Does Portugal have the best surf in Europe?

May 6, 2009

Many people think it does…

Situated West of Spain, Portugal has a very mild Mediterranean climate. The coastline receives swells from the North, West and South and therefore has a wide variety of waves.


Every year thousands of surfers flock to the Western coast of Portugal, an area often overlooked by mainstream tourism but well known to surfers for its solid surf. The offshore breezes bring swells across the Atlantic seaboard generating ideal sized waves for surfing and there is such a wide variety of waves around the various beaches that all standards of surfing can be satisfied.

Not only that, but it’s fantastically cheap compared to mainstream Europe.  You can hire a villa for as little as €100 a week – you certainly can’t do that in France and you would struggle to do it on the coastline of Spain.

The Algarve, in the south-west of Portugal, is renowned for its pleasant Mediteranean summer climate and its mild winters which makes it a perfect surf-holiday destination. From mellow beach breaks that are ideal for beginners to worldclass point and beach breaks that satisfy any experienced surfer. Since the Algarve is on the southern tip of Portugal it picks up both south and west swells, making it one of the most consistent places to surf in Europe.

During winter the swell size is around the 6ft mark but can get to 15ft or more, offering some challenging surfing. There is surf throughout the summer months and you can expect waves of 3-5ft.  Offshore morning breezes are extremely common.

Portugal is also a very good place to learn to surf with plenty of places offering lessons and packages.

Here’s a tantalising hint of what surfing in Portugal can be like, with thanks to ErrantSurf for the video.


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