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The Complete Guide to Kitesurfing in Portugal

With a long stretch of coastline that faces both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, Portugal is known best for its world class waves that are legendary in the surfing community; add that to the strong seasonal wind, and you can bet your buoyancy vest that Portugal is a kite destination that should be on your radar.

But wait; back up a second and tear your mind away from the water (just for a second- promise!).

What else can you expect from a visit to Portugal?

For one, it’s a seriously easy country to navigate your way around thanks to the top notch infrastructure and generally awesome level of English among the locals. It’s in the euro-zone too, which is a handy one for other European kite travelers- and on top of that, it’s a relatively inexpensive place when you factor in costs like food and accommodation.

Culturally, Portugal ticks all the boxes: the architecture is fabulous, the towns are colourful, the streets are full of interesting things to look at, and the food is as good as it gets.

Best time to kitesurf in Portugal: May to October

Average water temperature: During the summer months the water temperature hangs around a balmy 22-24 degrees, but during the winter months you can cut that in half.

Wetsuit recommendation: During the warm summer months, a shorty will be more than enough to keep you comfortable. Throughout the rest of the year, a full length wetsuit is recommended.

Wind type: Thermal, Nortada, best when it blows from the North/Northwest

Water conditions: mainly waves, but you can find flat water spots and lagoons too.

Top tips for beginners: Many of Portugal’s renowned kite spots have big waves and strong swell, which isn’t ideal if you’re just getting to grips with your basic riding skills. Keep and eye out for places with flat water lagoons and wide sandy beaches such as Lagos and Faro, located down in the Algarve region.



In addition, it pays to know that the waves are usually much stronger in the winter time than in the summer. During the summer season, many of the spots (for example, Costa Caparica) have much more easy going conditions than that of the winter.

Bstoked kitesurfing experiences in Portugal

Top kitesurfing spots in Portugal

Guincho

Just a 30 minute train ride from Lisbon, Guincho kite beach has some of the most reliable wind in all of Portugal (the northerly mountains tend to increase the force of the thermal winds that blow here).

This isn’t a spot for the faint of heart; waves at Guincho beach are well over a meter to a meter and a half- getting even bigger during periods of strong swell. That said, if you’re into your surfboard riding then this is the place to kite in Portugal.

The flat sand bottom creates a beautiful break separated by clean areas to play around in in between the waves. Just take note of the big rocks on either side of the beach; these are the only real obstacles that need to be avoided.

Peniche/Praia Do Baleal

Famed for its strong swell and big waves, Praia do Baleal isn’t one for beginners. However, intermediate and advanced kiters are sure to dig the awesome surf and spacious sandy beaches.

The wider area of Peniche is a fantastic place to join a kite camp, kite tour, or even to plan a solo road trip thanks to the abundance of kiteable spots dotted within a half hour’s radius.

Lagoa de Óbidos

This is Portugal’s largest flat water lagoon- perfect for beginners, freeriders, and wakestyle kiters. Connected to the ocean via an estuary, the lagoon is affected by the tides- and during low tide it can become very shallow near the sandbars (so it’s best to head here during high tide). The best place to launch is on the Foz do Arelho side, where there’s plenty of space and a number of schools and facilities.

wave kitesurfing in Portugal

Wave riding in Portugal’s famous surf

Caparica

Caparica is littered with kiteable spots, but unfortunately kiteboarding is not permitted everywhere. Best stick to the designated kite beaches, the most notable of which is Novo Vaga.

Located on the southern stretch of Caparica, Novo Vaga enjoys fairly steady wind and 1-1.5 meter waves. During the winter months the swell here can get seriously heavy, but during the peak kite season in the summer the waves shrink in size and are far more manageable for us mere mortals- ideal for wave riding novices and intermediate jumpers.

Just 15 minutes south, you’ve also got access to Fonte da Telha, an increasingly popular kitesurfing beach with a handful of schools already in operation. Further south still (about a half hour’s drive away) you’ll hit the iconic Lagoa de Albufeira, which offers a mix of flat water lagoon riding and challenging breaks outside.

North Portugal

Viana do Castelo/Cabedelo

This is, without doubt, Northern Portugal’s best kiteboarding spot. Cabedelo is a long, sandy beach facing a big bay- there’s plenty of safe launching space and very few obstacles to worry about. There are two piers here, which create a mellow flat(ish) spot to play around in while saying sheltered from the waves.

Though if it’s waves you’re looking for, Cabedelo doesn’t disappoint. Clean breakers roll through the bay virtually all year round; if you want to experience the waves at their best, come during the full moon.

