As far as European surfing holidays go, they don’t get any sweeter than a trip to Portugal (and that’s before you’ve even had time to try a pastel de nata).
Lined with world-class point breaks, a variety of reef breaks, and endless beach breaks – there’s no question that you will be scoring the waves of your dreams in Portugal.
Featured below are five of the best surf camps found in Portugal today. Positioned in iconic surfing destinations like Ericeira, Peniche, and the Algarve, each of the five camps has its own flavor and expertise.
La Point Surf Camp – Ericeira
Regarded as the surfing capital of Europe, Ericeira’s coastline is the only world surfing reserve in Europe (which is kind of a big deal).
Perched on the top of a cliff overlooking a bunch of great waves on the outskirts of town – La Point is supremely located to get away from it all and score.
Being one of the most reliable and trusted surf camp providers in the world, La Point knows what their clients want and they deliver every time.
Originally a winery, the camp is now a thriving hub for surfers looking to live their best surf camp life. The state-of-the-art facility features a swimming pool, yoga shala, gym, bar, restaurant, co-working space, and the cherry on top – a super-rippable skate bowl.
Staying at La Point Ericeira is a truly immersive experience, but if and when you want to venture further afield, Lisbon’s bustling nightlife is just a short 45-minute drive away.
Nearby surf spots:
- Praia do Sul
- Sao Juliao
- Praia da Empa
- Ribeira D’Ilhas
La Point unsurprisingly offers an extensive range of surf packages for beginner to advanced surfers.
Each package includes seven nights accommodation, seven breakfasts, six days of surf equipment hire, five x 2-hour surf lessons, surf theory, transport to surf spots, and video analysis for level three clients.
There’s also a surf & yoga package that splits your time between the ocean and the shala, with 8 hours of yoga lessons mixed into a similar surfing package.
There’s even a work & surf option for all you digital nomads who like to work salty.
As far as surfing goes, you’ve got the beginner-friendly playground of Foz do Lizandro right at your doorstep.
This river mouth setup has a defined left and right peak right out front, and two challenging reef breaks down to the right for the more experienced crew.
The Surf Experience – Lagos
Established in 1992, The Surf Experience was one of Portugal’s first surf camps. Nestled in the historic town of Lagos on the southern Algarve coast, this simple surf house has everything you need to have a great surf trip.
They offer a relaxed vibe that suits the laid-back lifestyle of Lagos, also endeavoring to tailor the experience to each guest’s requirements.
In the summer months, Lagos is also home to a thriving nightlife scene, with travelers from all over the world flocking to it for its warm and vibrant European life.
Service is at the very core of what makes The Surf Experience tick. On top of offering yoga lessons, nutrition-based food, a clean and comfortable surf-house, airport transfers, and historical day trips, they are also known to put on specialist weeks and surf safaris periodically throughout the year. This makes the camp a fun and exciting environment to be a part of, and one where your every need is catered for, without question.
Nearby surf spots:
- Meia Preia
- Porto do Mos
- Praia da Luz
The camp’s surf school is one of the best in the business, giving you two 90-minute lessons each and every day. After breakfast, you’ll meet your instructors and the other guests at the main surf house where the boards and gear will be loaded up and you’ll be off chasing the best waves of the day.
If your experience level requires you to split from the main group then the camp will organize for this to happen with a dedicated surf guide. A classic, good times surf camp that puts worth in making sure their customers are trading epic wave stories on the way back to the camp with a Cerveja in hand.
Baleal Surf Camp – Peniche
Baleal is a family-owned and operated surf camp that’s been serving surfers for over 25 years. Located at, you guessed it, Praia do Baleal, this is a classic surf camp with an original feel.
Before owning a surf camp became cool and lucrative, Baleal’s humble founder taught surfing to people from all corners of the world and loved every second of it.
This beginner and intermediate-friendly beach break is also conveniently located just to the north of the traditional Portuguese fishing port of Peniche.
Where, every autumn, the best surfers in the world come to compete at the Rip Curl Pro event in the hollow and perfect waves of Supertubos.
Just down the road from Baleal’s beachside surf center, they have two low-key sister hostels that make you feel both relaxed and at home straight away.
These hostels are self-catered with fully-equipped kitchens so that you can cook up, with your fellow guests, seafood feasts collected fresh from Peniche port every day.
Baleal also has private apartments if you’re a couple looking for a quiet time away from the excitable surf house vibe.
During your week’s stay, the guys at Baleal also endeavor to show off their local area with a tour of Peniche Peninsula, the region’s wineries, and a trip to the Medieval town of Obidos for a fun and culturally-charged day out.
Nearby Surf Spots:
- Cantingo da Baia
- Praia do Ceroo
- Molhe Leste
Peniche is a surfer’s paradise, with consistent swell and north and south-facing beaches, there are good options for offshore conditions most days of the year. Within just a 15km stretch there are rocky points, reefs, and perfect beach breaks for all ability levels.
Though, usually, you will only need to stroll 100 meters down to the surf center at Baleal, which is where the surfboards are stored and the action happens. They run two 2-hour lessons Monday through to Friday which, including all your equipment, is included in the surf camp package.
