Portugal: a surfing haven | Photo: Shutterstock

Today, Portugal is one of the most popular surfing destinations in the world. But what does this country established in 1143 have to offer?

With 1,115 miles (1,794 kilometers) of a unique coastline, a temperate maritime climate, excellent food and wines, stunning beaches, and warm hospitality, the Western European nation is a surf haven.

Nearly every spot on the Portuguese shore is blessed with swell and good waves, and you won't have to travel much to find different surfing conditions, for all types of surfers.

You can spend a morning watching big, record-breaking waves - or even snowboarding - and the afternoon surfing waist-high rollers in an idyllic point break.

Surfing is becoming an essential part of Portugal as a tourism destination. More people are visiting the country than the number of people who live in it.

Portugal is proud of its Atlantic origins, and that is mirrored in the local surf culture, and the variety of breaks pumping waves of all types across the coastline.

Portugal has great waves and fantastic surfers, too. Plan a trip to the mainland, or visit the incredible gems that are waiting for you in the islands of Açores (also known internationally as the Azores) and Madeira.

Get in the car or train, and surf the following spots, starting in the North and finishing in the Atlantic archipelagos:

Praia do Cabedelo

Praia do Cabedelo

It is one of the most popular windsurf and kitesurf spots in the North of Portugal, but it also has excellent waves for surfing.

Location: Viana do Castelo
Coordinates: 41.679108, -8.832579
Level: Beginner, Intermediate
Type of Break: Jetty Break
Ocean Floor: Sand
Swell Direction: NW-S
Wind Direction: NE
Tide: Low-to-Mid

 

Praia da Aguçadoura

Praia da Aguçadoura

A long stretch of beach with plenty of sand banks that are constantly shifting and delivering quality waves.

Location: Póvoa de Varzim
Coordinates: 41.432316, -8.783625
Level: Beginner, Intermediate
Type of Break: Beach Break
Ocean Floor: Sand
Swell Direction: N-SW
Wind Direction: SE
Tide: All Tides

 

Praia de Leça

Praia de Leça

A powerful beach break with multiple peaks and punchy lips located north of the World Heritage city of Porto.

Location: Matosinhos
Coordinates: 41.189323, -8.706150
Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Type of Break: Beach Break
Ocean Floor: Sand
Swell Direction: NW-S
Wind Direction: E
Tide: All Tides

 

Praia de Matosinhos

Praia de Matosinhos

One of the most consistent beaches in Portugal for beginners and intermediate surfers. It is also the only spot in the country that you can get to via subway.

Location: Matosinhos
Coordinates: 41.176032, -8.691973
Level: Beginner, Intermediate
Type of Break: Beach Break
Ocean Floor: Sand
Swell Direction: W
Wind Direction: E
Tide: All Tides

 

Direita do Casino

Direita do Casino | Photo: Ferreira/WSL

One of fastest right-hand barreling waves Portugal has to offer. Despite the cold water, and the sometimes crowded lineup, it may deliver unforgettable sessions.

Location: Espinho
Coordinates: 41.008451, -8.646390
Level: Intermediate, Advanced
Type of Break: Point Break
Ocean Floor: Sand
Swell Direction: W
Wind Direction: E
Tide: Low-to-Mid

 

Praia do Cabedelo

Praia do Cabedelo

A former Championship Tour venue that pumps a long, right-hand wave. From 2019, it will also become a night surfing spot.

Location: Figueira da Foz
Coordinates: 40.138199, -8.862528
Level: Intermediate
Type of Break: Point Break
Ocean Floor: Sand
Swell Direction: NW-SW
Wind Direction: NE
Tide: Mid-to-High

 

Praia do Norte

Praia do Norte

Welcome to the home of the biggest waves in the world. Channeled by an underwater canyon, the beach break gets XXL surf, but can also produce small, fun summer sessions.

Location: Nazaré
Coordinates: 39.609574, -9.084382
Level: Intermediate, Advanced
Type of Break: Beach Break
Ocean Floor: Sand
Swell Direction: N-SW
Wind Direction: E
Tide: All Tides

 

Praia de Supertubos

Praia de Supertubos

The European version of Pipeline is well-known for its perfect, powerful tubes, and should be approached with caution.

