Gui with a surf board at sunset

Surfing in Portugal: The Complete Guide to the Top 27 Surfing Spots

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Surfing in Portugal is a dream for many surf lovers from all over the world and that’s where they go to chase the best wave.

In fact here you will find crystal clear waters, dreamy weather, major championships, and a great surfers community to hang out with like-minded people.

As a surfer living in Portugal, I have been surfing in many spots and I have compiled this useful guide so that you can decide which surf spot is the best for you!

From the north coast all the way to the south, you can find incredible surf spots that will take your breath away.

Popularly known for its awe-inspiring landscapes, historical monuments, and tasty cuisine, Portugal is also admired for its good waves – including some of the biggest in the world.

Few people know, but Portugal is actually one of the greatest destinations for surfing and I will explain why in a bit.

Surfing in Portugal at sunset -
Photo © Canva

It was to be expected that Portugal, with so many beaches, would be popular for water sports. However, surfing only started to become more common in the country after the 80s.

Nowadays there are surf schools spread all over the country. And more and more visitors have been choosing the country as a destination for their surf trip.

You can also find surf retreats for a full immersion week (or more) into the world of surfing. Sounds like fun right? I will talk about surfing retreats in Portugal in another article.

In this post, we will focus on the top surfing spots in Portugal. Read on!

Table of Contents

Why surf in Portugal?

How come Portugal is such a paradise for surfers?

First, you should keep in mind that in Portugal, you can surf all year round, that is, regardless of whether you have vacations in the winter season or summer, you can go surfing in Portugal.

Second, the beaches in Portugal are great for those who practice surfing, at any skill level, whether you are learning or already a professional.

Also, the beaches are just as nice to relax and enjoy the scenery, in case you want to rest or travel with someone who is not that keen on surfing.

So, if you like surfing, or want to start, go to Portugal! I promise you won’t regret it!

Surf wave
Photo from Canva

The main surfing areas in Portugal

With over 600 miles of coastline, you can imagine just how many surf spots there are in Portugal!

So, follow along and get to know the list of the best beaches for surfing in Portugal. I have grouped the best beaches for surfing into areas to make it easy for you.

And I have also created an interactive map so that you can check all the locations in real-time.

Surfing in Portugal Map

Best Surfing Spots in Portugal: North Coast

In the north of the country, the famous region around Porto, known for the Porto wine also provides great surfing options.

1. Matosinhos beach

The main surfing spot is the so-called Matosinhos Beach, excellent for learning how to surf.

This is one of the best beaches in northern Portugal where you can easily find waves all year round. As the beach is protected by a wall and the sea is calmer, it is the indicated place for beginners.

In Porto, there is also the Leça da Palmeira Beach, for more experienced surfers.

2. Praia de Arda and Praia de Afife

In the region, Arda and Afife can be enjoyed by both beginners and intermediate surfers since the waves are only 6 feet high.

Viana do Castelo Portugal
Viana do Castelo Portugal Overview

3. Viana do Castelo

Also, in the northern region of the country, Viana do Castelo stands out among the good surfing spots in Portugal, with great beaches for surfing, kitesurfing, windsurfing, and also bodyboarding.

4. Espinho

With more dangerous waves, Espinho might not be the best spot for beginners, but it is even possible to go and enjoy this beach since it also has a great natural pool.

For the more adventurous, Espinho beach offers camping options and direct contact with nature.

Espinho Sunset Portugal
Espinho Sunset Portugal – photo from Canva

Best Surfing Spots in Portugal | Figueira da Foz

Another highly recommended stop is Figueira da Foz, in the region of Coimbra. Here below the top surfing spots in this region.

5. Buarcos

Internationally known for its long right waves, with several sections and even some barrels, Buarcos Beach offers super nice waves.

If you want to stay in the region, I recommend the Quinta D’ Anta, a hotel that lives off the surfing culture and will receive you wonderfully well.

