In recent years, Portugal has become one of the main tourist destinations in Europe, both by historical and cultural aspects and by the reputation as a cheap and safe country.
And if tourists’ eyes are turned to major cities such as Lisbon or Porto, the attention of traveling surfers focuses on the long coastline that the country offers.
From Caminha to the tip of Sagres, there are beaches with some of the best waves in Europe. Many of them already known internationally.
If you are a surfer and are thinking about visiting Portugal for the first time, or if you are in Portugal but never left the beach where you learned to surf, then: this post is for you!
Discover the best waves in Portugal
This is a controversial topic, since determining whether one wave is better than another depends on a number of factors — whether the surfer likes bigger or smaller waves; if you don’t mind cold water or if you do not put a foot in it if it’s below 17 degrees celsius; if you prefer rock bottom or sand, etc.
But regardless of the personal preferences, the following waves have already proved to be world-class and are (almost) a mandatory stop on any surf trip.
What not to say about Porto?! After the capital, the Invicta is the second most known city of Portugal. And since we’re speaking of Matosinhos, know that from there many seamen left to join the Portuguese Discoveries.
Don’t miss: Porto’s Downtown and a boat trip along the Douro River.
About Figueira da Foz
Situated by the mouth of the Mondego River, Figueira da Foz has long been one of the most popular bathing resorts in the country. Its history as a beach destination goes back to the 19th century and to prove its historical heritage there are some buildings that stood the test of time.
Don’t miss: Praia da Claridade, one of the longest in Portugal, the Casino, and the Sotto Mayor Palace
Nazaré has gained popularity since the surfer community discovered the potential of its giant waves. But the history and tradition of the small fishing village are long and this can be seen in its buildings and the people that live there.
Don’t miss: the ladies with the seven skirts next to the main church, the elevator and a trip to the Fort of São Miguel Arcanjo.
Land of fishermen, Peniche lives facing the sea and its fishing port. The traditions remain like before but are more diluted due to the great tourist growth of the village. This is an excellent surfing destination and, therefore, surf shops, hostels, and surf schools proliferate.
Don’t miss: a visit to the Fort and a trip to the Berlengas islands.
A small fishing village, 50 km from Lisbon, Ericeira entered history books when the Portuguese king chose this port to escape to exile in Brazil, at the time of the republic revolution.
Today, it remains one of the most beautiful and picturesque bathing resorts in the country (except for those who aren’t a cold water fan) and has become one of Portugal’s favorite surf destinations.
Don’t miss: a tour around the village and a visit to the Convento de Mafra, 20 minutes away by car
Sintra is part of any travel plan for those visiting the Portuguese capital. A few kilometers from Lisbon, the beauty and history of its monuments, the mythical landscape, and the stories told, make this village one of the main tourist attractions in the region.
Don’t miss: a trip to Praia das Maçãs, taste the Colares wines and visit the historical center of Sintra (I recommend Quinta da Regaleira).
Only 20 km separates Lisbon from the beautiful village of Cascais, one that was once regarded as the Portuguese Riviera. Apart from the beautiful beaches stretching between Carcavelos and Guincho, Cascais is steeped in history and culture. To prove it are several museums and exhibition locations.
Don’t miss: Paula Rego’s House of Stories, the Citadel Art District and a trip to Boca do Inferno
Founded in the 10th century by the Arabs, Aljezur lives in its peace and quiet, only disturbed in the summer months. From the high cliffs that border the sand and dunes, to the wilder landscapes provided by the mountains of Espinhaço de Cão and Monchique, this is the ideal destination for nature lovers.
Don’t miss: the Castle of Aljezur.
About Vila do Bispo
There’s little to see in the small village of Vila do Bispo. But around it… starting with the magnificent beaches: Cordoama, Castelejo, Ponta Ruiva, Beliche, Martinhal… the list doesn’t end. Hence this is an area much sought after by beach lovers who want to escape the typical confusion of the rest of the Algarve coast.
Then there’s the lovely village of Sagres and the Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park.
Don’t miss: a tour of Sagres.
Did you like this list? Do you know other beaches in Portugal that you think should be here? Give your opinion on the comment box below.
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