A Guide to Surfing in Sagres, Portugal

by Candice Land
Surfing in Sagres

The rumors you’ve heard about surfing in Sagres are true – it’s epic!

Our lust for the ocean was strong after a week of not surfing and anticipation for what the famed Sagres had to offer was high. It did not let us down! We left Lisbon and ventured down to Sagres in the Algarve for a week, exploring and surfing the local spots.

When we arrived we went straight to the first surf shop that we found (of which there were many). The owner of Sagres Bicycle and Company was very helpful and selected the perfect board for each of us. The two boards cost us an affordable €120 for 6 days – and he threw in soft roof racks and a block of delicious smelling wax as a bonus. In addition, he told us the greatest secret of Sagres – where to find the best wave!

We were still working during the day and sat behind our desks with ants in our pants for the majority of most mornings, constantly refreshing our browsers on the surf report. We got to explore a few spots and definitely found our favorites. While we were there, the huge swell came in which prevented us from surfing a few on the list – but we’ve included them here anyway!

Here is a short guide on the different spots that Sagres has to offer.

Advanced

Praia da Ponta Ruiva

This is a secret spot that doesn’t appear on Magic Seaweed. It offers a clean, left-hand point break. This spot is most definitely for a more experienced surfer as the waves come in strong and on a good day there is a bit of a hustle to get a wave.

Note: this spot is slightly off the grid and can be found at the end of a dirt road.

Intermediate

Praia do Amado

While this intermediate beach break normally offers a great wave, we got it at the wrong time. Candi ended up in tears and Ollie got smashed trying to make it out to back line. If anything, we built character and got wet.

Praia do Tonel

The big swell had already hit Sagres when we visited this spot but we still got a beer at the beach bar and enjoyed watching a few of the braver surfers battle the elements. Tonel offers a beach break for various levels, depending on the day. On this particular day, it was huge and intimidating but we can imagine that it can be beginner-friendly on a calmer day.

Beginner

Praia do Beliche

We surfed a few sessions at Beliche, a beginner beach break. It was close to the city center where we were staying and easy to get to. The parking lot sits high up above the beach, giving surfers a full view of the incoming swell, the number of people in the water and an indication of the wind’s effect on the water. The first day that we surfed Beliche there were only small close-outs to surf – which Ollie joyfully took advantage of, dodging swimmers in between getting munched. On the second day, the swell was bigger and further out (be sure to pay attention to the tides) and a lot more surfing was done.

Mareta

Mareta was a little treat of a surf. The weather was terrible and we didn’t expect much. We were up at the fort, having a look at the (exquisite) scenery and saw a group of what appeared to be ants in the water. Ollie jumped up in the air and yelled: “Let’s go surfing”. Mareta offered incredibly fun beach break swell, surfable for beginners. We only got out of the water as we had to check out of our hotel

Here are a few final tips if Sagres is on your list of destinations to visit:

  • Take advantage of all of the surf spots – try them all!
  • Be aware of airport tax when renting cars from Lisbon Airport – they add it on quite dramatically.
  • There are so many quirky and interesting sights, such as the wind turbines and the fort. Make sure that you move around with your eyes open.
  • Arifana and Zavial are also popular beginner spots – we didn’t get a chance to surf them though.

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