5 Beaches in the Algarve for Beginner Surfers

Alix M Campbell

Senior Contributor

Surfing holidays are becoming increasingly popular, and while places like Hawaii and Australia are considered the top global surfing destinations, Portugal offers some of the best waves in Europe. The Algarve in the southwestern part of Portugal offers an incredible variety of “praias” and easy waves to get started. Even though the water temperature is pretty cold all year round (14-19 °C), you’ll get plenty of sunny days, also in autumn and winter. If you already have a wetsuit, don’t forget to pack it. If not, don’t worry, there are plenty of surf shops and surf schools around to rent your surf gear from.

Praia da Bordeira – Carrapateira

This large sandy beach on the west coast faces north-west/north and is bordered by a vast stretch of dunes that take you towards the village of Carrapateira. You can reach the beach via the dunes or park on the cliffs and walk down a wooden path while enjoying a spectacular view of the beach and the waves. If you’re looking for a private spot to relax, this is the beach for you.

Bordeira is ideal for beginner surfers as it stretches over 3km giving ample opportunity to find some waves for your practice. It’s often used by surf schools and there’s a little wooden hut in the dunes where you can rent water sports equipment like kayaks and surfboards, and also enjoy a cold drink after your session. When there are strong winds, it’s also a good spot for kitesurfing.

Praia da Bordeira and boardwalk

Credit: DaLiu

Praia do Amado – Carrapateira

The second beach easily reachable from the village of Carrapateira is van life heaven. It offers a huge parking/camping area for vans and cars and has basic amenities (toilets) and a little snack bar with terrace overlooking the beautiful red cliffs and the beach area, adding to its relaxed vibe. After a day of surfing you can sit down with a cold drink and a well-deserved snack and watch the beautiful sunset with your new surf buddies.

Amado stretches over 1km, faces west/north-west and is decently sheltered from the wind. You’ll find three surf schools here that cater to surfers of all levels and you’ll see many beginners making use of them. The beach can get quite busy in the summer months but it’s usually a good spot to rent a board and paddle out.

Surfer walking on Praia do Amado beach

Credit: Pawel Kazmierczak

Praia da Mareta – Sagres

Praia da Mareta is the closest beach to the town of Sagres at the southern tip of Portugal and can get quite busy. This popular beach faces south-east, and its nearly 800m long stretch of sand is nestled into the rocky headlands. Due to the beach being quite sheltered, it offers good conditions for beginner surfers.

There’s enough parking available and you’ll find three restaurants along the beach as well as toilets, which is great for relaxing after working up an appetite in the water.

Next to surfing you can also rent equipment here to go kayaking, windsurfing and diving in case you’re looking for additional water adventures. Or you can just enjoy the lively vibe at the beach and in town.


Credit: Pedro Nascimento

Praia da Amoreira – Aljezur

Amoreira is located about 7km from the town of Aljezur and faces north-west. It doesn’t get as busy as other beaches in the area but still offers amenities like two little restaurants on each side of the beach that are open during the summer months. At low tide a shallow lagoon forms, which is especially popular for children to play in.

The beach stretches over 580m and is backed by deep sand dunes, that offer various hidden places for sunbathing. At the southern end of the beach, the Ribeira de Aljezur flows into the sea, which is great for SUP (stand-up paddle-boarding) or kayaking. You’ll also find surf schools here that use this beach, which means it’s definitely suitable for beginners.

Praia da Amoreira

Credit: DaLiu

Praia de Odeceixe – Odeceixe

Another stunning beach in the region, this one is even internationally marketed as a film location. From the village of Odeceixe, you’ll drive on a 3km long winding road towards the beach through a lush green valley and cork-oak groves until you can see the typical white houses of the region nestled into the cliffs overlooking the beach.

Odeceixe is the most northern beach in the Algarve, faces north-west and offers great conditions for surfers. It’s located at the mouth of the river Seixe, which flows into the sea at the back of the bay and creates a bathing area, especially popular with families.

You can overlook this 330m long beach from the surrounding cliffs that offer dramatic views. After a long day in the water you might want to grab some food in one of the cosy restaurants around. All your surf equipment like boards and wetsuits can be rented at the local surf school.

Arial shot of Praia De Odeceixe

Credit: Steve Photography

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