Portugal has some of the best surfing in the world, for beginners, intermediates, and advanced surfers alike. I recently spent a few months traveling and surfing all over Portugal, and scouting all the amazing surf spots, including the best beaches for beginner surfers in Portugal.
While I’m not a beginner surfer myself, I have spent over 7 years teaching surf lessons in California, and know a thing or two on what makes for great beginner surfing conditions😉
If you’re keen on learning to surf, Portugal has TONS of surf camps, surf schools, and a vibrant surf culture. If you’re already learned to surf, but are still a beginner looking to hone your surf schools- even better! Portugal has some fantastic surf spots for beginners.
Whether you’re looking for a peaceful surf vacation, craving a bit more excitement, are traveling on an extreme budget, wanting to see some historical sites, or a mix of everything- there is a beginner surf spot in Portugal for you.
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- The 7 best places for surfing in Portugal for beginners
- How to plan a beginner surf trip to Portugal
- How to choose from the best beginner surf spots in Portugal
The 7 best places for surfing in Portugal for beginners
When it comes to surfing for beginners in Portugal, it doesn’t get a whole lot better than surfing in Sagres. One of the best surf towns in Portugal, Sagres is located on the very southernmost tip of Portugal.
This surf town has beaches on both the west, and south coast. The most accessible and commonly known surf beaches in Sagres are Praia Mareta, and Praia Tonel, and they are both great for beginners. In the summer, Praia Tonel is the place to be for beginner surfers in Sages. The waves are fairly small, and the beach is large enough to accommodate a few different surf schools.
In the winter, when the waves get big and heavy at Praia Tonel, beginner surfers can head over to the south coast, and catch easy white water waves at Praia Mareta.
Sagres is a medium-sized surf town in Portugal. There are plenty of surf shops and restaurants in Sagres, and it has a decent-sized nightlife. You can also visit the amazing Sagres Fort and various museums while you’re there.
I spent about 2 hours exploring the Sagres Fort- it was so cool! There’s even a huge sound tunnel you can walk into and listen to the sound of the waves crashing underneath- it’s a little eerie, but very beautiful at the same time.
Overall, Sagres is by far one of the best places for surfing in Portugal for beginners.
The best surf camp for beginners in Sagres
Planning a surf trip to Sagres? Take a look at my guide to the best Sagres surf camps!
With its towering, jagged cliffs and gorgeous, white-washed Portugese villas, Arrifana is not only one of the most beautiful places in Portugal, but also one of the best places in Portugal for beginner surfers!
The main surf break in Arrifana is Praia Arrifana, and it’s the crown jewel of surf spots for all the beginner surf schools and surf camps in this little slice of the Algarve.
On any given day in the summer, Praia Arrifana is full of surf schools, and stoked surf students learning to surf.
Praia Arrifana is relatively sheltered, so it’s a good place to surf when other surf breaks in the area are blown out from the wind, or too heavy at other surf breaks. The beach is also relatively flat, so it’s a good place to surf in the whitewater almost all the time.
In terms of the town, Arrifana is really tiny, quiet, and surrounded by nature. There isn’t much going on here besides at the beach!
Which makes it a fantastic place for a peaceful surf vacation. However, you can always head into the neighboring town of Aljezur which is a bit more lively in terms of shops and restaurants.
Overall, Arrifana is one of the best beginner surf spots in Portugal.
Travel tip: Getting up and down to Praia Arrifana requires traversing (on foot) a MASSIVE switchback, which is a real pain, especially after a surf lesson, and while carrying a big surfboard! I recommend booking surf lessons with an Arrifana surf school that handles transporting the boards up and down the beach. This is going to be easier than renting up above and walking all the way up and down with your board.
Planning a surf trip to the Algarve? Check out my guide to the best Algarve surf camps!
The best surf camp for beginners in Arrifana
3. Foz do Lizandro, Ericeira
Foz do Lizandro is one of the southernmost surf beaches in Ericeira, the surf capital of Europe. This beginner surf beach has a sandy bottom, which makes it easy and forgiving for beginner surfers to learn.
This beach break offers consistent waves, a gentle slope, and a relaxed surf culture, making it the perfect spot for those who are new to the sport. There are several surf schools in the area that offer lessons and equipment rentals, as well as plenty of space on the beach to practice your skills.
Foz do Lizandro is a long, sandy beach that is suitable for all levels of surfers, but it’s particularly well-suited for beginners. The waves here are generally small and manageable, which makes it easy for beginners to catch waves and improve their skills. The beach is also very spacious, so there’s plenty of room for surf schools to set up and teach lessons. And with a relaxed and friendly surf culture, beginners will feel right at home in Foz do Lizandro.
Additionally, Foz do Lizandro is situated right in Ericeira, an incredible Portuegese surf town with so much to do. Ericeira has a much faster pace than many other surf spots in Portugal for beginners, so it’s a great place for your beginner surf trip if you want to be somewhere a bit more happening. For example, Ericeira has tons of amazing surf shops, and restaurants. It’s also just a short drive away from Sintra, where you can marvel at several different palaces and castles.
