6 Reasons Why Portugal Is the Best Place to Learn How to Surf

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Portugal is known as one of the best holiday destinations in the world. This country offers fantastic waves all year round and is home to world-class surf destination, which are highly acclaimed for their wave quality and offshore winds.

With its stunning coastline, warm weather, and vibrant surf culture, it's no surprise that Portugal is considered one of the world's top surf destinations with various beginner surf spots as well as more advanced waves.

In 1977 Portugal held its first national surfing competition at Ribeira d'Ilhas in Ericeira.

However, Portugal really began to put itself firmly on the international surf map during the 1990s when the sport exploded in the small Iberian country. Since then it's grown and grown to become the second most popular sport after football.

Portugal delivers every kind of wave imaginable and anything you could possibly want from a surf trip. It is a country that is surrounded by 1794 km of coastline, with hundreds of beautiful surf spots and beaches for different levels.
how to surf

Here are five reasons why you should start surfing in Portugal this year:

1. Consistent waves

Portugal has consistent swells all year round and is considered one of the best places to start surfing adventure or improve your surf skills.

The landscape of the country means you can get any wave you want! Reef or point breaks, right or left waves: Portugal has got you covered!

Surfers flock to the country's beaches to ride some of the best waves in Europe, with ideal conditions for both experienced surfers and beginners.

From the iconic breaks of Ericeira, Nazaré, Costa da Caparica, and Peniche to the lesser-known spots along the Algarve coast, Portugal has waves for every level depending on your surf experience.
Further up North from Sintra, we enter the beautiful paradise of reef and point breaks in Ericeira. This town is considered a surfing Mecca, and in 2011, it was declared a World Surfing Reserve by the Save the Waves Coalition, Europe's first and so far, only one. There are plenty of surf camps and good surf schools offering amazing surf experience.

Along 8 km (5 mi) of coastline, Ericeira is home to a number of high density of waves and seven world-class surf breaks, including Ribeira D'Ilhas, Coxos, and Portugal's most challenging and heaviest wave Cave accessible only for more advanced surfers.

Ericeira is renowned for its wave diversity and it's all year round place for sure. You'll find anything from beach breaks to reefs and points, spitting tubes and mellow peaks, fast and slow, rights and lefts.

Ericeira is used to be seen as a fishing village now has become the surf capital of Portugal and offers an impressive variety of surf spots, crammed into just a few kilometers of coast. In 2011 Ericeira was chosen the first World Surfing Reserve in Europe.
peniche surf lessons
Santa Cruz
And don't forget to explore further up and down the coast as well. If you drive 20 kilometers north, you'll find the beautiful beach breaks of Santa Cruz and Praia Azul.

To the south, you have Praia do Magoito, Praia Grande and Praia do Guincho. You can even venture further south towards Carcavelos Beach and the other surf spots along the Lisbon coast. This is also the place to go when the western swells are too big for the west coast.
Known as Surfers' Paradise, Peniche is one of the most popular surf spots in Portugal and is located just an hour away from Lisbon. Peniche is a Peninsula with north and south-facing coastlines with 9 beaches and around 20 surf spots. It's easy to find at least one with perfect condition during all surfing seasons, which makes it perfect destination for your first surf trip.
surf trip peniche
On the bigger days, you can have your choice of waves. Cantinho da Baia is an outstanding wave out of all surf destinations for beginners and intermediate surfers. It is the most consistent wave during the summertime. It's a left and right peak, starting slow, but as it gets to the inside, it becomes faster: what can be better if you want to learn how to surf even without surf camp?

Prainha is another option for beginner surfers. Prainha has right and left-hand waves, which are incredibly consistent. Both spots are protected from the dominant swells by Baleal Island. However, as they are popular beginner surf breaks, they can get quite crowded especially during the peak season for surf camps and surf schools.

The North you go, the more swell enters the breaks, which means that even on very small days, you can find powerful waves breaking on beaches like Almagreira or Pico da Mota.

Other spots, such as Gigi or Meio da Baia, are perfect long-boarders to learn how to surf. These breaks give both left- and right-handed waves, which are gentle and soft, great for learning and improving your surf performance and have fun during your surf adventure.
peniche surf hotel
Last but not least, make sure to check out Praia dos Supertubos — home to the perfect tubular waves. Its fast tubular waves can get up to 6 meters (20 feet) tall and break over a shallow sandbank. This beach is known for having some of the best waves anywhere in the world, loved by the surfing elite during the main surf season.

Consolação, which is ideal for both beginners and advanced surfers. Praia do Baleal and Praia da Cova da Alfarroba are also great options, offering consistent mellow waves throughout the year.

Indeed, there aren't many places in the world that can top Portugal's high index of surf days per year. Isn't this the reason why you should plan your next surfing trip now?

2. Beautiful Beaches and Unspoiled Nature

Portugal has some of the most stunning beaches in Europe, many of which are perfect for surfing.

In 2015, 299 beaches and 15 marinas in Portugal were awarded Blue Flag status, the most widely recognized standard for water quality, sustainable tourism, safety and general environmental responsibility.
where to learn surfing
The Algarve region, located in South Coast of Portugal is in particular is a popular destination for beach-goers, with its turquoise waters, golden sands, and stunning cliffs.

For a more secluded experience, head to Praia da Amoreira in the Costa Vicentina region or the stunning Praia de Odeceixe in the Alentejo region, both offering pristine waters and breathtaking scenery.
Peniche is famous for its sandy beaches and attracts surfers from all over the world and offer beginner friendly breaks. In addition to surfing, visitors can enjoy activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding. The beaches also offer a variety of restaurants, bars and vibrant nightlife for visitors to relax and enjoy the stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean.
how to learn surfing

3. Great weather

Portugal is a popular surf destination with a mild climate and consistent waves year-round. Surfing seasons do not exist here. Portugal has, on average, more than 300 sunny days in a year, which makes it one of the sunniest places in southern Europe. This combination makes it a unique travel destination for lovers of water sports and waves.

