A beginners guide to surfing in Portugal…

*This post contains sponsored links.  All words and opinions are as always my own.


Portugal is famous for surfing, it has some of the best beach breaks in the world and holds top surfing competitions on its shoreline every year.  The gigantic swell at Nazaré attracts pro surfers from around the globe on an annual basis.  If you are a beginner don’t let the images of these monster waves put you off.  Portugal is home to some great beaches with perfect beginner waves.  The Algarve is a good spot to learn to surf, found on the south coast of Portugal the waves are often smaller than on the west coast.  The summer months are the best for beginners with smaller waves and sunny skies.  The flight time from the UK to Faro is 2 hours and 40 minutes.  Once in Portugal it’s a 60 minute drive to the Algarve area.
Here’s a run down on where to stay, the best beaches for beginners and what to pack for your surf adventure….
Where to stay
Praia Da Luz is a gorgeous area, the buzzing town is full of funky bars, quirky coffee shops and a sandy beach just right for sunbathing.  Luz is nearby to all the best beginner beaches too, so you’ll never be far from  the action.  Clickstay have some fantastic holiday rental properties in the Algarve area.  No 3 Ocean View is as dreamy as it sounds.  This beach villa sleeps six, with three bedrooms and three bathrooms.  It has a terrace overlooking the sparkling ocean and a shared pool.  The beach is 5 minutes away and the centre of Luz only a 200 metre stroll.  It is the perfect place to stay with friends on a surf trip.
Choose Praia Da Rocha for a lively night out and miles of glorious sand, this gorgeous apartment is minutes from the beach and local bars.  Being able to check the surf from your balcony is a huge bonus.  It sleeps six, has a fully equipped kitchen and comes with secure private parking.
Boa Vista Apartment in Albufeira is bright and airy on the inside and typically Portuguese in style on the outside.  It is close to the cobbled streets of the old town and only 500 metres from the beach.  Boa Vista sleeps four, has a gorgeous shared pool and an all important balcony with sea views for post surf beers and al fresco dining.
There are some fantastic beaches for surfing in Portugal. Hire a car and rent boards or find a surf school and book lessons.  Plenty of surf schools offer day trips, so if you don’t have a car they will drive you to the best surf spots.
Arrifana: Arrifana works well on low tide. The line up can get quite busy when the waves are pumping but it’s a good spot for beginners with fun, clean waves.  It’s also a good escape from the tourist areas as this beach is surrounded by nothing but rocky cliffs and golden sands.  On the west coast, Arrifana is around a 45 minute drive from the Algarve.
Praia Da Rocha: When the swell is too big in Sagres, Rocha is usually a better option.  The awesome beach break is smaller to the right of the pier.  The clean sets often roll in at a relaxed pace allowing beginners the chance to get out back and enjoy the clean waves.
Praia do Amado: If you fancy a day trip, Amado on the west coast is a cool spot for beginners as the waves are good on all tides.  Warm waters and consistent swell mean you’ll get a ton of opportunities to practise your pop-up here.  There’s just a bar and a car park, so it can often be a fairly peaceful spot.
Tonel: This hugely popular surf spot is just right for beginners and intermediates, sheltered from the north wind it offers consistent waves all year round.  Paddle out back to the green waves and pick up a an awesome left or right in this picture perfect setting.  Tonel is in walking distance of Sagres which is the most south-western point in Europe.  This remote spot has a gorgeous little town with plenty of bars, cafes and restaurants to choose from.
Praia de Faro: Miles of shoreline and year round waves make this beach break a good option in most seasons.  The small and fun waves here are a beginners dream.  Even in the summer months there are some great little party waves to be had.
Packing list
Here are a few essentials for your surf trip:
  • Wetsuit: During the warmer months a 3/2 mm summer wetsuit is all you’ll need.  If you book lessons with a surf school, wetsuits are usually provided.
  • A good suncream for your face
  • Surfboard: Hire boards through a surf school or shop, if you are having lessons this will be included.  If you are taking your own board check with your airline on extra costs and any restrictions they may have.
  • Wax
  • Fin Key
  • A security box to put valuables and car keys in if you are hiring a car.  I have one similar to this and absolutely love it.  Attach it to your car, pop in your keys, punch in a code and that’s it.
  • A GoPrPro to capture all your best pop ups and waves.
Consistent surf all year round, warm waters and plenty of sunshine make learning to surf in Portugal an awesome experience.  So what are you waiting for?  Get planning right now for surf, sunshine and a whole lot of stoke!



  1. I love Portugal so I definitely want to go back. My boyfriend and I have wanted to surf for a while. Thanks to your guide we’ll check out Arrifana

    1. Nicola Dunkinson
      May 24, 2018

      Thanks so much for your comment 🙂 Portugal is a fantastic place to surf, you should definitely give it a go!


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