Imagine riding the crest of an emerald wave, with Atlantic breezes in your hair, surrounded by Portugal’s stunning coastline.
You’re not just daydreaming; you’re considering visiting one of the many surfing camps in Portugal, renowned worldwide for its consistent swells and extensive surfing tradition.
Whether you’re an experienced surfer seeking new challenges or a curious novice taking those thrilling first steps on the board, choosing the right surf camp can make all the difference in your wave-catching journey.
Join us as we dive into the exhilarating world of Portugal’s surf camps, navigating the deciding factors, and sharing insights about prime surfing destinations to make your decision as smooth as a perfect ride on Portugal’s famous waves.
Related read: The Best Beaches Near Lisbon, Portugal
How to Pick the Right Surfing Camp
Making the right choice is not always a ride in the park — err, the sea. With an abundance of wonderful surf camps dotting Portugal’s unparalleled coastline — each with its unique charm and offerings — the selection process can seem daunting. Key factors such as location and surf breaks, the camp’s surf philosophy, quality of instruction, as well as the social vibe and accommodation style, deserve thoughtful consideration.
Whether you’re inclined towards a remote seaside village in Algarve, or a vibrant surf hotspot in Cascais, or you value personal instruction or prefer a self-guided approach, or perhaps you seek luxurious lodgings or a rustic surf shack, aligning these aspects to your personal needs and preferences forms the undertow of your ultimate surf camp experience.
Related read: Best Destinations for Surfing Holidays Around the World
Here are our favorite surfing camps in Portugal
More than just a platform to ride the peaks and valleys of the ocean, these camps offer a deeper connection to the sea, a chance to embrace the tranquility and thrill of surfing.
Ripar Surf Camp in Lourinha, Portugal
Considered one of Portugal’s hidden gems, Lourinhã’s Ripar Surf Camp stands out with its remarkable blend of quality surf coaching and homely hospitality. Situated in “Europe’s West Coast”, Ripar offers thrilling adventures on Portugal’s prime surfing beaches. Cap off a day of imposing waves by engaging in vibrant social activities, including beach volleyball and barbecues, fostering an unforgettable sense of camaraderie.
This camp is situated in the charming village of Praia da Areia Branca, Lourinhã, Portugal. Located 65 kilometers away from Lisbon, this idyllic location is a haven for surfers, nature enthusiasts, families, friends, and couples alike. It possesses an indescribable enchantment that captivates all who visit – you may fall head over heels for this little paradise.
Praia da Areia Branca remains untouched by mass tourism and offers a serene and secure environment where you can truly connect with the local community. Within the village itself, there are numerous options to satisfy your taste buds, including various restaurants, bars, and cafes. Additionally, you’ll have access to recreational activities such as mini-golf, a futsal field, and tennis courts.
The coastline surrounding Praia da Areia Branca boasts stunning beaches that exude a mystical aura. Teeming with biodiversity and geodiversity, every beach harbours hidden treasures waiting to be discovered. Yet, the most awe-inspiring spectacle undoubtedly lies in witnessing the perfect sunset unfold each day – everyone showcasing its own unique beauty. Wandering around on foot couldn’t be easier as everything is within close proximity!
Accommodation at Lemon Tree
Lemon Tree is a delightful Portuguese beach house with a charming, vintage, and hipster vibe. It’s the perfect choice for anyone seeking a welcoming and cozy vacation spot. Situated just a short three-minute stroll from the beach, this beautifully restored home boasts vibrant decor in true Portuguese style.
Inside, you’ll find four single and shared rooms to accommodate your needs and three bathrooms for added convenience. The fully equipped kitchen allows you to prepare delicious meals anytime, while the inviting living room provides ample space for relaxation.
For those desiring more privacy, there’s also a private studio/apartment complete with its own bathroom and kitchen facilities. Additionally, Lemon Tree offers an outdoor BBQ area where you can gather with friends or family for some tasty grilled treats.
Surrounded by plenty of peaceful outdoor spaces, including a garden bursting with fresh fruits and vegetables available for your enjoyment, this haven guarantees tranquility during your stay.
Surfing Lessons at Ripar Surf Camp
The surf courses typically run from Monday to Friday. You’ll have two surfing sessions each day, and each session lasts about 2 hours. So, if you’re used to sitting behind a desk all day, it’s important to exercise before your surfing vacation.
When determining the surf spot and class schedule, this camp’s experienced instructors prioritize safety as well as the sea and weather conditions. They also consider the participants’ skills and aim for variety by dividing groups when necessary. This ensures that each group is sent to a different spot that best suits their abilities.
Depending on the conditions and skill levels of students, lessons may be held at various surf spots within a 20-kilometer radius of the surf school (a short 15-minute car ride). In these cases, you can expect to be away for lessons for around 5 or 6 hours in total.
Everything begins at the convenient surf school base located just a quick 2-minute walk from the beach. There, you’ll find dressing rooms and a chill-out area equipped with showers.
During the surf lessons, the camp maintains an instructor-to-participant ratio of one instructor per eight participants. Additionally, there will always be one assistant present to ensure everyone receives proper attention and guidance throughout their lesson.
The Surf Experience in Lagos, Portugal
The Surf Experience in Lagos has operated since 1992 and is considered one of Europe’s oldest surf camps, offering a perfect blend of surfing tradition and innovative techniques. The camp is centrally located, allowing easy access to surf spots along the Algarve Coast, famous for its crystal-clear waters and year-round surf.
