Beyond the festivals, concerts and cultural activities in Portugal, lies a community of people who exist to ride the waves. This isn’t just a hobby for them, it’s a way of life!
What makes Iberia unique is that each and every beach hosts its own culture, a place where the wave obsessed can enjoy a customized experience based on their needs. Whether it’s the type of waves, the people it attracts or the schools it hosts, it’s a world onto itself. But if you’re not savvy as to what to look for, knowledgable in what each school offers, you may find yourself frustrated and ill equipped to chose the right surf school.
So what are you looking for?
A top surf school will give you proper coaching, while taking care of every detail. The staff will be professional, certified, and experienced. They’ll provide the ultimate environment for learning, teach proper surfing etiquette, take you to the best waves for your level, get you to stand up on a board at least once, ensure safety, provide equipment, cook awesome meals, introduce you to new people, and leave you with an unforgettable experience. Learn more about choosing a surf school here.
Now comes the fun part, choosing where to go!
Below I’ve listed my top 10 favorite schools in Portugal and Spain. These are personal suggestions based on my experiences, but don’t hesitate to share some of your own!
This surf school is located in the most western part of Europe: a small surf town in beautiful Sagres with lessons taking place at several different beach-breaks in the area. They offer unique and exclusive Surf and Yoga retreats, private and group lessons, accommodation, hiking tours and excellent healthy meals. They offer two different types of retreat packages: Pure Flow Motions; including surf, yoga, hiking and vegetarian meals and also Freeride surf and Yoga Holiday.
Situated in Ericeira, this camp is a base for one of many they manage around the world. Lapoint offers all-inclusive carefree holiday packages with meals, yoga classes, excursions, and lessons for every level. Whether you are looking for something social and fun-fueled or something that offers complete retreat and privacy, they have accommodation designed to cater for everyone from couples to groups and those traveling alone. With a Scandinavian based staff and cliental, their coaches are some of the best from Portugal.
Located in the world-class premiere spot, Peniche, this school is well suited for those in search of mid-range to luxury accommodation and packages. They provide lessons tailored for all skill levels, and amenities including: lodging at their 4-5 star hotel, dining at their exquisite restaurant relaxing in a Jacuzzi out on their terrace, and taking part in their yoga and surfing classes offered.
Sorry boys, your not invited this time. Strictly girls only! Here is a chance for those already advanced in their love for waves, to any girl who simply loves the beach and has ever thought, “I want to try something new,” to gather around for an organized week of yoga and riding time! They offer basic packages of simple lodging and food, to all inclusive of everything you could hope for as a “gurfer” (surfer who is a girl). Looking to take a step further in your surfing career? Try their experienced weeks of coaching at the best spots and at prime tides with your own personal surf guide. Lets go babes on waves!
Surf Castle is a boutique hotel built in 1920, located in Baleal and overlooks one of the best reef breaks in all Portugal, Lagido. It is an old-style surf camp that conducts smaller group sizes of 6 max persons in a friendly, family and kids style environment.
Situated in the southern region of Spain in Costa de la Luz, Andalusia, is a place where the Mediterranean and Arabic culture meet each other. El Palmar surf camp is influenced by this culture and provides lessons, accommodation in surf houses, bed and breakfast or full packages with a chance to taste great Spanish cuisine cooked by local chefs.
This is an all summer long surf school, located in one of the most popular cities of Europe, San Sebastian, Spain. It is ideal for a younger crowd looking to surf, meet different cultures, and party (Spanish style). It’s an all-in-one hostel, surf camp and surf school that offers basic or all-inclusive packages. (Camping optional)
Somo beach is a four mile long stretch of fine sand, with excellent conditions year long and waves good for beginners. It is located in a small laid-back village on the northern coast of Spain, in the region of Cantabria. The school is open from Easter to October and offers a range of surf and body board camps with or without accommodation.
Hopupu Surf Camp is situated in Tarifa, Spain, a world famous spot, popular for kite surfers and windsurfers. When the wind is blowing at a good speed and direction, surfing here features something that no other camp can offer, panoramic views of Morocco at your back. If necessary, they own several locations across the region of Cadiz and will move in search of the best conditions. They have many other activities to explore such as: hiking, SUP, windsurfing and cycling.
Lets not forget the tiny islands falling off the coast of Portugal, just left of Morocco, known as the “European Hawaii.” Here you will find, Lanza Surf camp, recognized as an official surf school of the Canary Surf Association and having three locations to choose from: Famara Breach, Lanzarote and the Canary Islands. They offer accommodation by the beach, surf lessons, yoga classes, massages, Spanish classes and fitness and training classes. What you may find most unique is the “a la carte” section, in which you can create your own individual package!