Portugal - The Breakdown
Portugal - Travel guide with Boardsox® 2019
Where: Everywhere! The place pumps….More specifically Peniche Nazare, Ericeira, Carcavelos and down south in the Sagres area.
Finally out of these expensive hell holes and into a surf destination that your average punter can afford. What better reason to stay longer in the most wave rich region of Europe. The price of everything across the board is cheaper and keep an eye on specials in the supermarket. However, the biggest bonus was standard restaurant meals and pub meals being very affordable.
Accommodation is also cheaper and we stuck to hostels that would on average cost $10 euro a night. If you’re in Ericeria we highly recommend Aktion Hostel, we stayed there for almost 3 weeks and at 12 Euro a night, including breakfast (unlimited Cereal/Toast/Coffee/OJ) you can’t complain. The facilities there are second to none with great private beds, ping pong tables, a pool table, a skate ramp, a pool and several other great areas for after surf hangouts. This included a rooftop bar that we assume would pump in summer.
Where to eat:
If you’re big into embracing cultural traditions then the Frango shops are a must, they aren’t hard to miss. They are marked by large cartoon chickens staring at you every few hundred meters. A good value Frango meal should cost you between $4.50-7 Euro for half a chicken, rice and chips. It's a meal fit for anyone whose appetite is ravenous after a long day of Portuguese waves.
Steak Sandwiches or Prego No Pao are very common and traditional meals In most parts of Portugal they are also usually dirt cheap. They cost approximately $2 euro in most local establishments and a great after surf snack accompanied by a cheeky pint. The steak sandwich in Ericeira is worth a shout out at Taberna Lebre, they have a great variety and are oh so good.
Pasa Del Nata’s Aka the infamous Portuguese tart. I don’t think much needs to be said if you haven’t tried them then rip in and if you have then continue to consume your body weight in these pieces of mouth gold.
The cheapest beers we found were $1.20 at a pizza restaurant in Nazare, epic pizza as well and they used their manners when we were politely asked to leave for well enjoying too many $1.20 pints.
A typical Frango shop set up ^
Where do you start! I guess its best to start with the most famous wave and world tour stop, Supertubos Located in the well-established surf town of Peniche,
Supertubos: Without a doubt the heaviest beach break in Europe (besides Naz). When its small and high tide it can have a place for beginner and intermediate surfers but once it's over 4ft and the tides getting lower it turns into a board snapping shore break barrel only for those willing to put themselves over the ledge and take a few solid beatings. Also because of its notoriety for producing world-class cones, it naturally comes with a bunch of fairly heavy locals who regulate the lineup. Surprisingly or maybe unsurprisingly due to its steep drop and requirement for late take offs the majority of heavy locals are actually bodyboarders and these guys aren’t afraid of confrontation or heading to the beach. However, if you are patient and respectful you can still manage to jag a gem and maybe get the barrel of your trip if you are lucky enough. Down the beach there is a super fun wedge that cops less swell and is more user-friendly, you may have seen videos of Mikey February and Jordy Smith tearing this up before the last comp.
Nazare: I’m sure I don’t have to go into much detail about the now famous worlds biggest wave that has burst onto the scene in the last 5 years becoming a household name. Known for its ability to hold the biggest surf in the world Nazare also is a swell magnet for the area. When the surf is down the infamous sea canyon makes Nazare picks up swell like nowhere else, so when its flat you can always have a look across the Nazare beach break stretch for a fun wave. If you’re a Hellman and want to surf 60-100ft faces you can also do that, don’t forget your jet ski and inflatable vest.
Ericeira: The most wave rich and diverse area of Portugal, it's lucky to pick up more swell than Peniche and definitely has more variety in options. It is actually a stretch of Coast that is very similar to Victorias Great Ocean Road…… Only with fewer crowds. However there is always a catch and this is no different, be prepared for days on days off onshore winds, too much swell and miserable rainy days. However when you do hit the jackpot and conditions align, usually when the swell is between 1.2-1.8 meters with. Then there are a plethora of world-class options. Coxos is the most well known and best quality. A long right-hand race track of a point break with multiple barrels and turn sections, naturally there a bunch of talented locals the hold down the lineup and jagging a set wave will have your work very cut out of for you. Riberia is another quality right-hand point break that is just around the corner that has played host to QS events. Ribeira is a little more fat than Coxxos although it still is a fun wave and the crowd there is a lot more mellow with a lot more beginner to intermediate surfers in the lineup. We steered towards less crowded options that are easy enough to find along the stretch of Coast. There are a bunch of heavier slab waves for the more experienced, look and you will find.
Carcavelos: When Ericeria is getting too much swell and maxing out your best option is to head further south to waves like Carcavelos or Caiscas. Carcavelos is a punchy, wedgey beach break that can hold big swells and produce big barrels or fun rippable banks, the line up is usually pretty spread out and waves aren’t hard to come by.
Sagres: A 3-hour drive further south of Carcavelos will find you in the lush area of Sagres in the Algarve Coast. Another great spot to head to when the other spots are maxing out. We have been told this area pumps, we didn’t see to much off it but we definitely still got our fair share of fun waves. Zavial is the beach break we surfed essentially the whole time. It has a wedge in the corner and peaks up and down the beach. Its a fairly heavy beach break but unfortunately doesn’t handle to much size before it starts maxing out, definitely the odd hollow nugget to come out of though. There are a lot of other options in this area that just depend on the sand at the time. Other notable beaches include Praia Do Barranco aka the hippy beach, super beautiful and produces fun waves and a few other nooks and crannies I'll let you find for yourselves.
Plenty of good places to dust off the old dusty dancing shoes and cut loose in Portugal or just sit in filthy pubs and drink cheap beers till the cows come home.
Lisbon would be our first recommendation on this highly esteemed list of places to hit. It's got everything from Dirty techno to commercial house and everything in between. We were lucky enough to see Romanian Techno lord Christi Cons on a night out.
In southern Portugal runs a festival called the pizza party, it’s 10 euro entry and you get unlimited homemade pizza. It's worth going just for getting that $10 euro unlimited free pizza, not to mention a wicked party that is sort of a bush doof set up. Word of warning be careful when parking your car down in the grass, our car like many many others all got bogged.
- Be prepared for too much swell for so many good quality spots and onshore winds that can last weeks, a lot of the places are sensitive to swell size and cop endless strong not ideal winds. There is a correlation over there if it's a pumping day of surf its usually sunny and clear skies making for dream sessions. If it's a bad day of surf, it's massive onshore and pouring down with rain. It makes for a lot of days driving to find a protected spot or more often than not inside days watching movies or alternatively drinking Portugal dry.
- If a massive swell hits make sure you get to Nazare to watch the worlds best and loosely screwed hell men through themselves into gigantic evil burgers. We hadn’t seen a proper toe swell at any of the worlds biggest wave spots and it didn’t disappoint. Not only do you see the stuff on the highlights reel but you see everything else, guys towing in and non-stop action all day. Shout out to Dylan Longbottom for taking the biggest beating of the day and almost getting pushed into the rocks, was a moment of terror and panic in the ground when everyone was pointing and whistling to him, while his jetski driver struggled to find him in the whitewash.
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