The only downside of Ericeira is that it’s pretty expensive. On average, accommodation in Ericeira was 2x as expensive as other surf spots in the Algarve, and restaurants in Ericeira were pretty pricey too. Overall though, Ericeira is a really unique surf town, and Foz do Lizandro is a great surf spot for beginner surfers in Portugal.
The best surf camp for beginners in Foz do Lizandro, Ericeira
Costa da Caparica is a long stretch of beach located just south of Lisbon, and it’s one of the best spots in Portugal for beginner surfers. The waves here are generally mellow and consistent, which makes it easy for beginners to learn and improve their skills. There are plenty of surf schools and rental shops in the area, so it’s easy to find equipment and lessons if you need them.
One of the great things about surfing in Costa da Caparica is its accessibility. It’s just a short drive or bus ride from Lisbon, which makes it an easy day trip for those who are staying in the city. And with a variety of breaks along the beach, there’s something for surfers of all levels. The beach is also very spacious, so there’s plenty of room for surf schools to set up and teach lessons.
Costa da Caparica is not just a great surf spot, it’s also a lively beach town with plenty of amenities. There are restaurants, bars, and shops along the beach, so you can easily spend the whole day here. The surf shops in Costa da Caparica are pretty impressive too- I actually bought my current surfboard that I LOVE, from Underground Surf Spot in Costa da Caparica. SO, if you need to buy a surfboard in Portugal, this is the place to be. Overall, Costa da Caparica is one of the best places for beginner surfers in Portugal, with a combination of easy waves, accessibility, and a fun beach town vibe.
The best surf camp for beginners in Costa da Caparica
Lisbon Surf Villa All Levels Surf Camp
Lagos is a charming town in the southern Algarve region known for its lively atmosphere and beautiful beaches. For beginner surfers, the town’s two most popular beaches – Porto de Mos and Meia Praia – offer great opportunities to learn and improve your skills. Both beaches have long stretches of sandy coastline and relatively calm waters, which make them ideal for beginners.
Lagos is very close to the international airport in Faro, which makes it an easy choice for a surf trip if you’re running on limited time, or only have time for a weekend surf trip. In addition to its beaches, Lagos also has more going on than anywhere else in the Algarve.
The town’s historic center is filled with quaint streets, traditional Portuguese architecture, and a variety of restaurants and bars to enjoy. Lagos has a vibrant nightlife, especially during the summer months, with a variety of bars and clubs to choose from. Additionally, Lagos is home to several historical and cultural landmarks, such as the Forte da Ponta da Bandeira and the Igreja de Santo António.
If you’re planning a surf trip to Portugal in the summer, I don’t recommend heading to Lagos. The beaches in Lagos are south-facing, and receive essentially no swell in the summer. However, in the winter, the beaches in Lagos do get some swell and are a great option for beginner surfers in Portugal, especially when all the west-facing beaches in Portugal are way too big.
The best surf camp for beginners in Lagos
6. Praia do Amado
Praia do Amado is a beautiful beach located in the Aljezur surf region of Portugal and is considered one of the best surf spots for beginners in the country. The beach is known for its consistent waves, which are perfect for learning to surf. The waves are generally small to medium-sized, making it easy for beginners to practice their skills and gain confidence. Additionally, there are several surf schools located literally right on the beach, which offer lessons and rental equipment for those who need it.
If you’re looking for a peaceful and remote surf vacation, Praia do Amado is a fantastic place to go. This beach is in a fairly remote part of the Algarve. With that said, Praia do Amado is only a 23 minute drive from Sagres, and a 40 minute drive from Lagos, so you can easily get to a busier surf town if you’d like.
If you’re visiting Portugal in the summer and hoping for consistent surf, Praia do Amado is one of the best beginner surf spots in Portugal. Keep in mind though, that Praia do Amado is very remote. Your best option for accommodation is to stay in the nearby town of Carrapateira, and drive to Praia do Amado for surf lessons- so you will definitely need to rent a car to surf here.
When it comes to surfing for beginners in Portugal, Cantinho da Baia in Peniche is a must-visit destination. Located on the central west coast of Portugal, Peniche is known as one of the best surf towns in Europe, and for good reason. The town is situated on a peninsula, surrounded by water on three sides, and is home to some of the best beginner surf spots in Portugal.
Cantinho da Baia is a sheltered beach break that is perfect for beginner surfers. The waves here are small and consistent, making it an ideal spot to learn how to surf. The beach is also conveniently located near many surf schools, making it easy for beginners to take lessons and rent equipment.
Peniche itself is a charming fishing town with a laid-back vibe. It has a bustling harbor, a quaint old town, and a lively nightlife scene. The town is also home to several excellent seafood restaurants where you can enjoy freshly caught fish and other local specialties. While Peniche is a popular destination for surfers, it is not particularly expensive, making it an affordable option for those on a budget.
Overall, if you’re looking for a great surf town in Portugal for beginners, Cantinho da Baia in Peniche is an excellent choice. With its sheltered beach break, abundance of surf schools, and charming town, Peniche has everything you need for a fun and rewarding surf trip.