Situated in the dynamic heart of Lagos, The Surf Experience promises more than just an impressive swell. Sip on rich morning coffee while observing locals craft traditional fishing nets, before plunging into a day of exhilarating surf filled with laughter and instruction. Evenings offer a culinary journey that stimulates all the senses, uniting guests from all walks of life in unforgettable camaraderie.
Situated in the charming historical town of Lagos, Portugal, The Surf Experience boasts an array of delightful offerings. Located right at the center of town, their Surf House ensures that everything you desire is within arm’s reach. Indulge in delectable cuisine from a wide selection of restaurants, revel in vibrant nightlife at numerous bars and clubs until the late hours, unwind under the sun on stunning beaches or simply sit back and observe life unfold while sipping coffee at quaint cafes.
Accommodation at The Surf Experience
The Surf House is a charming and vibrant townhouse located in the bustling heart of Lagos. It has been uniquely designed to foster social interactions with fantastic features. The house exudes a cool and laid-back vibe, with its trendy decor adding to the overall ambiance.
Guests can enjoy comfortable rooms, a spacious modern kitchen, daily maid service for added convenience, and a large lounge area perfect for relaxation or mingling with fellow travelers. Additionally, free Wi-Fi access allows guests to stay connected at all times, while the digital entertainment system adds another layer of enjoyment. With stylish decor throughout, including a boardroom for meetings if needed, there are also two expansive terraces that offer breathtaking views and an ideal spot for hosting barbecues.
Located just 90 seconds away from The Surf House on a quiet street in central Lagos is Traditional Pensäo – offering accommodation steeped in tradition. This cozy property provides private rooms complete with en-suite bathrooms ensuring utmost privacy and comfort during your stay. Like The Surf House itself, guests at Traditional Pensäo have full access to all facilities offered by The Surf House, including complimentary Wi-Fi connectivity, which lets you remain connected around the clock! Daily cleaning service ensures cleanliness is maintained effortlessly throughout your visit, making it a truly hassle-free experience!
Typically, breakfast is enjoyed by everyone at approximately 09:00, and the first trucks start driving out around 09:15. The Surf Experience aims to provide two daily surf classes that last for two hours each, with a break for lunch in between. The surf safari experience allows for more flexibility and spontaneity. Usually, we meet at around 19:30 to go out for dinner together. It’s important to note that our program caters to surfers of all levels who are aged 16 or older.
Surfing Lessons at The Surf Experience in Lagos
During certain weeks before and after summer, The Surf Experience organizes special trips where one Land Rover sets off with the sole purpose of finding the best waves possible. While they always strive to separate surfers based on their skill level throughout the year, it can sometimes be challenging. These designated weeks are specifically created for avid surfers like yourself to aim towards joining. Rest assured that during these weeks, you will have a dedicated driver and guide accompanying you every day.
There is no additional cost associated with participating in these weeks as they are included separately along with our fantastic trademark lunches. Throughout the week, you will be filmed at least three times so you can watch your progress at your own leisure afterwards. The team also offer basic pointers and encourage self-assessment using their iAM Bands scales – an excellent way for you to gauge your improvement over time!
Additionally, if requested, they can arrange for a professional surf photographer to capture memorable moments on one of the days; this option comes highly recommended by us!
Star Pine Lodge in Colares, Portugal
Set amid the tranquil beauty of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, Star Pine Lodge in Colares, Portugal, is a sanctuary that blends outdoor adventure with comfort and relaxation. This charming surf camp offers more than just a place to lay your head; it provides an authentic Portuguese surf encounter.
Built into nature, the lodge takes its name from the towering, majestic pine trees dotting its outdoor space, creating a serene, leafy canopy under the sprawling star-lit sky. The lodge itself echoes this theme of natural harmony, featuring warm wooden interiors and a robust stone exterior, blending seamlessly into the natural surroundings.
Renowned for its welcoming and friendly vibe, Star Pine Lodge offers a range of surf packages tailored for all levels of surfers. Guided by seasoned professionals, learn to ride the waves along the captivating coastline of Cascais, known for its incredible surf breaks and gentle winds. The Baldaya Beach, a favorite among locals and pros alike, is just a short drive away.
On non-surfing days, guests can unleash their adventurous side with various activities, including mountain biking, hiking the beautiful Sintra mountains, or horse riding along the beach. For those seeking relaxation, the lodge offers yoga classes held on an outdoor deck, allowing you to find your inner peace amidst nature’s chorus.
The lodge boasts cozy accommodations throughout, ranging from comfortable shared dorms to private suites, each boasting stunning views of the picturesque surroundings. No day is complete without dining in their on-site restaurant offering delightful Portuguese cuisine crafted from locally sourced ingredients, followed by evenings spent around the crackling campfire, sharing surf stories under the starry sky.
Star Pine Lodge encapsulates the spirit of the Portuguese surf culture, nurturing a sense of community, and offering a perfect mix of comfort and escapade in the heart of nature.
Each surf camp in Portugal provides a unique surfing adventure that transcends the traditional surf school frame.
Whether you’re a surf novice or a wave-riding pro, each camp promises an enriching journey of personal growth, unforgettable surf, and immersive cultural experiences, all while being cradled by the stunning coastal beauty of Portugal.