Having only 8 students to every 2 instructors, there is a great level of care and investment in progression a Baleal. They also use video footage analysis (a hugely beneficial tool) to help you understand what you need to work on and go back out to achieve it.
Moka Surf House – Ericeira
Another gem that’s nestled into the beautiful surroundings of Ericeira – Moka Surf House is one of the special ones.
Built from the ground up by a bunch of passionate Italian’s who, unsurprisingly, love to surf good waves and eat great food. Moka is ideal for any surfer who’s looking to have a good time, but also unwind, as this is a low-capacity surf camp.
The house is a traditional Portuguese villa that features lush gardens and a terrace with ocean views. With a mix of private and 4-6 person shared rooms, the villa sleeps 20 people at a maximum – highlighting Moka’s dedication to the experience.
Daily yoga lessons and workshops take place in the magnificent 66m2 Mongolian yurt. Moka has also built a unique wave skate ramp for guests who want to keep shredding back at camp.
They offer 3, 5, and 7-day surf and yoga packages that include daily breakfast and a home-cooked, Italian-style vegetarian meal every night, Bellissimo!
If you’re looking to party and explore Ericeira, Moka also offers a daily, free-of-charge shuttle run into town where there’s plenty of bars and nightclubs open until the early hours of the morning.
Nearby surf spots:
- Praia do Sul
- Sao Juliao
- Praia da Empa
- Ribeira D’Ilhas
At Moka, where surfing is concerned, saying that you’re in ‘capable hands’ would be more than an understatement.
Having a former Billabong team rider and an international surfing judge of 20 years, means Moka guests are blessed with the highest level of care and surfing expertise.
On top of running specialist beginner and intermediate programs, they also offer surf guiding packages for experienced surfers looking to feast on the world-class waves of the area.
To make sure you take home some photo evidence of your progression in the waves, they’ve also got an experienced water photographer on hand to get that close-up shot you’ve always dreamed of.
Shamballah Retreats – Fontanelas (near to Lisbon)
If you’re looking for an immersive surf, yoga, and meditation experience to reset and recharge then Shamballah is your place. Retreats don’t come any more eco-conscious than Shamballah.
They use renewable energy to power the entire retreat, including solar power for showers. They also source organic and locally sourced food for their menu and strictly use organic cleaning products.
The retreat is closeby to the idyllic Sintra National Park, and just a 10-minute walk to reach the surf.
Having 48 years of experience in the health and wellbeing industry, the two founders of Shamballah have created a truly unique retreat experience.
Make no mistake, Shamballah isn’t for people looking to get their surfing fix on the cheap. This high-end retreat spares no expense in offering the most holistic, self-developmental week that they possibly can.
The venue can accommodate up to 11 people, in 5 spacious bedrooms, with 4 bathrooms, and a few living areas for guests to chill out in.
The surf, yoga, and meditation retreats run for five nights and include three (mostly organic) vegetarian meals per day.
This nutrition-rich food will come in handy as the package also includes 10 yoga sessions, 4 surf lessons, 8 guided meditations, 1 active meditation, 1 Aromatouch massage, a guided coastal walk, and all the purified water, tea, and sugar-free snacks that you’re likely to need.
The retreat is also conveniently located just a 10-minute drive from Sintra’s world heritage cultural landscape. Where its parks, palaces, and natural beauty will complement this comprehensive week full of self-fulfillment and realization perfectly.
Nearby Surf Spots:
- Praia das Macas
- Praia Grande
- Praia do Rodizio
- Praia da Adraga
As you have probably guessed, this isn’t the most surf-specific option on our list. However, that being said, Shamballah’s surf program caters to all surfing levels, with qualified and experienced instructors ready to take you to one of 60 quality surf spots within a 50km radius.
Usually, though, if the conditions are suitable you’ll be surfing at either Praia Grande or Praia das Macas. Both are beach breaks that cater to beginner to intermediate surfers.
They’re also typically a lot less crowded than other nearby surfing spots like Cascais and Ericeira. All your surf equipment and insurance are included in the package, giving you a little extra peace of mind when in the sea.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best surf season in Portugal?
Portugal can offer surfers a great holiday in any season of the year. However, there’s no denying that the smaller swell and warmer weather of the summertime make it the optimal season for beginner and intermediate surfers.
For advanced/ intermediate surfers through to the experts, it’s all about autumn in Portugal.
The Atlantic swell train kicks into gear, the winds are favorable and the water is still pleasantly warm (in comparison to winter).
Winter and spring are more wild and woolly on the west coast of Portugal, making the protected corners of the Algarve the safer choice for less experienced surfers.
What wetsuit thickness is best for Portugal?
In the summer months, 3/2mm of neoprene will be more than enough to keep you warm. Winter will require a 3/4mm full-length steamer and 3mm boots.
If you feel the cold, a 5/3mm steamer may be required as well as gloves and a hood if you’re someone who is really susceptible to the cold.
Portugal is not just a country that’s loaded with perfect waves. It also has, in abundance, every other aspect of life that puts a European holiday high on most people’s bucket lists.
With rich centuries-old culture, delicious food, inspiring architecture, thriving nightlife, and the rest, your time spent in Portugal will be one of the best surfing holidays you’ve ever had the pleasure of not just experiencing but living!