6. Cabedelo

With quality waves all year round, this is a must-see surf destination in Portugal.

With dunes, wild vegetation, and plenty of wind, surfing the Cabedelo wave and staying in front of the sea, in a spectacular hotel like the FeelViana Hotel, makes the toast of a cold Super Bock or a few glasses of wine at the end of the day even more special.

Cabedelo Portugal Beach overview
Cabedelo Portugal beach overview – photo from Canva

Best Surfing Spots in Portugal | Nazaré

As we move south, we stumble across a natural phenomenon, an incredibly big wave, which can be at the same time a frightening and exciting scenario for those who love surfing but also nature lovers.

This part of the coast may be the most special one, even if there is no possibility of catching waves unless you are a crazy pro surfer who is ready to die for the sake of love for this sport.

Nazaré is indeed a chapter apart in the history of surfing.

If we define it as a Formula 1 race it is not an exaggeration, the marina in the region houses true “boxes” of Red Bull, Mercedes, Yamaha, among others, which keep the equipment of many athletes around the world.

This is because, the waves there can be so big, that the surfers usually need to be towed into the waves with the help of jet skis.

Nazaré is also good for kite surfers, and in this case, you can choose between Praia do Salgado, Praia do Norte, and Praia de Nazaré.

Portugal surf Lighthouse Nazare
Portugal surf mecca – Nazaré Lighthouse

7. Praia do Norte

This one is for the bravest. It is right at Praia do Norte where the magic happens. With giant waves that can reach 98 feet, this challenge is not for everyone.

And if you want to watch the “crazy” big wave surfers, know that there is a very huge cliff providing some of the best angles and views.

From up there you can even feel the water spray from the waves formed at the Nazaré Canyon.

Nazare Portugal Overview
Nazare Portugal

Best Surfing in Portugal | Peniche

Peniche has it all: the perfect location which is close enough to Lisbon but not too close has the perfect perfect tubular waves and offers very nice city vibes.

Therefore, Peniche is definitely a must-stop on your Portugal surf trip.

Interestingly, Peniche used to be an island and due to geological changes became a peninsula that currently provides wonderful beaches for surfers, with tubular waves that form due to the harbor wall.

8. Supertubos Beach

Let’s start with the cherry on top of the cake. Supertubos Beach is part of the Word Surf League Tour for good reasons.

Located south of Peniche, Supertubos is the most famous beach break in Portugal and one of the best waves in Europe.

Very long and fast waves are formed there and, as the name suggests, form spectacular tubes. It is not a very easy wave, as it breaks close to shore breaking very hard.

So, it requires an advanced level as you need to pop up a bit faster than usual. It is ideal when there is a north or northwest wind.

Supertubos morning barrel Portugal
Supertubos morning barrel Portugal

9. Praia da Consolação

Another very popular beach in Peniche, Consolação is divided into two very distinct parts. The south side has a rocky landscape and is frequently visited by families.

And its north side, with a completely different landscape. A wide and extensive sandy beach extending for several miles.

With a normally rough sea and tubular waves, this is a beach more suitable for intermediate surfers.

The best conditions happen at low tide, which means you need to be extra cautious of the rocks when entering and exiting the water.

If you want to surf but don’t have much experience, there’s a beach break with many peaks at both high and low tide.

Supertubos Beach Portugal
Supertubos Beach Portugal

10. Porto Batel

This reef break (reef bottom) is located south of Consolação and its break provides both right and left waves.

It works best with the medium tide, southwest wind, and northwest and north swell, and is a great spot for those days when the sea is too big as it is a bit more protected.

11. Lagide Beach

When you look at the map, the first thing you will notice about Peniche is the Peninsula of Baleal and Lagide beach is a well-known sandbank exactly the north of this peninsula.

Actually, Lagide is a reef break with both left and right waves which work at any time, although at low tide it is sometimes better. Overall, the waves are long and versatile.

