Learn to surf in Portugal

Portugal is a true surf destination, perfect if you want to learn to surf in Europe. It offers good wave conditions from beginners up to experts thanks to many beaches, bays and different types of breaks. Also because of its two coastlines facing west and south, you can surf all year long. There are many surf camps you can choose from offering various services as well. If you’re planning an individual surf holiday, there are also plenty of surf schools around.

Where can I learn to surf in Portugal?

In Portugal, you have four main destination that offer a good variety of surf schools and camps and will teach how to surf. The areas of Peniche & Baleal, Ericera, Lisbon and the Algarve are famous for providing good wave conditions for beginners and are well known in the surfing world. If you’re up for a bit of an adventure check out our travel tip at the end…

Peniche & Baleal

Baleal Surfbeach in Peniche
A good place to learn to surf is Baleal Beach.

Peniche is the centre of surfing in Portugal located one hour north of Lisbon. It is a small fishing village and home to many good waves with the most famous surf break named “Supertubos” (experts only). The town is connected with a long beach to the village of Baleal. That’s where most of the surf camps are located. Because of the geography of the peninsula, it can handle a lot of wind directions so you always find a spot with good conditions. Their beaches are just beautiful and perfect if you want to improve your surfing. The downside, surf camps have been popping up everywhere over last years with only few regulations. It can get really busy during summertime which on the other hand creates a good scene to meet new people.

✈︎ Best time to get good waves with less crowds: April & May

✈︎ Best time to surf and meet many people: June - August

Lisbon

Surfers at Costa Caparica
The 30km long beach at the Costa Caparica is only a short bus, ferry or car ride away from Lisbon.

Lisbon is perfect if you’re on a city trip and want to take some beginner lessons or just want to combine surfing with the exciting city life. You can go for a surf session in the morning and do shopping or hit the bars in the afternoon. How better can a surf holiday get? You can find plenty of surf spots within a 40 minutes’ drive from the city and surf schools are mainly based around the beaches of the Lisbon areas like famous Guincho Beach, Carcavelos or Costa Caparica.

✈︎ Best time to surf and meet many people: April - September

Ericera

Ericera one of a few locations in the world that can call themselves a World Surfing Reserve. This title gives you a small insight on how much the people in this area love their surfing. You can feel the true surfing vibes in the water and how the surf camps and school teach you to surf, is on a different level. You will benefit of their high teaching level. On the other side, you can experience the real Portugal when visiting the old town while enjoying a good coffee. Definitely a place to consider.

✈︎ Best time to get good waves: April & May, mid-September & October

✈︎ Best time to surf and meet people: June - August

Algarve

Beliche Beach, Algarve
Typical beach in the Algarve - Beliche Beach

The Algarve runs along the southern and southwestern coastline of Portugal and is blessed with various surf spots depending on the weather conditions. You can get waves all year long and the mild climate makes it a hotspot for European surfers also during winter times. The west picks up swell during summertime and once it gets too rough during those wild winter months, you can still learn to surf in the protected south.

✈︎ Best time to surf and meet a few people: All year

Secret travel tip - Porto

Consider this an option when if you look for a surf camp in Portugal, but don’t want to surf the famous spots. North of Peniche and past the famous big waves of Nazaro, you’ll find the gorgeous town of Porto. With rich history, this area is famous for their wine but you can also find lots of nice beaches there. The people are super friendly and have been spared by the booming surf tourism.

✈︎ Best time to surf and meet only a few, nice people: April – September

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Best time to surf in Portugal

Because Portugal is situated in the open Atlantic Ocean, the climate really depends on the seasons. During summer, Portugal has a mild climate with lots of sun and smaller waves (like the rest of Europe). Luckily for most surfers and especially for beginners, small waves are perfect.

The ocean temperature is fairly low compared to France and Spain, but with a good wetsuit you’ll be fine. Consider using a 3/2 in summer and 4/3 with optional booties and a hood in winter.

Surfing in Portugal during winter

Surfing Portugal during wintertime can be a beautiful experience. Although you should be prepared for bigger waves and sometimes rough ocean conditions, there will be some days where all the elements come together. Especially the Algarve, with Sagres as the surfing centre, is a well-known winter escape because you have a variety of options to surf. There are also beaches that protect you from the typical north winds and don’t pick up the biggest waves.

Water temperatures in Portugal

Since continental Portugal has a long coastline stretching out 943 km from north to south. The water temperature can vary not only during the months, but also depending on your location. In general it is cold in the north and becomes warmer, the further south you travel. You can surf in Porto during march (coldest month) with only 13.9°C or you could get 21.2°C in Sagres in September.

For surfing this this is essential so you can decide how thick your wetsuit will be.

Data conducted from seatemperature.org

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