Aljezur is a small Portuguese surf town and municipality in the Algarve with a lot of culture, and some awesome surf. Rowan and I came to Aljezur for one week, and we ended up staying for much longer because we loved everything about it. The Aljezur surf is fun and diverse, and the area is absolutely stunning to boot! If you’re planning a surf trip to the Algarve, you can’t miss checking out Aljezur and the area’s surrounding surf spots.
** This article contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Meaning, at no extra cost to you, I earn a small commission anytime you purchase any of the linked products. Thanks for your support of Gathering Waves!
Where is Aljezur?
Aljezur is a charming, traditional Portuguese town located in the Algarve, about 10 km from the coast. While Aljezur itself is not technically a beach town, the municipality of Aljezur encompasses the majority of west coast surf beaches in the Algarve, from Odeceixe down to just north of Sagres.
You can easily get to Aljezur by bus from both Lisbon and Faro, but it’s easiest to rent a car and drive there- and then you get the freedom to explore all the surf spots in the area!
Aljezur surf spots
The three surf spots closest to the town of Aljezur include:
Arrifana is the main beach break in the area, and the best beginner surf beach in the Algarve. In the summer, it’s wildly popular with surf schools flocking to teach their students on the sheltered, beginner-friendly waves. However, in the fall/winter when larger swells appear the Arrifana reef break starts to work, and the break transforms into a playground for intermediate-advanced surfers. Read more about this beautiful Aljezur surf beach in my ultimate Arrifana surf guide. Honestly, I love this surf beach and the vibes in the lineup are pretty chill (albeit crowded!)
Are you looking for a great place to stay to surf in Aljezur? Check out my Endless Summer Surf House review!
Monte Clerigo is a 10 minute drive from the town of Aljezur and features an exposed beach break. The surf here is much less crowded, and much more exposed than at Praia Arrifana. You can expect bigger waves, tons of rip current, and a slightly agro lineup. If Arrifana is flat or otherwise unsurfable due to the plethora of neon rashguard sporting surf schools, Monte Clerigo is a solid option.
Adjacent to the Rivermouth, Amoreira is just on the other side of the cliffs from Monte Clerigo. The sea floor here is mostly sandy with some sand-covered reef.
It’s typically a little less crowded than at Monte Clerigo. When it’s small, it’s popular with beginners and surf schools. When it’s bigger, you can catch a nice peeling left from the southern end of the beach over by the rivermouth.
Heading further south, you’ll hit these Aljezur surf spots:
Vale Figueiras is about a half hour south of Arrifana, and you have to drive down a pretty windy and rocky dirt road to get there. The beach itself is rocky, exposed, and very uncrowded. At lower tides there’s quite a bit of power here and the surf can barrel.
Further south and just outside the small village of Carrapateira, you’ll find Praia da Bordeira, one of the best and most beautiful Aljezur surf spots! The sandbars here create fun, peaky little A-frames and it doesn’t get too crowded here.
Praia do Amado
Just south of Bordeira, you’ll find Amado. This is a popular beach with surf schools and van-lifers, and in the summer it’s awesome for swimming and beginners. In the late fall & winter, the surf here can get absolutely incredible.
Aljezur surf seasons
Aljezur surf in the summer
If you’re a beginner surfer, or want to learn to surf, you’ll love the surf here in the summer. The water is pretty warm, and the waves are mellow and friendly for beginners. If you’re a more experienced surfer, there won’t be much for you in the summer here.
Aljezur surf in the fall
The surf tends to pick up around September/October and get quite nice in Aljezur for intermediates. The water is still pretty warm, and the surf isn’t so big that beginners can’t have some fun too! In early September of 2022, the waves were pretty small every single day except for during the hurricanes. Beginner surfers seemed to be having a blast, but we were still able to catch some fun little rides surfing on the FAR south end at Arrifana, and over at Monte Clerigo.
Aljezur surf in the winter
The surf in Aljezur gets pretty maxed out in the winter, and double overhead + is not uncommon! The average swell size here from December to February is 8-9 feet with a 12 second period.
Aljezur surf in the spring
The spring brings (slightly) warmer waters, smaller waves, and a little less consistency than the winter to Aljezur!
How much does it cost to surf in Aljezur?
Aljezur is one of the cheaper surf destinations in Portugal. The cheapest way to do it is to plan your trip independently, but you can also book a surf camp starting at around 400 euros a week. If you want to book a surf camp in Aljezur in the high season, I recommend doing it early (a few months in advance at least) as there aren’t a lot of options and they get snatched up like THAT!
What to pack for an Aljezur surf trip
For everything you need to bring on a Portugal surf trip, check out my ultimate Portugal surf trip packing list. A few surf essentials for Aljezur include:
In the summer you’ll probably want a spring suit, but you can get away with a 3/2 or trunking it also.
I recommend bringing a surfboard on your Aljezur surf trip, but there are plenty of options if you want to rent or buy one here. If you’re learning to surf, you should rent at your destination because there are so many good boards for beginners here. If you’re an intermediate-advanced surfer, I highly recommend bringing your board from home, or buying a sweet surfboard that was shaped in Portugal like I did!
Ding repair kit
For unexpected rock encounters or for when the airline smashes the nose of your surfboard (Thanks Tap Air Portugal), a little ding repair kit is a life saver. I love this Solarez one.
Portable surf shower
The surf beaches in Aljezur don’t have showers! This packable surf shower gives us a 7 minute shower, which is plenty of time to rinse off two people, boards, & wetsuits.
Aljezur surf tips & tricks
This is (mostly) unrelated to surfing, but if you have a foreign bank then avoid Euronet at all costs(they have some gnarly withdrawal fees!). When withdrawing cash, always REJECT the conversion rate. Yesterday an ATM tried to give us a conversion rate of 1.09 euros to USD dollars, when currently USD is stronger than the euro.
At least in the fall, the mosquitoes here in Aljezur are really, really bad. If you’re allergic to mosquitoes like I am, definitely head on over to the Farmacia in Aljezur and pick up some bug spray. You can also get surf ear plugs there too if the cold water bothers you.
I don’t know what it is about Aljezur but I’ve observed that many of the surfers here have really poor board control. Not just beginners too- I’ve witnessed fairly advanced-level surfers absolutely clobbering each other with their boards in situations where it’s completely avoidable, especially given their skill level! Stay safe out there, never paddle-out directly behind the lineup/ into the takeoff zone, and don’t bail your board.
Have your own wheels
Unless you’re doing a surf camp where you’re getting transported to/from the surf, you’ll want your own car or campervan to get around and check out all the sweet Aljezur surf spots.
We’ve been renting from Guerin, and while they’re not the cheapest Portugal car rental firm we’ve had a good experience with them so far.
Dawn patrol & sunset are best for crowds
Sunset surfs & dawn patrol are the least crowded times to surf in Aljezur. Mid-late morning is pretty hectic and best to avoid if you don’t want to surf with a massive crowd.