By: Mikael and Thrillism
7 minute read
Last updated June 5th, 2020
When you visit Portugal, you’ll get a chance to experience all walks of life – hipsters in Lisbon, wine connoisseurs in Porto, and of course, surfers throughout. The entire Portuguese coast from North to South is surfable, home to both massive waves (can you say Nazaré?) and gentle breaks for beginners.
No matter your skill and comfort level in the water, there’s a Portugal surf camp for you, even if you’ve never surfed a day in your life. The trick to choosing the right one is to focus on a specific area and go from there. Some destinations are better for beginners – like Ericeira – while others should only be attempted by pro-level surfers – like Nazaré.
We’ve broken down the best surf camps in Portugal based on area, making it easy for you to choose one based on skill, travel timeframe, budget.
For creating the perfect Portuguese surf trip, a lot of travelers set their sites on Ericeira, which is why it’s often referred to as “the surf capital of Portugal”. It’s just 45 minutes from Lisbon, so even if you don’t stay here long it’s an easy trip from the capital city.
Ericeira is a great spot for beginners and intermediate level surfers who are looking for the perfect balance between quaint local culture and touristic vibes. Aside from surfing one of the best breaks in Portugal, Foz do Lizandro, Ericeira is the perfect backdrop for a relaxing holiday.
You won’t regret adding Ericeira to your bucket list, especially when you book a stay at one of these surf camps in the area.
Staying at the Ericeira Surf House is the best way to surf Portugal, especially if you’ve outgrown the usual party vibes that come along with traditional surf house environments. These bed and breakfast style accommodations have everything from a garden and swimming pool to a bar and dining area. Price is charged per person, but kids get to stay for free for family surfers.
“Ericeira Surf House is the perfect accommodation for surfers who want to combine a relaxed holiday with the best possible surf.”
– Ericeira Surf House
The minimum stay at Ericeira Surf House is one week, but if you’re short on time feel free to get in touch with the staff to see if an exception can be made. With each weeklong stay, daily breakfast is included, then you’ll have to pay additionally for things like surf lessons, equipment rentals, and airport transfers.
Ericeira Surf House is a great choice for families, but if you’re a solo traveler looking for a more social environment, you’re better off with Amar Hostel. Amar is located in the center of Ericeira, right in the heart of the 6 kilometer stretch of well-known breaks and beaches. You’ll be close enough to walk to the beach within minutes.
“We do everything to make you feel at home here at Amar. We love to see our guests wandering around barefoot, sharing meals and stories in the garden, chilling on the sun deck or enjoying a drink at the lounge bar while watching the sunset.”
– Amar Hostel
Amar has 3 unique surf packages to choose from – Surf Complete, Surf Light & Yoga, or Surf Light. For the most intense surfing experience, you’ll want to go with Surf Complete that includes nine 2-hour lessons. Each package is 7 days of pure bliss, no matter which one you choose.
Nazaré is known around the world for its hard-hitting high-breaking waves. The underwater Nazaré Canyon is to thank for this. As waves roll into shore, the canyon creates interference and adds tremendously to the height of the incoming swells (up to 100 feet at times). Put simply, it’s not where beginner surfers gravitate to learn new skills.
Even if you wouldn’t dare put the board to water in Nazaré, it’s still worth checking out. And just because the main Nazaré wave is frequented by the pros doesn’t mean that intermediate-level surfers (and even beginners) can’t test their skills on other breaks in the area.
If you’re looking for a fun time in and out of the water, one of the best surf camps Portugal has to offer is Ocean Adventure in Nazaré.
Contrary to the popular belief that Nazaré isn’t beginner-friendly, Ocean Adventure feels otherwise. All are welcome at this surf camp, everyone from beginners (including kids) to advanced. With each surfing lesson, the maximum ratio of students to instructor is 6:1, but for kids, it’s often lower than this.
“Our surf camp is located in a cozy setting close to the beach and downtown. At the heart of Nazaré’s social life, you will love the large tables and excursions in the streets of the village.”
– Ocean Adventure
The Ocean Adventure accommodations are located right between the beach and downtown, offering single and double rooms as well as full apartments. The surf house has a swimming pool, plenty of chill-out common areas, a bar, and restaurant, and a terrace overlooking the town. It’s the perfect place for a cozy and comfy getaway to the big wave capital of the world.
Peniche rivals Ericeira as the surf capital of Portugal, and not just because of its obscene amount of wave variety. This year-round surfing destination has a wide swell window, quality beach, and reef breaks, and it’s relatively cheap – perfect for budget travelers. All in all, Peniche is where it’s at.
