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Portugal: a Surf Paradise

Updated: June 25, 2024
By: Frederik Pohl

Portugal is a true surf paradise, known for its many beautiful beaches and great waves all along the coast. Seven out of the ten biggest waves ever surfed in the world were recorded in the country, including the three top spots. Portugal is also home to a number of surf competitions, usually taking place in the winter months. 

Throughout the years, the country has become well known to world-class surfers everywhere. But even if you’re just a beginner, the wonderful waves of Portugal will surely captivate you and make you fall in love with surf even more!

We asked surfers living in Portugal to share their favorite surf spots.

Frederik Pohl
Frederik Pohl, CEO
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Where to surf in Portugal

Portugal is one of the best places in the world to surf, with great waves and consistent swell.

There are many different Portugal surf spots, depending on your level and what kind of waves you’re looking for. For beginners, some good spots include Ericeira, Baleal, and Praia da Rocha. For those looking for more challenging waves, try surfing at spots like Nazaré (especially Praia do Norte), Sagres, or Supertubos. 

Nazaré – best big waves in the world

Nazaré is world-renowned for its big waves and attracts the best surfers from all over the globe. The ocean here is extra wild, and the waves can get up to 30 metres (90 feet) high! 

In fact, it is one of the only places in the world where you can reliably find waves of this size. The current record for the biggest wave ever surfed belongs to Sebastian Steudtner, who surfed it at Praia do Norte, right here in Nazaré. 

The town of Nazaré is a great place to stay during winter as well, as this is peak time for watching professional big wave surfers from around the world flex their impressive skills.

Ericeira

Ericeira is a small town located on the west coast of Portugal, about 30 kilometers north of Lisbon. The town is a popular destination for surfers from all over the world, as it offers some of the best surfing conditions in Europe.

It is home to a number of surf schools and shops, as well as a number of restaurants and cafes. There are also several beaches in the area that are perfect for beginners, as well as some more challenging spots for experienced surfers.

Peniche

peniche portugal
Peniche, Portugal. Sent in for our Photo Contest. ©José Alves

Another one of the best Portugal surf spots for beginners is Peniche. The town is known for its fishing industry and its surfing beaches. Peniche is a popular destination for surfers from all over and is a great beach for people who are just starting their surfing journey. 

Baleal

Baleal is a small peninsula located in central Portugal. It is known for its world-class surfing, as well as its beautiful beaches and relaxed atmosphere. Baleal is the perfect place to enjoy some time in the sun and waves, whether you’re a seasoned surfer or just starting out.

Praia da Rocha

Praia da Rocha is one of the most popular Portugal surf spots, and it’s easy to see why. Located in the Algarve, the golden sand and dramatic cliffs make it a beautiful spot to relax or catch some waves.

Surfers will find plenty of good waves at Praia da Rocha, as well as a few beginner-friendly spots. The beach is also a great place to take a break from surfing and enjoy the views, food, and drinks on offer.

Supertubos Beach

Supertubos is one of the most super Portugal surf spots and is known for its powerful waves. The wave here breaks over a sandbar, which creates a perfect tube-like shape. Close to Peniche, another famous spot, Supertubos is considered to be one of the best waves in Europe and attracts surfers from all over the world.

Sagres

Sagres is the westernmost point of mainland Europe, and its dramatic cliffs and big waves make it a popular spot for surfers. The town is small and sleepy, but there are a few good restaurants and bars, as well as a few surf shops.

ericeira portugal
Ericeira, Portugal. Sent in for our Photo Contest. © Raquel Laranjeira
sagres portugal
Cabo de S. Vicente, Sagres, Portugal. Sent in for our Photo Contest ©Tiago Araújo

Best time for surfing in Portugal

The best time for surfing in Portugal depends on what kind of experience you’re looking for.

If you’re a beginner, the best time to surf in Portugal is during the summer months of July and August. The water is warm, and the waves are relatively gentle. 

If you’re more experienced, however, you may want to hit the waves during the fall or winter months when the swells are bigger, and the crowds are smaller.

Why is Portugal the best European surf destination?

Portugal is the best European surf destination for a number of reasons. The country has a long coastline with a variety of different waves and breaks, meaning that there’s something for every level of surfer. 

Plus, the water temperature is warm year-round, so you can surf any time of year. 

No matter when you go, Portugal’s surf scene is sure to please. So book your flight, grab your board and head over to the best Portugal surf spot and catch some waves! If it pleases you, you can then start thinking about living in Portugal!

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