches, charming hostels and good hospitality make it a great destination for surfers looking for the perfect wave. This summer, if you want to spend some time riding the waves, plan a seaside road trip because we are going to tell you all about the 10 best surfing hotspots on the Portuguese coast.

    1. Praia do Norte – Nazaré

    The great waves at Praia do Norte / Wikipedia
    The great waves at Praia do Norte / Wikipedia

    Praia do Norte is one of the most famous beaches in the surfing world thanks to its gigantic waves. Garret McNamara is one of the surfers responsible for putting this beach on the world’s surfing map with two world records for the biggest wave ever surfed.

    In November 2011, he entered the Guinness World Records for surfing a 78 ft (23.8 m) wave in Praia Norte. Two years later, he broke his own record, after surfing a 100 ft (30 m) wave along the Coast of Nazaré. If you want to follow McNamara’s footsteps and improve your surfing skills you can take a class at the local surf school.

    During your stay, make sure to visit the Miradouro do Suberco, a lookout point that offers amazing views of the sea and the coastline. And, because we all know a day in the sea can be very physically demanding, refuel with a delicious dish of grilled sardines or caldeirada, a stew prepared with fresh fish, tomatoes, bell peppers, potatoes and served on top of toasted bread.

    2. Peniche

    Peniche has become very famous in the international surf circuit, transforming Portugal into the sport’s European capital. The most popular beach among surf fanatics is the Supertubos beach, the “European Pipeline” with incredibly powerful waves.

    Every year, thousands of surfers from all over the world gather here to enjoy the ASP World Tour competitions and to do the sport they love the most. If you are looking forward to riding some waves here, in between Peniche and the Baleal Beach (a special place where the sea is on both sides of the beach) you can find amazing hostels, small hotels and apartments for rent.

    3. Ericeira

    Beautiful views of the coast in Ericeira / Wikimedia Commons
    Beautiful views of the coast in Ericeira / Wikimedia Commons

    This picturesque fishermen’s village in the north of Lisbon is filled with amazing surfing spots such as S. Lourenço, Coxos, Pedra Branca and Foz do Lizandro.

    During the off-season these are pretty much a surfer’s paradise. Great beaches, incredible waves and tranquillity, perfect conditions to practise and improve your skills on the board.

    If you want to change the scenery a bit, you can go to Mafra to discover the town and enjoy some traditional pastries, visit Sintra for a quick romantic getaway or go to Lisbon to enjoy the capital's hustle and bustle.

    While in Ericeira, you must try the local cuisine and the best place to do so is on one of the town’s “marisqueiras”, seafood restaurants that serve the best fresh fish and seafood dishes.

    4. Espinho

    Espinho has become a popular destination for anyone who wants to spend a few days in the sun. The harsh sea conditions make it difficult for regular swimming and diving, but you can find a seaside pool that has been built so everyone can safely swim in the salty waters.

    However, surfers are fearless people and take advantage of the big, strong waves to go on amazing rides. After a long day of taking your chances at sea, you can also take your chances at Espinho’s casino.

    5. Praia de Carcavelos – Carcavelos

    The best beach for surfing really close to Lisbon / Wikipedia
    The best beach for surfing really close to Lisbon / Wikipedia

    Carcavelos is one the most popular and most frequented beaches in Lisbon. Do to its location and proximity to the city, the beach is often overcrowded so if you want to enjoy the waves, make sure you choose your location wisely and we recommend you go early in the morning.

    The beach offers beachbreaker waves, perfect for beginners, and is very well equipped with shower rooms, toilets and volleyball and basketball courts. Also, around the beach, you can find a lot of restaurants and bars where you can try very tasty menus at a reasonable price.

    6. Arrifana – Costa Vicentina

    Enjoy surfing in the Costa Vicentina's National Park / Wikimedia Commons
    Enjoy surfing in the Costa Vicentina's National Park / Wikimedia Commons

    Arrifana is a very well-known beach among surfers and bodyboarders. Surrounded by cliffs and near a small fishing village, this stunning seaside location in the Costa Vicentina’s National Park, has pointbreak waves, violent and turbulent, perfect to challenge yourself on top of the board.

    After spending time in the water, take a walk through the beautiful woods of the National Park with stunning views of the seaside.

    7. Praia do Cabedelo – Figueira da Foz

    Dunes, vegetation, a family-friendly environment, good facilities and great views of Figueira da Foz: Praia do Cabedelo is a perfect surf hotspot in Portugal’s Silver Coast.

    Bring your sunscreen, umbrella and windscreen to shelter from the sun and wind and prepare your board to ride the spectacular jettybreak waves this beach has to offer. If you are looking for a surf school, Surfing Figueira offers classes directly at Cabedelo Beach, for all levels.

    8. Praia do Amado – Costa Vicentina

    Discover the famous Praia do Amado / Wikimedia Commons
    Discover the famous Praia do Amado / Wikimedia Commons

    Strong currents, steep beachbreaker waves and clear waters make Praia do Amado one of the best beaches for surfing in Portugal. With easy access and parking space, perfect for caravanning tourists, you can spend the day sunbathing, riding waves and swimming in a natural paradise.

    If you want to learn a few new tricks or improve your skills make sure to take a class at the Amado Surf Camp.

    9. Sagres

    The strong currents in Sagres create an amazing surfing experience / Wikimedia Commons
    The strong currents in Sagres create an amazing surfing experience / Wikimedia Commons

    Sagres is another great surfing spot known by surfers all around the world who are looking for a place to practise the sport during spring, autumn and winter.

    The appeal of this seaside location goes beyond its great, challenging waves since it offers a variety of activities for anyone who decides to visit. You can dive with the Divers Cape company to see the diversity of sea-life present in the area or even go for a ride with Cape Cruiser, a company that organises whale and dolphin watching trips.

    If you prefer to stay inland after all the surfing, you can take a tour of the grottoes and hidden beaches that make up the coastline.

    10. Paúl do Mar – Madeira

    Visit Ribeira das Galinhas on the Island of Madeira / Wikimedia Commons
    Visit Ribeira das Galinhas on the Island of Madeira / Wikimedia Commons

    If you are a surf fan you might have heard about Ribeira das Galinhas, a secluded beach with fantastic waves that hosted the World Surfing Championship of 2001.

    This beach paradise on the Island of Madeira is surrounded by restaurants and snack bars where you can try the amazing local food such as “bolo do caco”, a wheat flour bread with garlic butter and “poncha”, an alcoholic drink made with honey and lemon juice.

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