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Best Time to Surf in Portugal: Seasons, Spots And Competitions

Reema Bharti

Reema Bharti

· 9 min read

The winter season, from November to February, is the best time to surf in Portugal. Surfing in Portugal is a dream for many. The country's coastline offers epic waves for every skill level. From the gentle swells of the Algarve to the towering quality waves of Nazaré, there's a spot for everyone. The best time to surf here depends on what you seek. 

A great beach cost where numerous surfers are surfing on a bright sunny day.

Autumn brings the perfect blend of swell size and weather. But Portugal's surf scene shines year-round. 

I've surfed many of the world's top spots, yet Portugal holds a special place in my heart. Its varied coastline has something for every day, no matter the season. Sharing waves with locals, feeling the Atlantic's power - it's unforgettable. Portugal is a surfer's paradise, and I'm always eager to return.

What are the Best Seasons To Go Surfing in Portugal?

The best seasons to go surfing in Portugal are spring and autumn. During these months, the Atlantic Ocean generates consistent swells, ideal for surfing. Spring, from March to May, offers mild temperatures and less crowded beaches. The water starts to warm up, making it comfortable for longer sessions in the sea.

Autumn, from September to November, is renowned for its reliable wave conditions. The swells are powerful and the wind conditions favorable, perfect for both beginners and experienced surfers. Additionally, the water remains warm from the summer heat, extending the surfing season.

Winter, from December to February, attracts thrill-seekers with its big waves, especially in the central and northern regions. However, it requires a higher level of expertise due to the challenging conditions and massive waves.

Summer, while popular among tourists, sees smaller waves and overcrowded spots. It's best suited for beginners or those looking for a relaxed surfing experience.

What is the Best Time To Surf in Portugal for Beginners?

The best time to surf in Portugal for beginners is during the late spring to early autumn months, specifically from May through October. During this period, the Atlantic Ocean graces Portugal's extensive coastline with mild, manageable waves, ideal for those just starting to explore the surfing world. The water temperatures are warmer, making it comfortable for beginners to spend extended periods in the sea without the need for thick wetsuits.

Locations such as the Algarve region and Costa da Caparica, with its sheltered beaches, offer the perfect conditions for novice surfers. Spots like Praia da Amoreira and Praia da Arrifana provide gentle waves and a forgiving environment for mastering the basics of surfing. Additionally, the larger surf schools operate with full services during these months, offering lessons, equipment rental, and guidance tailored to beginner surfers' needs.

Surf competitions during this time are predominantly aimed at professional surfers, but they present a unique opportunity for beginners to observe and learn from the world's best. The atmosphere around these events is vibrant and inspiring, further enriching the beginner's surfing experience in Portugal.

What is the Best Time to Surf in Portugal for Advanced Surfers?

The best time to surf in Portugal for intermediate and advanced surfers, is from October to April. During these months, the Atlantic Ocean generates powerful swells, ideal for experienced surfers seeking challenging waves. Spots like Nazaré, Peniche, and Ericeira become the focal points, offering world-class conditions. Competitions such as the Rip Curl Pro in Peniche spotlight these optimal surfing conditions. Crowds are thinner, providing more opportunities for uncrowded sessions. Weather conditions vary, so preparedness for cooler water and air temperatures is essential. In summary, for those seeking the thrill of Portugal's most formidable waves, the period between autumn and spring is unparalleled.

What are the Best Surfing Spots in Portugal?

Best surfing spots in Portugal are Nazaré, Ericeira, Peniche, Sagres, and Cascais, Portugal stands as a beacon for surf enthusiasts, boasting an extensive coastline adorned with some of the most spectacular surf spots in the world. Its unique geographical position, bathed by the Atlantic Ocean, creates a variety of conditions that can accommodate surfers of all levels, from beginners seeking gentle rollers to professional surfers chasing monumental waves. The country's surf culture is deeply ingrained, with local communities and visitors alike sharing a profound respect for the sea and the sport.


Nazaré surfing spot in Portugal.