Location: Peniche
Coordinates: 39.344462, -9.363025
Level: Intermediate, Advanced
Type of Break: Beach Break
Ocean Floor: Sand
Swell Direction: NW-S
Wind Direction: NE
Tide: All Tides

 

Praia de Ribeira d'Ilhas

Praia de Ribeira d'Ilhas

This is one of the longest right-hand reef breaks in Europe.

Location: Ericeira
Coordinates: 38.988011, -9.419129
Level: Intermediate, Advanced
Type of Break: Point Break
Ocean Floor: Sand and Rock
Swell Direction: W
Wind Direction: E 
Tide: All Tides

 

Praia de Carcavelos

Praia de Carcavelos

One of the most famous surf spots in the Lisbon region. It's a beach break for all experience levels.

Location: Cascais
Coordinates: 38.679970, -9.335549
Level: Beginner, Intermediate
Type of Break: Beach Break
Ocean Floor: Sand
Swell Direction: NW-S
Wind Direction: NE
Tide: All Tides

 

Costa da Caparica

Costa da Caparica

A long stretch of beach divided by multiple small jetties.

Location: Almada
Coordinates: 38.645097, -9.241904
Level: Beginner, Intermediate
Type of Break: Jetty Break
Ocean Floor: Sand
Swell Direction: NW-S
Wind Direction: NE
Tide: All Tides

 

Praia de São Torpes

Praia de São Torpes | Photo: Creative Commons

A classic, open beach break with a jetty on the north side. A reliable spot with warm water, thanks to the nearby thermal power station.

Location: Sines
Coordinates: 37.925295, -8.806773
Level: Beginner, Intermediate
Type of Break: Beach Break
Ocean Floor: Sand
Swell Direction: NW-S
Wind Direction: NE
Tide: Low-to-Mid

 

Praia da Zambujeira do Mar

Praia da Zambujeira do Mar

A beautiful bay-esque beach surrounded by cliffs that breathes west swell directly from the Atlantic ocean.

Location: Odemira
Coordinates: 37.522228, -8.787092
Level: Beginner, Intermediate
Type of Break: Beach Break
Ocean Floor: Sand and Rock
Swell Direction: NW-S
Wind Direction: E
Tide: Low-to-Mid

 

Praia da Arrifana

Praia da Arrifana

A jaw-dropping beach that attracts surfers from all corners of the globe. The perfect place to learn to surf, but that can also deliver extraordinary, head-high sessions.

Location: Aljezur
Coordinates: 37.294223, -8.865646
Level: Beginner, Intermediate
Type of Break: Point and Beach Break
Ocean Floor: Sand
Swell Direction: N-SW
Wind Direction: E
Tide: Low-to-Mid

 

Praia da Bordeira

Praia da Bordeira

An endless stretch of beach with plenty of small, medium, and big waves that will restore your faith in surfing.

Location: Carrapateira
Coordinates: 37.198424, -8.900623
Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Type of Break: Beach Break
Ocean Floor: Reef and Sand
Swell Direction: N-SW
Wind Direction: E
Tide: All Tides

 

Praia do Zavial

Praia do Zavial

A secluded, yet sensitive beach and point break that can be as unpredictable as it is exquisite.

Location: Vila do Bispo
Coordinates: 37.046834, -8.871920
Level: Beginner, Intermediate
Type of Break: Beach Break
Ocean Floor: Sand and Rock
Swell Direction: NW-SE
Wind Direction: NE
Tide: Mid-to-High

 

Jardim do Mar

Jardim do Mar

Also known as "The Jewel of the Atlantic," it is a majestic barreling wave that sometimes rises to glory.

Location: Madeira
Coordinates: 32.737449, -17.212867
Level: Advanced
Type of Break: Point Break
Ocean Floor: Sand and Rock
Swell Direction: N-W
Wind Direction: N
Tide: Low

 

Praia do Areal de Santa Bárbara

Praia do Areal de Santa Bárbara

Probably the most famous wave in the Azores islands. A reliable and challenging wave with plenty of ramps, and fast-breaking sections.

Location: Ribeira Grande, São Miguel, Açores
Coordinates: 37.818572, -25.543034
Level: Beginner, Intermediate
Type of Break: Beach Break
Ocean Floor: Sand and Rock
Swell Direction: E-SW
Wind Direction: S
Tide: All Tides

Johan De Goede has taken out the 2018 Digicape Tand Invitational. The legendary event got underway in pumping eight-to-ten-foot waves in Cape Town, South Africa.

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