The Portuguese coast has waves for all levels of surfing. Beach breaks, point breaks, reefs and of course, heavy waves. Praia do Norte, in Nazaré, is Portugal’s most well known big wave spot, and for a good reason. It has been breaking records for a few years and holds one of the most impressive stops on the WSL Big Wave Tour. But there are a few more note worthy spots with heavy waves you should know about…
Ilha de Salgueiros – Porto
Not a world class spot but it can get some perfect waves on the right day. It became a training ground for up and coming big wave surfers from Porto and many foreign visitors have given it great reviews over the years. It’s a right-hand wave and breaks from 5 to 15 feet (3 meters).
What should you do after surfing? Find out more about Porto – HERE.
Papôa – Peniche
Kind of a forgotten wave, at least from the mainstream public, from the early 90’s until recently. Papôa is a heavy right-hander that holds waves up to 15 feet. It recently started being seen as the next best option after Nazaré and gained a lot of hype a couple of years back when a huge swell stopped the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal and some of the competitors, like current World champion John John Florence, and event staff, like former big wave world champion Peter Mel, along with some Portuguese chargers such as João de Macedo and António Silva, among other, had a very well documented session, placing Papôa back on the map.
What should you do after surfing? Find out more about Peniche – HERE.
Cave – Ericeira
Not a big wave spot, but one of the heaviest in the world. Cave is located between Ribeira D’Ilhas and Coxos and it’s what can be considered a “slab”, a shallow wave that offers a dangerous but amazing tube. For years it was surfed mostly by bodyboarders, but it was the local hero, Tiago Pires, who made headlines with his sessions on this spot. After a few years many other top Portuguese riders, like Nicolau Von Rupp, António Silva and João Macedo, also surfed some amazing waves there and many world class surfers often show up to challenge the infamous Cave.
What should you do after surfing? An excellent choice would be to visit the magnificent palace, convent and basilica of Mafra, just a short drive away. Find out all about it and how to get there – HERE.
Cabo Raso – Cascais
Another great spot, like Ilha de Salgueiros, to challenge up and coming big wave surfers. The Cascais area has a few options on offer if you want to test your surfing in bigger conditions and one thing is for sure, if you are confortable in a big day in Cabo Raso, you are well on your way to go and ride some big swells. Also a right-hand reef breaks, it’s not an easy spot to get in and out from the water so getting there by boat is a good option. Also, on bigger days, Jet Ski assist is needed.
What should you do after surfing? Find out more about Cascais – HERE.
Canguru – Arrifana
When the swell gets really big in the south of Portugal where should you go? Arrifana is the answer! Known by many as “Canguru”, this point break is a fun but dangerous wave with some barreling sections. Located next to huge cliff on the right, Canguru needs to be above 10 feet to be surfed, otherwise you’ll find yourself too close to the rocks and a wipeout can become quite painful.
What should you do after surfing? Find out more about the region – HERE.
Jardim do Mar – Madeira
Madeira Island was once known as the Hawaii of Europe. Not only does the island pick up a lot of swell but also it has spots to hold it and be surfed all the way to 20 feet. Jardim do Mar has very often been called one of the best big waves on earth but it’s not as well known and other spots. Still, it’s a great option if you want to surf big waves with warm water a few people out.