Best Surf Spots in Portugal - The Traveller


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Monday, July 31, 2023

Best Surf Spots in Portugal

Best Surf Spots in Portugal

When it comes to discussing the best surf destinations in Europe as well as all over the world, we can't stop ourselves from mentioning Portugal's best surf spots. Due to the viral videos, big wave records, and WSL competitions, waves like Nazaré, Supertubos, and Coxos have become household names among surfers. Portugal, the Western European nation with 1,115 miles (1,794 kilometers) of a unique coastline, temperate maritime climate, awesome food & wines, and mesmerizing beaches, is considered the surf heaven. Spend a morning by watching large waves or snowboarding, and enjoy your afternoon surfing waist-high rollers in a paradisal point break.

You should know that surfing has become an essential part of Portugal as a tourism destination. The number of visitors is more than the number of people who live here. This country is proud of its Atlantic origins, and that is reflected in the local surf culture & the variety of breaks pumping waves across the coastline.

You can have a trip to the mainland or visit the excellent gems in the islands of Açores and Madeira. It is called internationally as the Azores. Travel by car or train and surf the beautiful spots of Portugal from the North to the Atlantic archipelagos. This article covers the best surf spots that make Portugal a world-famous surf spots in Portugal.

Best Surf Spots in Portugal:

1. Coxos, Ericeira:

The pronunciation of Coxos is Ko-shus, and it is considered one of the best surf spots in this country. Coxos, which is located in the Portuguese town of Ericeira, is simple to access. There is a small dusty path for some cars. After that, you need to walk for a long time along the sharp rocks & Sea Urchins. Ericeira includes nine surf beaches within 8 kms. Besides, there are some hidden gems. This one of the beautiful towns of Portugal is adorned with old cobblestone streets, local restaurants and bars.

2. North Canyon, Nazaré:


Almost everyone has seen the pictures and videos of the big waves surfing at Nazaré. It is an old-school fishing village located along the nation's central coastline and 90 minutes north of Lisbon. Due to the huge publicity, this spot has become the most popular wave in the last four years. Visitors can see the 'North Canyon' lifting up and breaking against the cliffs every winter. However, in the year 2005, the waves were noticed. But it wasn't until 2011 that the attention of the surfing world was caught when Garret McNamara (GMAC) made a record in the Guinness Book for riding the biggest wave in history.

GMAC came from Hawaii but later became a local in Nazare. Antonio Silva from Portugal and Andrew Cotton from England are some names who have surfed it when it has been at its biggest. Maya Gabeira, a female surfer in Brazil & one of the top surfers in the world, was knocked out cold and nearly didn't survive, which is one of the scariest moments of the surfing world — everything was caught on camera. You can see the best big waves surfers of the world when you visit the place.

3. Supertubos, Peniche:

Supertubos is home to the Rip Curl Pro, the biggest surf competition in this country. This contest is a part of the WSL World Tour and is held every October. In this contest, the best surfers participate in the competition to win the World Title. This open beach break isn't protected and can work at up to 20 feet. This popular spot is known as the "European pipeline." Supertubos is famous for its tubular waves on a beach located within a national ecological reserve. It is the most visited surf destination in this country. This spot might not have Ericeira's old traditional town vibe, but it is adorned with the most beautiful long beaches.

4. Carcavelos, Lisbon:

Twenty minutes from Lisbon centre, this spot is Portuguese surf's birthplace. You can call this a long white sandy playground with various peaks. During winter, this spot generates a few world-class barrels.

As it is located near Lisbon, this spot remains busy. However, it indicates that you can experience a great atmosphere in and around the area and see beach cafés. You can get decent facilities like showers and parking. Every year events and festivals on the beach are held, ranging from National Championships to the WSL Cascais Pro. On the border of Cascais and Lisbon, Carcavelos is located. Basically, this spot is located in the middle of waves stretching from the West up to Guincho Beach & across the bridge to Costa do Caprica.

5. Buarcos, Figueira da Foz:

This one is a small fishing city near the bigger city of Figueira da Foz. It is located on the country's central coastline, halfway between Lisbon & Porto. Although the wave is not as popular as the previous four choices, it is considered the country's longest wave. Rides last over 200m at high tide, and it is one of the best surf spots in the country. You may not get a barrel so easily, but if you want to see the world class carving waves, you should definitely visit here. One of the undiscovered secrets of this country is Central Portugal.

6. Praia do Amado: 

It is another gem of a surf spot in the Algarve. Although the place has strong currents & occasional brutal waves, it is accessible to people who are new to surfing. All credits go to easy access to Costa Vicentina, where different surf schools await you. In this spot, visitors can experience loads of car parks & infrastructure. Therefore, Amado beach is perfectly equipped and ensures that your stay will be enjoyable.

7. Sagres:

This city is located in the Faro district in the nation's southwest. Sagres is popular for its scuba diving and is considered as home to a fun surf spot. You will love surfing at Praia da Ingrina which boasts long rolling waves ideal for beginners. Sagres is famous for its secluded beaches & caves. In this spot, you get a rare chance to see dolphins and whales. While it is excellent for surfing, the spot is awesome for paragliding. You can explore different paragliding activities near this city. It is only a few km away from Lagos, which is the country's outdoor sports capital.

