Surfing in Portugal

Surfing is a 365-day a year activity in Portugal. Or 366 if it is a leap year. The Portuguese 600 mile long Atlantic coast offers great waves every day, and there are many ways to tackle them, depending on your skill and enthusiasm.

There are several reasons that Portugal is fast emerging on the world’s surfing map:


  • Proximity to the US, with the Azores Islands in between;
  • Mild climate year-round;
  • Almost 600 miles of Atlantic coast plus islands;
  • The biggest waves ever surfed.


The diversity of natural conditions and an exceptional climate provide access and fun within everyone’s reach, from beginners to pros. Portugal has waves for every taste and discipline: from tubes for surfing and bodyboarding, which are the setting for major international events, to giant waves, posing a challenge for the boldest surfers, and long waves that are among Europe’s longest. And Americans are starting to respond. A recent study by Portugal’s Tourism Office shows that the US is now 4th largest number of visitors, and 87% of them are most likely to recommend Portugal as a surfing destination. has all surfers need to know about Portugal and its beaches to organize a trip, including videos of international surfers, map with the best wave spots on the Portuguese coast and a listing of hotels located near the coast.

Portugal is an excellent destination for surfers because it has the largest number of surf spots, located within walking distance of each other, ensuring the existence of world-class waves year round.

Since the 2000s, Portugal has become one of the world’s great new surf destinations. If you go to northern Portugal, in the Cortegaça and Espinho regions, there is quality surfing, great atmosphere and a lack of crowds. But no lack of waves – in fact Portugal recently offered a 100% wave guarantee or your money back.

Peniche and Nazaré are two hot spots for surfers that the world has its eyes on. Peniche is since 2010 a stop on the ASP (now the World Surf League) professional surfing tour. Nazaré, on the other hand, made huge headlines around the world in November of 2011, when Garrett McNamara set the world record for the largest wave ever surfed by riding a 78-foot-tall giant. The world stood in awe again, two years later, when Brazilian Carlos Burle rode a wave that was expected to be 100-feet-tall in the same spot.

Surfers of all kinds now flock to waves like the picture-perfect tubes at Coxos north of Ericeira – once considered the #1 surfing beach in Europe and the #2 in the World – and the birthplace of Portuguese surfing, Carcavelos, is just 20 minutes from Lisbon’s center. Some major tournaments take place in the Lisbon Coastline, like the Cascais Women’s Pro tournament in September.

The country’s visually stunning Algarve region, known for its beaches and warm climate, produces ideal waves for surfers ranging from beginner to advanced. Some of Portugal’s best surfing spots due to strong currents and steep waves, Amado and Arrifana beaches regularly host international competitions year-round.

Because of the Azores’ location, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, there are always plenty of waves. The islands sit on top of the Mid-Atlantic ridge, a large underwater volcanic mountain chain. The waves on São Miguel range in size from approximately three to five feet in the summer and up to 15 feet in the winter. The surf in the Azores is powerful and uncharted. In addition, some of the best surf spots in the Azores provide surfers with little to no crowds. But, the great surf beach of Santa Barbara now has its own surf hotel, so the word is getting out, and a flight from the US is just 4 hours….

A few miles south, sitting alone in the Atlantic, Madeira stands defiantly in the way of any swell coming out of the North Atlantic. The surfing on Madeira is an experience to be cherished with powerful uncrowded waves offering a real chance to test your skills with the full force of the Atlantic at your back. The surf break at Paúl Do Mar has hosted the World Surfing Championship.

The wind is a huge help and offers unique conditions for windsurfing and kitesurfing, but there are many other sports to kick the adrenaline up a notch. Portugal’s surf scene began nearly 100 years ago, and for there is has only gotten bigger and better. World-renowned surf competitions are sprouting at beaches spanning the length of Portugal’s coastline and islands. And after a day at sea, the good vibes continue on shore, where there’s always a party, a festival, a bar or a nightclub to keep the fun going.

Surfing in Portugal