We love Portugal
With year-round sunshine, consistent surf and stunning beaches, Portugal ticks all the boxes for a family surfing holiday. What’s more, it’s easy to get to from all over Europe, the food is cheap and delicious, and there’s a new wave of boutique family accommodation nudging the waves.
From the famous barrels of Subertubos in Peniche, to the most south–westerly tip of Europe in the Algarve, we’ve teed up our favourite surf breaks and beaches with the most stylish, surf-focussed, family-friendly places to stay. From tween havens with chill out lounges, slack lines and skate parks, to tot-friendly beach villas with babysitters on demand, all of our handpicked places to stay come with waves on the doorstep and surf lessons on tap.
In a unique geographical location with waves for all wind and swell directions, Peniche is a dream surfing destination – and you don’t have to take on the fast, hollow curlers of Supertubos. Baleal beach offers a series of peaks for different levels of surfers, from the sheltered peelers of Meio do Baia to the reef break of Lagide. Spectators and sun-worshippers can bask on the long stretch of sand, or take in the views from the line-up of cafés and restaurants overlooking the waves. If you want to break away from the crowds, pad to the edge of Baleal island and watching the fishing boats coming and going.
Footsteps from barefoot beach life and endless waves, you’ll find the Ride Surf Resort and Spa, bedecked in vibrant pop-art décor and home to its own surf academy, skateboarding academy and cycling hub. A sanctuary for families with children who love sideways sports and action, when you’re not in the hands of expert surf instructors, you can be carving it up in the skate park, getting your balance on the slack line, getting to grips with the bouldering wall, cooling off in the pool or freewheeling around the scenery on bikes or scooters. So much activity is bound to wear out even the most energetic offspring, so while they flop out in the chill out lounge, play table football and fuel up on fuss-free food, you sip cocktails on the roof terrace and tuck into contemporary Portuguese cuisine over a glass of the region’s finest wine.
Cruise 45 minutes’ down the coast from Peniche and you’ll find yourself in the home of Santa Cruz, where no less than eleven mighty surf beaches are linked by insanely beautiful cliffs and coastline. Here, on its perch overlooking the central Praia da Físicia, Noah Surf House
lives and breathes surf-style with a sustainable edge. Surf check on a cruiser bike, hit the waves on a family surf session or simply soak up the Atlantic views from the rooftop skate park or infinity pool. Here you can live in harmony with the natural environment, eating produce from the organic veggie garden, sipping sundowner cocktails on the rooftop terrace or basking on the deck of your designer sea-view bungalow.
Next stop down the coast is Ericiera, home of Europe’s first surfing reserve and endowed with a cool surf culture crossed with its roots as a traditional fishing village. Although many of Ericeira’s surf breaks are reefs best suited to intermediate and advanced surfers, there are a few spots for beginners, including São Julião and Pescadores. Footsteps from Praia do Sul you can bag a luxury apartment at You and the Sea, from where expert surf instructors will take you to the best waves of the day for your ability. Come back and watch the waves from your balcony, wind down with a massage, dip in the indoor pool and dine on some of the best local dishes in town.
Winding down the coast on the way to the south-westerly tip of Europe, you can veer off along any of the bumpy coastal tracks to discover numerous stunning beaches and surf spots. Between Arrifana and Vila do Bispo, our favourites include Bordeira, Amado and Carrapateira – all of which are within easy reach of our Family Surf Co. accommodations in Sagres. However, once you reach surfy Sagres, you don’t need to venture any further than a short tuk-tuk ride to find waves for all wind and swell directions. Beautiful Beliche and Tonel are consistent breaks sheltered by the cliffs, but if the waves are big you might prefer the more mellow peaks of Mareta.
If you’ve got babies, toddlers and under-tens in tow, the best place to stay is the Martinhal Sagres, with its luxury beach villas and flawless family facilities from kids’ clubs and babysitting, to sea-view seafood restaurants, swimming pools and water sports. Alternatively, equidistant from Martinhal beach and Mareta, the Memmo Baleeira sums up stylish beach life, with its breath-taking views, onsite surf school and spa facilities.
So, what sort of surfing family are you, and where do you want to go in Portugal? Whether you fly into Lisbon or Faro, want a full-throttle surfing trip or a relaxing family beach holiday with surfing as an option alongside other water sports and sightseeing, let us organise your bespoke family holiday to one of our favourite family surfing destinations.
It’s 2.5-3 hours’ flight to Faro (The Algarve) or Lisbon (West Coast) from London, Bristol, Exeter or Cornwall (Faro only), with a short 1-1.5 hours transfer to the main surf areas of Sagres, Ericeira and Peniche. Book a surfing holiday with Family Surf Co. and we can help you organise flights, car hire and transfers to your destination.