And in fact, the waves there are so nice that the beach has frequently served as an alternative to the WSL Supertubos championships.

Surfing Lagos Portugal
Surfing Lagos Portugal

12. Almagreira

Almagreira, on the other hand, stands out for its spectacular beauty and cliffs. The best time to surf there is with medium-high tide, north or northwest swell, and east or southeast wind.

If you are looking for a more chilled environment and distance from the crowds of Peniche, go to Almagreira.

With a sandy bottom, this isolated break provides both right and lefts waves, although the left ones are longer and even deliver barrels.

What is nice about Almagreira is that both experienced and beginner surfers can enjoy the spot, which works better during medium-high tide.

Other beaches to explore in the area are: Praia do Medão and Baleal

Ericeira surfing in Portugal
Ericeira – surfing in Portugal

Best Surfing in Portugal | Ericeira

Located close to Lisbon, the small fishing village of Ericeira is where the World Surfing Reserve can be found.

The reserve is responsible for preserving natural resources with activities and infrastructures that maintain a balance between the practice of surfing and the preservation of nature.

The beaches are quiet and frequented by local surfers even in the low season.

Ericeira is in the region known as Mafra and the best beaches are Ribeira d’Ilhas, Pedra Branca, Praia da Empa, and São Lourenço.

13. Praia dos Coxos

With waves that can reach 16 feet, this beach is another spot for the more experienced and brave surfers.

14. Praia do Reef

On the other hand, we have Praia do Reef which is considered a surfer’s paradise. With good waves all year round, this beach attracts both experienced and beginner surfers.

Carcavelo at sunset
Carcavelo at sunset

Best Surfing in Portugal | Lisbon

Yes, the capital of Portugal is also a great surfing destination. When you arrive in the capital city of Lisbon, you will find a welcoming environment to feel at home.

And the best, only 30 minutes away from places like Cascais and Costa da Caparica.

You can find out where to stay in Cascais in this detailed guide.

15. Carcavelos

First, we have Carcavelos Beach which offers great waves for surfing and an incredible view. Only 15 miles from Lisbon, Carcavelos is a very popular surf spot among beginner surfers because of its calm waves.

But know that it is just as nice for more experienced surfers since it offers nice tubular waves with the potential for barrels.

Carcavelos has choppy, fast, strong, and fun waves to the right and the left. With a sandy bottom, the waves are better above 3 feet, reaching 7 feet in good conditions.

Moreover, the beach’s infrastructure also attracts those who want to enjoy a good day of sunshine, as well as practice a little bit of surfing.

Carcavelo beach surf waves
Carcavel waves

16. Guincho beach

Next door, we have the famous Guincho Beach. On small days, it is a perfect spot for beginners. But on bigger days, the experienced ones have the chance to catch perfect waves.

Stage of national and international championships, the beach has showers, free parking, a service station, restaurants, and bars all around. In general, Praia do Guincho can satisfy all kinds of surfers.

The Best Surfing sites in Portugal | Costa Vicentina – Algarve

The touristy Algarve region in southern Portugal also offers really good surfing conditions.

Algarve promises to deliver a remarkable surf trip, mainly because of the numerous surf and wave options in the region.

The Costa Vicentina, stretching from the southwestern tip of the Algarve, at Cape St. Vincent and Sagres point, along the entire coastline, reaching the Alentejo, is one of the most sought-after regions by surfers and bodyboarders from all over Europe.

Clean and rough waters, pleasant temperature all year round, beaches far from tourism and clear skies, are the best invitation to break the waves on one of the most special coasts of Europe.

With a sandy and rocky bottom, it can be considered a classic peak, which replenishes any energy. A few days in this paradise are enough to close your surf trip with a golden key.

Cordoama Beach Alagarve
Cordoama Beach Alagarve

17. Beliche Beach

Located in a wide inlet marked by the tip of Sagres and Cape St. Vincent, this beach seems to have been carved into the high cliffs and warm colors.

