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Nature and adventure

Surfing in the Algarve

 

Master the Atlantic waves along Portugal’s sun-kissed south coast - surf’s up!

All along the Algarve’s beautiful coast, mighty waves unfurl onto the shore. Perched on the corner of the Iberian Peninsula, this southern pocket of the country is home to superb swell, drawing surf aficionados from all corners of the globe to come and conquer it.

If you just want to eat, sleep, surf, repeat, the Algarve’s the place to do it. Less than four hours away from the UK and plenty of surf spots to whet your appetite for adventure – what more could you want?

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When to surf in the Algarve

Portugal’s southern coast’s year-round sunshine spells surf no matter the month. Here’s a breakdown of the water warmth and what to expect when you go:

  • Spring: From March to May, the water temperature ranges from 16°C to 18°C. You’ll need a wetsuit!
  • Summer: June through to August is the warmest time to head into the waters, with temperatures rising to 21°C. Only boardshorts or a bikini is required!
  • Autumn: The water cools down to 18°C in September and all the way to 17°C in November, so you’ll need to throw on a wetsuit before heading into the waves.
  • Winter: From December through to February, the water temperature can dip as low as 15°C. As well as a wetsuit, it may be worth packing a pair of wetsuit boots and gloves, too.

Where to surf in the Algarve

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Sagres

Touted as one of the best surf spots in the Algarve, Sagres is tucked into the bottom corner of the southern coast, with places for both experienced and amateur surfers. Beginners should hit Praia do Tonel for consistent waves at all tides, while Praia do Beliche is the best in Sagres – it’s hollow, fast and can reach up to 12ft. If you’re not quite confident in the water yet, book in with Freeride Surfcamp.

Tired after a day riding the waves? Laidback Three Little Birds cafe peddles lip-smacking tacos, while A Casínha is the place to go for barbecued fish and seafood stew. Looking for a place to enjoy sundowners? Dromedário, a cool café-bar, has cocktails aplenty.

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Lagos

Located in the west side of the Algarve, Lagos wins hearts with its charming old town - but that’s not its only draw. Its main beach, Meia Praia, is a magnet for surfers, with the east end producing the best swell. Peak conditions are mid to high tide, during south-east winds. Waves fall between the 3-8ft mark, making it a great spot for beginners. After a surf school to hone your technique? Salty Wave is one of the best in the area.

Pretty Lagos old town has plenty to it after dark, too. The tangle of narrow streets in the old town is teeming with traditional seafood restaurants and atmospheric bars. Look out for the colourful doorways and tiles embellishing the buildings here.

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Praia da Luz

Wrapped around a glorious sandy bay, Praia da Luz is home to some seriously good surf. Here, the left pointbreak is fast and shallow, while the right pointbreak, nicknamed Rocha Negra, is a little easier to tackle. The surf’s good at all tides and swell can reach anywhere between 3-10m.

The former fishing village itself is a peaceful place to stay. Refuel at one of its many dinky seafood eateries or drink in the sunset with a beer in hand from one of the beachfront bars.

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Praia da Faro

Newbies – Praia da Faro is the place for you! The gentle waves along this long narrow stretch, formed by a sand spit, are great for beginners. And there’s AMAR Surfing Academia set up on the shore if you need a hand getting to grips with the basics. The waves here tend to be dependable, rolling in from both the left and the right.

After a day of action in the water, turn your attention to Faro, the Algarve’s unsung capital. Rooftop hangouts, tapas bars, buzzing restaurants – there’s a real pick and mix of places to unwind in the evenings in this cool city.

Posted: 6th May 2020.

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