When the unmistakable smell of salt and sea air causes your nose to start twitching, there’s only one thing to do: hang out the ‘gone surfin’ sign and… go surfing! Whether you’re a veteran of the swell or you’re just getting turned on to the thrill and freedom of the sport, there are few better places in Europe to get your toes on the nose for some big wave action than Portugal.
While the southern Algarve region attracts some big name international competitions, so too does the rugged, rocky coastline north and south of the capital, Lisbon, which offers just as many spectacular surf breaks. You’ll never be short of opportunities to get out there and get your fingers and toes crinkly perfecting your art, and you can shut out the rest of the world for a while and spend every waking hour out on the waves chasing the perfect barrel. Sounds like your kind of holiday, doesn’t it?
There’s no time to get bored, either, with the huge number of breaks you can surf around Lisbon – a different one every day if you want!
Praia das Maças
While it’s near neighbour Praia Grande is probably better known (as host of the World Body Boarding championships), Praia das Maças is a top notch surf spot just north of Lisbon. It’s also one of the most popular and easily accessible, so expect a few crowds in summer. That doesn’t take away from the opportunities for surfers, though, and this long beach break offers consistently cranking waves all year round. Look out for the rocky ends, but it’s sand all the way in the middle – which makes it great for whatever level of skills you’re at. Start the week here to get the feel of the barrels, then move up to somewhere a little more challenging.
Difficulty rating: Right and left breaks suitable for beginners.
Tip: Located just a few kilometres north of Lisbon, there’s a regular tram service to Praia das Maças and, yes, you’re welcome to take your board on board!
With both left and right breaking waves, Bafureira offers a near perfect point break with some fat swells under the right conditions. With a very rocky bottom, low tide is not a great time to surf here, as you’ll encounter too many exposed rocks, but anything from mid to high tide is superb – in fact some experts say it offers the best waves on the Estoril Coast! With those credentials it does get pretty busy, but it’s worth waiting your turn to ride some of the big ones. Bafureira is another place that’s excellent for beginners or if you’re just adjusting your balance from snow to surf after a busy winter season!
Difficulty rating: great for beginners but enough to keep the intermediates busy too.
Tip: Make yourself sound knowledgeable while you’re out there on the line-up by knowing Bafureira was host to the 2010 Estoril Surf Billabong Girls competition.
Guincho is like your most reliable best mate: you know you can rely on it for consistence and a good time – any time! With a left and right break and a strong south/south-westerly swell, conditions are good at low, mid or high tide. The only downside is that, because of the always-great conditions, it gets a little crowded out there sometimes – and with lots of beginners there’s often a bit of accidental dropping-in. But remember that even Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning started somewhere, so put that aside and enjoy Guincho for the good times it provides.
Difficulty rating: great for anyone, but be aware of rocks at low tide.
Costa da Caparica
The coast south of Lisbon offers some fantastic breaks if you’re on a mission to mix it up with a different beach every day. The 30km Costa da Caparica gets pretty busy, but you’ll have plenty of choice. If you head to the southern beaches you’ll find a little more space and some good waves – although the northern beaches do really have the best. You’ll find classic beach breaks with right and left waves and a sandy bottom. The breaks offer a fast, powerful swell and the easterly wind ensures loads of peaks.
Difficulty rating: You’ll get a nice varied day of surfing here, which is suitable for any skill level. Look out for rips, though.
If you’re ready for Ericeira, it’s ready for you! The beaches around this epic reef break offer hardcore, fast barrels, but you might have to fight your way to the line-up as it gets busy out there. And for good reason – it’s got a pretty formidable reputation! This area is so good it’s been host to countless national and international competitions, so if you take it on you’ll be following in some big footsteps. Despite its intimidating renown, Ericeira is suitable for surfers of intermediate skills, but you’ll have to keep your wits about you.
Difficulty rating: huge variation but lots of challenges. Watch out for the coral reef bottom. Take your choice from any number of breaks including:
- São Lourenço
- Crazy Left (so named for a reason!)
- Cave (pros only)
- Riberia D’Ilhas (most popular)
- Coxos (best right hander ever)
- Pedra Branca (a close second!)
So, whether you’re looking to get some navel-gazing time out on the line-up, or you want to get down and dirty in a gnarly barrel, the legendary surf spots around Lisbon are guaranteed to keep you busy for as long as you want!
Tip: If you’re thinking about extending your surfing safari for a couple of weeks, you might be interested in heading to Porto as well.
How to Get to Lisbon from Lisbon Airport
Getting to Lisbon from the UK takes just 2.5 hours, so you won’t waste valuable wave time travelling when you could, and should, be surfing. Once you land, fast and convenient Lisbon airport transfers can take you directly to your accommodation in the centre of Lisbon or elsewhere on the Costa Caparica or Estoril Coast.
You can book one of Shuttle Direct’s Lisbon airport transfers on a shared or private basis, and if you’re travelling with your board, just advise us at the time of your online booking.
Where to Stay
Lisbon Waves Surf Lodge – If you want to live, breathe and sleep surfing, the Lisbon Waves Surf Lodge is just the place to do it. You really won’t have to lift a finger or think about anything but catching the perfect point break. Breakfast is served, there’s an onsite surf school, even the décor will inspire you to better your technique, and you’re just two minutes from some of the best surfing in the world along the Costa Caparica. Epic!
Wafespot Surfhouse – Surf all day and chill all night with a stay at the inclusive and super friendly Wavespot Surfhouse, on the Costa Caparica. With free Wi-Fi, you can Snapchat your sundowners on the terrace, enjoy the sociable aspect of the shared or private accommodation, and make new friends with cooking skills in the well-equipped communal kitchen. Best of all: you’re just 50 metres from all the surfing action!
Caparica Ocean View – The name pretty much says it all, but if you want more, the Caparica Ocean View can deliver. When you’re not in the water you can be looking over it, dreaming of your next big barrel, relaxing with the onsite games room, or simply surfing the net and Snapchatting the view to your jealous mates back home. The perfect place for a laidback surfing holiday alone or with a group.
About Shuttle Direct
For fast, friendly and convenient airport transfers throughout Europe and North Africa, Shuttle Direct is one of the most trusted providers in the industry – and the cheapest too! Book online before you leave home and our easy to navigate system offers instant confirmation of all your onward travel. Choose from budget friendly shared services or the convenience and luxury of private transfers, and our experienced local drivers will meet you at the airport and take you directly to you accommodation – and back again when your holiday is complete.