Written by Emma from Noserider Surf Club
We’ve all got our own holiday style. For some, it’s all about summiting mountains, while for others, local delicacies hit the mark. Some find their calling amongst the whispers of local history, while others find serenity amidst the rolling waves.
So what happens when you bring these people together for one vacation?
Quite simply, it’s all about location!
Select the right spot for your getaway – one with waves, wine, wellness and everything in-between – and no one’s complaining.
Placed with perfection along the glistening west coast of Portugal, the authentic Portuguese town of Peniche beckons. Like a colorful canvas, Peniche boasts stunning beaches with golden sands caressed by Atlantic waves. Then, there’s an Old Town to discover, history to unveil and gastronomic experiences to embark on – can’t be bad.
In this article, we offer a little taste of Peniche. From surfing, to relaxation and adventure, we’ll pull together the perfect recipe for a ‘bit of everything’ surf holiday in this beautiful part of Portugal.
Whether you’re a surfer searching for the perfect wave, or a wanderer seeking out hidden treasures, Peniche is a cute little paradise that will leave you spellbound.
We’re talking hidden coves, historic ruins, sprawling beaches and a non-touristy Portuguese ambiance. In particular, visitors are enticed here by highlights such as Fortaleza de Peniche, an old Portuguese fortress, Berlengas Islands, known for their stunning landscapes and crystal-clear waters and Cabo Carvoeiro, a rugged cape offering breathtaking views across the ocean. Not to mention, Peniche is also home to ancient caves with evidence of human life from 40,000 years ago.
But Peniche is of course mostly known for its coastline and spot-on surfing conditions; it’s a real magnet for surfers! Its world-class reputation comes from a whole list of plusses, including its consistent and powerful Atlantic swells, famous beach breaks (one of which hosts the annual WSL Championship Tour event) and accessibility for all skill levels. From beginners to pros surfers, Peniche keeps its arms wide open to surf-loving visitors.
And just when you thought it couldn’t get any more idyllic, Peniche’s warm-summer Mediterranean climate makes it a great year-round spot for holiday makers. Looking for surf, sun and solace? You’ve found it!
Catching Waves on Along the Coast
Peniche is located on a beautiful headland that juts into the Atlantic Ocean, about an hour’s drive north of Lisbon. Its geographical features make it perfect for surfing.
In particular, surf-crazy visitors love Peniche’s endless beaches which arch out in both directions from the center. With the region at your fingertips, you’re free to discover the wild coast of Baleal to the north, or everything down to Supertubos in the south (Europe’s most famous beach break).
Accordingly, die-hard surfers will also love Peniche’s expert ability to entice non-surfing friends to a taste of the waves. Because as well as its beauty, the region offers all sorts of surfing options for beginners, intermediate or professional surfers. From sand-bottomed areas that are perfect for learning, to challenging rocky reef sections, you’ve got a whole spectrum of surfing experiences to choose from.
When to Surf
Let’s get to it! Early morning sessions are famously best. Typically, around sunrise, you’ll get some calm conditions, clean waves, lighter winds and potentially fewer crowds. A huge plus is that the morning light can create a beautiful atmosphere on the water.
Late afternoon sessions, usually a few hours before sunset, can also be a great time to surf in Peniche. The winds tend to die down around this time, providing better wave quality, plus the lighting conditions can be stunning.
Exploring Surf Lessons and Rentals
When traveling with a group of surfers and non-surfers, lessons are a great way to add some structure to your holiday (if that’s what you like). Without the restriction of a surf camp, you’re totally free to select lessons or surf schools upon arrival (except in summer when they’re super busy). Countless spots along the main road to Ferrel and around Baleal Beach are ready to help you out.
Rentals also aren’t hard to come by in Peniche, so no stress. Little cabanas set up behind the sand in Baleal and Peniche itself offer rentals for about €15-25 for a surfboard and wetsuit for two hours.
Exploring Surfing Spots in Peniche
For the Experts
The two main spots for the experts among us are Papo and Supertubos. Rivaling Nazare, Papo boasts some impressive swells in winter and some big drops. If you’re not a pro – don’t even think about it. Then, world-renowned Supertubos in the south of the town is considered the baby version of iconic tube rides such as Uluwatu. It will be busy here, but totally worth it.
Agreed to join your surfing friends on a surf holiday to Peniche? You’ll want to start in the north east of Peniche in Gigi and Prainha. Here, you’re protected from dominant swells by Baleal Island. We’d recommend hitting the waves early in the morning, because it can get pretty busy.
For Those Somewhere In-between
Those ready to take their surfing to the next level should head straight to Cantinho de Baia. This iconic spot is home to a classic Portuguese beach break. Then there’s bananas. Big in winter and often the best spot in the region during the summer months, it’s all about glassy walls which break against sand (and sometimes there will be a mini barrel).
Balancing Surf Adventures and Relaxation
While surfing adds a thrilling dose of adventure to your vacation, relaxation is always welcome. In Peniche, a destination where the beaches beckon both bathers and surfers alike, both the adventurous souls and those chasing a life of leisure can find fulfillment.
Looking to plan your group holiday? Here are some things you can do so that the whole group leaves on cloud nine.
Choose Accommodation Carefully
Opt for an Airbnb, hostel or hotel that works for everyone. For example, select one with surf boards included, but also a pool or sundeck for the readers, yogis and masters of relaxation.
Stick to a Loose Plan
Although it might sound counter-initiative to the nature of a holiday, planning your time will help to keep everyone content. Outside of surfing time, set aside moments for sunset dinners, exploring the town, hiking and beach time. This way, everyone knows what to expect.
Select a Great Location
Stay in a location that meets the criteria of your group. This might include easy beach access, but also close proximity to the town and its cafes and restaurants.
Book Activities Outside of Surfing
Always wanted to try windsurfing, or perhaps another watersport? Book an activity that everyone can try together as beginners.
Surf on Alternate Days
So that the group can enjoy time spent together, you might like to plan alternate days of surfing and non-surfing. This way, everyone will know what to expect on which day, whether it’s strapping on the surfboard or lounging in comfy surf bikinis on the sandy shores.
Peniche is Calling
Phenomenal Peniche offers a little taste of everything for groups with diverse tastes. It’s a place where action-packed days with 6am starts come naturally, and where relaxing mornings characterized by beach walks, coffee and pastel de nata are no sweat.
Digital nomads, wellness seekers, surfers and sightseers – Peniche is calling!