If you’re leaning towards booking a surf camp in Portugal then you’ve come to the right place. Before you go though, check out Rapture Surfcamps’ list of what to expect when you are on your surf trip in Portugal.

As a destination ideal for those learning to surf, Portugal really needs no introduction, but because we here at Rapture Surfcamps love this ruggedly beautiful strip of land on the Iberian Peninsula so much, we thought we compile a list of things you need to know before you visit.

So read on if you’re thinking about booking a surf camp in Portugal and enjoy learning about what this culturally rich country has to offer.

1. Surf Spots Galore

Surf beach in the Algarve
You’ll never have trouble finding a couple of waves to wet your rails

Looking at a map of Portugal, it’s easy to see why it’s become the surf capital of Europe. With over 900 kilometres of surfable coastline, favourable winds, great exposure to Atlantic swells and easy access to all of those rocky nooks and crannies that are conducive to decent waves, there’s nearly always somewhere for you to paddle out.

This means that if you’re booking a surf camp in Portugal you can expect to catch plenty of waves and enjoy multiple surf sessions throughout the day. To the point that you’ll be noodle armed and almost totally caked with salt by the time you turn in for the night. More than this though, you’ll get the opportunity to refine your skills and build up your confidence in the water. Because that’s what surf camps are all about, right?

2. Enjoy the Slow-Paced Life

If you want to sit on a stoop all day long in Portugal, that’s totally fine
Booking a surf camp in Portugal means enjoying a slower pace of life.

The pace of life in nearly every other country in Europe feels exceptionally quick when compared to Portugal. But that’s not a bad thing in any way. In fact, we believe Portugal’s relaxed pace of life is one of its most memorable qualities. You’ll rarely have to worry about early morning crowds when you want to score a few solo waves in the AM.

Yep, the Portuguese people’s love for that ‘No hurry, no worry’ style of living is both endearing and cathartic. So expect to slip into their steady rhythm of life and shed that underlying feeling of unrest that’s now a by-product of living in a fast-paced modern world. Walk to the beach, savour your coffee and spend some time watching the world go by. We guarantee this intoxicating lifestyle will have you booking a surf camp in Portugal and coming back year after year.

3. Seafood – As Fresh As It Gets

Lobsters on an outdoor BBQ
How do you say “I’ll take 50 lobster tails” in Portuguese?

Vegetarians and vegans might not find this to be a particularly strong selling point, but for everyone else who loves their seafood, Portugal is heaven on earth. And given that most of the country’s main dishes are a hearty, heavy affair, it’s nice to know you can break up the constant servings of buttery vegetables and thick soups with some fresh, crisp seafood.

Try the Cataplana de Marisco, a traditional dish made in a special copper pan that contains various shellfish like clams, mussels and shrimp mixed with peppers and garlic. If you’re only peckish though, a small plate of grilled sardines with a salad on the side will definitely hit the spot. Regardless of what you order, you won’t be disappointed with what’s put in front of you 99% of the time. It’s probably only just been plucked out of the sea or off a rock that morning you know!

Having said that, with the growing number of people opting for plant-based lifestyle, there are a few restaurants and meal options available to those who cannot indulge in seafood or meat.

4. Wetsuits are Going to be your Best Friends when Surfing

People booking a surf camp in Portugal can expect cold water
Sometimes a wetsuit is the intelligent option

This may come as a bit of a surprise if you’ve never been to Portugal before, but you’ll be wearing a wetsuit if you’re surfing the country’s western coast. Obviously, this isn’t a big deal. The waves are good and the seafood’s fresh. But consider this a heads up – water temps can drop to 14˚C in winter and peak at around 19˚C in summer.

Of course, if you’re feeling brave you can probably get away with minimal neoprene. The truly courageous amongst you might even be able to surf in only boardshorts or a bikini. For everyone else booking a surf camp in Portugal, you can expect to rock a wetsuit whenever you hit the waves. We know, we know. They’re unflattering and kind of annoying. But since the surf here is so damn good, you’ll no doubt forget you’re even wearing one after catching the third best wave of your life for the day.

5. Surf in one of the Safest Countries in the World

Girl sitting on bench staring out over the Tagus River in Portugal
Booking a surf camp in Portugal? Enjoy peace of mind and the ability to roam relatively freely without running into trouble

Portugal is just like every other country. It has its bad eggs and we’re not talking about the ones that don’t make it into the Pastel de nata’s recipe (more on that later). Fortunately, organizations such as the World Population Review still consider it one of the safest countries in the entire world.

I guess what we’re trying to say is that even though it’s not completely immune to petty theft, people booking a surf camp in Portugal can click confirm on their dream trip and enjoy peace of mind knowing the chance of them being caught up in an act of crime are slim to none. In regards to nature though, the oceans can get rough and many are unpatrolled. Not to mention the sun can cook a rasher of bacon in 30-seconds during summer if given half the chance, which brings us to our next point.

