Sintra, near Lisbon, in Portugal is home to two of the most reliable surfing beaches in Europe – Praia das Macas and Praia Grande, as well as others! The best times to experience surfing in Sintra is mostly dependent on your own level! While you are able to experience the waves of Portugal all year round, for beginners, your best experience will be during May-August, for intermediates, your best time is May-September and for the more advanced surfers, September-March is your best time to experience the waves. Which beach to use can be dependent on the weather and the time of year.
Let’s examine some of the popular beaches in this area in more detail:
Praia das Macas
This is a beautiful golden beach, it extends for nearly 200 metres, so even in the summer, there’s plenty of space! It faces onto the Atlantic Ocean and some strong waves are produced – although a lot of surfers do go to Praia Grande as it is bigger, this beach is a good option for beginner to intermediate level surfers! This beach is lifeguard protected and offers facilities such as showers and toilets! The best season for surfing at this beach is the winter, especially in December but it can still provide good opportunities at other times of the year.
This is an exposed beach that usually always has some level of waves and can therefore work at any time of year, though is at its best in winter. Offshore winds blow in from the east and there are wind swells and groundswells of equal measure with the best coming from the northwest. This beach is surfable at any stage of the tide and as such can be a popular and at times crowded beach!
This is a long stretch of beach, well-known amongst locals for its great surfing conditions, likely due to its close proximity to the most western point of continental Europe! This beach picks up lots of consistent swells. The waves can be suitable for beginners, but they can get very powerful as the wind increases. This spot can be surfed at all stages of the tide but is best surfed at low to mid-tide. You do have to be careful with rocks towards the middle of the beach! This is a very popular beach and surfing spot – especially with its close proximity to Lisbon and as such can get very crowded at times! If that’s the case, there is a smaller bay to the south of Guincho called Praia da Cresminda, which also offers great surfing conditions.
While in Portugal, you may be looking to improve your surfing skills and the Sintra region offers a plethora of incredible surfing schools, where you can do just that! Here are just three of the top picks:
Sintra Surf School
This surf school on Lisbon’s coast is a great option, offering both private and small group lessons taught by highly experienced surf couches and lifeguards. All of their lessons include a 2 hour lesson time, with insurance, board, wetsuit, leash and fins included! Prices for group lessons are 35 euros for 1, 160 euros for 5, or 300 euros for 10. For private lessons, the prices are 90 euros for 1, 400 euros for 5, or 750 euros for 10. The main beaches they use are the ones detailed above, and they change depending on the season and the weather. If you book in advance, they will let you know, the day before, or the morning of your lesson, where the exact location will be. They can also offer hotel pick-up if booked in advance!
Shore Break Waveriding School
This surfing school is located in the small town of Fontanelas in Sintra. It is a surf and bodyboarding school, recognised by the Portuguese Surfing Federation. The coaches are all highly experienced and put effort into ensuring your lesson will be fun but challenging. Private lessons start from 34 euros for one and group lessons begin at 26 euros for one. This includes insurance, board hire etc. They also offer hotel pick-up when booked in advance or the meeting point is at Estrada da Aguda. The beaches used change dependent on weather conditions.
Hooked Surf School
Ran by highly experienced surf coaches and lifeguards, this school also offers a good option for lessons. As well as offering individual and group lessons for adults, it also has a kids surf club that runs during the summer. Lessons here also cover insurance, and board and wetsuit hire. For adults, prices begin at 25 euros for a 2-hour taster session, where you work with an expert to assess your current level and see where you progress to. For the kids club, this is offered from 10 am to 4 pm during the summer and prices are 15 euros for a half-day or 30 euros for a full day. They also provide the option for you to hire wetsuits/boards without a lesson at 25 euros for a half-day, or 40 euros for a full day.
Despite being a surprisingly overlooked location at times, despite its close proximity to Lisbon, as demonstrated above, Sintra offers some incredible surfing locations!
It also offers an array of incredible surfing schools if you are a beginner or are looking to improve your skills regardless of your current level!
A beautiful location, with incredible surfing opportunities, not to be overlooked!
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