Imagine waking up every morning just metres away from your favourite surf spot on the planet. Well that’s what the best Portugal surf camps give you.
This western European nation is blessed with some of the best waves in the world, 300 days of sunshine a year and, not surprisingly, the highest number of surf camps per capita anywhere in the world.
The beauty of Portugal’s many surf camps is that there is incredible variety. With so many to choose from, you can carefully select exactly the features that suit you.
Are you after your very first surf lessons as you start your surfing journey? A place to work on your aerial tricks? Or just somewhere to make friends, enjoy some surfing and make the most of your annual leave? It’s all here and more in Portugal.
In fact, with so much choice, it can even be a little bit daunting, which is why we’ve created this list of the 10 best Portugal surf camps, handily broken down into sections, to make your decision that little bit easier.
There’s incredible surfing right up and down the long Atlantic coast of Portugal, so it makes sense to start up in the northern part of Portugal, home to Porto and some exposed coastline with great surf spots.
Founded back in 2004, Surfivor is now split into two camp destinations – the classic surf camp in Esmoriz and the new surf hostel in the stunning city of Porto. There’s waves here for every level of surfer, with some pretty sweet breaks located right in front of the Esmoriz camp.
With a choice between relaxing beach breaks and lively city surfing, this straddles everything that the best Portugal surf camps should offer.But the benefits do not end there. They operate a beachfront surf camp so you are never far from the wide variety of surf spots.
Surf lessons are in small groups, and the camp has a multi-cultural atmosphere. Their weekly surf packages including surf lessons for beginners & intermediates, equipment, BBQ’s, Porto sightseeing tour , Yoga (Jun-Sep), free bikes, WiFi, and train station or Porto airport transfers.
Also situated near to Porto, this family run school is based on a winning combination of superb surf and exceptional instruction. They can accommodate all levels of ability and focus on progressing your technique during your stay, while making you feel part of the family. Running since 2007, if you’re looking to improve quickly, Pontoeste is the school for you.
Again found in the surf triangle around the fishing village of Esmoriz in the Maceda National Park, Nomad Surfers welcomes guests from all around the world. This chilled out and relaxed atmosphere is as great for making friends to surf with, and they like a party in the evenings too. Good friends, good fun and great surf – what’s not to like?
This central section of the Portuguese Atlantic coastline is characterised by vast stretches of golden beaches, charming fishing towns and some of the biggest waves anywhere in the world. Check out Garrett McNamara surfing a 100ft beast at Nazaré to see what we mean.
Peniche sits on a small peninsula jutting out into the Atlantic, so it’s not surprising its home to some big winds and even bigger surf. Baleal Surf Camp has been based here since 1993, making it one of the oldest in the country, and it’s perfected the laid back surf lifestyle that many look for in a camp experience. With a virtual wave guarantee and flexible surfing spots, this is smack bang in the middle of prime territory.
Located right on the 4km World Surfing Reserve beach just a few kilometres from the surf Mecca that is Ericeira, Rapture is all about its top location. This small and intimate school is one of the most consistent summer surf destinations in the world, and all located just a short drive from Lisbon too. With surf spots for all levels located along the beach or nearby, this is a surf camp that ticks all the boxes.
Another camp situated in the ‘capital city of waves’ at Peniche, Maximum has been running surf camps since 1996. Top conditions along the peninsula are matched by delicious food, friendly locals, a good choice of accommodation and a laid back surf atmosphere permeating through the town. The fact that Peniche is often home to world surfing championships should tell you everything you need to know.
A holistic surf camp experience that focuses on both body and mind. Apura runs surf and yoga camps around the world, including right here in Peniche. Spend the morning practising vinyasa flow and hatha yoga, the perfect preparation for an afternoon in the surf. Strengthening your muscles and core with expert instruction will really help you to get the most from your surf experience.
The south of Portugal might well be dominated by holidaymakers of the Algarve, but away from the main tourist traps, the Algarve remains an incredibly beautiful spot. Its western edge is an unspoiled and other worldly national park, which is where you’ll find some of the best breaks.
The original ‘surf lifestyle’ camp, The Surf Experience have been doing this since 1992 – than anyone else in Europe – and they are still one of the best Portugal surf camps. They know when and where to find the best waves, as well as when and where to find the best parties. Their base is in the fishing town of Lagos but from here, you can access all of the region’s best breaks within a short drive.
Ideally located for some of the best Algarve surf spots near Carrapateira and Sagres, Amado offers consistent waves and a relaxed atmosphere. They have a couple of accommodation options in the area, including a surf house in Sagres. Experienced staff are constantly training and finding new ways to get you on the board, on your feet and surfing.
Staying in the surf house in the town of Sagres, perched at what was once the end of the known world, you’re just minutes from the best surf spots. Get up and out early after a breakfast of fresh and healthy food, ready for a day in the Algarve surf under the watchful eye of Sagres Natura‘s expert instructors. With two classes a day and small groups you get maximum tutoring time, this is a great combination of destination and learning experience.
So there you have it, ten of the best Portugal surf camps to check out. We’ve tried to include a good mix of styles, from the lively to the more learning focused. But one thing is for sure, whatever kind of surf experience you’re looking for, you can find it in Portugal.