Of all the surfing gems that Portugal has to offer, Peniche without a doubt shines the brightest. In fact, some even refer to Peniche as the European Mecca of surfing.
This small peninsula right off the coast of Portugal, arguably has some of the best waves in all of Europe. And that says a lot! This Peniche surf guide covers where to surf, the best swells for Peniche, and everything else you need to know about this famous surf town.
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Are you planning a last minute surf trip to Peniche?
If you’re planning a last minute surf trip to Peniche, we’ve got you covered. Here are the best surf hotels, surf camps, and more!
Best surf hotels in Peniche
- Surfers Lodge Peniche(Beautiful, eco-friendly hotel with AC, TVs, and a 10 minute walk from Baleal Beach)
- Baleal Guest House(Affordable hostel right next to Baleal Beach)
Best surf camps in Peniche
- Boa Onda(All-levels surf camp with yoga classes)
- Alex Surf School Surf Camp(Affordable and super social!)
Need a car to explore all the surrounding surf breaks? Click here to check best car rental rates in Peniche.
Want to learn to surf in Peniche? Click here to book surf lessons in Peniche!
Peniche surf overview
While Europe has tons of surfing all over, it often falls short to many other areas of the world due to the lack of consistency. However, this is not the case for Peniche. This surfside region has surfable waves, and different breaks in every single direction.
The different Peniche surf breaks
Peniche has plenty of breaks, both beaches and points, and every once in while some reef breaks even come alive. The Peninsula mostly has rights, but holds a few secrets for the goofy footers as well. Almost all the breaks are quite consistent, but the area also holds a few in spare for those huge days where everything else gets blown out. I’ll give you a small little introduction to some of the main waves, but will leave some up to you to explore.
Let’s start off with a gem for the beginners, intermediates and longboard enthusiasts. I’m of course talking about Gigi! You’ll find the spot while walking north along the beach from the town of Peniche. It’s less crowded, quite beautiful and can offer some really nice rides.
The bottom consists of sandcovered rocks, making it a consistent break, with quite stationary sandbanks.
The quality of the wave itself is great. Long mellow rides, perfect for that evening session on your longboard or minimal. It breaks both ways, and usually has a nice little pocket for those hang fives. Usually, Gigi is shining the brightest with a SE wind, on a mid going high tide.
Make sure to wax your surfboard all the way up to the nose, head north, and get a few in at Gigi.
Prainha is the swell magnet of the area. This Peniche surf break takes in the tiniest of swells from the Atlantic, and almost always turns it into somewhat surfable waves. The beach is protected from the bigger swells from the southwest, making whitewash here, a beginners paradise.
If you are learning with a surf school, this is most likely where they will take you.
Being a consistent beginners spot, you will always find crowds here. Easy going crowds of beginners are not the worst to deal with, but be aware of your surroundings, because the other surfers might not be :). This is a great place to learn to navigate other surfers, as well as catching waves. Prainha is as Gigi, best with a SE wind, and a rising tide. Usually surfable all the way from low to high.
Cantinho da Baia
The gems keep on coming for Peniche. Cantinho is what you would consider the main break of Peniche, at least on the north side of the Island. It’s suitable for everyone able to catch green waves. You may describe it as a typical beachbreak, with changing sandbanks. The northern side is calmer, with protection from the peninsula on the north. You can expect the calmer waves on this side, while towards the middle and south end of the bay is where you get the more critical waves with more size.
Cantinho is usually fairly uncrowded, although it does attract some competitive locals on the best days. However, you can still often score some pretty nice waves here on a good day.
Cantinho works great on low to mid tide, with offshore winds. And, Cantinho da Baia is one of the best surf spots in Portugal for beginners.
With a name straight out of a comic book, it is not hard to imagine what Supertubos has to offer. This wave turns world class on the right days. Some say it’s the best single performance tube in the whole of Europe, which is no small feat. If you want a piece of Portuguese pipeline, this is the place to go.
Supertubos is a dominant left, but A-frames a bit, meaning you can go right as well. This wave is punchy, fast and steep. And offers an intense ride, both ways. The wave breaks on really really shallow sand, and spits you out like no other. Every October the best surfers in the world come here to compete, and it’s quite the watch. Depending on the given day, the wave hands out a few air sections, making it a good wave for performance surfing on the highest level.
On good days you can expect 50-100 really good surfers in the water- the lineup is very competitive, and it can be difficult to catch waves, especially when the pros are out! That being said, if you are traveling to Peniche on a surf trip, it is for sure worth a trip to Supertubos, if not to surf, to at least watch the local chargers.
