10 best surfing hotspots in Portugal

Discover Portugal's best surf destinations
Discover Portugal's best surf destinations
19 August 2021, Marilia Poiares

Portugal’s mild climate, amazing beaches and good hospitality make it a great destination for surfers looking for the perfect waves this summer. It's time to get planning a seaside roadtrip to some of the best surfing beaches in Portugal, as we take a tour of the 10 best surfing hotspots on the Portuguese coast.

    Praia do Norte, Nazaré

    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 2 world records for the biggest wave ever surfed in one of Portugal's best surf spots.

    In November 2011, he broke a Guinness World Record by surfing a 78 ft (23.8 m) wave in Praia Norte. 2 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.

    Once you're finished riding waves for the day, make sure to visit the Miradouro do Suberco, a viewpoint that offers amazing views of the sea and the coastline. And, because we all know a day in the sea can be tiring, refuel with a delicious traditional Portuguese dish of grilled sardines or caldeirada, a stew prepared with fresh fish, tomatoes, bell peppers, potatoes and served on top of toasted bread.

    Peniche

    Peniche has become very famous in the international surf circuit, transforming Portugal into the sport’s European capital and is one of Portugal's best surf towns. The most popular beach among surf fanatics is the Supertubos beach, the “European Pipeline” with incredibly powerful waves. Also putting Peniche on the map are global competitions. Every year, thousands of surfers from all over the world meet in Peniche for the ASP World Tour competitions and to do the sport they love the most. 

    If you plan to make a visit and ride the 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 a wide range of apartments for rent.

    Ericeira

    Beautiful views of the coast in Ericeira
    Wikimedia commons

    Th picturesque fishermen’s village of Ericeria 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, this area is a true surfer’s paradise, thanks to great beaches, incredible waves and tranquillity; perfect conditions to practise and improve your skills on the board.

    For a change of scenery and a rest from the waves, we recommend heading to Mafra to discover the town and enjoy some traditional Portuguese pastries, as well as visiting Sintra for a quick romantic getaway. The area is also close to Lisbon where you can spend an afternoon enjoying the capital's hustle and bustle.

    While in Ericeira, you must try the local cuisine. The best place to do this by far is in one of the town’s “marisqueiras” (seafood restaurants) that serve the best fresh fish and seafood dishes in the area.

    Espinho

    Espinho has become a popular destination for those wishing to spend a few days in the sun. However, the rough 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.

    Surfers, on the other hand, are fearless and come here to take advantage of the impressive waves. After a long day of taking your chances at sea, you can also take your chances at Espinho’s casino to relax and unwind. 

    Praia de Carcavelos, Carcavelos

    The best beach for surfing really close to Lisbon
    Wikipedia

    Carcavelos is one the most popular and most frequented beaches in Lisbon. Thanks 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 spot wisely and go early in the morning.

    The Portuguese surf beach offers beachbreaker waves, perfect for beginners, and is very well equipped with shower rooms, toilets and volleyball and basketball courts. In the area surrounding the beach, you can also find a lot of restaurants and bars where you'll be able to refuel with delicious food at a reasonable price.

    Arrifana, Costa Vicentina

    Enjoy surfing in the Costa Vicentina's National Park
    Wikimedia commons

    Arrifana is a very well-known beach in Portugal amongst 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 which are violent and turbulent, perfect for more expienced surfers who want a challenge.

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

    Praia do Cabedelo, Figueira da Foz

    This beach is home to dunes, vegetation, a family-friendly environment, good facilities and great views of Figueira da Foz, making Praia do Cabedelo a perfect surf hotspot for all the family on Portugal’s Silver Coast.

    Bring your sunscreen, parasol and windbreak 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.

    Praia do Amado, Costa Vicentina

    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 perfect for caravanning tourists, you can spend the day sunbathing, riding waves and swimming in this 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.

    Sagres

    The strong currents in Sagres create an amazing surfing experience
    Wikimedia commons

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

    The appeal of this seaside location goes beyond its great, challenging waves since it also offers a variety of activities for all tastes. Go on an adventure and 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 stunning caves and hidden beaches that make up the coastline.

    Paúl do Mar, Madeira

    Visit Ribeira das Galinhas on the Island of Madeira
    Wikimedia commons

    If you are an avid surf fan, you might have heard about Ribeira das Galinhas, a secluded beach with fantastic waves in Madeira 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”, a refreshing alcoholic drink made with honey and lemon juice, perfect for cooling off after a day on the waves.

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