Located in the middle of a biodiversity reserve, it offers a unique landscape and numerous endemic plants, as well as ideal waters for surfing and bodyboarding.

18. Castelejo and Cordoama Beaches

These two neighboring beaches are located north of Sagres on the west coast, so they are more exposed to the north wind, but offer some of the best surf when the waves grow.

You should go with a school or instructor, as there are many rocks scattered to the left and right, so be sure to check before entering the water!

Costa Vicentina waves Alagarve
Costa Vicentina waves Alagarve

19. Arrifana Beach

With one of the most beautiful panoramic views of the Costa Vicentina region, Arrifana is a privileged place.

Located in Aljezur, parking is only allowed at the top of the cliffs, but you can go down to drop off and pick up people and equipment.

At low tide, you can see some rocks in the sea. It needs waves from the northwest and is protected from the north wind.

There you can find many surf schools and board rentals.

20. Amado Beach

Protected from the north winds, Amado is located just south of Carrapateira and although it is more crowded there are plenty of waves to share as it is quite a large beach.

The waves are a bit bigger and stronger than Arrifana. Sometimes it has strong currents and steep waves.

Because it is easily accessible, it attracts many surfers who are caravanning around the country.

It is a great beach for all surfers, regardless of level. For those who want to start learning, you can start there with one of the surf schools.

Vicentina Coast Alagarve
Vicentina Coast Alagarve

The Best Surfing sites in Portugal | central coast – Algarve

21. Praia de Faro

Praia de Faro Alagarve
Praia de Faro Alagarve

The central coast of the Algarve, where you will find the most popular small towns and beach resorts, offers smaller waves which can be great for beginners if the conditions are right.

Praia de Faro is a great option if you want to rent a house by the beach and try surfing since the beach breaks offer many possibilities for surfers.

The Best Surfing sites in Portugal | Azores Archipelago

The Azores archipelago is another popular surfing destination in Portugal, with the possibility of not only going surfing but windsurfing and kitesurfing as well.

22. Island of Sao Miguel

You can find good waves on the island of Sao Miguel, especially if there are big swells as it is more sheltered than others like Terceira Island, where there are almost always waves due to its exposure.

Unlike the rest of the country, the best times for surfing in the Azores are between July and September, although spring is a good time to escape to a warm place with plenty of waves to discover.

During the winter months is when you have to be more cautious because the conditions can be very challenging.

Sao Miguel Azore drone view
Sao Miguel Azore drone view

Santa Barbara Beach

Located north of Sao Miguel, is a spot for both beginners and more advanced surfers, in tubular sections, although not very long.

It is where you can find more people, but its length will allow you to find several peaks.

This is where the world competition is held in the Azores and waves can reach a height of between 6 and 12 feet.

Monte Verde

Also near Santa Barbara is one of the most fun waves and with more consistent waves throughout the year. Monte Verde has both left and right waves and it is advisable to be surfed at half tide.

Castelejo Beach Alagarve
Castelejo Beach Alagarve

23. Island of Graciosa

On the island of Graciosa, you can visit spots like Baia da Barra with some incredible tubes.

24. Sao Jorge

In Sao Jorge, there are also several beaches in the north offering the right waves. There are many more spots in the Azores and some to discover so if you feel like it’s adventure time, this could be your next destination.

The Best Surfing sites in Portugal | Ilha da Madeira

Last but not least, the archipelago of Madeira is known as the Hawaii of the Atlantic, because it gathers all the necessary conditions to enjoy the sport of surfing to the fullest.

This is because Madeira receives all kinds of North Atlantic waves and features all kinds of surf spots, from point breaks to reef breaks.

Its excellent waves are generated by the rugged and steep coastline and the rocks on the sea bottom.

On the island, some good spots for surfing are Porto da Cruz, Jardim do Mar, and Fajã da Areia, in São Vicente, which vary in difficulty and level.

