Surfing in Portugal
– Portugal’s hottest surf spots
The best surf in Portugal, and possibly Europe, is found in the main surfing areas along the Silver Coast and on the country’s south-western corner where the cliffs of Sagres drop into the Atlantic.
The Silver Coast is one of the best surf spots in Europe, with 20 famous surfing beaches in just 15 kilometres of coastline. It is home to the legendary beaches of Ericeira, a regular location for the World Qualifying Surf Championships, and the mighty Supertubos near Peniche whose powerful, hollow wave is used annually for international professional surfing events such as the Rip Curl pro tour.
The Silver Coast is ideal for surfers of all abilities. Professionals come for the winter waves which regularly top six foot and can rise to 18 foot and above. In the summer the ocean is calmer with waves generally between three and five feet, creating ideal conditions for those wanting to learn the sport at one of the surf schools that are based here.
To the north is Nazare with its incredible North Canyon which occasionally throws up monster waves. It was here that Gareth McNamara caught his famous 30 metre wave, the biggest ever to be ridden and caught on video.
A three-hour drive to the south of Portugal brings you to the surf spots of the Western Algarve, a rocky coastline where the surfing action is centred on the town of Sagres. The beaches here are often un-crowded and the waves are regular and powerful.
The best Portuguese waves
Supertubos: One of the most famous waves in Portugal, this left handed beach break on the Silver Coast is very hollow, very powerful and one of the best in Europe for riding the barrel of the wave. Easterly winds are best here.
Ribeira D’ilhas: A powerful right handed beach break with a long ride if you catch it when the wind is south easterly.
Coxos: Some call this right handed point break the best wave in Portugal – up to four or five metres on a really good day when the wind is easterly. One of the beaches that make the Silver Coast a top European surf destination
Pontinha: A right handed reef break with some rock and rip dangers. Best when the wind is easterly.
Praia do Guincho: Mornings are the best time on this beach break as the wind often turns onshore around lunchtime. Easterly winds are ideal.
Arrifana: A consistently good beach and point break that breaks both ways. Best with a north easterly. An empty part of the coastline so it only gets crowded on the weekends. Watch out for dangerous rocks.
Carrapateira: A hollow beach break going both ways, it can get big and choppy here. Beware the sea mist which can be disorientating. Ideal winds are south easterly.
Praia do Amado: Unless you are an expert it is best to keep out of the water here when the wind is blowing strong and the waves are big. At other times it is fine for all levels. Beach break, best with an easterly wind.