Esposende

When you’re done playing around in the waves at Cabedelo, there’s a wealth of other kite beaches within a stone’s throw of Viana do Castelo; Esposende is definitely one worth checking out.

This is one of those idyllic kite destinations that offers a little bit of everything: clean waves, flat water, and above all- awesome wind. No wonder it has become known as one of North Portugal’s best kiteboarding spots!

kiteboarding in Esposende, Portugal

After an amazing day kiting in Esposende

Algarve:

Lagos/Alvor

Set into the iconic Algarve coastline, Lagos and the neighbouring Alvor are ideal places to stay for kitesurfers looking to score a mix of waves and flat water.

On the Lagos side of the bay, Meia Praia is the most popular kite beach. This is the spot to head for if you’re a beginner or intermediate kiter, thanks to the forgiving moderate winds and wide, spacious beach area (but keep an eye on the forecast as wind is often offshore here). On the other side, Praia de Alvor boasts similar conditions and is a safe bet for intermediate kiters ready to test out their slalom skills.

Between the two, there’s a flat water lagoon that draws all kinds of kiters- from total newbies to seasoned freestylers. The lagoon is accessible from both Lagos and Alvor, although the former requires a boat to reach it and the latter you can walk from. The lagoon is tidal, and shrinks considerably during low tide- so best head here when it’s high.

Wind tends to pick up strength as the afternoon progresses, so 9’s and 10’s usually get swapped for 7’s and 8’s. Beginners might find it more manageable during the late morning/early afternoon.

Carrapateira

Known by locals as one of Southern Portugal’s hidden kitesurfing gems, Carrapateira sits just half an hour’s drive away from Lagos and is a fantastic option for a day trip for those kiting in the Algarve.

The likes of Bordeira offer beautiful big wave conditions that are popular with surfers, but thanks to the cross-onshore wind it’s a suitable kitesurfing spot as well. There’s also a flat water lagoon hidden behind the estuary. This spot works best in the winter; summer time winds are pretty light here.

South of the headland, you’ve got Amado, whose chaotic breaks are usually too much to kite in during the southwesterlies, but it can make for a fun little playground when the northerlies blow strong enough during the winter months.

Faro

Portugal’s southerly city, Faro, is home to a handful of kiteable beaches. The ones to take note of are Ilha da Barreta, Ilha de Culatra, Barrinha, and Ilha de Armona. Down these parts you can find a mix of flat water lagoons, waves, and moderate chop on the open ocean. By virtue of the beautiful island located just off the coast, this is an ideal place to get involved with a kite safari or a cruise on a catamaran.

When you’ve exhausted your time around these parts, head just half an hour east and you’ll hit Cabanas de Tavira, another popular Algarve kitesurfing destination thanks to its moderate winds and safe spacious beach area.

>>>Check out Bstoked kiteboarding experiences in Portugal<<<

3 Awesome Kitesurfing Camps in Portugal to Show You the Best of the Country

With nearly 2,000 kilometers of coastline, Portugal is bursting with potential for the world’s wandering kitesurf tribe.

On the west coast, you’ll find wild Atlantic waves and challenging ocean rides, with a few flat water spots thrown into the mix. Meanwhile, down in the Algarve you’ll find a pleasant combination of gentle sea swells and mirror flat lagoons.

But off the water (yes, we said it- stay with us!) there’s so much more to see and do in this fascinating country.

Portuguese culture, architecture, landscape, and lifestyle is enough to keep anyone’s plate full- and speaking of plates, did we mention the food? Wear your stretchy waistbands on this holiday, lads and lassies.

Bstoked kitesurfing experiences in Portugal

Why join a kitesurfing camp in Portugal?

Kiteboarding camps are an awesome way to experience a new place and connect with new people. They offer a hassle-free, low-stress method of planning your whole trip- from accommodation to gear rental (and everything in between).

There’s camps for every kind of kiter; progression camps for intermediate riders looking to hone in on specific skills, beginner-friendly camps for those hoping to get to grips with their basic techniques in a fun and social setting, clinics for more advanced riders- you name it.

One great thing about kite camps is that they’re organised by locals who know exactly what to include in the itinerary to ensure that you have the best trip possible and maximise your water time.

Best time to kitesurf in Portugal: May to October

Average water temperature: During the summer months the water temperature hangs around a balmy 22-24 degrees, but during the winter months you can cut that in half.

Wetsuit recommendation: A shorty in the summertime and full length throughout the rest of the year.

Wind type: Thermal, Nortada, best when it blows from the North/Northwest

Water conditions: mainly waves, but you can find flat water spots and lagoons too.