Paúl do Mar Madeira
Paúl do Mar Madeira

25. Paúl do Mar

Located in a remote part of the island, this is a hidden beach, but that reveals big waves and pleases all surfers.

26. Ribeira das Galinhas

Ribeira das Galinhas beach has already been on the stage of the World Surfing Championship, which indicates that it is an excellent spot to go surfing in Portugal.

Overview of Madeira
Overview of Madeira

When it’s the best time to surf in Portugal

In general, the Portuguese coast has good waves all year round, so surfing in Portugal can be practiced at any time of the year.

Most days, waves arrive on the coast of Portugal from the northwest. Generally speaking, they are smaller in the summer months and bigger in winter.

When these waves become too big and too dangerous to surf on the west coast, they turn around the “end of the world” and reach the shores of some of the beaches on the south coast.

If you are a beginner and want to start this surfing experience, it is best to wait for the summer season or spring, because in winter and autumn the waves are usually very big due to the weather and storms. During summer, the waters are warmer, it rains less, and the temperatures are more pleasant.

But, if you already have some experience and are looking for larger swells, the best time is between October and May. In winter, the waves reach 16 feet on average, depending on where you are.

However, for those who want to see the famous giant waves of Nazaré (or perhaps, only watch), the best time is during the Portuguese fall, between October and November.

And, if you want to experience a world surfing championship, know when the MEO Rip Curl Pro is held in Peniche usually in October.

Buarcos Sunset Portugal
Buarcos Sunset Portugal

Best surf camps in Portugal

If you have never surfed before you should try a surfing lesson. With the help of an instructor, you will not only learn faster but also in a safer way.

The instructor will teach you everything you need to know about rules in the water and how to prevent accidents and bumps when you continue practicing on your own.

Most surf schools and camps offer one-day courses for those who just want to try it out. But if you really want to get into it, you’ll need a full course of a few days.

These schools have transportation to take you to the different beaches in the area that may have the best waves that day.

Remember to always book your lessons with licensed surf schools to ensure the best quality and safety.

✅ 7 Days of 100% Surfing in LUHU Surf Camp, Apúlia Norte

Besides offering very clean and comfortable accommodations, this surf camp has the advantage that the surf classes are mostly for small groups with at least 2 instructors, so you get a lot of attention from them.

Also, they are very organized and not crowded making your experience even more personal and special.

Highlights

  • 5 days’ morning surf lessons
  • Access to use surf equipment throughout the stay
  • Beginner and intermediate levels
  • Transport to different activities around the area and others
  • Complimentary transfers from and to the local bus station
  • Daily breakfast and one BBQ night included
  • Self-catering in a fully equipped kitchen
  • 7 nights’ accommodation

👉 Book your surf retreat in Luhu Surf Camp on Booksurfretreat.com site

Peniche Beach
Peniche Beach

✅ Shark’s Lodge, Ferrel – Peniche

Offering yoga classes, this lodge is more like a resort. Besides being very patient during the surf classes, the instructors also take the clients to go cliff climbing, kayaking, and exploring the region of Peniche.

👉 Book your surf retreat in Shark’s Lodge, Ferre on Booksurfretreat.com

Peniche beach
Peniche beach

✅ Hostel & SurfCamp 55 – Ericeira

This is actually quite a small hostel with approximately 20 guests at a time. There’s a relaxed atmosphere, and for those who want you can sit down in the common room or garden to chat with each other.

As a plus, the location at the edge of the city center and in front of a beach provides stunning sunsets from the balcony.

👉 Book your surf retreat at Hostel & SurfCamp 55 on Booksurfretreat.com

✅ Surf Lodge Algarve Ingrina – Algarve

With renovated rooms, an outdoor pool, and awesome views of the ocean, this lodge offers the perfect balance of a surf camp experience and a relaxing environment by the beach.

Also, a healthy breakfast and daily yoga classes can be balanced with yummy cocktails from the bar.

