Lisbon is a nearly year-round surfing destination, with several surfing beaches less than one hour away. The most popular surfing coastline for tourists runs west to the resort town of Cascais, but local surfers also head to the Sintra coast to the north and to Costa da Caparica to the south. There are numerous surf schools in the region, and waves for all levels, but where you should go depends on the weather, waves, and experience.
These are the top destinations for surfers in Lisbon:
- São Pedro do Estoril
- Praia da Cresmina
- Praia Grande
- Costa da Caparica
- Lagoa de Albufeira
- Praia do Magoito
The closest surfing beach to the center of Lisbon can be reached by train in just 26 minutes. It’s quite a crowded beach in the summer, but the best waves are found at other times of the year, between September and May (just be prepared for cold waters -- 14C/57F in winter). It has hosted international competitions in late September and early October, and has reasonably-priced bars and restaurants open throughout the year.
There are surf schools where you may book lessons and hire equipment.
Those wishing to spend their days surfing at this beach, may want to stay at a surfers’ hostel in Cascais nearby, the Nice Way Cascais Hostel & Surf Camp, but the Carcavelos Surf Hostel is also a decent choice.
See the Carcavelos beach guide.
Now a quieter beach on this often-crowded coast, this was one of Portugal’s first surfing beaches. While almost everyone currently seems to prefer Carcavelos, this can also be a good surfing spot in the autumn and spring. It’s recommended for all levels, but especially for beginners, and it’s at its best on the rising tide.
For more details, see the São Pedro do Estoril beach guide.
This windy beach is perfect for windsurfers (which is why it has hosted world championships), but is also a major site for experienced surfers (beginners should stick to Carcavelos, as the currents and waves here are quite powerful). Its popular bar is a magnet for surfers after a long day of riding the waves.
There’s a good surfers’ hostel nearby, the Moby Dick Lodge.
See the Guincho beach guide.
Separated from Guincho by a 17th-century fortress, this beach is mostly frequented by surfers. It’s smaller than its neighbor but less windy.
See the Cresmina beach guide.
Unlike other beaches where the best surfing happens outside the summer season, here it’s best to surf between July and September. It’s mainly for experienced surfers, who’ll find facilities and equipment, as well as one of Europe’s largest seawater swimming pools for when the waves are just too dangerous. The pool is connected to the Arribas Sintra Hotel, which overlooks the beach and the surfing and bodyboarding competitions that are often held here.
See the Praia Grande guide.
There are surfers down the entire 15km-long coast of Costa da Caparica, but mainly at the beaches in the center of town (Praia do CDS, Praia de São João da Caparica), and on the stretch known as Praia da Riviera (where there’s a school providing lessons and equipment). In the area is a number of highly-rated surf hostels and villas, allowing you to explore all the beaches on this coast:
- Kali Vice Surf Villa - Colorful, beach-inspired hostel with dorms and standard rooms.
- Mr. Ziggy’s Surfhouse - Villa with an outdoor swimming pool and a terrace where surfers and other guests may enjoy meals and hours in the sun. It offers surfing lessons.
- Vila Maria Surf House - Traditional Portuguese villa divided into several dorms, and with a small pool on a landscaped terrace.
- Gota d'Água Surf Camp & Suites - Dorms and rooms with balconies, plus surfing lessons and board and suit rentals -- in addition to transportation to the best surfing spots around.
- Mom’s House Surf & Family - Tastefully decorated house with five bedrooms, with bunk beds and balconies. Located in the center of Costa da Caparica, the beaches are a short walk away.
- Lufi Surf Lodge - Villa with different types of rooms plus tents on a large terrace with a swimming pool. It arranges surfing lessons and equipment.
- Lisbon Waves Surf Lodge - Centrally-located villa within walking distance of different beaches of Costa da Caparica, with its own surfing school and different outdoor areas which include a small pool.
- Incosta Surf House - Hostel with a large terrace in the center of Caparica, just a short walk to the beaches and to the tourist train that goes down the coast.
- Villa Caparica Hostel - Located almost on the sand, this hostel has an outdoor swimming pool, a shared kitchen and lounge, and a garden. Room types include dorms and double rooms with private or shared bathrooms.
For more details about the beaches and other places to stay in the area, see the Costa da Caparica guide.
To the south of Costa da Caparica is one of Portugal’s biggest lagoons, which opens to the Atlantic. While the calm waters of the lagoon make this a family-friendly beach, the waves of the ocean attract surfers and bodyboarders.
See the Lagoa de Albufeira guide.
Still somewhat of a secret, this beach in Sintra is almost tourist-free, with only a few foreigners on the sand and the sea. It’s essentially the beach of local families, but the waters are often taken over by surfers and bodyboarders, mostly young beginners. It’s located not far from Europe’s westernmost point at Cabo da Roca, and within walking distance (about 30 minutes) from the picturesque village of Azenhas do Mar. It’s a great option if you want to avoid the summer crowds of Praia Grande.
See the Praia do Magoito guide.
Although it’s located outside the Lisbon coast, just over one hour away, Ericeira is a world-class surfing destination that’s easy to reach from the capital. It’s Europe’s first World Surfing Reserve, and although any of its beaches are good for surfing, the one to head to is Ribeira d’Ilhas, which hosts national and international competitions.
See the Ericeira Tourism Guide.