Top tips for beginners: Keep and eye out for camps that take place near flat water lagoons and wide sandy beaches such as Obidos and Alvor Lagoon.

Kiteboarding camps in Portugal

Exploring Algrave

3 awesome kitesurfing camps in Portugal

Kite, Surf & SUP camp in Esposende

Tucked away in a corner of the northern coastline, Esposende is part of the scenic municipality of Viana do Castelo. Esposende is one of those magical kite destinations that offers every kind of condition: flat water, waves, and most importantly- wind.

This kite camp in Portugal’s Esposende offers a fabulous mix of all things water sports: kite lessons, surf classes, and SUP trips to the nearby river.

Lagoon Kitesurfing Camp in Lagoa de Óbidos

Just over an hour outside of Lisbon, Obidos is home to Portugal’s largest flat water lagoon- ideal for beginners, freeriders, and freestyle kitesurfers. The wind is a tad lighter here compared with the full force Nortada you’d find at the nearby spots, which makes the conditions much more forgiving for beginner riders.

The camp location is chilled and tranquil- perfect for those looking to recharge their batteries while clocking in some serious water hours.

Authentic Algarve Adventure in Burgau

The Algarve is one of the most beautiful regions in all of Portugal; not only that, it’s also the location of some of the country’s best kiteboarding spots. The famous Alvor Lagoon is an awesome place to enjoy some flat water action, and it’s a suitable spot for beginner to advanced riders.

This camp is the ultimate choice for anyone who fancies having the whole package designed for them: fab accommodation, social kite lessons, yoga, SUPing- you’ve even got the option to try your hand at snorkeling, mountain biking, and skydiving (eeek!).

>>>Check out Bstoked kiteboarding experiences in Portugal<<<

Why You Should Definitely go Kitesurfing in Portugal’s Algarve Region

The Algarve, Portugal’s most southerly region, is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful places in the country. With a coastline that stretches along the Mediterranean Sea on the southern side and a portion of the Atlantic Ocean on the western side, the Algarve is comprised of craggy cliff faces, stunning ocean vistas, quaint fishing towns, and peaceful countryside.

 

Sounds good, right?

 

As if that wasn’t enough to have us packing our getaway bags, the Algarve is also home to some of Portugal’s best kitesurfing spots.

 

Want to know about all of the other places you can kitesurf in Portugal? Head over to our complete guide to kitesurfing in Portugal to find out more.

 

 

Bstoked kitesurfing experiences in Portugal

 

 

 

Where? What? When? And most importantly… Can I come too??

 

Yes indeed, this beautiful region of Portugal is absolutely filled with idyllic kiteboarding beaches. There’s something for every kind of kitesurfer in Portugal’s Algarve, from big-time wave rippers to freestyle freaks- and even total beginners.

 

Head to the outskirts of Faro for overhead waves and open ocean rodeos, or make your way to the iconic Alvor Lagoon for flat water fun and beginner lessons; the beauty of the Algarve is that there’s a perfect place for everyone- no matter what your style or level.

 

Best time to kitesurf in Portugal’s Algarve: May to October

 

Average water temperature: During the summer months the water temperature hangs around a balmy 22-24 degrees, but during the winter months you can cut that in half.

 

Wetsuit recommendation: During the warm summer months, a shorty will be more than enough to keep you comfortable. Throughout the rest of the year, a full length wetsuit is recommended.

 

Wind type: Thermal, Nortada, best when it blows from the North/Northwest

 

Water conditions: mix of wave, chop, and flat water

 

Top tips for beginners: While Portugal is often touted for its big wave kite spots, such places aren’t ideal for beginners. One great thing about the Algarve is that there are plenty of different kite spots to choose from- and many of them are beginner friendly. Keep your eyes peeled for flat water lagoons (such as the one at Alvor) and beaches that are sheltered from the big waves.

In addition, it pays to know that the waves are usually much stronger in the winter time than in the summer. During the summer season, many of the spots (for example, Costa Caparica) have much more easy going conditions than that of the winter.

 

 

Learning to kite in the lagoon

 

 

 

Top Spots for Kitesurfing in Portugal’s Algarve Region

 

 

Alvor Lagoon

 

Pinned near the top of the list of Portugal’s top flat water kite spots, the Alvor Lagoon is a spot to know about if you’re heading for the Algarve. For years the lagoon (or Ria de Alvor as it’s locally known) has been a place favoured by kiters and windsurfers, thanks to its waist-deep water and reliable wind.