They offer surf lessons and surf rentals; in case you want to get a board and do your own thing.

👉 Book your surf retreat in Surf Lodge Algarve Ingrina on Booksurfretreat.com

Men surfing in Algarve
Men surfing in Algarve

✅ Wavy Surf Camp, Vila do Bispo – Algarve

Whether you want to chill, skate, work on your balance and do yoga, play games, or party, the camp has something for everyone.

And there is such a great icebreaker on the first evening so don’t be nervous about meeting people for the first time there.

Also, the surf lessons every day provide just the right amount of challenge and fun.

👉 Book your surf retreat in Wavy Surf Camp on Booksurfretreat.com

Surfing lesson in Portugal
Surfing lesson in Portugal

Surfing in Portugal FAQ

🌊 Does Portugal have good surfing?

With hundreds of miles of coastline and sitting at the route of the North Atlantic swells, Portugal is one of the best countries for a surf trip.

However, in Portugal, the waves arrive at the coast a bit more organized making it way more pleasant to surf than in other corners of Europe.

Besides all the reasons I have listed here already, you should remember that Portugal is one of the most southern countries in Europe and as such, it is not only warmer than its neighbors but cheaper as well.

And since the country has so many beaches, the best way to go surfing in Portugal is to rent a car and drive along the coast! You will see the charm of the beaches and discover the best spots.

🏝 What is the best surfing beach in Portugal?

You probably noticed by now that the Portuguese coast offers countless beaches for surfing, for all tastes. But if there is one area that stands out for surfing, it is Peniche, the mecca of surfing.

Peniche also offers many options for beaches and surf spots, depending on your level. The most famous ones are Supertubos, Consolação, Lagide, and Almagreira… to name a few.

Guincho beach surf in portugal
Guincho beach surf in portugal

🏄🏽 Can beginners surf in Portugal?

Absolutely! Portugal is the perfect place to start learning how to surf or even to improve your skills. Besides the many options of beaches and surf spots, offering all kinds of waves, Portugal also has many surf camps and surf schools.

There are hundreds of options of schools where you will learn in the hands of the best professionals.

Although, you need to always be careful, respect the ocean and be aware of your limitations.

I wouldn’t venture surfing in Nazaré without the proper training and skills, for example.

🩱 Do I need a wetsuit to surf in Portugal?

Definitely, yes! Portugal is washed by the Atlantic Ocean which means that the water is cold all year round.

In summer, the temperature goes up a few degrees, but it’s still cold. If you go surfing in Portugal in winter, I recommend that you take or rent a wetsuit of at least 4/3 mm or 5/4 mm to protect you from the water and the cold wind.

During summer, with a 3/2 mm or 4/3 mm you are guaranteed to feel comfortable in the water. But depending on where you are, this might not be necessary.

For example, along the south coast of the Algarve, a short wetsuit or even a neoprene vest could be enough in the summer.

Porto da Cruz Aerial view
Porto da Cruz Aerial view

🦈 Are there sharks in Portugal?

Well, first you should know that Portugal is a country rich in marine life. The richest in Europe, in fact. And yes, there are around 40 species of sharks there.

However, you should also know that this does not necessarily mean danger for surfers. Unlike California and South Africa, for example, Portugal’s waters are not known for being dangerous for surfers when it comes to the presence of sharks.

This is because most of the species we can find in Portugal actually live in very deep waters. So, you can relax and enjoy your surf trip in Portugal with no worries about sharks.

Surfing in Portugal: Final thoughts

As you can see there are so many surfing spots in Portugal that many surfers prefer traveling along the Portugal coast to try them all. It’s actually a great idea.

If you prefer to pick one and stay for a while to practice your surfing skills we hope this guide helped you choose the perfect spot to surf in Portugal, where you can also enjoy exploring historical sites and other natural wonders and enjoy great food.

Here below I will leave you with some Portugal travel guides to help you navigate through this amazing region.

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