Silver Coast Surf Guide
– surfing the best on the Costa da Prata
For the best waves in Portugal – and some of the best in Europe – head for the Silver Coast where sweeping beaches and rugged headlands meet the western swells of the Atlantic. Portugal’s Costa da Prata is not only blessed with some very fine waves – there are also lots of them and they come in every shape and size. And as if that wasn’t enough temptation, the twists and turns of the coastline mean there is almost always going to be at least one beach where the wind is offshore and the wave is working.
Our guides are just a taster of the diversity and quality of the Silver Coast’s waves. With a car and an explorer’s spirit there are many more to be found away from the well trodden routes. Park up and walk and you can find yourself completely alone on a gorgeous clean break, even just a few kilometres away from one of the famous breaks where surfers can be struggling to get just one wave to themselves.
The Silver Coast’s premier surf spots are centred on the towns of Ericeira and Peniche, both an easy 1 to 1 ½ hour drive north of the capital Lisbon. Facilities are well developed with plenty of accommodation to suit all budgets, surf schools, surf shops and enough restaurants and bars to keep you well fed and watered when you’re not on a wave.
Costa da Prata surf regions
Key to the Surf Coasts
Many of Ericeira’s breaks are over rocks which makes them more challenging for beginners but there are a few safe beaches for those just starting out. Peniche has mostly beach breaks which are more forgiving on wipe outs, as well as much more serious waves suitable for pros and experienced surfers only. Further north the long stretch of coastline from Nazaré to Aveiro offers miles of deserted beaches in between its better known surf spots and is perfect for those who like to go off the beaten track in search of a perfect, empty wave.
Although the Silver Coast’s weather is mild all year round compared to more northern parts of Europe it can be very changeable and the sea is cold. The surf is generally at its biggest from late winter to early spring. Peniche is where the dry, sunny weather of southern Portugal begins to change to the cooler and wetter conditions of the north. Summers here and in Ericeira are long and warm with average temperatures in the upper twenties but cool breezes off the sea mean it seldom gets too hot near the water. Winter can be stormy and temperatures drop to single figures. Further north along the Costa da Prata the winter conditions can get even wilder with massive swells blowing out many surf spots and temperatures dropping close to zero. When it works, though, it really works.
With the exception of a few beaches which some locals tend to regard as their own private surf reserve the attitude among surfers on the Silver Coast is laid-back and friendly. Respect is the key word on the busiest waves but if the crowds get too much you won’t have to travel far to find a emptier wave where the competition is not as fierce. The only serious hassle here is thieving in the car parks. Surfers seem to have become a target for gangs of low-life slime balls who can crack a car open in seconds and steal what’s inside. Locking stuff in the boot doesn’t help – they’ll find anything valuable even if you’ve hidden it. The best advice – until the Portuguese police get their act together enough to stop it – is bring only the minimum and get someone else to look after your stuff while you are in the water. Either that or fill your boot with venomous snakes.