Surfing in Portugal
Usually when someone tries to surf for the first time, what happens is they fall in love with surfing. This is what has happened to me also.
My favorite surf destination is Portugal where I started my surf story by visiting my friends at Kohola Surf Camp, who organize surf travels. Although I have visited several world surf destinations, I always come back to Portugal.
This autumn it was my fifth year of visiting small fishermen town Peniche situated an hour drive north of Lisbon. Peniche and its surrounding coast are one of the most popular surf destinations in Europe where the surfers from the whole world gather. The best surfing conditions are in autumn and spring, when the vawes are the biggest resulting from the storms developed in the Atlatnic open sea. Every autumn, Peniche is hosting Rip Curl Pro world surfing cup where the world famous surfers participate in competition. During the contest, Peniche becomes a real tourist attraction, visited not only by surfers from the neighboring villages but also by surf scene fans and tourists who want to be a part of such an event.
Relaxed way of life
I could not precisely define a type of person who likes to surf, however certain characteristics are common like relaxed way of life, love for the ocean and nature and adrenaline.
A typical surfing day consists of lot of time spent on the beach or in the ocean. Depending on weather conditions, sometimes you have to drive and explore different surf spots to find the best surfing conditions. At the end of a day certain evenings are spent at home surrounded by friends watching surf movies, while certain evenings end with Portuguese beer. The most famous place to go out in the evening is Baleal. Baleal is situated several kilometers north of Peniche where the bars are on the beach which is spreading from Peniche all the way to Baleal in the length of four kilometers.
During the day that same beach is one of the most popular surf spots in Peniche surrounding area.
Beaches and cliffs
Along with the beaches, there are also beautiful cliffs and Portugal has a lot of those. Sights that I have seen for thousand times never cease to amaze me again, vast sand beaches surrounded by high cliffs and occassionally an isolated cliff peeking from the ocean. This type of coast and sea floor make the waves exceptionally big. Three years ago, an hour drive north of Peniche there is a town of Nazare where a surfer Garrett McNamara surfed the biggest wave in history, 30 m high.
The entire west coast of Portugal is good for surfing, from north to the south. Each surf place has its own story, however it would be and endless report. I shall only mention Algarve region situated in the south of Portugal, with its west coast also being a very popular European surf destination. In winter or late autumn, after visiting Peniche in the north it is nice to go further south where air and ocean temperatures are higher. The best destination to find accomodation is around the small town of Vila do Bispo from where it is easy to access all surf spots. A very important thing to mention is that the Portuguese people are very friendly and it is easy to make new friendships.
Regarding the surfing, there isn´t a single negative thing that I could think of.
The most beautiful sights on the ocean are sunrises and sunsets. If I could I wouldn´t mind watching the sunsets from the line up for the rest of my life.
Ana Maria Vucinic