Why you should learn to surf in Portugal

Portugal has been at the top of the list of the most popular and most beautiful travel destinations for several years now – not only in Europe but worldwide. From being an insider tip to the must-see on the bucket list of international travel enthusiasts. 

Stroll through Lisbon’s lively old town on warm summer nights – music plays on every corner, tourists and locals mingle in exuberant parties and the smell of classic grilled sardines is everywhere. The warm and brightly lit city by the Tejo exudes a magic that is hard to let go of. A magic that can only be understood if you look over the city and its colorful sea of roofs from one of the 7 hills of the city. But that’s not quite all. Portugal is more than Lisbon and the westernmost tip of Europe in charming Sagres.

Over the years, above all Portugal has become one thing – the surf Mecca of Europe. As a water and wave lover, you can’t get past Portugal’s Atlantic coast. The coast offers a wide variety of waves from beginner-friendly beach breaks to point breaks to advanced shore and reef breaks. Meanwhile Supertubos in Peniche has become a fixed stop on the Surf World Tour championship. Every year in October the pros of the tour gather here in their fight for the world championship title. Supertubos has it all – especially when the big autumn swells roll towards Portugal, this wave keeps what its name promises – fast and big barrels. Not far from this world class wave is the Bay of Baleal. A playground for all levels and full of waves all year round. 

As you can see, we are absolutely convinced of Portugal as a surf destination – or in other words: Believe the hype. 

So why is Portugal so good for learning to surf? Well, not everyone is a pro surfer but many want to learn it. And so maybe you are also choosing destinations to start surfing.

Reliable waves

Portugal is wave safe. But what does that mean? Right – no matter when you go on holiday in Portugal you can basically surf every month of the year. Surely that depends a bit on how you handle cold water. But this is what a good wetsuit is made for :) As a rule of thumb you should go further south with the ongoing months. Swell and winds are ideal in the Lisbon area from March to October. When autumn and winter finally come, you’ll be good in the south around Lagos and Sagres. There is usually not enough swell in the summer.

A good surf school knows its area very well and therefore always finds suitable spots for all levels. This is another reason why Portugal is so well suited for you as a beginner, as there are countless beach breaks with large sandbanks – the best playground to learn.

Forget la France

You might  wonder if France or Portugal? We say quite clearly: que siiiim – Portugal! France certainly has many equally good arguments. There are a lot of great spots here, too. Nevertheless it is much more overcrowded. Huge sandbanks with masses of surf schools working on a piecework basis. France’s coast is now known for large tent camps with groups arriving in busses. Taught and entertained by German sports students. You have to like it. Or want it. But those who prefer it more authentic and familiar are better off in Portugal. Here the rate of local surf coaches is very high, the camps more private and the average age generally somewhat above the nevertheless quite young average of German-French mass youth tent camps.

Authentic surf holidays

The surfers‘ hot spots are located in and around Peniche, north of Lisbon, as well as with Ericeira and Costa da Caparica around Lisbon and in the south near Sagres. Near these places you will find countless places and beaches with great waves that are not crowded and offer you a super authentic holiday experience. In small fishing villages off the beaten track you will find empty beaches, rustic charming restaurants and accommodation. For example, in the small village of Praia Da Areia Branca. Here you can spend your surfing holiday in a typical Portuguese country house and experience the flair and charm of Portugal between locals up close. The view reaches over beautiful hills up to the Atlantic Ocean. The beach is empty, the waves are suitable for all levels and the village consists of a friendly community of locals. This is especially true here when you walk along the promenade and spend the sunset with a mini (the smallest beer in the world) between cheerful locals. It’s not uncommon for this to end in a party at the local and popular beach bar. The Da Silva Surfcamp offers you weekly packages to learn surfing. Advanced surfers will also be coached.

Learn to surf with Locals

If it is important to you to get to know the country and its people during your holiday, this is the right place for you. Surfing is a national sport in Portugal and has therefore been part of the culture for a long time. Many locals run their own schools and surf camps. Recently established rules support local surfers to become specifically licensed surf instructors, helping them to find good jobs in the surf sector and making it harder for international seasonal coaches.

Da Silva Surf School and Surfcamp has always been run by locals. They know the waves and spots best and always give you a piece of Portugal in their lessons. 

There is so much to discover and experience

If you want to treat yourself to a day off or if Poseidon imposes his very own will, you certainly won’t get bored. The country has a lot to offer and there is a lot to discover. Wander through old castles and palaces, eat your way through the many local specialities and let yourself be blown away by the unique Portuguese melancholy (and good red wine) on a Fado night.

Those who like it active will get their money’s worth – snorkeling and diving on the Berlengas, boat tours, climbing or exploring the country and people on the mountain bike. At Da Silva Surfcamp you can for example book a Surf & MTB package. Ideal for surfers who want to start mountain biking. Or just for mountain bikers who also want to surf. 

As you can see, Portugal is incredibly multifaceted and an absolute wave guarantor. Surely no insider tip anymore, but before many other European surf destinations still the number 1 and above all one thing: authentic!