Surf’s up! Summer is finally here and this means that now is the time to start planning your next surfing adventure. This year I’m recommending Lagos in Portugal’s sunny Algarve region as this cool town has fantastic beaches, great surfing opportunities and a thriving surfer community. It is also a beautiful part of the world with a scorching climate! What could be better?
Looking for a great meal after a day on the beach? Read our guide to the cuisine of Lagos here.
Here is all you need to know about catching the curl in Lagos this summer.
The Surf Experience House
For me, a surfing holiday is as much about meeting fellow surfers and exchanging stories (over a few beers of course!) as it is surfing. This is another reason that Lagos is a good choice, as there is a large and very friendly community here that are very welcoming to holidaymakers. At the heart of this is The Surf Experience House – one of the very first surf lodges in all of Europe. I highly recommend checking this place out as it is great fun and immerses you in the local scene.
Located right in the heart of Lagos, the lodge is, essentially, a party house where everyone heads after a long day on the beach to let their hair down and listen to music (the owner is a DJ, so you know the tunes are big!). There are two lively roof terraces, a cool lounge area and weekly BBQ and tapas nights which are not to be missed. The regular social occasions ensure that you will make loads of new friends and this is particularly valuable if you are travelling solo.
Of course surfing holidays are not just about partying till the early hours and making new friends. You will also want to put your skills to the test and improve your abilities. The Surf Experience is a superb place to do this as they provide Boot Camps, where you receive pro coaching with video analysis, tough drills and various techniques. You will be amazed at just how much your skills and confidence improves!
The lodge is also well known for their “surf safaris” – this involves jumping in a Land Rover and cruising around Lagos in search of the biggest waves around. The team will film you in action so that you can show off to your mates when you get home, but this footage can also be used by the tutors to provide pointers on how you can improve your technique.
Overall, I feel that The Surf Experience House is the best place for any intermediate surfing enthusiast looking for great surf, for friendly, like-minded people and for hanging out after a rewarding day.
Tides and Waves
You really have to be on the ball here as the beaches have a massive tidal range. An hour or two either side of high tide is, generally, the best time for surfing, so make sure that you time your visits well. Speak to the locals to get all the best insider information. Make sure you check out these four great waves, which the area is famed for and any surfing enthusiast will love:
Arrifana Reef – A point break and perhaps the best right in the country, this wave needs a big swell before it breaks wide enough to clear the rocks.
Canal – Found next to Arrifana Reef, Canal has a challenging right-hander found under a cliff and a slightly less intense right a little further south which breaks over the boulders.
Zavial – A right-hand point break that peels cleanly and is one of the best spots on the entire south coast. Be warned, it can get busy here!
How to Get to Lagos
Another reason that Lagos is my pick for the year is that it is dead easy to get to. You will want to fly into Faro (FAO) airport, which is just under 3 hours from the London airports. This is the gateway to the Algarve, which means that there are plenty of flights made here each week from the likes of easyJet, British Airways and Monarch.
Every surfer knows the stress of bringing their own board with them, but this is made much more manageable when you pre-book a private Shuttle Direct transfer. In addition to skipping the queues for cabs, you can also safely stow your board as they will pick you up in a suitable vehicle if advised at the time of booking. So simply jump in the back and you will be there in a little under an hour.
Where to Stay:
Mira Baia by Luz Management Services – These fantastic two-bedroom apartments are on the beach, so you get sea views and easy access every single day. In addition to this, the units come with air-con (needed!) and a furnished balcony area – perfect for a few early evening drinks! The kitchen allows you to cut down costs on your food, but there are plenty of bars and restaurants just a 10-minute walk from the complex too. The free Wi-Fi allows you to stay in touch and upload your pics with ease.
Beach House Lagos – Just a 3-minute walk to Meia Praia Beach, you will not struggle to get your surfing fix each day here. After a long day, you can unwind in the outdoor swimming pool or in the cool garden area. Alternatively, treat yourself to a massage! You can also kick-start your day with the free complimentary breakfast. Wi-Fi is free and available around the complex.
Caravel House – Caravel House is 5-minutes down the road from Mesa Praia Beach and also only 750 yards from Lagos Marina, so again you are very well-situated here. The apartment itself comes with a kitchen complete with dishwasher, satellite television, free Wi-Fi, dining area and a balcony.
About Shuttle Direct:
There is nothing worse than standing around at the airport waiting for a cab. Shuttle Direct is one of Europe’s leading airport transfer companies, providing fast, comfortable and safe passage between airports, hotels and other areas of interest throughout the continent.
They understand how tricky it can be to get around with a board in tow, so they can pick you up in a suitable vehicle if advised at the time of booking. Book now and leave the rest up to them.