Last Updated: 18.10.2023
Portugal is known worldwide for having some of the best surfing spots in Europe. Before your grab your board and head to the beach, there are a few things you need to know to make the most of your surf holidays in Portugal.
Besides the island of Madeira and the more developed (and crowded) parts of the southern Algarve region, Portugal is somewhat less of a mainstream destination for other activities. Especially if you compare it to typical European holiday hotspots like Ibiza or the Costa del Sol. However, for those who are after incredible waves, sunny days, great food, delicious wine, and kind people then surf holidays in Portugal ticks all the boxes. Also, it has prices that are impossible to match elsewhere on the continent.
10 Reasons to Plan Surf Holidays in Portugal
What makes Portugal so special? Sports, nature and culture combinedly create the ultimate surfing experience. When surfing in Portugal, you can be sure of getting more than your money’s worth. Here’s why:
1. World-class Surfing Spots and Clean Beaches: Portugal is renowned for its exceptional and easily accessible surf spots, offering a wide range of waves suitable for all skill levels, from beginners to advanced surfers. Additionally, it is home to clean Blue Flag beaches in pristine natural surroundings.
2. Consistent Swell: Portugal benefits from a consistent Atlantic swell, ensuring a high probability of finding waves throughout the year.
3. Varied Surf Conditions: Whether you prefer powerful reef breaks, long sandy beaches, or mellow point breaks, Portugal has a diverse coastline that caters to all surfing preferences.
4. Beautiful Scenery: Portugal boasts stunning coastal landscapes, picturesque cliffs, and golden sandy beaches, providing a breathtaking backdrop for your surf sessions.
5. Surf Culture and Community: Portugal has a vibrant surf culture, with numerous surf schools, camps, and shops available. You can immerse yourself in the local surf community and make new friends who share your passion.
6. Mild Climate: Portugal enjoys a mild climate all year round, making it an ideal destination for surfers looking to escape colder regions and enjoy the waves in comfortable temperatures.
7. Affordable Costs: Compared to other popular surf destinations in Europe, you can easily find more affordable accommodation, food, and surf-related services, allowing you to enjoy a budget-friendly surf holiday in Portugal.
8. Accessibility and Transportation: Portugal has a well-developed transportation system, making it easy to travel between surf spots and explore different regions of the country during your surf trip.
9. Vibrant Nightlife: After a day of surfing, Portugal offers a lively nightlife scene, particularly in coastal towns and cities, where you can unwind, socialize, and enjoy the local cuisine and entertainment options.
10. Cultural Exploration: Beyond surfing, Portugal is rich in history, culture, and delicious cuisine. You can combine your surf holiday with exploring charming towns, visiting historical landmarks, and indulging in traditional Portuguese dishes.
Need more reasons to plan a surf holiday in Portugal? Here are some more:
- Smaller crowds than Ibiza, Mallorca, Spain and the French Riviera and the biggest waves in Europe.
- Get more than just breakfast buffet and private rooms, enjoy delicious food and excellent wine at unbeatable prices.
- A range of accommodation options to suit any budget, from inexpensive hostels to luxury resorts.
- Affordable surf schools with experienced, qualified instructors.
- A safe and peaceful destination – voted by Lonely Planet as one of the top 5 safest countries in the world for tourists in 2018.
- Fascinating historical sites, music and cultural festivals.
- Tasty cafés, fine restaurants and buzzing nightlife
- English is widely spoken, while French and Spanish are understood by many
Surfing Holidays in Portugal – Europe’s Best Waves & Cleanest beaches
Portugal is home to several popular surf spots that are main stakes on the European and international pro surfing circuits. The highest concentration of world-class beach breaks is clustered around the town of Ericeira, an old fishing village with a vibrant surf culture along the Portuguese coast.
There are 9 top surf spots in Ericeira for your next surf holiday in Portugal and over 40 regional breaks within easy reach. Also, there are excellent surf camps cater to all levels of surfers, from lessons for absolute beginner surfers to experts for veteran shredders. As Europe’s only dedicated World Surfing Reserve, Ericeira is an absolute must for any surf holiday in Portugal.
Praia do Sul, Ericeira, Portugal
Growing Number of Surfing Camps in Portugal
In the last decade, the popularity of Portugal as the surf capital of Europe has skyrocketed. The big and consistent waves have always been there, the Atlantic Coast has been pounding Europe’s westernmost part for centuries.
Additionally, surfing’s appeal worldwide has grown exponentially. With it becoming an Olympic sport in 2020, and with numerous WSL competitions being held in Portugal. The biggest wave in the world (26.21 m) was surfed in Nazaré by Sebastian Steudtner in 2020. Also, a football-mad country (ever heard of Cristiano Ronaldo?!), surfing is Portugal’s second most popular sport.
Also, tourism in Portugal is growing steadily since 2011. Portugal saw a 8.2 million visitors in the first half of 2023 itself, making it one of the best 6 months of tourism the country has had.
That said – Portugal represents a country of only 10.5 million inhabitants. That’s a lot of coastline and a serious amount of surf spots for such a small population. Even if you count tourists and other seasonal visitors, the surf scene in Portugal is still not saturated.
In addition to the popular, well-developed areas, plenty of isolated beaches are available for those in search of adventure. Moreover, instructors and surf guides will be happy to show you these “secret” spots. Most of the surf spots in Portugal have camps that offer surf and yoga which makes a surf trip to this region Europe all the more rejuvenating.
Ericeira Coast, Portugal
Accommodation Options when Surfing in Portugal
Hospitality choices for your surf trip in Portugal range from self-catered villas and surf apartments for families and groups to comfortable rooms and shared dorms. Moreover, a top-notch surf camp will provide all you need for the surf holiday of a lifetime.
Get ready to ride the waves and create lasting surf memories with Rapture Surfcamps. Book your accommodation today! See you on the water!
Hear What Rapture Surfcamps’ Guests Have To Say
The best time for a surf holiday in Portugal is generally from late spring to early autumn, specifically from April to October. During these months, the weather is milder, and the waves are more consistent, providing optimal surfing conditions.
Portugal boasts several renowned surf spots. Some of the most popular include Nazaré, known for its massive waves, Ericeira, a World Surfing Reserve, and Peniche, home to the famous Supertubos beach break. Beginners might enjoy spots like Praia do Guincho and Praia da Costa Nova.
While surfing is generally well-received in Portugal, it’s important to respect local customs and etiquette. Be mindful of other surfers in the water, follow any posted rules at surf spots, and maintain a friendly attitude. Additionally, learn a few basic Portuguese phrases to enhance your overall experience.
Yes, there are numerous surf camps in Portugal like Rapture Surfcamps catering to all skill levels. Whether you’re a complete beginner or looking to improve your skills, you can find qualified instructors and suitable surf schools in popular surfing regions such as Ericeira, Lagos, and Sagres.