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+ Wide swell window
+ Flexible wind and swell combos
+ Quality beach and reefbreaks
+ Relatively cheap Euro destination
- Summer onshores
- Increasingly crowded
- Cool water year-round
- Sardine factory stink!

Peniche, Portugal, EUROPE

Supertubes, Sully

Surf Spots

Foz do Arelho
Praia do Baleal
Molho Leste
Praia Areia Branca
Santa Cruz
Praia Azul

The Surf

The age-old seafaring traditions are strong in Peniche, which is home to one of Portugal’s biggest fishing fleets. Peniche is on a small peninsula at right angles to the Portuguese coast creating wind and swell protection on either side. Just to the north, rising out of the submarine canyon, Nazaré detonates some of the biggest, scariest waves on the planet.

The little fishing town of Peniche is not the prettiest spot on the Portuguese coast, but it’s probably the most renowned surfing area in the country. Originally an island, Peniche became one with the mainland due to the silting up of the shallow channel that divided it from the rest of the country. Today that short and narrow spit of land contains an obscene amount of wave variety that can provide the goods in almost any conditions. Most famous is Supertubos, regarded by many as one of Europe’s best beach breaks, but there are plenty of other barrels to pull into around Peniche. Peniche is a year round destination with swell exposure on the north side of the town and shelter on the south. The town also sits at the dividing point between the cooler and wetter north and the dry, sunny south meaning that summers are long but tempered by cool sea breezes and the winters mild though occasionally stormy.

When to Go

Portugal is the European yardstick for year-round consistency, and Peniche stylishly handles the regular NW swells. Average swell size is around 8-10ft in winter and summer is usually in the 4-6ft range. Storms are pretty frequent, but the peninsulas give flexibility during different wind and swell combinations. The Nortada is the dominant wind, blowing from the NW-N from April to September. Winter winds come from all directions but the standard pattern sees more NE-E winds and the occasional storms bringing S-SW winds. Max tidal range hits 3.6m and greatly affect where you surf.

dominant swell W -N W -N W -N W -N W -N W -N
swell size (ft) 5-6 5-6 4 3 4-5 5-6
consistency (%) 80 70 60 40 80 80
dominant wind N -NE NW -NE NW -N NW -N NW -NE N -E
average force F2 F2 F2 F2 F3 F3
consistency (%) 71 54 65 55 51 73
water temp (C) 13 14 16 18 17 15
wetsuit 4/3 4/3 3/2 3/2 3/2 3/2
Peniche - 20,000

1,753km (1120mi)

GMT (+1 summer)

Travel Information


The climate in Portugal is very pleasant year-round. Ericeira and Peniche are in the middle of the country, stuck between the dry Algarve and the damp regions north of Porto. The wettest season starts in November and lasts until March-April, and there is even snow in the Serra da Estrela (the snow resorts are only reliable in February). The best climate occurs during the change over seasons, even though mid-summer rarely gets too hot on the coast. The Nortada (north winds) always cool things down and conspire with the cold Canarian Current to prevent the water from ever reaching boardshorts temperature. A light 2/2 or 3/2 steamer will do except in mid-winter when a 4/3 and boots are necessary. August can see any temp between 17-22ºC (63-72ºF) and March can drop to 13ºC (56ºF).


Don’t miss Obidos, the fortified city to the east. Take a trip to the Berlenga islands, a bird-filled National Park, with nice beaches and snorkelling.


Portuguese bodyboarding is big, and it’s the bodyboarders who control the line-ups, particularly at Molho Leste and Lagide. The atmosphere in the water is cool.


There are a handful of surf shops in Peniche with good boards available; try Surfers Lab. Waves on the south side of the peninsula break harder than the more crumbly waves on the north side. There are lots of surf schools at Baia and Baleal Surf Camp do lessons and rentals.