Portugal’s ideal position in the Atlantic Ocean is what invites some of the best waves in Europe with tides suitable for all abilities. Portugal not only offers incredible waves but also has an incredible surfing history and culture which means there are plenty of surf schools and likeminded surfers on every inch of coastline.
When should I go?
In terms of surfing, the time of year to go depends on your level of expertise and which waves you would like to ride. If you are new to shredding waves, then the summer time is your best bet with smaller waves and more surf schools open to help you master the board. If you consider yourself an intermediate surfer, then you can head out any time between March to September with a vast majority of waves and more freedom. For those advanced dudes and dudettes, let those locks down and enjoy the tide in the later winter months when Portugal gets a visit from the big boys. However, if you are just there to watch then it depends on what size of waves you fancy seeing the boards ride and what weather tickles your fancy!
Where should I surf in Portugal?
- Nazaré – Due to the underwater Nazaré Canyon, waves can form as high as the Guinness World Record monstrous measurement of 80ft that was surfed in 2017 by Brazilian Rodrigo Koxa. These waves, some of the biggest in the world, can be found on North Beach and other beaches like Praia do Norte. If you aren’t as confident as 80ft just yet then head to Nazaré in summer when the waves are between 3-20ft. the later into the year, the bigger the waves get, so judge your arrival on your level of expertise.
- Peniche, a.k.a. Portugal’s surfing capital which hosts the annual WSL World Tour Championship. Attracting waves from the Atlantic, Peniche always has an offshore wind, making it one of the best spots in Europe for guaranteed waves. Similar to Nazaré, summer time is best for beginners, later months for intermediate and winter months for the advanced surfers. Due to its infamous waves, Peniche has a lot to offer in terms of facilities so whether you are a surfer yourself or just an observer, this is a great place to check out.
- Viana do Castelo – a place to surf without the crowds. Here you get the best of both worlds: the waterfront to surf and the historic town centre to explore. There are also plenty of surf schools to build your confidence on those foreign waves.
Where should I stay?
- FeelViana – Recently featured in Surf Girl Magazine as being one of the top 3 choices for a sustainable surf trip. Overlooking the ocean from its pine forest setting, FeelViana is definitely for those who love an outdoor life. this family friendly hotel on the beach has everything to offer and even has private surfing lessons for all ages and all abilities. They have qualified surfing instructors available to offer any advice, help and rent out any equipment needed during your stay. https://www.fishandpips.co.uk/hotel/feel-viana-portugal/
Written by Abbie James
Photography by Tasha d’Ancona