Portugal’s Atlantic coastline is the surfing mecca of Europe and seems to be on everyone’s bucket list these days. The dramatic coastline is dotted with open beach breaks, concealed beaches and some of the best surf spots in the world, including Nazaré, home of the biggest wave ever surfed. Portugal has so much to offer both experienced and beginner surfers and there’s also plenty of fun and affordable surf camps in Portugal for those wanting to learn how to surf.
Portugal is by far the best country for surfing in Europe. It also has some of the warmest weather in Europe (although you’ll probably still want a wetsuit in the Atlantic ocean) and some of the cleanest beaches in the world. While you can surf almost everywhere in Portugal you’ll want to pick your destination and time your visit to suit your experience level.
The Summer months are better for beginners while, Autumn and Winter, see generous and consistent Atlantic swells that create some enormous waves. Portugal’s surfing hotspots include Ericeira (Europe’s only World Surfing Reserve) Peniche, Cascias, Aljezur and Nazare for those enormous waves. Check out more of Portugal’s top surf spots here.
Surfing isn’t as easy as the pros make it look. If you really want to learn how to surf and make sure you are safe in the sea, or just improve your technique then I’d really recommend getting some proper tuition and joining one of the awesome surf camps in Portugal. The first time I tried to surf was in Kuta, Bali and it sucked because I hurt myself because I didn’t know what I was doing.
A few years ago I did an amazing surf and yoga retreat in Taghazout, Morocco which had me safe in the water and standing up on the board in no time. I’m still far from being a pro but trust me – having a surf instructor and spending time immersed in the surf lifestyle at a surf camp really helps if you’re serious about learning to surf.
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Portugal is also a yoga hot spot and as yoga and surfing make such a great combination many surf camps also include yoga classes so you get the best of both worlds in one holiday. There is a wide range of surf camps in Portugal to choose from, I find www.booksurfcamps.com really useful, it’s like the Booking.com for surf camps where you can read reviews from people who’ve already been there themselves and make sure you pick the perfect one for you.
Covid update: All these surf camps in Portugal have implemented enhanced hygiene, safety and distancing measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus. (Note that the photos in the article were taken before Covid-19) Be aware that the situation in Europe could change at any time so double check the entry requirements for the country you want to visit and the re-entry requirements for your home country when you return. I find this regularly updated article by Wanderlust Magazine about which countries are open for tourism really useful. It’s also more important than ever to have good travel insurance that covers coronavirus – mine is with SafteyWing.
Here is my pick of the best surf camps in Portugal
Stay in a stunning villa in the middle of National Park Costa Vicentin just three kilometres away from Vale Figueiras beach. Vale Figueiras Surfcamp & Guesthouse is truly a unique surf camp in Portugal, as it adds the nature of the ocean with the beautiful natural surrounding of the villa. You will be perched above the coast with 400 km of walking trails and will stay in a cosy room with a terrace overlooking the magnificent surroundings.
This is one of the best all inclusive surf camps in Portugal. Enjoy six days of surfing lessons with an experienced surf team headed by Luis Marreiros who is one of the Algarves top surf coaches and has created comprehensive surf courses for beginners and intermediates for this surf camp. Also included is complimentary use of surfing equipment, three meals a day, professional photos of you riding the waves and pick up and drop off from Lagos. The guesthouse is a huge modern Portuguese country house that also boasts a trampoline, a skate park, a swimming pool, a snooker table and a barbecue area. Plus, there are hammocks every where for surfers to chill out on, friendly vibes and a massage therapist on site. Click here for reviews, info, photos and to book.
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This multi-level surf camp in Portugal has been running since 1992. It’s located in the beautiful beach town and surfing hot spot of Lagos. The people behind The Surf Experience will not only help you to develop your surfing skills whether you are complete beginner or a more experienced surfer, but will also teach you yoga asanas that complement surfing.
Hit the waves every morning at around 9:30am for a surf lesson and enjoy a free yoga session afterwards. You will also get breakfast, lunch and six nights accommodation at The Surf House; an adapted townhouse right in the heart of Lagos. It’s a social house complete with barbecues, a lounge area, two large terraces and a modern kitchen for cooking dinner. You can also enjoy the numerous restaurants and lively nightlife of Lagos within a few minutes walk from the surf camp. This is one of the best surf camps in Portugal for those who want a bit of everything – great surfing, yoga, a lively social scene while also enjoying all the Lagos has to offer. To book, read reviews or check dates, click here.
Vida Pura is an eco-friendly resort that offers both yoga and surfing at the first prize-winning beach of Odeceixe in the sunny Algarve, making it one of the best surf camps in Portugal. Spend eight days having a daily surf lesson, a daily yoga class in different styles including Vinyasa, Hatha, Ashtanga, and Yin, and refuel with a hearty, energising breakfast. It’s the perfect combination of yoga and surfing that will leave you feeling renewed and energized and the stunning natural environment will bring you closer to your own inner nature.
An amazing thing about the accommodation at this Portugal surf camp is that everything is natural or recycled. Cork, wood and stone are used, as are recycled and re-used materials. It truly is an eco-friendly experience, right down to the sofa made out of recycled jeans and the surfboard kitchen shelves. Plus, the resort itself sits in the middle of a peaceful reserve. You’ll also have plenty of time to explore the beautiful surrounding area and traditional villages or just relax by the pool or enjoy a spa treatment at this friendly eco retreat. For photos, info, prices, reviews and to book, click here.
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Spend seven days in one of Portugal’s best surfing spots learning the art of surfing in Ericeira – Europe’s only world surfing reserve. This surf camp in Portugal is particularly great for beginners and novice surfers who want to focus on basic surfing techniques. You will get a 2.5- or 3-hour surf lesson each day from amazing, qualified surf instructors from Action Waves Portugal. Plus, all equipment is included.
Days will be spent learning how to catch waves, while nights will be spent in one of Hostel & Surfcamp 55’s dorm, triple or private rooms. The guesthouse is located in the center of popular Ericeira on the seafront and also has a lounge area where you can enjoy meals that you prepare yourself in the communal kitchen. You can also explore the village and try some local cuisine. Although meals are not included, roundtrip airport and beach transfers are and this is one of the most budget friendly surf camps in Portugal. You can use the kitchen and BBQ facilities to prepare your own meals or check out the many restaurants nearby . Click here for more info, to check prices, reviews and to book.
Not only will you be getting top notch surf lessons at Ondina Guest House, but you will also be getting two daily yoga classes and a massage, making this one of the best value yoga and surf camps in Portugal. Spend eight days in surfing paradise while also enjoying yoga lessons every morning and evening. Guest House is located close to Portugal’s surf mecca, Ericeira, and is just five minutes’ walk from one of the world surfing reserve heaven, São Lourenço Beach. In between surfing and yoga, you are free to explore the area, enjoy the beach or relax on the rooftop terrace.
Choose between a shared or private room, all of which come with private bathroom. All meals are included in this Portugal surf camp, so no need to worry about extra fees for food. Plus, meals are all Portuguese inspired healthy vegetarian and vegan dishes. It’s the perfect addition to surfing and practicing yoga in this beautiful village. Click here for more info, dates, photos and to book.
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