7 of Portugal’s Best Surf Spots
31 October 2018
As can be seen,with so much sun (up to an average of 300 sunny days a year). Additionally, huge coastlines (1,800km / 1,120 mi including the islands) and so many clean (299) Blue Flag beaches…
There are plenty of places in the running to be included in Portugal’s best surf spots. Add year-round swell and some seriously consistent waves and you’ve got a surfers’ paradise. Although Portugal is still a bit off the tourist path, these surf spots have fewer crowds than other European surfing hot spots.
Portugal: A great place to learn the art of surfing
Summer waves are on average half the size or even less of those in winter so the summer months are perfect for learning to surf or progressing from beginner to intermediate surfer. Summer in Portugal is also warm and sunny practically every single day with the added bonus of cool, comfortable nights.
Some great beginner surf spots in Portugal include Foz do Lizandro, São Julião and Praia do Sul — all in Ericeira. There is Cantinho da Baia in Peniche,as well as Amado near Lagos. Also, Guincho in Cascais and Praia de Carcavelos.
Portugal’s surfing regions
There are 7 surfing regions in Portugal. They are, from north to south:
1. Porto and the Costa Verde — featuring Espinho and the urban break of Matosinhos, which may be the only surf spot in Portugal you can reach via metro
2. The Costa da Prata — extends south of Porto to north of Ericeira and includes world famous surf areas Nazaré, Peniche and also Figueira da Foz
3. Ericeira — A World Surfing Reserve; just 8km of coast packed with great surf spots like Coxos, Cave, Ribeira d’Ilhas and several more.
4. Lisbon and west coast — including Cascais, Carcavelos and Sintra, surfing and sightseeing are big in this region
5. Alentejo — the Southern California of Portugal, a nice place to escape to the country, whilst also catching some waves along the Vicentine Coast Natural Park
6. The Algarve — First of all, sunny and far south of the country, popular with tourists as well as surfers; there are around 50 spots along the region’s west coast
7. The islands — Azores (mainly São Miguel and Terceira) and Madeira, home to the barrels of Paul do Mar plus the gentle waves of São Vicente
We’ve already mentioned a few of Portugal’s best surf spots and breaks in the above section on Portugal’s surfing regions, but we’ve selected 7 of the best spots while trying to include something for everyone from beginner to expert.
Portugal’s Best Surf Spots
1. Praia de Ribeira d’Ilhas, Ericeira
Ericeira’s best-known break, Ribeira d’Ilhas, is known for its perfect barrels and as a stop on the ASP World Tour Surf Championship . Situated just 2km from the village of Ericeira, the clean and beautiful Blue Flag beach of Praia de Ribeira d’Ilhas also benefits from ample parking, also disabled access and smaller crowds.
2. Supertubos, Peniche
Known as the perfect barrel, Supertubos or “Supertubes” is a racing tubular wave suitable for advanced surfers with experience with similar breaks. It is also the home of the Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal. Due to the spots quality and reputation, expect large crowds, especially in the summer.
3. Praia do Norte, Nazaré
The site of many world-record big wave surfing feats, Praia do Norte’s massive swell, which culminates at its reef, is the result of the Nazaré Canyon, an underwater continental fault that stretches 230km / 143mi long and 5km / 3mi deep.Though internationally famous for killer, monster waves that are only suitable for extreme daredevils, these only happen once a year. When the swell at Praia do Norte is “small” it becomes a perfect beach break, offering nice lefts and rights, but is still only suitable for experts and pros.
4. Praia de Carcavelos, Carcavelos
This massive sand-bottom beach break is probably the birthplace of Portugal’s surfing culture. Moreover, with a 1.5km stretch that is popular with Lisbonite beach-goers and hosts several local, national and international surf competitions local surfers, the left and right breaks here provide something for everyone. Conveniently located less than 30 minutes from Lisbon and close to other top regional surf spots like Estoril and Guincho, Carcavelos blends excellent waves with convenience and fun.
5. Foz do Lizandro, Ericeira
Sometimes simply called Praia do Lizandro or even “Foz”, this spot, like Ribeira d’Ilhas, is another Blue Flag beach situated very close to the village of Ericeira, which lies just 2km to the north. In contrast to its neighbour, Foz is a river-mouth break and much milder, attracting all levels of surfers, from beginners to advanced. A picturesque beach, it is popular with families and sunbathers as well as surfers. The long, gentle, medium-sized waves of Praia da Foz do Lizandro make it an ideal spot for surf lessons.
6. Praia de Buarcos, Figueira da Foz
A carving right-hand point break with some tubular sections, Buarcos is considered to be the longest wave in Europe. This ultra long wave is actually formed when three or more point breaks combine. When conditions are right it can provide whopping rides of 200 metres or more. Praia de Buarcos is also suitable for all skill levels. It’s rural location in central Portugal means this spot is less likely to get very busy in the water.
7. Coxos, Ericeira
Finally, another incredible wave in Portugal’s surfing capital — and there are several more in Ericeira that we haven’t included. Many think Coxos to be the best in the land of plenty. Coxos is a reef/point break recommended for expert surfers only. Since this right-hand barrel breaks directly over rocky shelves into a small bay. Beware: Coxos is tricky and powerful. In addition to having jagged rocks and sea urchins-a-plenty! Looking for somewhere to stay in Ericeira? Check out our beachfront surfcamp at Foz do Lizandro where you can check the waves from your bedroom window.