Portugal’s Algarve has always been a celebrated family holiday destination, ever since the northern Europeans realised that it would be nice to be warm for a few weeks a year. Since then the British, Scandinavians and everyone else have been jetting south in their droves – not least those looking to enjoy what the sea has to offer.
Albufeira lies almost at the extreme southern tip of Portugal with a view directly south to Africa only a few hundred kilometres away. Known as the gateway to the Algarve this city of 22,000 is an extremely popular tourist spot, though quality Albufeira surfing is a bit of a rarity.
The Algarve as a whole isn’t Portugal’s most celebrated surfing area. The country’s popular breaks lie further north towards the peninsula of Peniche and the wild reef breaks that lead up towards north Spain. Though this doesn’t mean that there is any lack of surf in this little sun drenched corner of Iberia.
Arriving in Albufeira surfers tend to venture west immediately in order to avoid the hoards of tourists and to seek out the swell. The best surf in the Algarve is only an hour’s drive from Albufeira and the waves get better and better as the coast wraps around from south facing to west.
In the summertime these west facing beaches tend to churn out clean waist to chest high swells, though lineups can get busy. Either side of the summer is when the storm chasers will find the drama they’re looking for. Under a clear, warm autumnal sky beaches such as Carrapateira have been know to get surging 25 ft waves – attracting the pros from all over the world.
Albufeira is a great place to begin a surf odyssey in the Algarve. Very soon though you’ll be out exploring the sunny headlands and beach breaks that make this a world class surfing destination, all year round.