Nazaré, synonymous with towering waves, is a magnet for those seeking the thrill of conquering giants. The North Beach break is legendary, home to record-breaking waves that challenge even the most seasoned surfers. My own experience watching surfers tackle these leviathans from the safety of the cliffside left me with a mix of awe and a deeper respect for the ocean's raw power. Here are some key attractions of this iconic location.

  • Giant Waves: Nazaré is best known for its massive waves, which can reach heights of up to 100 feet, making it a hotspot for big wave surfing.

  • Annual Surf Competitions: Nazaré hosts several high-profile surf competitions, including the Big Wave Tour, attracting top surfers from around the world.

  • Lighthouse Viewpoint: Some of Nazare’s surfing spots provide spectators with a safe place to watch surfers tackle enormous waves.

  • Local Culture and Gastronomy: Visitors can enjoy typical Portuguese cuisine and explore the town's rich cultural heritage, adding to the overall experience of their visit.

  • Surf Schools and Training Camps: For those inspired to try their hand at surfing, there are numerous surf schools offering lessons and training camps for all levels.


Ericeira, one of the best surfing spots in Portugal.

As a World Surfing Reserve, Ericeira holds a special place in the surf community. Its consistent swell makes spots like Ribeira d'Ilhas a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Surfing here, you're not just riding the best waves around; you're part of a tradition that stretches back generations. The town's surf culture is infectious, and during my time here, I felt wholly embraced by its warm, welcoming community. Here are some key attractions of this iconic location.

  • World Surfing Reserve: Recognized for its high-quality waves and preserved environment, ideal for all surfing levels.

  • Ribeira d'Ilhas Beach: Famous for hosting international surfing competitions and offering consistent, long rides.

  • Foz do Lizandro: Perfect for beginners with its softer waves and wide sandy beach, also popular for beach-goers.

  • Coxos Break: Known for its powerful and fast waves, a favorite among experienced surfers.

  • Vibrant Surf Culture: A bustling local surf scene with numerous surf schools, shops, and a supportive community.

  • Scenic Views: Dramatic cliffs and expansive ocean views, making it not just a surf destination but a visual retreat.

  • Local Cuisine: Enjoy fresh seafood and traditional Portuguese dishes in the many restaurants and cafes nearby.

  • Accommodation Options: Wide range of accommodations, from surf camps to luxury hotels, catering to all budgets.


A scenic view of Peniche, Portugal.

Peniche, famed for the Supertubos reef break, is a tube rider's paradise. The fast, hollow breaks offer some of the most exhilarating surfing in Portugal, if not the world. Participating in the Rip Curl Pro Portugal event here was a highlight of my surfing career, an adrenaline-fueled showcase of skill and daring that epitomizes the essence of Peniche's surf scene. Here are some key attractions of this iconic location.

  • Supertubos Beach: Renowned for its powerful waves and tubes, a favorite for advanced surfers and host of international competitions.

  • Baleal Beach: Offers more consistent and gentler waves, ideal for beginners and intermediate surfers.

  • Cabo Carvoeiro: Picturesque scenery with rugged cliffs, perfect for those seeking a dramatic backdrop while surfing.

  • Berlengas Island: Accessible by boat from Peniche, this spot provides a unique surfing experience near a protected nature reserve.

  • Surf Schools and Camps: Numerous options for lessons and surf camps tailored to all levels, from beginners to advanced surfers.

  • Local Culture and Cuisine: Enjoy local seafood dishes and explore the rich maritime history of Peniche after a day of surfing.

  • Year-Round Surf: Thanks to its geographic location, Peniche offers good surfing conditions throughout the year


Sagres, Portugal

Sagres, with its rugged coastline and diverse waves, offers a more serene surfing experience. It's a place where you can find both solitude and adventure amidst the natural beauty of Portugal's southwestern tip. Catching a wave at sunset here, with the sky ablaze in colors and the cool breeze against your skin, is an experience that stays with you, a reminder of the simple, profound joy of surfing. Here are some key attractions of this iconic location.

  • Consistent Waves: Known for its reliable surf throughout the year, suitable for both beginners and experienced surfers.

  • Scenic Views: Dramatic cliffs and unspoiled landscapes surrounding the beaches create a breathtaking backdrop for surfing.