 

Alvor Lagoon works best during the Nortada (northerly) wind, but it’s one of those fortunate places that also works when the wind comes from the south, too. Bear in mind it can be a bit of a gusty spot; beginners may find it more manageable early in the day when the wind is slightly lighter. Overall though, this lagoon is far more beginner friendly than the open sea on the outside, which can often have powerful overhead waves.

 

 

Lagos

 

On the banks of the bay opposite Alvor, Lagos is another key spot in the Algarve kitesurfing scene. The main beach, Meia Praia, is moderately sheltered from the rough open sea and enjoys comparably gentle baby swells and stable winds.

 

The beach area itself is spacious and free from obstacles, which is a big bonus for newbie kiters who are still getting to grips with their kite control skills. For more advanced riders, the eastern breakwater creates gorgeous clean waves that are perfect for ripping around on.

 

 

Faro

 

Creeping closer to the Spanish border, Faro’s southern beaches are awash with beautiful kitesurfing spots. The likes of Ilha da Barreta offer secluded seascapes to ride around on, by virtue of the fact that it’s only accessible by boat. The outlying island (known as Ilha da Deserta) is a popular spot to cruise to on a catamaran.

 

Meanwhile, the neighbouring Ilha da Culatra boasts both a flat water lagoon and an open sea spot, as well as stunning views of the national park inland- it’s the perfect spot to enjoy a downwinder with friends.

 

 

>>>Check out Bstoked kiteboarding experiences in Portugal<<<

Top 5 Kitesurfing Spots in Portugal (New in 2018)

Thanks to it’s long, snaking coastline that covers a whopping 1,794 kilometers, there are absolutely tons of awesome kitesurfing spots in Portugal. From the legendary wall of water at Nazare to the dreamlike flat water lagoons in Alvor, Portugal is one of those rare places that truly does have it all.

 

For the sake of clarity- and to give you as complete of an overview as possible- this article is going to go through Portugal’s best kite spots by region: Northern Portugal, near Lisbon (each of the spots listed are within an hour and a half’s drive of the city), and the Algarve (south).

 

These top 5 kiteboarding spots in Portugal are just the tip of the iceberg; to find out even more about where you can kite in this beautiful country, see our complete guide to kitesurfing in Portugal.

 

Best time to kitesurf in Portugal: May to October

 

Average water temperature: During the summer months the water temperature hangs around a balmy 22-24 degrees, but during the winter months you can cut that in half.

Wetsuit recommendation: During the warm summer months, a shorty will be more than enough to keep you comfortable. Throughout the rest of the year, a full length wetsuit is recommended.

Wind type: Thermal, Nortada, best when it blows from the North/Northwest

Water conditions: mainly waves, but you can find flat water spots and lagoons too.

 

Top tips for beginners:

 

Many of Portugal’s renowned kite spots have big waves and strong swell, which isn’t ideal if you’re just getting to grips with your basic riding skills. Keep and eye out for places with flat water lagoons and wide sandy beaches such as Lagos and Faro, located down in the Algarve region.

 

In addition, it pays to know that the waves are usually much stronger in the winter time than in the summer. During the summer season, many of the spots (for example, Costa Caparica) have much more easy going conditions than that of the winter.

 

 

 

bstoked Kitesurfing Experiences in Portugal

 

 

 

North Portugal

 


1. Esposende

 

Just south of the iconic Viana do Castelo, Esposende is a perfect example of what kitesurfing in Portugal is all about (diversity!). On one hand you’ve got wild waves and an ocean rodeo, and on the other hand you’ve got mirror flat lagoons and tranquil rivers.

 

If you want to experience the best of Esposende, it’s well worth checking out the local kite camps, featuring a sweet-as mix of kite, surf, and SUP, as well as lessons, gear rental, and accommodation.

 



2. Cabedelo

 

Back up the coastline, Cabedelo is tucked away inside the beautiful city of Viana do Castelo. The spacious beach is sheltered from the waves by a big pier, which creates a gentle flat(ish) water area to play around in. If waves are your thing, head out just beyond the reach of the pier where the swell picks up, and you’ll see why the local wave riders love this spot so much.

 

 

Near Lisbon

 

 

3. Guincho

 

 

Apart from having the most reliable wind in all of Portugal, the next best thing about Praia do Guincho is the fact that it’s only half an hour away from Lisbon (by train or by car)- perfect for those looking to squeeze in a wave kite session during a quick city break, or those who value ease of access (and a short travel time) to the airport.

