Best Surf Spots in Northern Portugal
As the surfing world chants the praises of Ericeira, Nazare, and Peniche, the northern shores of Portugal remain a humble secret, unshaken by the limelight.
The north side of Portugal is home to some of the most incredible surf spots that you wish you would have stumbled upon sooner. The best part is, since most people are unaware of these places, you get to enjoy these amazing waves all to yourself.
In the northern side of Portugal, you won’t just discover stunning beaches, amazing surf camps, trendy resorts, and tantalizing cuisines- you’ll also find some of the most consistent and rideable clean waves. Whether you're just dipping your toes into the surfing waters or you’re a seasoned pro trying to catch that epic wave, this region welcomes surfers of all levels.
If Portugal is on your travel hitlist, you gotta peep at these hot surf spots up north. They’re where surfers can dial up the heat and ride the waves of a lifetime.
Afife (Praia do Bico)
Praia da Afife, or as the locals call it, Arda, Bico, or Mariana beach, is the top surf spot in northern Portugal. It’s a beautiful sandy beach with turquoise-blue water and green vegetation that enhances its natural beauty. The southern side of the beach serves as a lagoon for kids and families trying to enjoy quality time together.
It's a beach break where you can find waves breaking in from both left and right. It’s a great spot for intermediate and expert surfers as it serves up a buffet of waves year-round.
Wind conditions may not turn out in your favor sometimes, so don't forget to check the weather forecast before you paddle out.
The spot is at its best when offshore winds from the east team up with a west swell. When the swell’s cranking up, you can experience strong rips. Low tides are mostly best for surfing at Afife. Winter months offer high and challenging swells that make it a dream destination for surfers.
In the right conditions, Azurara transforms into a fantastic beach break, offering surfers the thrill of riding some top-notch clean waves. The sight of fine white sand and blue water creates a stunning picturesque view that stretches as far as the eye can see. Located 34.5 km away from the city of Barga, it’s a coastal haven worth exploring.
Safety is a priority, with a vigilant lifeguard keeping an eye during the crowded season. Waves roll in from both left and right, creating the perfect playground for surfers. And when the west swell pairs with an offshore breeze from the East, it’s like a perfect surfing duet.
Azurara caters to surfers of all levels, making it an ideal spot for beginners and intermediates. Grab a longboard for those smaller waves, and switch to a shorter board when the waves start getting playful. Overall, it’s a great surf spot to explore in North Portugal.
Praia de Espinho
It’s one of the coolest spots on the northern coast of Portugal. The beach offers good 6-8 ft waves and some mellow swells up to 3 ft. It’s a good place for beginners to practice their first break. The water temperature may get a bit chilly, even in summer.
The beach offers powerful and large waves. Surfers looking to outsmart a few barrels will definitely love this spot. During summer, when it can get a bit crowded, the lifeguards are there to help out when surfing is allowed in certain areas only. The best time to surf is during winter when the wind is coming in from the East. You can surf both right and left-hand waves at Espinho.
The most popular attraction you can find there is the casino, where tourists enjoy gambling and cabaret shows.
Praia da barra (Aveiro)
Barra Beach is a stunning sandy beach near Aveiro. You can find tourists, solo travelers, and surfers enjoying a relaxing day sunbathing and surfing at the beach. Tourists can also get a glimpse of fishing boats entering and leaving the harbor. The most prominent attraction here is Portugal's biggest lighthouse.
Barra Beach is your go-to spot, especially in December, when the swell height hits a thrilling 10 ft and beyond. The ultimate surf experience is when the swells are breaking in from the west. With both lefts and rights, this beach is a surfer’s paradise, especially with low tides. Overall, it’s a great place to surf, shop, and enjoy the nightlife.
Moledo do Minho
This is the first surfing spot you'll find at the border of north Portugal and Spain. Moledo has been a great tourist spot since the early 1900s. It's kinda of like a VIP place where you can find political hotshots hangin' around. It's a beautiful, windy beach popular for surfing and relaxing.
Best suited for intermediate surfers, Moledo offers both lefts and rights, so you can be sure of finding some quality waves as high as 8-10 ft. The best time to surf in Moledo is from April to October, when the west swell converges with offshore winds from the east. However, watch out for those dangerous rips.
Agucadoura is a wide, stretched sand beach that offers consistent swells and a variety of peaks all around the year. You can also check out the World’s First Commercial WaveFarm nearby. The place is covered mostly with sand dunes and vegetation that gives off a gentle, relaxing vibe.
The waves at Agucadoura are great for surfers at all levels. Starting from 5 ft, it goes beyond 15 ft when the conditions are in your favor. The perfect time to visit Agucadoura is during the winter months, especially November-February when winds are blowing in from the East.
If you wanna ditch the hustle and bustle of the crowded city, then Esposende is a great place for ya. It’s a small coastal village that offers a lot of fun peaks. The combo of great waves, welcoming surf culture, and the town’s natural beauty make it a compelling destination for those seeking a surf adventure on the Portuguese coast.
This river break provides clean, consistent swell all year. It’s a good spot for beginners to enjoy some mellow swells, whereas winter months offer good high swells up to 8 ft and above for seasoned pros. Works best with mid-tides. But be cautious of wild rips.
So there you have it- Northern Portugal, the undercover surf mecca that’s been hanging ten in the shadows. From epic barrels to insane views, these beaches can really get you stoked. Whether you’re a total beginner catching your first wave or a seasoned charger hunting massive swells, the northern side of Portugal has everything for you.
If you're looking for guidance, you can find tons of great surfing camps in this region. So, next time on a surfing adventure, drop into the secret breaks of Northern Portugal, where the waves are firing up, and the line-up is practically begging for your sick moves.
About: Written by João from Surf Spots, a site dedicated to reviewing surf beaches all around the world.
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