The location of Sagres, on the southwest peninsula of Portugal, means consistent surf and only a short drive to the south or west coast.
There are many beaches to choose from: the closest ones to the surf camp are only 5 minutes away, and lots more just 10, 20, 30 minutes away.
But how do you know where to go?
Our Surf Spots Guide helps you work out which coast and which surf break to go to, depending on the wind, swell and tides on that day.
We list 7 of our favourite beaches for surfing, so whether you’re learning to surf, or looking for bigger, faster waves – we help you understand the forecasts.
Save time and fuel from driving around all the beaches, then you have more time to enjoy the waves of the beautiful western Algarve!
South Swell: Algarve South Coast
Praia do Zavial
If the swell comes from the south Zavial will be probably the biggest waves on the south coast.
With a small swell (under 1.5m) it can be perfect for beginners. Over 1.5m the waves get heavy, fast and hollow.
Sandbanks move around a lot with the strong swells so take time to watch for where the rips are before you go in. Some rocks to the right, stay middle or left for sandy bottom.
If it’s too big here with a south swell, we recommend trying the Sagres beaches or the west coast.
Praia da Mareta (Sagres)
This spot can be really perfect with a small-medium swell from the south (up to 1.5 m).
Bigger than 1.5 m can get heavy, not so good for beginners but great fun for experienced surfers.
Depending on sandbanks, usually best from low to mid tide. At high tide it can turn it into shallow closeouts, especially with a big swell.
One or two rocks to watch out for, on the left and to the far right, as tide goes out, mostly sandy bottom.
If it’s too big here with south swell, check Tonel.
Praia do Tonel (Sagres)
The position of this spot around the point of the Fortaleza usually makes the waves here smaller than Zavial/Mareta with a south swell.
Depending on the sandbanks it can be a softer wave from mid-high tide, getting faster as the tide goes out.
Some rocks to look out for depending on tide and sand levels. Watch where others are surfing before you go in or ask a surf instructor/lifeguard where it’s safest to surf.
Waves too big with south swell? Check Beliche or try the west coast.
You’re not likely to find waves at Beliche with a south swell unless it’s a big one (2m+).
Great shelter from a strong north wind. Watch before you go in to see how the waves break, depending on sandbanks and tide level it can get fast and steep.
South Swell: Algarve West Coast
A big south swell (2m+) makes ideal conditions all along the west coast, especially for beginners.
The closest west coast surf breaks that we recommend: Castelejo, Cordoama and Bordeira.
All with sandy bottom, occasional obvious rocks at Castelejo and Cordoama.
Lots of space to spread out at Bordeira but very exposed to the wind.
North-Northwest-West Swell: Algarve West Coast
In the summer, with a small to medium swell (from under 1m up to 1.5m), the west coast is fun for every surfer.
A slightly bigger swell makes perfect white water for beginners, some nice green wave opportunities for beginner-intermediate, and plenty of playtime for experienced surfers out the back.
Above 1.8m usually we recommend to try the south coast.
Depending on wind strength and direction, choose from:
Castelejo and Cordoama - slightly more shelter from the wind, depending on sandbanks can get closeouts at low tide.
Bordeira – very exposed to wind but less affected by tide.
North-Northwest-West Swell: Algarve South Coast
A small swell from the west (under 1.2 m) will sometimes bring gentle waves to Tonel, possibly very small waves for Zavial, unlikely Beliche, not Mareta.
Over 1.5 m - usually Tonel and Zavial have good waves for beginners/improvers, maybe a small wave at Beliche. Not likely for Mareta.
Over 2m west/northwest/north swell - south coast spots all should have waves.
In order of size from biggest to smallest – Tonel, Zavial, Beliche, Mareta. Check one and then if it’s too big or small, use the info above to know where to try next.
What else do you need to know?
A lot of things can change the spots – how long the swell or wind remain the same, the swell period (the higher the number of seconds, the more powerful the waves – around 8 to 12 secs is normal) and the size of the tide.
It takes a bit of time to understand the spots and of course the ocean is never predictable (that's why we love it, right!)
You can find the forecasts and check conditions here for Sagres and other local spots
Or if you find it all confusing and prefer to wake up, eat breakfast and be driven to the beach without having to think about it, come with us!
We have years of experience surfing in Sagres so can take you straight to the best surf spot every day.
Join us to stay safe in the water, and learn the best way - in the right waves for your level. You can find information about our surf school here or check out our Surf & Stay packages for an absolutely stress-free surf holiday.
We look forward to seeing you and surfing with you soon!
From all of us at Sagres Natura =)