The Best Surf Trips to Take in Portugal

Surfboards at Praia do Amado, Algarve Portugal.
Surfboards at Praia do Amado, Algarve Portugal. | ©PIXELtothePEOPLE/Shutterstock
Nina Santos

Let us fill you in on a (not so little) secret: Portugal is an excellent destination for surfers. And we’re not just talking about the pros or intermediate-to-experienced surfers; this coastal country has waves and beaches for everyone, even absolute beginners, and a warm temperate climate that makes organizing a trip even easier. Plan the best surf trips through Portugal with help from our list of towns and regions to visit.

Loved by over 40s

Figueira da Foz

Not only does Figueira da Foz have an excellent stretch of beaches and fun medium-sized waves (that are sometimes on the larger-to-medium scale), but it’s also conveniently located smack in the middle of Lisbon and Porto, making it easy to visit. Cross the Mondego River, heading away from the expansive resort-lined sandy stretch blanketed by sunbathers, and you’ll find the Praia do Cabedelo, where surfers ride the waves parallel to a rocky jetty. To the opposite side of the resorts, local surfers head to the traditional fishing community of Buarcos, where they sometimes find longer, lower rides than at the Praia do Cabedelo.

Marlon Lipke at the 4th stage of MEO Figueira Pro on September 30, 2012 in Figueira da Foz, Portugal.


Many enthusiasts opt for being a spectator instead of an active participant when visiting Nazaré, and no one can blame them. This is where you’ll find Portugal’s powerful monster waves, including the largest swells ever recorded in the world. Order a takeaway lunch from a local café (we recommend a tosta de queijo with delicious Portuguese cheeses – enough said) and head to the Praia do Norte to watch the pros in action. Why are the waves so massive? Facing the Praia do Norte is a canal-like channel with a fairly steep (and deep) slope that, combined with the Atlantic winds, create these colossal waves.

Local tip: A surf trip doesn’t always imply getting into the water, and Nazaré’s waves reach heights of up to 100+ feet (30 metres), but if you’re itching to give it a go, summer is a good time for smaller swells. Otherwise, why not enjoy the show and use the build-up of excited energy at any of the other beaches on this list?

Carlos Burle during the Nazare Challenge 2016 Big Wave Tour Nazare, Portugal.


One great place to use the surge of energy after visiting Nazaré is Peniche, less than an hour south (approximately 45 miles (72 km) away). Surrounded by the Atlantic on all sides, except for the narrow isthmus-like strip that connects it to the “mainland”, Peniche is one of the country’s traditional fishing towns with a few beautiful beaches. The one that has placed Peniche on the map, however, is Medão Beach. This is the home of “Supertubos”, a world-renowned tube wave where the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal event takes places each October. Although these waves may not reach the heights of those in Nazaré, they are still powerful and better left for experienced/advanced athletes.


In less than an hour north of Lisbon, you’ll find Ericeira, a surfing mecca and the home to one of Portugal’s largest surfing communities. In fact, the waves are what the town is known for these days. They come in all strengths and sizes, making Ericeira a popular choice for every proficiency level. Beginners, after visiting one of the local schools, will want to make their way to the Praia do Sul or Foz do Lizandro, where they can alternate jumping in the water with sunbathing and stops at the local beach bars/cafés. More serious surfers, on the other hand, have more than 10 spots within 8 km (5 miles), but Coxos Beach Lodge is one of the more popular spots with the biggest waves.

Local tip: Although surfers head out year-round, winter is arguably the best time for enjoying stronger waves in central Portugal (just be wary of spots like the aforementioned Nazaré).

Aerial view of the town of Ericeira coasts and streets.


Are you planning to spend time in the Portuguese capital? Lisbon is a great a home base to experience the local must-visit attractions and to act as a springboard to a plethora of fantastic beaches. Locals with cars often frequent the Costa da Caparica, especially the beaches around São João da Caparica (parking isn’t far after you cross the 25 de Abril Bridge), and the Praia do Guincho at the base of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park. The entire coast from Lisbon to Cascais is littered with smaller beaches that can be reached by public transportation, and these are also fun spots to go bodyboarding.

Costa Vicentina

Plan a summertime road trip through the Costa Vicentina’s rugged landscape to experience many “hidden gem” surf spots (you can camp along the way!). Officially known as the Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park, it’s a dramatic stretch of cliffs and flora extending from the Alentejo’s ancient fishing town of Sines to remote Sagres in the Algarve, considered one of Portugal’s secret surf spots. Start your adventure 18 km (11 miles) south of Sines in Porto Covo and make stops in Zambujeira do Mar, Odeceixe, Aljezur, and Carrapateira (the cliff-rimmed Amado Beach is definitely a must-stop and where new surfers will find some local schools).

Surfboards at Praia do Amado, Algarve Portugal.

São Miguel

This list wouldn’t be complete without highlighting one of Portugal’s exotic islands, and although Madeira Island may offer more of a challenge, São Miguel in the Azores offers more opportunities at different levels. Known as the Green Island for the dramatic rolling landscape covered in farmland and flowers, it’s a stop that’s easy on the eyes too. A few of the best surfing spots in the Azores’ largest island are Ribeira Grande and the nearby Praia do Areal de Santa Bárbara, the traditional village of Mosteiros (located near Sete Cidades), and the beaches near Ponta Delgada (Praia do Pópulo is a locals’ favorite).

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.