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Surfing in the Algarve is a true feast

Portugal is blessed with great waves, most of the time.

With world famous destinations such as Supertubos and Ribiera D’Ilhas on the west coast, near Peniche and Ericeira Portugal has plenty to offer.

Algarve is rightly considered an epic place for a surf trip. Like Lisbon you get the options of west or south coast and if the Atlantic isn’t playing ball you can even get south swells or easterly wind swells on the south coast.

But in the Algarve area, you can also find an abundance of surf spots – and what an area the Algarve is for surfing.

Surfing Algarve

The great thing about Surfing in the Algarve is that the water is warm; still about 22 degrees in October. One duckdive in your board shorts, and your body will be engulfed by a warm stream of water. The rays of sunshine will hit you exactly in the right spot, while the waves are breaking. You will be able to see shoals of fish in the impossibly clear blue water. The sun shines from the moment you wake up, till the moment you go to sleep.

And if you’re for example in Sagres, it’s only a 5 minute walk to the west coast of the Algarve (Tonel Beach), as well as the south coast of the Algarve (Mareta).

The surf in the Algarve is just amazing!

[vc_video link=”https://youtu.be/dvRFLVaSNf0″ title=”Surfing Algarve video”]

Getting there

Are you trying to score a cheap ticket to the Algarve? Check out this page. Do keep in mind that lowcost airlines will usually charge extra for checking in your surfboard. High-cost airlines such as KLM might actually end up being cheaper in the end!

There are always plenty of surf spots for surfers to enjoy. If you drive 20 kilometers up north, you will get to beautiful places like Odeceixe and Arrifana.

8 Algarve surf spots. The best ones.

1. Arrifana

Arrifana is slightly more sheltered from the Northwestern wind than can be said for other beaches on Algarve’s west coast. It’s a beautiful beach, but experience shows that you will regularly encounter closeouts there. And if other spots are dealing with too much wind or waves that are too high, all the surf schools can be found here. Still, it’s absolutely worth it. The view from the cliff is fantastic, and the beach itself is stunning as well.

If there is a massive swell of at least 2 meters, you will find a great right-hand wave on the right side of the bay in Arrifana.

Check our surf guide: Surfing in Arrifana

2. Praia Amado

One of the nicest spots on the west coast is Praia Amado, close to Carrapateira. This spot has decent shelter from the wind, and the vibe here is very relaxed. This surf spot is also a popular place among surf schools. And for those who love to camp: this is a good place to go to with your camper. You can make your own dinner and walk straight into the ocean when you wake up in the morning. Enjoying life to the fullest.

3. Praia Amoreiro

Praia Amoreiro is not as well known as some of the other surf spots. However, if you want to change it up every now and then, this is a fun spot to go to. Compared to the stunning views at Odeceixe, it’s nothing special, but it is quite close to Aljezur. A charming village, with a great location on top of a hill.
And do you want to grab dinner without breaking the bank? Visit restaurant Pont a Pé in Aljezur.
And then there’s Odeceixe.

4. Odeceixe

Any and every Portuguese local would recommend this spot to you.
Both the village and the beach are absolutely beautiful. If there are waves and the wind is not too strong (no wind or offshore wind), this is the place to be. The beach does net get as crowded as some of the other beaches. This is the place where you will want to surf all day long, from dawn to dusk.

5. Zavial

On the south coast, you will find Praia Zavial, as well as earlier mentioned Praia Mareta. Praia Zavial is more impressive though; it’s a bit more local, with only one restaurant. On the right side of the bay, you will find a beautiful right-hand wave. If you get settled near the rocks, once you have made it into the water, then you can simply wait until the waves reach you. And surf the waves, one by one.

6. Praia Boca do Rio

Another spot not too far away is Praia Boca do Rio. This could be a good surf spot. Although I haven’t surfed there myself, it has all the right conditions. And it’s a bit isolated. It’s also a great spot freedom camping area.

7. Praia do Zul

Praia do Zul also has a lot to offer. With its palm trees along the beaches, this spot gives off a tropical vibe. The waves do need to come from a western direction, or the northwest swell needs to be stronger. In the winter, this occurs quite regularly of course. The fun thing about the south coast, is that there’s a completely different vibe there than on the west coast.

When to go

Surfing in winter

When the winter settles in Europe with snow and ice in parts of the continent, the Algarve still has a spring like feeling with temperatures around 16 degrees. That counts for water and air temperature.

Of course, you probably have some days with moderate to strong winds. And some rain could happen to you too. Don’t worry the sun is always nearby. And you’ve got you’re biggest chance to see awesome waves.

Winter is a truly good season to visit the Algarve for a surftrip.

Surf Algarve January

January is the coldest surf month in the Algarve. The water is reaching it’s lowest temperature, which is around 14 tot 15 degrees Celcius. The weather is unstable. More around 16 degrees. With some sun. Some rain. And fair chance of strong winds. The waves will be around somewhere. Local knowledge is very helpfull if you surf the Algarve in January.

Surf Algarve February

Feburary still has unstable weather. But the days are getting a little but longer, which means that the sun has more time to warm up the land and the water. Expect some warmer days in February, with the occasional 20 degrees on offer. Beachtime if you’re not surfing.

Surf Algarve March

Spring is the air! Now things are warming up. Still some chance of cold northern winds. But the water is a bit warmer. At least 15 to 16 degrees. Maybe reaching 17 degrees. In march you can expercience the true spring experience; more sun, at least 80 percent of the days and temperatures rising above the 20 degrees. Boardshorts and bikini time of you aren’t surfing the Algarve in March.

What wetsuit to bring to the Algarve?

If you come in winter you will need a 4/3mm, but in the summer boardies to a 3/2 is OK. Depends if are surfing on the west coast or on the south coast.

Are there any downsides to surfing in the Algarve area?

Sure there are.

A lack of charming cities, for example. Albufeira has a British tourist vibe, Portimao is a somewhat ugly harbor city, Lagos is beautiful – but counts an unbelievable number of tourist shops. You will not be able to find a city like Lisbon there. This is the only downside to the Algarve. It might just be a matter of personal taste! Now, back to surfing.
You will find an abundance of surf spots within a short distance in the Algarve. Each spot has its own vibe and character. If there are waves, you can choose between maximum height waves, or waves with only half of that height, simply by going to a more sheltered spot.

Our logical advice:

  • Bring your stormriderguide.
  • Bring your smartphone.
  • Make sure to use the Windguru App en MagicSeaWeed App.

And check of checklist for a surf trip

Follow this advice, and it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out where to go.

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