Sagres is known to be one of the top surfing spots in Europe and the number one surf spot of the Algarve. But why is this? What makes Sagres so special and why do so many surfers come back here year after year?
Let us show you a couple of factors about Surf in Sagres and why we decided to found our Surf Camp at the so called “End of the World”.
Two coasts = More waves
Sagres is located on the southwest tip of the Algarve. This means, when the waves get too big on the west coast, here you can still surf on the south coast, with protection from the wind and the very big swells. This gives you the maximum choice and offers top surf conditions for all levels of surfers.
Lots of beaches
Sagres and its surrounding area offers many beaches to choose from. It means you can pick the perfect place to suit your level of surfing and experience. There are wide open beaches which give you a feeling of wild and free and there are also small coves that feel more cosy. If you scroll down a bit you will find our Surf Guide with our favourite 7 Surf Spots. And the best thing: they’re all just a short drive away!
Sunshine (almost) all year through
It’s almost always sunny here in the southern Algarve, but it’s equally very rare that it gets too hot in Sagres, even in summer, because of strong winds from the Atlantic. So, there’s not too much heat that will soak up your energy, but the constant sunny weather makes the Sagres Natives smile all of the time, especially when we watch it go down at the end of a great day.
Clear & Cool Water
Strong currents bring clean water, a clear blue ocean and cool temperatures that are perfect to keep up your energy for surfing. No risk of reef cuts or infections from tropical water here and no pollution from cities or power stations either. It’s much nicer to feel safe and stay cool in some of the cleanest seawater around Europe!
Vast marine life but no shark attacks!
The sea around the western Algarve is rich in marine life, with seabirds, hundreds of types of fish, and bigger species, like dolphins and whales, feeding, breeding or just passing through on migration. It’s the perfect place to feel connected with the ocean and all its life and occasionally see a pod of dolphins or whales passing by.
Also, there’s never been a report of a shark attack in Portugal. Sharks have been seen very occasionally, but usually they’re just passing by, far out to sea on the migration route. The harmless ones that actually live in the sea around here stay out much deeper and have plenty of fish to eat, so they’ve don’t need to come and eat our surfboards!
Friendly people and enough space for everyone
Because Sagres is in the Costa Vicentina Natural Park, it’s kept a small-town fishing vibe and with many beaches but not too many people, so you can always find a space for your towel on the beach! While other surf destinations get developed and overcrowded, Sagres still keeps a laidback very relaxed feeling, even in the busiest summer months. And lots of the people that stay in Sagres all year through are passionate surfers, so you will get to meet lots of like-minded people!
the top 7 surf beaches
our surf spot guide
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. 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 spots 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 instructoror 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
castelejo, cordoama & bordeira
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
castelejo, cordoama & bordeira
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
tonel, zavial, Beliche & mareta
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