6.Sunscreen will Become a Second Skin

Man sunburnt after booking a surf camp in Portugal
Don’t be this guy

Sunscreen isn’t only for Irish tourists. It’s the first line of defence in protecting your skin from a terribly uncomfortable sleep or worse full-blown third-degree burns. Nobody wants to look like a fresh slice of tomato after a surf.

So if you’re booking a surf camp in Portugal, don’t be afraid to apply a liberal amount of sunscreen to any exposed skin. That includes the back of your ears and that notoriously susceptible burn zone beneath your eyes. Temperatures here can be brutal (upwards of 30˚C with nowhere to hide brutal). Even 20 minutes in the water with temperatures like that combined with the glare reflecting off the ocean’s surface can turn you the colour of a beetroot.

7. The Locals are a Friendly Bunch

A group of Portuguese people at a party
Nothing shines a light on the gregarious nature of the Portuguese people like a party

If you’re worried about localism or that the Portuguese won’t be inclined to share their epic waves with you, don’t stress. A sincere ‘Bom dia’ and smile will disarm just about any older gentleman on the street and the local pro.

Portuguese people are an inherently friendly bunch after all. Willing to share their secret waves and give you the inside scoop on the best coffee spot in town. They are also respectful, open and incredibly warm. Just remember while you’re here, you’re a guest in this country and an ambassador for your own. Do your nation’s reputation proud by doing well by the Portuguese and everything will be peachy.

8. Pastel de nata and Espresso is a Perfectly Acceptable Breakfast Combo

Pastel de Nata
Makes you want to pack your stuff and book a ticket immediately, no?

A delectable Pastel de nata is always a winner in our eyes. But when coupled with a hit of caffeine and served still warm, it’s a thing of beauty. You don’t have to take our word for it though. You can get this fluffy pastry and a shot of coffee before your early morning surf at exactly 100% of the cafés in Portugal.

Seriously, if the café you’re in doesn’t sell Pastel de nata, you’ve driven too far and are actually in Spain. So simply turn your car around and head west. There a Pastel de nata and cup of robust Portuguese coffee waiting for you after your surf lesson. If that’s not enough motivation for booking a surf camp in Portugal, we don’t know what is.

Ready to experience the thrill of surfing? Join us at Rapture Surfcamps in Portugal!

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If surfing in one of the most beautiful location in Europe doesn’t convince you enough, there are Pastel de nata and a cup of robust Portuguese coffee here waiting for you after your surf lesson.

What makes Portugal a popular destination for a surf trip?

Portugal is renowned for its consistent and diverse waves, making it a top choice for surfers of all levels. The country’s beautiful coastline, warm hospitality, and vibrant surf culture contribute to its popularity.

When is the best time to plan a surf trip to Portugal?

The best time for a surf trip to Portugal is typically during the fall and winter months (September to March) when the Atlantic Ocean produces consistent swells. However, spring and summer offer milder conditions suitable for beginners.

What are some famous surf spots in Portugal?

Portugal is home to iconic surf spots such as Peniche (Supertubos), Ericeira, Sagres, and Nazaré. Each spot offers a unique surfing experience, from challenging barrels to more mellow beach breaks.

Can beginners enjoy surfing in Portugal, or is it more suitable for experienced surfers?

Portugal caters to surfers of all levels. Many surf schools and beginner-friendly breaks make it an excellent destination for those just starting, while more advanced surfers can find challenging waves in certain regions.

What is the water temperature like in Portugal for surfing?

The water temperature in Portugal ranges from around 14°C (57°F) in winter to 20°C (68°F) in summer. Wetsuits are typically necessary, especially in the cooler months, to ensure comfort while surfing.

Are there surf camps in Portugal for those looking for a comprehensive surf experience?

Absolutely. Portugal boasts numerous surf camps that offer a complete surfing experience, including lessons, equipment rental, and often accommodation. These camps cater to various skill levels and provide a supportive environment for surfers. One popular camp offering its services in 3 locations in Portugal is Rapture Surfcamps (book here)

What kind of surf culture can one expect in Portugal?

Portugal has a vibrant and inclusive surf culture. Surfing is deeply ingrained in the coastal lifestyle, with friendly locals and a welcoming atmosphere at surf breaks and in surf communities.

Are there opportunities for other activities besides surfing in Portugal?

Portugal offers a diverse range of activities, including exploring historic cities, enjoying the local cuisine, hiking along coastal trails, and experiencing the rich cultural heritage. It’s a destination that provides a well-rounded experience beyond just surfing.

How accessible is transportation between different surf spots in Portugal?

Transportation in Portugal is relatively accessible, with well-connected road networks and public transportation options. Renting a car is a popular choice for flexibility, but buses and trains also provide efficient ways to travel between surf destinations.