8. Paúl do Mar:

It is located in the southwest of Madeira. Paúl do Mar is a small traditional beach-side village known for its calm and beautiful waves. That's why surfers love this place. While you can experience sunny skies, you can experience a relaxing atmosphere in a remote location. Along with surfing, visitors enjoy paragliding, diving, SUP or bodyboarding here.

9. Espinho:

It is located in Averio in the Greater Porto sub-region. The countless supply of punchy waves makes Espinho and Esmoriz famous destinations, especially for those who surf seasonally. Along with surfing, a lot of things are there to discover on this 17km beach. For instance, you can have a leisurely walk to the Douro River Estuary.

10. Arrifana:

It is a small fishing village which is famous among the travellers & surfers. Arrifana boasts the beautiful Costa Vicentina Natural Park, showcasing its cliffs and mesmerizing coastline that makes the place magical. It is home to a coast which has remained wild and far from visitors. If you want to enjoy a carefree cruising session on the waves of the Algarve coast, it is the spot you should visit.

11. Figueira da Foz:

It is the longest wave which peels over 200 meters and can be tracked down in Buarcos along the central coast. Visiting here, you can experience a picturesque view of hollow, fast and tubular waves. This destination offers such a dream-like scenario which can quench the appetite of all surf lovers. If you come here, don't miss to check out Praia do Cabedelo, which is ten minutes from Figueira da Foz.

12. Viana do Castelo:

If you are looking for an exceptional mountaintop church that provides the coast's panoramic views, Viana do Castelo is where you should visit. This seaside city is located far north of this country. Here, Cabedelo Beach is a major surf spot. If you want, drive thirty minutes south to Esposende, a mesmerizing stretch of beach breaks that remains rarely crowded. Don't forget to try the fresh local seafood. Those who love octopus should go to Polvo à Lagareiro. Viana is located near Gerês National Park. In case you are unlucky with surf conditions, you can enjoy hiking in the North.

13. Matosinhos:

If you want to learn how to surf, Matosinhos Beach in Porto is probably the best place in the entire Europe. The waves are consistent due to the gradual slope of the ocean floor and a big harbor wall. Besides, it is secure against North winds. You should visit Matosinhos when the remaining coastline remains too stormy. It is only twenty minutes from Porto's airport. People planning a quick weekend surf trip can choose this place. Porto is a great place for those who come to surf in Portugal during the winter or spring.

14. Esmoriz:

This one is a small seaside holiday town located at the seaside, only 8 km south of Espinho. This beach is adorned with a lot of authentic Portuguese charm. Esmoriz picks up even the smallest swells, that's why this beach break is best surfed during the summer. You will definitely like this destination, if you want to surf in the north of this country. Surfivor Surf Camp, which is the first and best surf camp in the north of Portugal, has one location here, and another is located in Porto. Once you get your accommodation, you can still drop by Survivor so that you can get advice on the best places that you should check for the amazing waves on your trip.

15. Baleal:

The same stretch of coast is shared by Baleal and Peniche. People who want a better place to stay, should go to Baleal instead of Peniche. You can enjoy Baleal Surf Camp throughout the year in the surf holidays. This is one of the best surf spots in Portugal for beginners and is a safe bet for those who are willing to surf in the winter. Beginners can find good waves in any wind direction, because of the way the coast meanders around different points and capes.

16. Madeira:

People who prefer learning new lessons or want guidance should stay at Madeira Surf Camp, which is located in Porto da Cruz. The owner here is Helder, who teaches beginner & intermediate courses. Moreover, he shares his local knowledge with the more advanced surfers. It is good to get local advice on this island unless you are an expert in surfing. Sometimes, you may not be able to find good surfing conditions, you can then hike along the levadas. However, it is recommended to rent a car to explore the island.

17. Azores:

It is a collection of 9 Portuguese islands way out in the North Atlantic. The largest island is São Miguel which has the biggest population of surfers and remains adorned with reefs and beach breaks. Are you looking for a year-round surf destination? Then, São Miguel is the destination where you should go. You can rent a car to explore the island as well as to find the best surfing depending on the daily conditions.


This article covers the best surf spots in Portugal. As there are so many choices, choosing one will never be easy. We hope that you will make an enjoyable trip to this wonderful country and discover different places which are rich in culture & beautiful old towns as well as the most incredible waves in the world.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. Where is the warmest place to surf in Portugal?

Although Cantinho da Baia, Peniche is the most famous surf location for beginners, Amado, Aljezur is famous for consistent swell and the warmest water in Portugal.

Q. Is Lisbon or Porto better for surfing?

If you are looking for the best waves, you can find this between Porto and Lisbon in the middle of the west coast. Whereas a few surf spots are located in the south of Lisbon. You can see the beaches protected from the Atlantic when you go to the south near Lagos & the Algarve.

Q. Where is the most consistent surf spot in Portugal?

The famous surf spot Ericeira is located on the western coast of Portugal. It is approx 31 miles north of Lisbon. This place is famous for its consistent surf, vibrant surf culture & diverse wave options.

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