How to pull off a surf trip in Portugal this summer
Last Updated: 13 August 2019
Make the most of your time off this summer by embarking on an epic surf trip through Portugal with a little help from Rapture and our surf camp in Ericeira.
No matter what skill level you’re at or how many days you have to spare, Portugal offers the perfect blend of waves, culture, weather, and good times. For this reason, a surf trip to this wave-rich country has become a rite of passage for scores of European wave riders. Many of whom choose to stay at our surf camp in Ericeira in order to maximize their odds of scoring epic conditions.
If you haven’t had a chance to visit the land of pasteis de nata and rocket-fuel espressos though, don’t despair. The team here at Rapture Surfcamps has got the inside scoop on what it takes to pull off the perfect surf trip to Portugal. Read on for more information or get in touch today to book a place at our surf house in Ericeira.
Consider renting a vehicle
Getting from Lisbon to famous surfing areas just north of the city is pretty easy using public transport. With trips to Ericeira particularly effortless if you’re staying at our surf camp since we can even pick you up the airport. Want to see the rest of Portugal with boards and friends in tow though? Consider renting a vehicle.
There’s over 1,800 km of coastline to check out after all. With countless surfable nooks and crannies to explore both north and south of Lisbon. Having a vehicle will ensure you can reach these beaches, reefs and rock bottom waves without too much of a hassle. Thereby making the most out of your surf trip.
A driver’s license, passport and a credit card should be everything necessary to hire a car. If you’re from outside of the EU, you may also want to arrange an international driving permit, however, the need for this varies between rental companies.
Don’t forget that when it comes to renting a vehicle, the devil is in the details. So read the fine print and don’t skimp on insurance.
Bring a summer wetsuit
The water temperature on the west coast of Portugal ranges from 17˚C – 19˚C from June to September. Not all that cold but definitely not all that warm either. Especially when combined with a chilly northwest wind blowing straight off the Atlantic Ocean. There’s a real possibility that you’ll be cutting your sessions short no matter how good the waves are if you’re not prepared.
As such, we recommend a 3/2 mm steamer if you’re susceptible to the cold, a 2 mm short arm if you like getting your guns out or a spring suit if you’re not a fan of neoprene but still want to stay comfortable in the water.
If you don’t own a wetsuit though, fear not. We stock a great selection of suits in a range of different sizes at our surf camp in Ericeira for you to use. Just let our staff know you need one and we’ll get you sorted with a quality wetsuit.
Book accommodation close to a variety of quality waves
Staying in accommodation close to quality waves is essential if you only have a few days to visit Portugal this summer. By doing so you can cut down on time spent touring the coastline in your rental car looking for surf, negotiating traffic and burning up fuel. And instead, check a handful of spots in a short amount of time.
Now, this is where we get a little bias. Because realistically the most wave-rich place in all of Portugal is Ericeira. Which just so happens to be the location of the Rapture surf house. From here you can reach a diverse range of different types of waves ranging from gentle user-friendly rollers at Praia do Sul to the more advanced breaks of Ribeira D’Ilhas and Coxos.
The fact that we’re only a short walk to Foz do Lizandro also means you’re never far from the ocean. You can even check the conditions in the morning from the comfort of your bed… a popular reason for staying at our surf camp in Ericeira that can’t be overlooked if you want to make the most of your time off.
Indulge your inner foodie
Portugal is blessed with some of the freshest and most delicious seafood in the world. This makes it one of the worst places to come if you’re on a diet. But one of the best places to visit if you love all manner of fish and crustaceans with a side order of buttery vegetables. In addition to portions so big that leftovers often last for multiple days.
Grilled sardines, cataplana and a literally endless array of codfish (bacalhau) dishes will keep you fuelled throughout your entire summer surf trip. Whilst also giving you an insight into traditional Portuguese methods of cooking and their proud culinary culture. Which is as rich as the food it’s responsible for producing.
Eating out in Portugal is also great value for money if you happen to be on a budget. Since the servings are large and the menus are reasonably priced. It’s also totally fine if your breakfast sitting blends into lunch or your lunch runs into dinner. So remember to take your time and really savor the flavors.
If the surf is firing and you don’t want to miss the action, simply grab a quick bite to eat in the form of a pork steak sandwich, or bifana, and a delicious pasteis de nata. Then complement it down with one of those legendary turbocharged Portuguese espressos and you’re good to go.
Be sun smart
Central Portugal has a Mediterranean climate and as such it gets pretty warm during summer. With July and August on record as the hottest months of the year, receiving air temps that range between 26˚C and 30˚C.
Couple this heat with the fact that you’ll most likely be spending a lot of time outside if you’re staying at our surf camp in Portugal and being sun smart becomes extra important.
Our advice? Bring a broad-spectrum sunscreen to your surf trip in Portugal, that is also eco-friendly. Sun Bum performance sunscreen, MANDA Organic Sun Paste and Kōkua Sun Care are pricey options but they’re also incredibly effective.
Not only will they ensure you don’t look like a freshly boiled lobster after only 30 minutes in the sun, but they’re also reef-safe and non-greasy. Which is what we call a win-win situation.
Take a surfboard that’s suited to summer conditions
It can be tempting to get overexcited when planning a trip to our surf camp in Ericeira. Especially if it’s been a while since you’ve paddled out and caught a few waves. Frothing out can lead to you packing more than is necessary in terms of surfboards and equipment though. When all you really need to have fun in the surf over summer is one decent well-rounded surfboard.
A good all-rounder should be able to handle the small to medium size waves that Portugal sees over the summer months with ease. Cutting through the northwest wind chop and getting you into less-powerful waves nice and early.
You’re not charging banzai pipeline or screaming down a reeling Indonesian pointbreak after all. A board that’s got a bit of volume under the chest and a flattish rocker should do the trick.
In addition to simplifying the packing process, taking only one surfboard with make traveling between airports and destinations infinitely easier. Since you won’t need to lug around a heavy coffin with multiple boards. You’ll also save yourself a bit of coin if the airline your flying with charges by the surfboard… coin that can be better spent on pasteis de nata.
Wake up early for at least one dawn session
Is there anything better than waking up before everyone else, walking down the beach and paddling out to watch the sunrise? The team at our surf camp in Ericeira thinks not. This is why we recommend waking up for at least one dawn session during your surf trip in Portugal.
Trust us, it’s worth cutting your sleep-in in short for. It’s not like you need to get up to go to work or anything either. Instead, you can spring out of bed and beat the crowds, enjoy some spectacular views, and even nab a few waves to yourself.
So go on. Set that alarm for early AM and don’t hit snooze when it goes off. Then wake your mates and hit the lineup. Its what you came here to do after all. And when the waves are firing and the weather is fine, there’s no better place to be than in the ocean… no matter what time of the day it is.
Join us at our surf camp in Ericeira and never stay far from the ocean! Ericeira
The best surf trips in Portugal begin with Rapture
Rapture Surfcamp Portugal is located in Ericeira, a premier surf spot just 35 km north-west from Lisbon and the only World Surfing Reserve in Europe.
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