Surfing in Peniche is a great activity for surfing enthusiasts and those who are new to the sport, as this town has some of the best beaches for beginners. The sea temperature near Peniche is not always that warm (it is the Atlantic afterall!) and so be prepared to put on a wetsuit. Waves usually start breaking at ~1 m (~3 ft) and can be as big as 5 m (16 ft).
Introduction to surfing in Peniche
The waves in Peniche are mostly left hand and tend to break from October to May, although this may change during the winter months. The ideal time to visit Portugal’s surfing spots is between March and September, but it all depends on which beach you prefer. If you’re vacationing in Portugal, you can easily reach the surf spots from Lisbon and enjoy a short drive to the best beaches in Europe.
Popular Peniche Surfing Spots
Praia dos Frades
This beautiful long stretch of sand runs along the seafront village of São Bernardino. It does offer some great medium-sized waves, however, there are a lot of rocks near the waterline, so caution is advised and it is perhaps not a great beach for a surfing beginner! Access to this beach is also quite tricky, this beach is situated below a group of cliffs and access is via trails going down the north and south sides of these cliffs. They’re not the easiest of trails and as such, this beach would not be suitable if you are hoping to take children surfing and more elderly may struggle with access to this beach also. There is parking near the north side of the beach, this is shared with another nearby beach so can get busy at times! This beach can be quiet due to the access, which may appeal to some. It is also worth noting, though, that there is no lifeguard at this beach!
This beach can be divided into two distinct areas. The north side is the better side for surfing. This beach is better surfed at low tide due to rocks that can otherwise make it quite tricky to get in and out of the water safely. The surfing here is best suited to more intermediate – pro level surfers. Swell size can reach up to 3 metres, with a max wave size of 2 metres. A positive for this beach is that it can be surfed all year round, though is best, during the winter season. There are a few beach breaks within the northern area, which can be good spots for the less experienced surfer to get some practice in. This beach features security, parking, showers and also nearby bars and restaurants, so you can enjoy a good meal/drink after your surf.
This is likely the best-known beach for surfing in this area, being the site of the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal! This beach has world-class surfing conditions with curvy waves and hollow, powerful tubes. It features an open swell window and unlike many other beaches in this area has protection from northerly winds. This beach is best suited to more experienced surfers. It can be surfed at any level from low to high tide, has a southern and western swell, a north-easterly wind and a wave size that can reach up to 4 metres!
This beach has quite an exposed sandbar break and as such can make for quite an inconsistent surf. This beach is definitely best for winter surfing – it is mostly flat in the summer! This beach is best when the winds are coming in from the east/north-east, with a swell coming from the south-east. The waves at this beach peel to the left. This beach can often be quite crowded as it’s a good beach for surfers of all capabilities to get some practice in!
This beach has consistent waves, great all year round, but at their best during the winter season. The best wind conditions are when the wind is coming in from the south/south-west. Most of the surf comes from groundswells, the ideal swell coming from the north/north-west. Waves at this beach break both to the left and right. This beach is best for intermediate to pro during winter, but may still be useful for beginners practice the rest of the time, especially as it tends to be a relatively uncrowded beach most of the time.
Cantinho da Baia
This beautiful beach is also best in the winter if you’re looking for a more challenging surf. In the ideal situations, it features offshore winds coming in from the east/south-east, and ideal swells coming in from the north-east. This is a popular beach and often be quite crowded, a plus of this is that there are lifeguards available, which may appeal to most surfers, especially the less experienced/confident surfer.
This beach offers a sheltered beach break, with consistent surf, best in winter. The surf at this beach is at its best when the offshore winds are coming in from the south-east, with the wind swell coming in from the north/north-west. The waves at this beach break to the left and the right. A positive of this beach is that it offers good surf regardless of the stage of the tide and as such can be enjoyed at any hour of the day! Generally, this beach is never too crowded, which may suit less experienced surfers looking for a more relaxed environment to practice and gain confidence and skills before moving onto a busier area.
A reasonably exposed beach, it offers quite reliable surf, particularly during the winter months. The surfing conditions are at their best when the offshore winds are coming in from the south and the swell is coming from the north/north-west. There is no beach break here, but there is a left-hand reef break. The waves here are best surfed around mid-tide when the tide is rising. This can be a popular surfing location and crowds are likely, so perhaps best for a more experienced, confident surfer. A word of caution – you have to be aware of rocks at this beach when getting in and out of the water. Also important to be aware of are sea urchins – you don’t want to get stung/bitten by one of those, so extra caution is advised!
Surf Schools in Peniche
Ride Surf Resort and Spa – https://www.ridesurfresort.com/en/
Baleal Surf Camp – https://www.balealsurfcamp.com/
Alternatives to Surfing in Peniche – Nazare and Ericeira
Although surfing in Peniche Portugal is possible on a large number of beaches, the best surfing spots in the area are Praia do Norte (Nazare) and Praia dos Pescadores (Ericeira) beaches.
These stretches of coast attract surfers from all around the world.
Praia do Norte (Nazare) beach
The beaches near Nazaré are the most popular surfing spots in Europe. These include Praia de Santa Barbara, Salema and Seixal. The best waves break on the southern side of Nazaré, which is the one that draws the most surfers from all around the world.
Praia dos Pescadores (Ericeira) beach
Praia dos Pescadores is a small rocky beach located at Ericeira near Lisbon. This area is famous for its left hand point breaks. It is considered one of the best European waves for surfing, with an average wave height of 8 m (26 ft).
This beach has two access points: the one in São Pedro de Moel brings you to a section known as Ponta da Madeira. The other entrance is called Praia dos Pescadores. This is the spot for bodyboarders.
Costs of Surfing in Portugal
Surf Lessons – Expect to pay €25 and upwards for surfing in Portugal
Accommodation – The average cost of hostel accommodation in Portugal is 15 Euro per person per night. You can rent a decent one bedroomed apartment for around €25 a night or more.
Food and Drink – The average cost of food and drink in Portugal on a conservative budget is 8 Euro per person per day. That’s if you are willing to combine eating out with a bit of supermarket shopping. You can get a decent meal in a restaurant for around €10-15. Expect to pay €1-3 for a drink depending on your location.
If you enjoyed this article you might also like to read about Surfing in Sintra, Portugal