Indeed wave-rich Portugal has a break for every surfer whether you’re a big-wave Dave or just caught the surf-bug. Honestly, there’s far too many options to choose from, but here’s our favorite ones for three different levels.
Sand-bottomed, softer waves to learn on or have fun as a novice surfer.
A fun little beginner’s wave in Sagres on the southern coast of the Algarve. A perfect, beautiful cove for learning to surf—especially in the summertime—that can also get bigger and funner for more advanced surfers.
Foz do Lizandro
A consistent, gorgeous beachbreak south of Ericeira where many surf schools teach learners. With more swell, Lizandro can actually get really fun for intermediate and advanced level surfers too (wink..wink…). Regardless, a welcoming, sand-bottomed, beautiful wave for beginners.
An array of (mostly) easy sandbars outside of Cascais (not far from Lisbon) with various surf schools, instructors and surf camps nearby. Good to place to learn on a bigger board, with options (even walkable) to level up and try something more advanced.
Higher-performance waves over sand/reef that are a little more consequential than beginner waves.
Santa Barbara (Azores Islands)
A fun, often consistent beachbreak on Sao Miguel island in the Azores. Often the venue of WSL QS events with cafes and restaurants around, right on the beach. Surf schools and lodges in the area as well with fun peaks down the beach if the main righthander gets too busy.
A series of consistent, punchy beachbreak peaks up and down a 2 km stretch of beach in Santa Cruz (halfway between Ericeira and Peniche). Normally, always something to ride here, but the sandbars do change frequently (for better and worse). The big plus about Praia Azul (and Santa Cruz for that matter) is how less crowded the breaks are in comparison to its neighboring surf towns north and south.
Praia do Guincho
A gorgeous cove near Cascais, not too far from Lisbon city with fun, consistent sandbar peaks, especially during the winter season. While wind-affected, Praia do Guincho often has swell and is a great break to level up your surfing.
Heavier, hollow, shallower waves that cater to more experienced surfers. Normally, over reef or sand.
An extremely wedgy, shallow, hollow, and powerful beachbreak split-peak in Peniche (home to WSL CT events). Because of the offshore canyon and refraction from the nearby jetty, Supertubos creates a series of consistent, spitting tubes down the beach. A board-breaker and even (actual) back-breaker, so be careful or surf it when the swell is down. Share with the local bodyboarders (and don’t cut them off).
A powerful, often hollow and consistent righthand pointbreak in Ericeira over reef. Pros about Coxos are its multiple takeoff spots, potential to surf bigger boards there, and get some racy J-Bay-like tubes. The cons are: all the urchins in the rocks when you jumpoff. Also, coming in on a larger swell can get a little dicey on the inside where you exit the break.
Often mistranslated to “The Cave,” cave means “cellar,” as in “the basement.” That’s because Cave is an experts-only Backdoor style righthand slab over extremely shallow, at times dry reef. Mostly for bodyboarders and brave surfers. Near Ericeira in a gorgeous cove at the bottom of sea cliffs (like many Portuguese waves).