This small fishing town is famed not only for its long sandy beaches but also for the epic Supertubos surf spot. Any Peniche surf camp Portugal will make regular trips to Supertubos, plus tons of other reef and beach breaks in the area. If you’ve got some time to spare, it’s recommended that you start in Ericeira and make your way up to Peniche, then maybe even hit up Nazaré.
But whatever you do, don’t miss out on these Peniche surf camps, whether you just stop in for a quick lesson or spend an entire week riding Supertubos is up to you.
Baleal Surf Camp has been operating since 1993, and it’s all about embracing the surfing spirit of Portugal. This means regular surf outings, fresh seafood, cold beer, and good times all around. This family-run business operates out of a beachfront property that overlooks the waves that you’ll be riding each day.
“By focusing on customer service and the environment we have grown to become one of the best-loved surf schools on Europe’s Atlantic coast.”
– Baleal Surf Camp
If you’re brand new to surfing, no spot is better for learning. Even though there are cheaper options for surf camps in the area, BSC prides itself on its prime location, quality service, and dedication to safety (but also fun). The surf house accommodation is a quick walk to the Cantinho da Baía surf spot, so you could be riding waves within 10 minutes after waking up.
Located right down the road from the Baleal Surf Camp is Peniche Surf Camp, another top pick for new surfers who are just starting to get their feet wet. Baleal is a better choice for a more low-key, laid-back experience, but Peniche Surf Camp is perfect for young travelers craving that social vibe.
“We have surf lessons for all ages, levels, and nationalities. From people that never saw a surfboard or the sea, to those who have been surfing for years and want to improve their technique.”
– Peniche Surf Camp
You’ve got the option to book accommodation only and pay for lessons as you go, but the better choice is to pay upfront for everything (this gets you the best deal). If you book a 7-night stay, you’ll get 10 surf classes as well as beach transfers, accident insurance, equipment rental, and video analysis sessions to see where there’s room for improvement.
Lisbon isn’t often thought of as a Portuguese surf destination compared to spots like Peniche and Ericeira, but you’d be surprised by how many surfers make Lisbon their home base. First of all, the city is centrally located to tons of surfing hotspots, and you can’t beat the Lisbon culture.
Whether you’re into the foodie scene, shopping, classic European architecture, or you’re all about the surf, Lisbon’s got it all.
Surf Lisbon is the prime spot for taking advantage of Lisbon’s excellent climate and perfect waves. The house is located on the water’s edge of the city on the Estoril coastline. It’s got amazing beaches, high-end seafood restaurants, and pristine golf courses. Best of all, you don’t need to be rich to live like a king at Surf Lisbon.
“At Surf Lisbon – The School we don’t want people to just learn or improve their Surfing technique but also to give them the knowledge and motivate them to relate to the context and unique culture that this sport represents.”
– Surf Lisbon
Visitors to Surf Lisbon have several options for creating the perfect surfing holiday. You can either book courses only at the surf school, stay in the surf house, or go all out with the surf villa. The most popular choice is the surf house accommodation including surf school lessons, daily breakfast, equipment rental, and more.
Algarve is the region of southwest Portugal that is known for one thing and one thing only: surfing. OK, that might be a bit of an overstatement, but Algarve is one of the most beloved surfing destinations, not just in Portugal, but in all of Europe. It’s no surprise that many surfers focus on Algarve for finding the best surf camp in Portugal.
So what makes Algarge so great for surfing? Mainly it’s because there are rideable waves every day of the year, but another reason is the stunning natural beauty of the region. No matter where you go in the area – Martinhal, Tonel, Beliche, Zavial – the waves are pretty much guaranteed to give you a good time.
The Algarve is a huge region, so you can take your pick from tons of surf schools and camps. Our favorite, Sagres Natura, is located in Sagres on the western tip of the Algarve.
The reason so many travelers heading to Algarve choose Sagres Natura is that this surfing hotspot is all about riding the best waves. They visit all the best surf spots in the area – but only after they’ve taught you the necessary skills to ride waves like Kelly Slater.
“Sagres Natura offers you everything you need for a spectacular Surf Experience in the Algarve. Get to know more about our spacious Surf Camp and why it is the perfect place to chill out.”
– Sagres Natura
Sagres Natura has surf school options for beginners/kids and advanced surfers alike, but the most popular choice by far is the complete Surf & Stay package. With this, guests have the choice of a 7 or 14-night stay that includes either lesson (for beginners) or surf guiding (for advanced), equipment rentals, beach transfers, and two daily meals.