Curious about the other breaks in Peniche? Check out our Peniche surf guide.
The best surf camp for beginners in Cantinho da Baia, Peniche
How to plan a beginner surf trip to Portugal
1. Book your flights to either Lisbon or Faro
The first step in planning your surf trip to Portugal is to book your flight! The main international airports in Portugal are Lisbon and Faro. If you’re planning on surfing in Ericeira, Peniche, or Costa da Caparica, I recommend flying into Lisbon. If you’re planning in surfing Lagos, Praia do Amado, Sagres, or Arrifana, it’s easiest to fly into Faro.
With that said, flying into Lisbon is usually cheaper, and Lisbon really isn’t all that far from the Algarve, so if it saves you a ton of money, go ahead and just fly into Lisbon.
2. Book accommodations
Once you’ve decided where you’re going, it’s time to book your accommodations! If you want to keep things easy, I recommend booking a surf camp, where the camp will handle surf lessons, equipment, and getting you to/from the beach. Some surf camps are even all-inclusive, and include all of your meals!
There are also some great airbnb’s in Portugal.
3. Book transport to the beach town
Next up is getting from the airport to your surf town! If you booked a surf camp, you can likely arrange airport pick-up with them.
If not, it’s super easy to rent a car and drive around Portugal. Rentals cars in Portugal are very affordable, and the roads in Portugal are fairly easy to navigate (except in Lisbon, it gets a little crazy right inside the city. However, driving from the Lisbon airport is pretty easy.
4. Book surf lessons
The easiest thing is for you to book your surf lessons once you arrive in your surf spot. There are tons of reputable surf schools all over Portugal, and you can easily ask your hotel, or hosts where the best place to book a lesson is. If you don’t have your own surf equipment, be sure to book a surf lesson that includes all necessary equipment, although most will.
5. Rent a board for the duration of your stay
If you’re staying at a surf camp, it’s most likely that boards are provided.
Similarly, most surf lessons include board rental.
However, if you only decide to take a few lessons and want to surf on your own the rest of your trip, then head to your nearest surf shop or surf school to reserve a board.
6. Pack for your trip to learn to surf in Portugal
Finally, it’s time to pack for your surf trip! If you don’t know what to bring, check out my ultimate Portugal surf trip packing list. I AGONIZED over what I should bring on my Portugal surf trip, and so I wrote this packing list guide so my readers don’t have to.
7. Enjoy your trip!
Lastly… enjoy learning to surf in Portugal! Portugal is a truly AMAZING country, and I’m planning to go back ASAP. Surfing in Portugal is amazing for beginners and you’re sure to have a truly spectacular time.
Are you learning to surf? Take a look at my surf tips for beginners!
How to choose from the best beginner surf spots in Portugal
When you first begin the process of researching your first surf trip to learn to surf in Portugal, it can be pretty daunting. Like, what exactly is the Algarve? And where is it? How do the Portugal surf seasons work? Does it matter where you go to learn to surf in Portugal?
While I didn’t learn to surf in Portugal, I spent months driving all up and down the coast of Portugal, exploring as many surf beaches as possible. Each beginner surf spot in Portugal has its own unique feel, and pros and cons. Here are some things to consider while looking at the best beginner surf breaks in Portugal:
How much do you want to spend on your Portugal surf trip?
Not all surf spots in Portugal cost the same to visit! For example, Ericeira is way more expensive than Costa da Caparica, and Peniche has some really affordable surf camps.
Planning a surf trip to Portugal as a beginner? Check out our guide to the best surf camps in Portugal!
What time of year is best to learn to surf in Portugal?
Typically, the best time of year to learn to surf in Portugal is during the summer. This is when the surf in Portugal is smaller, and much more manageable for beginners. It’s also nice to learn to surf in Portugal during the summer because the water is much warmer, and you won’t have to deal with the shock of cold water in addition to the shock of learning how to surf! With that said, summer is the high season in Portugal, and everything is much more expensive during the summer months.
If you would rather learn to surf in Portugal in the winter, consider visiting the south coast of Portugal, which is much more sheltered from the gnarly west winter swells. Additionally, if you plan your trip to learn to surf in Portugal during the winter, you’ll face much lower prices, and also much lower crowds.
Do you want to learn to surf in a big or small beach town?
Each of the best beginner surf spots in Portugal has a corresponding beach town that varies greatly in size, and vibes. Unless you’re planning on spending ALL of your time in the water, (which I totally understand), you may want to consider the actual town you’ll be staying in, and what it’s like.
For example, do you want to stay somewhere quiet, with lots of nature? Or would you rather stay somewhere more cosmopolitan, where you can explore the rich history of Portugal?
These are all important factors to consider when choosing from the best beginner surf spots in Portugal.
What do you want to do besides surfing?
Portugal is an incredible country, with so much history, and natural beauty. Is there anything you’re dying to see during your trip? If so, you may want to plan your surf trip to a beach nearby attractions you want to see in Portugal.
Not sure about what you want to do in Portugal besides surfing? This awesome guide covers some of the best things to do in Portugal.