Not far from Lisbon, on a headland jutting out into the Atlantic, you will find the town of Peniche. It has become a hotspot for global surfers as they wake up to the potential of that unique gem. Today, the surf spots in Peniche are among the most popular in Portugal. With great beaches and big waves, people are moving to this part of the country, ultimately impacting property prices.
Anyone lusting after those iconic tube rides would do well to cast their eyes to Supertubos. This place is famous worldwide and offers what many people consider to be mini versions of the famous Banzai Pipelines.
A beach break creates perfect conditions for waves where the prominent direction is left, but it is also known to head in both directions. It is a popular place, so you will need to be comfortable surfing with an audience.
Thanks to the HBO documentary the 100 Foot Wave, all eyes turn to Nazarre when they think of big waves in Portugal. However, Papoa has some hairy rides of its own to contend with, especially in winter. When the hills are pumping, and the swells are up, this is a place for the serious surfers looking for jet ski toe outs and big, big drops. The reef that borders the town itself makes this particularly challenging. Do not even think of taking this on when it is pumping away unless you are a real pro surfer. However, watching the pros take on the big waves can be quite a spectacle.
For a nice change of pace, head to the sand dunes of Gigi along the north of the bay. It provides left and right breaks and is at its best with a southeast wind and a rising tide.
It will not be the most crowded beach in the area and offers some nice comfortable rides for beginners. However, you might want to keep your eyes peeled for some of the sand-covered rocks. If you are looking for a place to prepare your surf legs, this could be a good place.
Protected from the biggest Atlantic Swells by Baleal Island, this is where many beginners first dip their toes in the water. It can get crowded, but if you are looking for waves that roll gently onto the beachfront, this will be a pleasant experience before you take on the bigger ones.
Peniche has something for everyone. Whether you are looking to emulate the big wave riders or take your first steps on a surfboard, the area has a beach for you. That is one reason why it is proving to be so popular. You can find it just over an hour’s drive from Lisbon, straddling a headland that juts out into the Atlantic.
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