Right next to Supertubos, lies Bananas. A more southern exposed break, with a bit less fear over its name. Usually a close out on the bigger days, but with a smaller swell it can give you quite the treat. A small tube, and forgiving takeoff, makes it a perfect wave for intermediates, wanting to try out their tuberiding skills.
Usually works on the same conditions as Supertubos, but with smaller swells from SW, and wind from NE. Being close to the main beach of Peniche, this is also quite a busy spot. Beginners, intermediates and advanced locals are to be found in the water at Bananas. But don’t let that scare you. With patience, respect, some good positioning and a bit of luck, Bananas might give you some of the best rides so far in your surfing career!
Another wave to set Peniche on the map. Papoa is a big wave spot, located over a big reef outside the Peniche peninsula. If Supertubos is the Pipeline of Peniche, then Papoa might be Jaws. Papoa can provide some seriously huge waves. Papoa is almost only on in the winter, and during that time, you might even get to see some tow-ins. This Peniche surf break is an absolute no for everyone without big wave riding experience, but quite the watch if you are in the area.
Similar to the famous big wave spot of Nazare, you can get quite the view of the madness from the safe cliffsides ashore. Papoa is a wave few of us will ever surf, but can still be admired from afar.
Best swells for Peniche surf
The best part about surfing Peniche is the consistency. The waves here catch almost every swell direction. The main swells usually come from the south west, giving the southern spots their time to shine. West, north and north west really puts the northern spots out to shine. In terms of wind, you almost always get offshore at one of the spots, apart from maybe directly from the west. Rising tides are almost always the best here, with some variation on what side of mid, works the best.
Peniche surf seasons
Seasons in Peniche are quite similar to the rest of portugal. Winter and fall being the biggest swell season, and summer being the smallest, and spring somewhere in between. The cool thing about peniche is that you can almost always find waves to fit your level, no matter the season. Are you seeking the most thrilling tides however, go late fall or early winter.
Where to stay for Peniche surf
Fortunately, there are several amazing options for surf camps, surf hotels, and surf hostels for you to stay at during your surf trip to Peniche. Here are some of the best options:
Surf and Yoga Retreat at Boa Onda
This surf and yoga retreat is suitable for all levels, includes 4 surf lessons, 4 yoga classes, unlimited fruit, tea, coffee, and a daily healthy vegetarian breakfast. You’ll sleep at the lovely Boa Onda Guesthouse, which is only a 100m walk from some of the best waves in Peniche. There are a wide variety of rooms available, with everything from ocean view suites to a bed in a dorm if you’re on a budget.
For more amazing surf camps, take a look at our guide to the best Peniche surf camps.
11 Day Surf Camp at Alex Surf Hostel
If you’re looking for a longer stay at a surf camp and you’re on a budget, you’ll love this 11 day surf camp at Alex Surf Hostel. The surf camp includes all surf equipment including a board and wetsuit, surf lessons twice a day, and use of all facilities at the hostel including the BBQ, kitchen, washer machine, and more. At this surf camp, you’ll be staying in a shared dorm room for 4, which is the perfect setting to meet other surfers and make some new friends.
Peniche surfing FAQ’s
Is Peniche safe?
Peniche is considered very safe! Not a lot of crime, a good economy and a peaceful culture makes the place super friendly for tourists. But of course, don’t leave your valuables around unattended. The most dangerous you will encounter here is probably glass fiber surfboards, if you don’t pay attention in the lineup, and follow important surf safety tips.
Is Peniche a good surf town for beginners?
Yes! Peniche is a great surf town for everybody! With plenty of beaches and options, lots of surf schools and infrastructure, there is something for everybody here. Just make sure to pay attention to where you go, ask locals about dangers and where to surf as a beginner. Every spot might have local rules or dangers not covered in this guide, so your best bet is to ask around at surf school, surf shops or with local surfers.
Other tips for Peniche surf
Peniche is an old fishing village and is really worth the visit for more than just the surf. Beautiful old houses, traditional portuguese fishing restaurants, wooden boats and several old fortresses make the town an amazing place to visit. Peniche has a comfortable warm summer climate, and an almost constant ocean breeze cooling you down. In other words, no need to worry about your non-surfing co-travelers, as they will be having a great time as well.
Peniche surf guide- final thoughts
There are more than a few good reasons why Peniche is named the surf capital of Europe. There are plenty of waves for everyone, and even a few world class breaks. The area is known for its consistency, making it an ideal destination for a surf trip! In addition to the breaks I’ve described in this guide, there’s plenty more spots to come around Peniche! Just ask around, and you might find a few gems to yourself. Bon voyage!