For beginners, the best time to go is during summer, between May and September—basically during the summertime. This is when the swells are less frequent and the waves are smaller. Note that most popular surf spots get crowded during summer, especially in July and August.

For advanced surfers, the best time of year for surfing in Portugal is late winter to early spring, especially between September and April. During these months, swells are definitely more powerful, producing epic waves measuring around 2– 4.5 meters (6 – 15 feet).
surf destination
Water temperatures range from around 15-18°C in the winter to 20-22°C in the summer, making it possible to surf year-round.

In spring (March-May) you can surf easy waves just about anywhere. However, this is probably the best time of the year to go surfing for beginner surfers in Northern Portugal. Make sure to check out the spots around Porto, including Matosinhos and Espinho. In late spring, it already starts to get crowded.

In summer (June – August): summer means beach vibes and surf camp crowds eager to learn surf on mellow beach breaks, especially on the central coast and even more so on the surf beaches near Lisbon. Your best bet during summer is the Algarve, blessed with some of the most reliable surf in Europe, tropical climate and warm water.

In autumn (September – November) almost all the spots work. The crowds will have dispersed, the swells start to kick in, the water is at its warmest, and there's still plenty of sunshine to be had. Do take note that the waves are bigger than in summer and that's when you might realise what means a physically demanding sport . This is a great time to check out the west coast surfing destination such as Peniche, Ericeira, Nazaré, and the surf reef breaks near Lisbon.

In winter (December – February), the swells are mental. It's a no go for an absolute beginner since Portugal becomes a paradise for big waves surfers . Strong storms can occur during winter, which can make many of the surf breaks unsurfable. You'll have to look for south-facing spots for protection from the storms. Cascais and the Algarve are your best bet if you're looking for fun waves during winter.

4. Surfing culture: surf shops, surf film festivals

From a surfer's standpoint, Portugal has it all. It's not just the awesome waves, but also the surf culture, its authentic charm, and the fact that it's inexpensive that make it one of the world's top surfing destinations.
There are surf shops almost in every coastal town or village, selling surfing gear, clothing, and other accessories ( find out what are the best surf brands here). These shops cater to both locals and tourists, and provide a glimpse into the thriving surf culture of Portugal.

58 Surf Shop is a popular surf shop located in Peniche, Portugal. They carry a wide variety of surfboards, wetsuits, and accessories from top brands like Rip Curl and Channel Islands. Along with their surf gear, they also sell casual clothing, such as t-shirts and hoodies, featuring their logo. Experienced surfers will appreciate their selection of high-performance boards, while beginners can rent equipment or sign up for surf lessons.
Surf events
With the annual World Surf League Championship Tour competition on the most famous beach break in Peniche (Supertubos) and multiple qualifying events spread across the country, you have a chance to watch or surf with pro athletes the same surf breaks. Ribeira d'Ilhas currently hosts the Quiksilver Pro Portugal each year, an ASP men's prime professional contest.
Surf film festivals
A celebration of the surf culture and a gathering for the local and international surf community annually happens during Portuguese Surf Film Festival Ericeira and Sagres Surf Film Festival. The programm includes surf films screening, workshops and art exhibition.
world surf league
photo from website https://rr.sapo.pt

5. Affordable prices: best place to learn how to surf

Portugal is a unbelievably affordable destination surfing destination with relatively low prices for accommodation, food, and gear rentals compared to other surfing hotspots.

Surf enthusiasts can enjoy perfect waves without breaking the bank and indulge in local hospitality and cuisine without worrying about skyrocketing expenses. The affordability of Portugal also makes it an attractive destination for beginner surfers who want to learn to surf without spending a lot of money.

The cost of surf lessons in Portugal varies based on the location, season, and type of lesson or rental. Typically, a surf lesson with a surf camp can cost anywhere from €20-60 per person, while a full-day board rental can cost around €15-30.

Popular surf destinations like Ericeira and Lisbon area tend to be more expensive than lesser-known areas. It's also worth noting that prices may increase during peak tourist season when a lot of people want to learn to surf. Costs for learning to surf in surf schools in Peniche can vary depending on the length of the lesson and the number of people in the class.
surfing in portugal for beginner surfers
photo from unsplash.com

6. Communication

In terms of language, you'll find that English is widely spoken in the tourism industry, including surf schools and surf camps by young people and even among the general population. While it's nice to learn and use a bit of Portuguese, knowledge of English will be enough for you to get by very well on any surf trip in Portugal.

Educated Portuguese often speak at least two languages so don't be surprised if you meet many French-speaking Portuguese as well. Spanish is also widely understood and you might even get by with Italian in a pinch. Rest assured, Portuguese people are very nice and happy to help a stranger — so don't be afraid to ask anyone for assistance!
surf trip peniche

Why go surfing in Portugal?

The short answer would be this – Portugal delivers every kind of wave imaginable and anything you could possibly want from a surf trip.

Surfing is salt and sand, great waves and sun, it is a constant lesson… it is about challenging ourselves and trusting oneself. It is relaxation and connection with natural beauty of the ocean. Join us on this adventure during our Surf Yoga Skate program !

Portugal is definitely the right place to be for an amazing surfing experience. In addition, it's also a beautiful, welcoming and unbelievably affordable destination... so why not pack your bag over and learn to surf in Portugal ? We promise you an unforgettable ride!