Algarve Surf Spots

Best Beginner Surf Spots in Algarve, Portugal

There are many surf spots in the Algarve, ranging from fun beach breaks to heavy point breaks. However, some spots stand out as the best beginner surf spots in the Algarve. We will try to explain why from the perspective of our surf coaches from their own experiences of teaching.

Below, a list of some of the absolute best beginner surf spots in the Algarve, starting on the south coast and heading west. 

Meia Praia – Lagos

Situated right in the center of Lagos just to the side of the main marina jetty. Meia Praia is a sand bottom beach break that generally works from south swell created by storms in the Mediterranean. As coaches, we often deal with small protected clean conditions here. Ranging from knee-high all the way through to head high on some occasions. Small and clean with multiple sandbanks to choose from. Often easy to read and long smooth wave faces. A great beginner surf spot! 

Porto de Mos – Lagos

Situated in Lagos as well this is a beach with multiple setups that include a shallow left-hand slab that can barrel, a mellow right-hand point break, and a selection of sandbanks with mostly sand bottom. Again, on the south coast benefiting from big swells from NW or W directions generally leads to smaller protected and cleaner little waves. This surf spot for beginners has predictable sandbanks and waves that make it easy for coaches to teach and easy for students to understand.

Zavial – Raposeira

Zavial Raposeira surf algarve

Zavial is on its day a world-class supremely heavy wave that can seriously scare top-level surfers into submission. On days we coach beginners at Zavial we go there for 2 hours after high tide on conditions no bigger than 1-2 foot offshore. Zavial is a south coast surf spot that faces more like a west coast beach. This gives me around 3 hours before it gets too low tide and a bit too dumpy. Again, early in the tide, the wave is more mellow and predictable. It offers fast walls and consistently powerful whitewater. We find we can normally really improve a beginner’s skill set considerably in just one session here. The beach can become crowded and busy. So we often try to get there for a sunrise breakfast on the beach and get the session done before the crowds wake up. 

Read more about this amazing surf spot in our Zavial Surf Spot Guide.

Marreta – Sagres

Marreta Sagres Algarve

Very rarely does this beach have enough swell to surf. When we do get a large SW swell though we can see beautiful beach break conditions at this sand bottom beach. It is a friendly wave with some reasonably fast walls. Generally, it works better in the middle portion of the tide. And when it works it can get busy as it will often be too big or too stormy elsewhere. It has predictable sandbanks and predictable waves, so it makes it a great place for beginners. 

Praia da Bordeira – Carrapateira

Bordeira is a huge long beach with multiple sandbanks. Owing to its length and the 10-minute walk down to the beach from the parking it can be very much a painful walk for a great reward. The trade-off for the walk is often empty sandbanks for you to learn to surf. It has fantastic power being an exposed beach on the West coast with great whitewater and some great reforms. Generally, we try to use the 2-3 hours in the middle of high and low tide. It does suffer from large rips channels and as a result, try to make sure to surf here with an instructor to keep you safe whilst you learn. One of our favorite beginner surf spots in the Algarve. 

Arrifana – Aljezur

A beautiful beach on the west coast that has high cliffs providing great wind protection. It faces a bit south which also provides swell protection. On the right side, as you look to the ocean, there is a world-class right-hand point break that works only on big swells. For beginners, there is a great collection of sandbanks littered along the beach that provide powerful whitewater and great reforms. Best surfed in the middle of the tide for beginners. Also owing to the setup and high cliffs it is a fantastic spot to teach science about wave catching and reading. The high up overview is fantastic for coaches to provide many experienced surfers reading tips. 

Final thoughts

But even these spots can have different conditions. As surf coaches, sometimes we describe it like this: “When you look at the sea and it is stormy, choppy and wild, it is like trying to read a book in a language you don’t read or understand. When conditions are good for learning, you will look at the sea and it will be as simple as reading a children’s fairy-tale and easy to understand.”

Interested and want to learn how to surf, book our week-long Surf Package. For you, that means you’ll get unmatched surf coaching tailored to your individual needs.