  • Diverse Beach Options: Multiple beaches such as Praia do Tonel and Praia do Amado offer varied surfing experiences.

  • Surf Schools: Numerous surf schools and camps that provide lessons and equipment rentals for all levels.

  • Wildlife Watching: Opportunities to see marine life such as dolphins during certain times of the year.

  • Vibrant Surf Community: A welcoming and lively surf community that hosts events and competitions.

  • Historical Interest: Close proximity to the historic town of Sagres, offering cultural experiences and landmarks like the Sagres Fortress.

  • Sunset Views: Spectacular sunset views that make evening surf sessions particularly magical.


Cascais beach, a gorgeous beach where surfers are surfing.

Cascais is a gem for surfers looking for a mix of easy-going and challenging waves, set against the backdrop of a charming Portuguese town. Guincho Beach, in particular, is known for its strong winds and wild waves, offering a demanding but rewarding experience. My afternoons spent battling the elements here, followed by evenings exploring the town's culinary delights, highlighted the perfect balance of challenge and relaxation that Cascais provides. Here are some key attractions of this iconic location.

  • Diverse Surf Spots: Cascais offers a range of surf spots suitable for all skill levels, from beginners to advanced surfers.

  • Scenic Beauty: Located along the stunning Estoril coast, the area boasts picturesque views and beautiful sandy beaches.

  • Consistent Waves: The region is known for its consistent wave conditions, making it a reliable destination for surf enthusiasts.

  • Surf Schools: Numerous surf schools and camps provide lessons and equipment rentals, making it easy for newcomers to get started.

  • Proximity to Lisbon: Just a short drive from Lisbon, Cascais is easily accessible for both local and international travelers.

  • Vibrant Local Culture: The town of Cascais has a lively atmosphere with plenty of restaurants, bars, and cultural activities to enjoy after a day in the water.

Protected Natural Environment: The area is part of a natural park, offering pristine landscapes and diverse marine life, enhancing the surfing experience.

In Portugal, every surf spot has its own character, challenges, and beauty, making it a premier destination for surfers around the globe. From the daunting waves of Nazaré to the welcoming community of Ericeira, the excitement of Peniche, the tranquility of Sagres, and the balanced charm of Cascais—each location has offered me unique experiences and lessons, both on and off the board. Portugal's surf spots aren't just locations; they're chapters in a surfer's journey, each with its own story to tell.

How are the Wave Conditions in Portugal For Surfers?

The wave conditions in Portugal for surfers are highly favorable and diverse, catering to all levels of experience. Portugal is renowned big wave surfers for its extensive coastline, which receives consistent swell throughout the year. This makes it a prime destination for surfing enthusiasts seeking the perfect wave.

  • Seasonal Variations: The best time to surf in Portugal depends on the region. In the north, the winter months from November to February bring powerful swells suitable for experienced surfers. In contrast, the southern green coast offers milder conditions, ideal for beginners and intermediate surfers during the same period.

  • Spot Diversity: Portugal boasts a wide range of surfing spots. From the world-famous Supertubos in Peniche, known for its fast and hollow waves, to the relaxed and scenic beaches of beach-towns in Algarve, surfers can find spots that match their skill level and preference.

  • Personal Experience: Having surfed in Portugal for several seasons, I've found the early mornings at Praia do Amado in the Algarve to be magical. The waves are not only manageable but also less crowded, offering a serene and inviting environment for those looking to improve their skills.

  • Competitions: Portugal also hosts several international surfing competitions, such as the Rip Curl Pro Portugal in Peniche. These events are a testament to the excellent wave conditions found here, attracting professional surfers from around the globe.

In summary, Portugal's wave conditions offer something for every surfer. Whether you're a seasoned pro looking for challenging waves or a beginner eager to catch your first wave, Portugal's diverse coastline has you covered.

What are the Top Surfing Schools in Portugal?

The top surfing schools in Portugal are Surf Lisbon, Baleal Surf Camp, Algarve Surf School, and Porto Surf School. They offer exceptional experiences for riders of all levels, capitalizing on the nation's prime waves and breathtaking coastlines. These schools provide lessons that cater to various skill levels, from beginners taking their first steps on a board to more advanced surfers, seeking to refine their techniques against the backdrop of Portugal's renowned surf spots.

Surf Lisbon

Surf Lisbon

Surf Lisbon is not just a school; it's a gateway to the surfing lifestyle if you're looking for surfing in Lisbon. Nestled near Lisbon's vibrant Portuguese coast, it offers a blend of professional instruction and the allure of city life. The instructors are not only experts in surfing; they become your friends, guiding you through the intricacies of catching waves and ensuring safety is always a priority. My personal experience here transformed my approach to surfing, intertwining skill development with profound enjoyment.

Baleal Surf Camp

Baleal Surf Camp

Located in the picturesque region of Peniche, known for hosting the World Surf League, Baleal Surf Camp stands out for its immersive surf experiences. The camp offers lessons tailored to all ages and skills, emphasizing wave understanding and board control. The camaraderie among campers and staff fosters a unique learning environment. Participating in their sessions, I found a sense of community and an improvement in my surfing technique, thanks to their attentive coaching.

Algarve Surf School

Algarve Surf School

Situated in the sun-drenched southern coast of Portugal, Algarve Surf School is renowned for its comprehensive surf programs and stunning locations. The school's approach to teaching is holistic, focusing on the physical and mental aspects of surfing. Their sessions in the crystal-clear waters of the Algarve offer a perfect blend of challenge and fun. From my time with surf trip with them, I learned to read the ocean better and to harness its energy more effectively.

Porto Surf School

Porto Surf School

Source: TripAdvisor

Porto Surf School capitalizes on the vibrant northern coast, offering a mix of great waves and rich cultural experiences if you are looking for surfing in Porto. The school is celebrated for its personalized instruction and commitment to ensuring every student catches the essence of surfing. Their methodology, combining practical surf lessons along with theoretical knowledge, significantly boosted my confidence and skill level.

All in all, Portugal's top surfing schools offer more than just lessons; they provide gateways to the surfing culture, framed by the country's exquisite landscapes and optimal wave conditions. My journeys with these numerous surf schools here have not only honed my surfing skills but also deepened my connection with the ocean and the surfing community.

FAQs On Best Time To Surf In Portugal

1. What is the best season to surf in Portugal?

The best season to surf in Portugal is autumn, specifically from September to November. During this period, the waves are consistently powerful, and the water temperatures are still comfortable.

2. Can beginners find surf camps and suitable spots to surf in Portugal throughout the year?

Yes, beginners can find suitable spots and surf camps to surf in Portugal throughout the year. Regions like Algarve offer gentle waves and warm water, making it ideal for newcomers to the sport.

3. Are there any surfing competitions in Portugal, and when do they take place?

Portugal hosts several prestigious surfing competitions, including the Rip Curl Pro Portugal, typically held in October. This event attracts professional surfers from around the world to the wave-rich west coast side of Peniche.

4. What is the water temperature for surfing in Portugal during summer?

During summer, the water temperature for surfing in Portugal averages between 18°C to 22°C (64°F to 72°F), offering a comfortable environment for surfers without the need for a thick wetsuit.

5. Is it necessary to wear a wetsuit while surfing in Portugal?

Yes, wearing a wetsuit while surfing in Portugal is necessary, especially outside the summer months. A 3/2mm wetsuit is recommended for summer, while a thicker 4/3mm suit is advisable for the cooler seasons to ensure warmth and protection.

6. Do I need to bring my own surfboard to Portugal?

While bringing your own surfboard to Portugal is an option, it is not necessary. Numerous surf shops and schools offer a wide range of boards for rent, catering to all levels of experience.

7. What are the top surf spots in Portugal for experienced surfers?

The top surf spots in Portugal for experienced surfers include Nazaré, known for its giant waves, and Supertubos in Peniche, famous for its powerful barrels. These spots offer challenging conditions for seasoned surfers seeking adrenaline.

Reema Bharti

Reema Bharti

I am a globe-trotter with a passion for exploration. From the sun-kissed coasts of Portugal to the snow-capped peaks of Switzerland, my travels are as diverse as they are inspiring. My journeys through Spain, Finland, Austria, and Germany have fueled my soul and shaped my writing.