Surfing first came to Portugal in the 1950’s, with surfers riding Hawaiian Koa boards. Portugal is now known as a classic European surfing region. The World Surfing Championships came to Portugal in 1998.
Open to swells from the northwest to southwest, Portugal is super consistent year-round. With very little, if any, Continental shelf to slow down incoming swells, Portugal is in prime position to pick up anything the Atlantic Ocean can send its way.
There is plenty of surf year-round; Portugal creates fun waves from even the smallest ripples, which occur mainly during summer months. Summer brings surf in the 4- to 6-foot range; this is where many of the south-facing beach breaks tend to flourish. Even bigger waves grace the Portuguese shores from fall through spring, as winter storms send in consistent 6- to 8-foot surf.
Portugal has great summer and early fall weather, but a wetsuit is required even during the summer months. A 3/2 full suit will do the trick during summer and fall. With the onset of winter, surfers are reaching for a thicker, 4/3 wetsuit, plus booties, and even a hood. But don’t let this deter you from traveling during the winter months. Lack of tourists, smaller crowds, and sweet winter swells are the reward for putting up with the colder water temps.
Traveling to Portugal is fairly easy. Fly into Lisbon, the capital, and rent a car to reach southern shores and the beautiful Algarve coast. Lisbon is also a good jumping off point to reach the surf in Central Portugal. For northern Portugal exploration, you will need to fly into Porto and rent a car. Northern Portugal has few charted surf spots.
Northern and Central Portugal Surf Spots
Southern Portugal and Algrave Surf Spots