The Best Beaches for Surfing in Portugal
Portugal is an ideal vacation destination, especially if you want to catch some major waves - whether you're a kook (an inexperienced surfer) or a pro. The country's coastline spans 497 miles (800 kilometers) and due to its unique geographical location, there are 364 days of surf, regardless of the wind or swell direction.
In Portugal, you will find many surf schools, camps, and shops where you can rent a board or wetsuit and you'll meet surfers from all around the world. Wondering exactly which are the best beaches for surfing in Portugal? Then keep reading!
Surfing in Ericeira
Ericeira is considered one of the best surfing spots in Europe, drawing in surfers from all around the world. Located on the west coast of Portugal, just 30 miles (48 km) north of Lisbon, it's easy to get to and hard to leave behind! The town of Ericeira is actually a sleepy fishing village, turned into a surfer mecca. Here, you'll find about five miles (eight kilometers) of gorgeous beaches including the sandbar São Lourenço; iconic reef breaks which include Coxos, Pedra Branca, and Reef; point Ribeira d’Ilhas; and beach-break Foz do Lizandro for beginners. There's a lot of different waves in the area with varying difficulty levels. Each beach also has a free parking lot.
Ericeira has been designated as a World Surfing Reserve. The area's coast is characterized by amazing rocky cliffs and popular small beaches. Surf is the main attraction in Ericeira and you'll find locals and visiting surfers staying at the campsite, which is a popular accommodation. Ericeira gets a bit crowded over weekends but on weekdays you'll usually just find a few surfers. There are a few bars in town and restaurants with delicious fresh seafood. In Ericeira you'll definitely meet lots of like-minded surfers, surf schools, and different competitions such as the annual Quiksilver Pro Portugal.
Baleal, PenicheClick thumbnail to view full-size
Surf in Peniche
Peniche is known as one of the best surf spots in Portugal. Located about 45 miles (90 km) north of Lisbon, it's an easy day trip from Portugal's capital. The town of Peniche is a fishing village located on a peninsula where you will find about 9 miles (15 kilometers) of coastline with over 20 surf locations! Since it's a peninsula, you get great surfing conditions every day of the year, no matter the swell or wind direction. Peniche is ideal for any level of surfer. Baleal is the beach in Peniche.
You can get to Peniche either by driving on Highway A8 or by taking an express bus from Lisbon at Campo Grande. In Peniche, there are many surf schools and camps if you want to improve your surfing skills. Peniche is also great for cheap yet delicious and fresh seafood. During the summer, Peniche's nightlife comes alive. Don't forget to try a Peniche when you're there - it's Sprite mixed with beer!
Surf in Nazare
Nazaré is a fishing village about 75 miles (120 km) north of Lisbon and the location of the largest wave ever surfed! Garret McNamara rode a record 90-foot wave off of Nazaré last fall at Praia do Norte.
Not only is Nazaré great for surf, it has long sandy beaches, and a fascinating history - making it a popular tourist attraction during the summer. The name of the town, Nazaré, means Nazareth in English and legend has it that it got that name after monks from the real Nazareth came to Portugal in the 4th Century with a statue of the Virgin Mary. The town itself has many interesting historic sights. As in the other fishing villages mentioned above, you will find surf schools and lots of fresh seafood in Nazaré.
You can get to Nazaré either by driving on Highway A8 or by taking a Rede Express bus from Saldanha in Lisbon - which is the quickest way to get to Nazaré by public transportation.
Surf in Alentejo
Alentejo is a region south of Lisbon where the coast is breathtaking and unspoiled. It's also making a name for itself in the surfing scene but is still relatively uncrowded. Vila Nova de Milfontes is the most popular surf area in this region, offering consistent surf throughout the year. Vila Nova de Milfontes is located 120 miles south of Lisbon (190 km) and the town is a small traditional and charming fishing village, located at the edge of a national park.
Surf in Algarve
The Algarve is a region in Southern Portugal which is a really popular tourist destination all year-round. The West Coast is known as the best region of the Algarve for waves since it picks up the northwesterly swells. Surfers know this region for the perfect peaks on gorgeous beaches and the stunning coastline. Most of the best beaches for surfing are in the Vila do Bispo region of the West Coast. Specifically, the best beaches are: Barriga, Beliche, Castelejo, Cordoama, Mareta, Martinhal, Murração, Ponta Ruiva, Telheiro and Tonel.
As you head east from the West Coast of the Algarve, the smaller the waves get and the more touristy the attraction become.
Best Surf Spots in Portugal
5 miles between Matadouro Beach and Sao Lourenzo Beach is the approved area of Ericeira's World Surfing Reserve
Near the town of Peniche, you'll find the sandy beach of Baleal - where you'll find the perfect surf conditions
Nazare is the location of the largest wave ever surfed!
Vila Nova de Milfontes has unspoiled beauty and year-round surf
The best beaches in this region are: Barriga, Beliche, Castelejo, Cordoama, Mareta, Martinhal, Murração, Ponta Ruiva, Telheiro and Tonel.