Where can you surf in Portugal?

Discover the 5 best surf spots

Surfing in Portugal . Something I had wanted to do for a long time, but each time I just didn’t get around to it. Why? No time, no priority and of course my move to Barcelona didn’t help either. But why Portugal, because you can also surf in Spain . For example, the northern coast of Spain near San Sebastian and Bilbao is known for it, and in the south near Tarifa, you see a lot of kite-surfers on the water.

So I had figured that the Spanish north coast was the place to be for me, but then I went to check the weather. Eehm, no when you don’t want to come out of the sea water with icicles on your nose, I didn’t really think it was the best time of year to go there to learn to surf. It is considerably chilly in northern Spain in October. Surfing in Portugal it is so.

surfing in Ericeira Portugal

I heard through a friends and former colleagues that Ericeira in Portugal near Lisbon is one of the best surf spots in Europe. Since I have always liked Portugal , I didn’t think twice and booked a ticket to Lisbon. Without a plan. Wanted to go couchsurfing and be in a hostel. Just, nice to see how everything goes when I’m there. I ended up going with a friend who also wanted to learn how to surf and hadn’t really been to Portugal very often, so super fun! Nice of those spontaneous actions.

The five best surf spots in Portugal, according to surfers

So where can you surf like in Portugal? In Portugal, there are many different places where you can surf well! Although it does concentrate particularly around the west/south coast. The great thing is that there is a wave for every surfer at every level. For experienced surfers I don’t need to explain this, they have long known that Portugal is the surfer’s Mecca of Europe. But for people like me, I made a short list of where to surf in Portugal:

#1 Ericeira

Surfing in portugal
Ericeira // Portugal

Here I stayed for over 5 days right in the center. Super cute village with village feel and lots of surfers. Everyone actually comes there to surf or is together with friend/friend/family in which there is someone surfing. I was there in early October and it was pleasantly crowded. In the evening there was plenty of activity, but there was plenty of room to get your rest as well. Cozy vibe! Parking is basically free and easier to do slightly outside the village center. By the way, I don’t know what this is like in the summer. Suspect it will be a little busier then. We had our little apartment in the center and parked 5 minutes walk just outside the small center. Also read all about what sights are there and through which surf school I booked my lessons. In any case, surfing in Ericeira is super fun!

#2 Ribeira d’Ilhas

Surfing in portugal
Ribeira d’Ilhas // Portugal

In the middle of the World Surf Reserve lies this beautiful bay. Actually, this is not a place but a beach with plenty of parking and a very nice restaurant where they also have vegan options AND plant-based milk for your café con leche. From here you can also take beautiful walks with spectacular views of the cliffs of Ribeira d’Ilhas. Worthwhile for those who want to go surfing (there is also a surf school there including rentals) and those who just want to chill on the beach. What I also liked is that there is a clean public toilet, because I don’t know about you, but I never manage to pee in the sea! Incidentally, a major international surfing competition also took place here this year.

#3 Peniche

Just north from Ericeira (about 1 hour and 15 minutes away) is Peniche. Here you can go directly from the village into the sea to surf. I have not been here myself, but have heard good stories about it from my surfing friends!

#4 Nazaré

Surfing in Portugal
Nazaré // Portugal

If you want to surf in Nazaré, it is useful that you already have (considerable) experience. The world record for highest wave surfing has even been broken here. And if you google Nazaré and then highest wave, you’ll see exactly why. But rest assured, you can also surf there just fine normally. At least, if you already have experience.

If you’re a beginner, I wouldn’t recommend it. Then just stay on the beach, which is also very nice! Tip: do sit on the quiet side of the “cliff,” away from the built-up area. We had driven to Nazaré by car and had picnicked overlooking the beautiful sea. What else do you need?

#5 Algarve

Surfing is also great to do in the Algarve

We also spoke to some surfers who said you can also surf just fine around Algarve. The advantage is that the water is warmer. In Ericeira (and Peniche) you have to wear a reasonably thick wetsuit (4:3mm) which made me feel like a walrus. And when you fall off your board every time and wash ashore like a…eehh….ja exactly…walrus, it crossed my mind that a thinner wetsuit would give me a bit more room to move.

So are you planning to head toward the Algarve? Then according to our surfer friends, check out the following places: Lagos, Praia da Luz , Zavial and Meia Praia. The best thing then is to stay in Lagos and rent a car to be flexible. Or find a surf school in Lagos that always tracks down the best waves in advance and takes you there. And when in Algarve don’t forget to visit Faro and Tavira.

Lagos in the Algarve can be used as a base for surfing.
Lagos // Algarve Portugal

So, surfing in Portugal is really one of the best ways to start your career as a surfer. Want to know if I could stand on my board and if I recommend my surf school in Ericeira? Or what are the best attractions in and around Ericeira? Read my other blogs about my surfing adventure in Ericeira!

Want to read more about Portugal? Read all blogs: