What to do

Surf Trip in the North of Portugal

Gonçalo Pina CC-BY-NC-ND

Have you ever imagined being able to surf in the morning, go for a cultural stroll in the afternoon and discover the wonders of Portuguese cuisine by night? All this is possible in Porto and the North of Portugal. You will quickly realize that going on a surf trip is much easier than keeping yourself standing on a surfboard during the first surf lesson.

In the Porto region, the most popular beaches for surf and bodyboard have a good water quality and support services, such as bathrooms, showers and first aid stations. Usually you can rent surf and bodyboard material and even hire private lessons with experienced teachers.

The ease of access enables you to visit several beaches by simply using public transportation such as the train and the subway. You can then go on an eco surf trip and spend three days comfortably discovering the best waves of the beaches of Porto, Espinho, Vila do Conde and Póvoa de Varzim.

First day: Porto and so close to the waves

For lovers of the waves, the first place to visit in the city of Porto is the International beach. This is located right next to Matosinhos Beach, another very popular beach for lovers of water sports. Both are great for beginners or less experienced surfers, so there are several surf schools that offer group or private lessons and that allow the rental of material.

Arrive early to the International beach to smell the salt air and check the status of the sea. In this beach, as well as in Matosinhos beach, waves are almost always guaranteed. The existence of the Matosinhos Beach breakwater makes for an almost always calm sea, so you can surf or bodyboard safely.

More experienced surfers will enjoy the left waves that form along the rocks. In this area the ripple has more power and the waves reach a greater height. For starters the beach of Matosinhos, accessible by the large extension of sand, is more appropriate. These beaches are quite popular on weekends, so if you want to exchange views on the waves with the surfers from Porto, this is the place.

After a morning in the sea, it is time to rest. Have a light meal overlooking the sea in the Transparent Building or in the restaurants of the Porto riverside area. Then take the rail car that will take you from the Foz to the Ribeira of Porto.

The day is already over and the body needs some rest, for tomorrow is surfing day again. In the riverside area there are many options for dining: international cuisine, restaurants of renowned chefs and traditional Portuguese cuisine. Whatever your choice might be, finishing the meal with a glass of Port wine will be a good choice to sample the most famous Portuguese wine.

Second day: By train to Espinho

On the second day, after a hearty breakfast, go to the station of São Bento and take the train to Espinho, one of the best places for surfing and body-boarding in the North.

From Porto to Espinho it's less than 30 minutes and the train station is about 500 meters from the Baía beach. The Baía beach is located directly opposite the Espinho Casino, and it's famous for offering one of the best waves for surfing and body boarding. The "Direita do Casino" as the wave that forms at this beach is known, is the favourite of many surfers, including elite athletes.

More experienced players will enjoy this beach for the quality of the waves. For amateurs, there are nearby surf schools to help improve the technique of mastering the waves. Board prepared and warming up done, it is time to enter the sea!

After a few hours of fun in the waves, discover the gastronomy of the city of Espinho. If you're a fan of seafood, know that there are many restaurants on the riverside area that serve various specialties, such as fish soup and the seafood rice. After lunch, it is time to return to Porto.

Enjoy visiting the historical city center until dinner time. On Monday night, opt for a typically Porto plate: the Francesinha. After dinner, a hike to the streets of Cândido dos Reis and Galeria de Paris, nightlife centers in the city, is a must.

Third day: Sea and traditions in Vila do Conde and Póvoa de Varzim

Today is a day to surf in Póvoa de Varzim, a city that is situated about 30 kilometers away from downtown Porto. The sea is the engine of this city: fishing is a very important activity for the population and long sandy beaches are sought by many tourists from northern Portugal.

Line B (red) of Porto Metro ends in Póvoa de Varzim, so we suggest you use this means of transportation to get to the beach. The trip takes about 60 minutes and you'll see that the landscape transforms along the way. The houses clusters become less present as the green starts occupying the landscape.

After arriving in Póvoa de Varzim, follow on foot to the seaside road. Watch the sea along the seaside road and choose the location that brings together the best conditions for surfing or body boarding. Póvoa's is intended for experienced surfers, as the seabed is composed of sand and rocks. When sea conditions are favorable, the waves are consistent and quite strong, excellent for surfing.

Do not leave the city without visiting the fishermen's area, full of small boats and fishing nets. In this land so connected to the sea, try the grilled fish of the region. Return to Porto to say farewell to the city.

For dinner, choose a traditional Portuguese food restaurant. Between meat and fish dishes, there are plenty to choose from: octopus, cod-based dishes, Porto style "Tripas" (guts) or caldo verde (potato and cabbage based soup). After all, good gastronomic memories should also be part of a surf trip.

To make this plan a reality, please contact us. We are happy to help you!

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