Travel Guide to Portugal

Top 10 Surf Schools in Spain and Portugal

By Guest Author

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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 unto itself. But if you’re not savvy as to what to look for, knowledgeable in what each school offers, you may find yourself frustrated and ill-equipped to choose 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!


Freeride Surf Camp 

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 clientele, their coaches are some of the best from Portugal. 

Surfers Lodge Peniche

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. 

Chicks on Waves 

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. Let’s go babes on waves! 

Surf Castle 

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. 



El Palmar

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.

Somo Surfhouse Surf Camp                                                                                                     

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 bodyboard camps with or without accommodation.                                                                                        

Hopupu Surf Camp                                                                                                                  

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.                                  

Lanzasurf Surf Camp                                                                                                                      

Let us 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!                                                                                     

Do you need help customizing the perfect surfing vacation for you? Let us help!


Leah Burt

Contact Catavino to book your custom surf experience!

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Since 2005, Catavino has been exploring the Iberian Peninsula
looking for the very best food and wine experiences.

Since 2005, Catavino has been exploring the Iberian Peninsula looking for the very best food and wine experiences.

Catavino is the best place to learn about travel, food
and wine in Portugal and Spain.

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