Portugal Surf Spot Guide

Portugal facts

Capital:
Lisbon
Population:
10,676,910 (July 2008 est.)
Area:
92,391 sq km
Coastline:
1,793 km
Climate:
Maritime temperate; cool and rainy in north, warmer and drier in south
Language:
Portuguese (official), Mirandese (official - but locally used)

Surfing in Portugal

With so many surf spots along Portugal's Atlantic coast the rest of Europe (and the World) are waking up to the country's huge surf potential. Add to this Tiago Pires' recent great performance on the ASP tour and Portugal has established its surfing credentials.

The waves tend to be best in spring, autumn and winter, though expect some rain in winter - especially in the north of the country. There are however some good south swell days in the summer which can set the Algarve spots and other places like Supertubes and Carcavelos off.

The north of Portugal is home to the Minho and Douro regions, which can reveal some uncrowded spots. There are good and varied places to surf, such as rivermouths, beaches and point breaks, but all can be subjected to a prevailing northwesterly wind that can spoil otherwise ideal conditions. There are a few good spots around Portugal's second city Porto, such as Espinho and Cabedelo although pollution is an issue here.

Further south, the Beira Litoral is an somewhat underrated region, as surfers tend to head beyond it for the famous port of Peniche and its surrounding breaks. However, the long straights of coastline in the region pick up some sizeable swells, especially the beaches around Nazare, which benefit from a deep-ocean channel that points in their direction and consequently allows powerful swells to hit the beaches. There are also good waves to be found around Figueira do Foz.

Ericeira, Peniche and Lisbon are the best known, and busiest, surfing areas. Each offers the surfer a wide variety of options and generally they are all good! All areas are easily accessible - with Ericeira only an hour's drive from Lisbon, and Peniche only 30 kilometres north of there.

Peniche is known for the variety of conditions it works under, with spots facing pracitcally every direction. The highlight is Subertubes - as the name suggests a super hollow, powerful left beach-break.

Ericeira is more about power, with Coxos taking the crown and Reef and Pedra Branca fighting it out for title of hollowest.

Lisbon has many waves to choose from, in a 25- kilometre drive in each direction, you could find plenty ofbreaks that offer a great variety of wave and work in various conditions. Most notable of these are Carcavelos on the Lisbon coast and Costa da Caparica across the river. Ericeira and Peniche will similarly spoil you for choice, with rivermouths and beaches pumping. If the swell is too big for these areas, the beaches and points around Lisbon will be more sheltered and working. There can be some localism in these areas but generally only if visitors aggravate it!

South Portugal also offers a surf adventure as there are many points and reefs that have not yet really been found for surfers. There are long and quiet beaches, with the Atlantic coast picking up the more consistent waves.

The Algarve is Portugal's most recent surf destination with Sagres being the epicentre. With beaches such as Beliche, Mareta and Tonel facing in different directions it provides consistent quality surf. Head along the Atlantic or Algarve coast to find some quality spots such as Arrifana and Zavial

Coxos Going Off
photo: Chris
Ponta Pequena Mosteiros Fun Coxos

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