Catching the Best Waves in Portugal
25 February, 2016
A land fringed with some 1,800 kilometres of coastline opening onto the wild Atlantic, where winds and currents drive the build-up of waves, is bound to be the perfect destination for surfers. We now reveal the reasons why Portugal exerts such a pull on surfers and pinpoint some of the best beaches for doing this thrilling sport.
Why Surfing in Portugal Rocks
Waves of all sizes and for all tastes. The long Portuguese coastline has ample room for everyone wanting to surf, be they beginners or those who have had loads of waves behind them; that is, under their surfboard.
The good climate. In Portugal, the weather is usually good most of the year around, except in winter, when temperatures go down. The rest of the year is conducive to having a good dip with your surfboard in tow.
The food is fantastic. After a hard day’s riding waves, regaining your strength by downing some great sardinhas asadas (grilled sardines) or savouring an exquisite dish of bacalhau à brás codfish is a delight on the palate.
Affordable prices. In Portugal it is comparatively easy to find quality food and accommodation at more than reasonable prices. What more could you ask for?
The Best Beaches for Catching Waves
Portugal boasts a vast array of surfing beaches, but here are the most outstanding ones:
Apart from being a charming fishing village, Ericeira, situated 30 kilometres north of Lisbon, is one of the favourite destinations for surfers heading for Portugal. It has the distinction of being Europe’s first listed World Surfing Reserve on account of the quality of its waves, the great number of surfing spots and its environment. One of the most prominent spots is the area of Coxos, a small cove with waves of up to 5 metres high, suitable only for daredevils. Another of the noteworthy enclaves is around Ribeira d’Ilhas, ideal for all kinds of surfers and well-known for its beach bars, where people congregate to refuel and socialise. Any time of year is suitable for surfing on these beaches.
Situated in the central area of Portugal’s coastline, Peniche offers what is probably the best set of surfing beaches in the country and draws enthusiasts from all over Europe. One of the best beaches is Supertubos – known among surfers as “Eurotube” – with powerful waves that will meet all surfing aficionados’ expectations. Its reputation has earned it the honour of hosting the world surfing championship once a year. Apart from surfing, its beaches are also ideal for bodyboarding and diving.
Nazaré – Praia do Norte
Like Peniche, it is situated in the central stretch of the country’s seaboard. The American, Garrett McNamara, has the honour of having surfed the biggest wave this year, an amazing 20-metre-high wave on the Praia do Norte. Indeed, herein lies the particularity of this spot on the coastline, where waves can often get to 10 metres, which is therefore a major draw for the big riders. The best time of year for viewing and experiencing this marvel of nature is in winter.
Situated on the Costa Vicentina in the northern Algarve, Arrifana is another of those destinations surfers should be considering. The beach is flanked at both ends by cliffs, accessed by a steep stairway. Apart from being a surfing spot, visitors to this area can also enjoy nature in the magnificent South-west Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park. The best time for surfing here is in early spring, as in summer it tends to get overcrowded.
Also located in the Algarve, Sagres has become a veritable surfing hub. It is the ideal spot for signing up for a Surf & Yoga course at the Freeride Surf Camp, where surfing goes hand in hand with meditation, and for going on a boat ride, ideal for enthusiasts of whale- and dolphin-watching.
Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS
25 February, 2016