Updated: May 23, 2020
With its mild dry Mediterranean climate, wild open beaches with towering cliffs and great waves, southern Portugal holds so many quality breaks, it's hard to know where to begin.
So here's are favourite top 3 surf breaks, for beginners and advanced surfers to get you started. There's a wave for all abilities in this wave rich area, you just need to know where to look.
Famous for its pottery and ceramics, southern Portugal's laid back pace of life, colourful culture and quaint terracotta roof topped fishing villages are a great way to kill some time, waiting for the tides. But it's where land meets sea, out along the seemingly never ending dry dusty coastal roads and cliff top paths, you will find well traveled surfers parked up in their trusty camper vans, checking the swells as they wrap into the beach and bays below.
From Praia do Azenha Do Mar in the north, to Sagres on the tip of the south. Portugal's south western facing coastline is perfect for exploring and there are great waves for surfers of all abilities. When the swell's get to big for the west facing coast, or if the wind's are not favourable, then it's only a short drive to the southern facing, more protected beaches and surf breaks, east along highway 125.
1. Amado -
North of Sagres along route N268 is Playa Amado. This beach is perfect for beginner surfers and advanced surfers a like. With good sand bars along the beach, the waves here can get really fun, with the best peak usually out front of the cliff top carpark, at the northern end of the beach. Amado is popular with local surf schools, with a ridable wave in most conditions and some shelter from north west winds, it's surfable throughout the tide. Being a bit of a swell magnet, Amado can get quite busy, but it's a long expanse of sand and theres plenty of waves for everyone.
The view's high up on the cliff's of the surf below are breathtaking. Photo Jez Browning
2. Zavial -
Finding shelter from the storm. Try driving east along highway 125. When the winter swells arrive and the west facing beaches are maxed out, the hollow waves of Zavial start to show their teeth. At size, this place is strictly for advanced surfers only, with heavy, hollow peaks wedging across the beach. It's no surprise to see snapped boards being washed ashore here. With a strong, talented local contingent, always on it when it's firing, a little respect here, can go along way. But if your lucky and you put in your time, you just may find yourself deep within one of Zav's famous tubes.
Zavial's waves pack a punch. Our pro surf coach Alan Stokes finding the hollow ones. Photo Jez Browning.
3. Monte Clérigo -
This beach is an absolute secret gem! Hidden in a picturesque valley, this beach reminds us of home, here in Cornwall. Clérigo is a little off the surfers radar, so doesn't suffer from the crowds, like some of the more well known spots. But has waves for all abilities and works on all tides. Low tide being more favourable for advanced surfers and the mid to high tides for beginners and intermediates. We love this beach so much, our new 'Escape To Nature' luxury boutique surf, sup and yoga retreat villa, is just up the valley, from this stunning spot. You can find more info about this unique retreat here
Check out our head surf coach, pro surfer Alan Stokes, who scored some great waves on his last trip to southern Portugal.
Enjoyed this surf guide? Experience our surf classes by pro Alan Stokes on one of our retreats.
Have you read our latest blog? A step by step guide to better surfing, with our head surf coach, pro surfer Alan Stokes.
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