 



4. Lagoa de Obidos

 

Nestled into the northern coastline just above the famous wave spot, Peniche, Lagoa de Obidos is the country’s biggest flat water lagoon. This is absolutely one of the best kitesurfing spots in Portugal for beginners who are hoping to boost their skills in a short period of time (if that sounds like you, this kite camp in Obidos will be right up your alley). That said, Obidos isn’t just for newbies; it’s also favoured by wake style riders looking for the perfect spot to train up on their new tricks.

 

 

kites on the beach at Obidos, a kitesurfing spot in Portugal

Getting ready to kite at Lagoa de Obidos, 90 minutes outside of Lisbon

 

Algarve

 

5. Alvor Lagoon

 

The Algarve region is touted for its stunning craggy coastline, its rugged cliff faces that hang over the azure waters below, its gorgeous white washed villas, and its incredibly peaceful countryside. As if that wasn’t enough, Algarve is also home to southern Portugal’s best kitesurfing spots- including the coveted Alvor Lagoon, which enjoys butter flat water for days and days.

 

One of the best ways to experience this iconic part of Portugal is to hook up with an authentic Algarve kite camp, where you’ll get to experience a solid mix of surf, SUP, kitesurfing, and yoga in a chilled (but also super fun) setting.

 

 

>>>Check out Bstoked kiteboarding experiences in Portugal<<<

Should You Plan a Portugal Kitesurfing Holiday? (Beginner’s Guide)

To put it simply:

 

Kitesurfing holidays are killer.

 

Spending every day at the beach, chasing the wind around a crazy new part of the world, connecting with other awesome kiters from all walks of life- and (maybe the most appealing part of all) packing away your daily stresses in favour of some serious water hours.

 

Sound like a dream, doesn’t it?

 

Portugal is a brilliant destination for a kitesurfing holiday thanks to its reliable Nortada wind, diverse riding conditions, seriously good local food, (relatively) cheap cost, and vibrant culture.

 

It’s also a handy choice for those in the Eurozone, since you won’t have to factor in currency exchange costs, and- big brownie points for this one- it’s also super convenient to access the country’s best kite spots from the airport in Lisbon- the closest of which is just a short half hour ride away.

 

 

Bstoked kitesurfing experiences in Portugal

 

Things to Know about Kitesurfing in Portugal

 

Season: May through October, peaking in the summer months

 

Water temperature: During the high season, water temperatures hover around the early 20’s so a shorty should be perfect. Throughout the rest of the year you’ll want a full length 2-3 mm (even thicker in the winter).

 

Water conditions: Portugal is famous for its wave riding. It’s home to the legendary break, Nazare, as well as a scattering of other world class rollers and rippers. That having been said, wave riding isn’t the only kind of kiting you can get up to in Portugal; there’s also a handful of great flat water lagoons and easy going ocean chop. Waves are generally easier going during the summer months, picking up in force and size during the winter.

 

 

Tips for beginner kiteboarders considering a Portugal kitesurfing holiday

 

It can seem daunting to look at a location like Portugal with its monster-sized waves at every turn, but rest assured there’s something here for everyone- including total beginners.

 

Scour around for a location that’s got a flat water option (either a lagoon or a sheltered part of the sea/ocean). Identify places that offer learning camps and beginner friendly courses, and pick accordingly.

 

 

Learn to kitesurf in Portugal

Amazing conditions for learning in Lagoa de Óbidos

 

 

Seriously good kitesurfing spots in Portugal to consider:

 

 

Esposende:

 

If North Portugal is on your radar, Esposende should be at the top of your list. A quiet part of the rural Portuguese countryside, Esposende’s kitesurfing conditions offer a stellar combo of waves to surf and kite on and flat water options for beginners, freeriders, and wake style riding.

 

Guincho:

 

Located just half an hour away from Lisbon, Guincho is easily one of Portugal’s best kiteboarding locations. On top of that, it’s also got the most reliable wind in the whole country.

 

 

Peniche:

 

This is big wave territory- and certainly not for the faint of heart! One great thing about Peniche is that there are so many different kitable spots in a pretty small area- perfect for road trips and kite tours.

 

 

Lagoa de Obidos:

 

This is where you’ll find Portugal’s biggest flat water lagoon (ideal for beginners). It’s a really popular choice for kiters who come from abroad for a short kitesurfing holiday- which makes it a super place to meet people and kite in a social setting.

 

Lagos & Alvor:

 

One of Portugal’s most famous kitesurfing spots, Lagos’ Meia Praia Beach combined with the neighbouring Alvor Lagoon offer the ultimate mix of open ocean and butter flat lagoon riding. Great for beginners, but also a popular choice for intermediate and advanced riders.

 

 

>>>Check out Bstoked kiteboarding experiences in Portugal<<<