10 Best Surf Camps Algarve and How to Prepare

The Algarve boasts a huge coastline that enjoys countless surf breaks throughout the year, making it a top surfing destination for surfers of all levels. If you’re considering a trip to Europe for a surf trip, then why not consider a surf camp in the Algarve.

We’ve compiled a list of the 10 best surf camps in Algarve and how best to prepare for your trip. 

1. Tiny Whale Surf Lodge 

Tiny Whale Surf is a boutique lodge located just 10 minutes from Lagos. Their surf coaching team is exemplary with coaches with surf science, sports, and international surfing qualifications, so you know you’ll be in good hands. 

2. Algarve Surf Hostel

In the southern Algarve in the civil parish of Sagres is the Algarve Surf Hostel, run by a combination of locals and travelers who are all passionate about friendships and surfing. 

3. Wavy Surf Camp

Another surf camp located in Sagres is Wavy Surf Camp, surrounded by nature in spacious glamping tents. You’ll be one with nature. The camp is well suited for solo travelers as the camp hosts live music, kayaking, parties, and yoga throughout the week. 

4. Future Eco Surf School

If you’re passionate about the environment and want to make use of the world’s natural beauties whilst also giving back, then why not hit up Future Eco Surf School in Portimão.

5. Deluxe Surf House Algarve

If you’re looking for some relaxed and unique accommodation to learn to surf and also enjoy the surroundings of the Algarve, then the Deluxe Surf House will be able to charm you with its location and facilities. 

6. Amado Surf Camp

Road tripping through Europe and looking for a top destination to stop off and surf? Then the Amado Surf Camp is one of the best budget-friendly options around. The camp has the option to camp in your own tent, pitch your RV, or stay in one of their cozy wooden cabin bedrooms. 

7. Surf Lodge, Algarve

The Surf Lodge is a hidden gem located in the middle of a nature reserve. The camp was founded in 2002 and has hosted travelers from all over the globe, enjoying unforgettable days spent on the water and nights you can’t remember under the stars. 

8. Oasis Camp

Offering some of the best surf instructors in the Algarve is Oasis Surf Camp, located a 45-minute drive from Faro Airport. If you love yoga and fitness as much as surfing then you’re in for a treat as Oasis has it all. 

9. Algarve Adventure Surf Camp

Spend a night or a week at the Billabong Surf Club – Algarve Adventure Surf Camp in the Algarve, and enjoy sea views, spacious living areas and full access to their generous-sized surfing equipment collection.

10. Karma Surf Retreat 

If you’re looking for a peaceful location to relax between the neverending thrills of the waves, then Karma Surf Retreat is a must-do for you. 

Budget Planning 

Meal Price Range

Average Costs: €10-€30

Eating in the Algarve is a tad more expensive than eating in more rural parts of Portugal, but it’s more affordable than the major cities like Lisbon. It can generally be quite reasonable to eat in and around the area, nevertheless, if you’re trying to stay on a stricter budget then stay away from major tourist areas or tourist restaurants. 

The more expensive tourist restaurants will typically have the best spots on main streets and will advertise their menu or deals on a big board out the front of the restaurant. Whereas the more affordable restaurants can be found in back streets or quieter areas, who’ll have their meal deals displayed on a piece of paper on their tables or in their window. 

A Portuguese sandwich will cost you €1-3 from a cafe, however, the best value for money can be found with the lunchtime menus which are called ‘ menu do dia’ where many restaurants offer 3-course meals for less than €10 to try and lure in customers in the middle of the day.

An evening meal for 2-3 courses including wine will cost you around €25 but this will vary depending on where you eat.  

If your surf camp is self-catered, then we’d recommend doing your grocery shop at the market as this is where you’ll find the cheapest produce and fresh meat and seafood. Try to buy fruits and vegetables that are in season as they’ll be more affordable. Ask the team in your surf camp where it is best to go locally to do your grocery shopping. 

Alcohol is also reasonably priced in the Algarve, you’ll be able to find bottles of wine for around €2, draft beers for €1.50, and €3 for a spirit and mixer. Drinking beers and wines that are produced in Portugal will save a lot of money during your time there. 

Luckily the tap water is safe to drink in the Algarve but most restaurants will choose to serve bottled water and charge you, but you can request tap water for free if you wish. 

Many surf camps in the Algarve will include meals and snacks in the package price, so you may not have to worry about eating out during your time there. However, we would recommend experiencing some local cuisine at least once during your stay. 

Equipment Rental

Average Costs: €125 a week

Traveling with your surf equipment can prove to be expensive, but there’s no need to panic as there are plenty of surf shops and surf rental companies in the Algarve where you can rent surfboards and wetsuit gear for however long you’re staying there. 

Depending on what kind of surfboard you’re going to be renting and using, you could be looking at paying anywhere from as little as €75 for a week up to nearly €250 for the week. Wetsuit hire can go up to around €70 for the week, so when you combine these prices this could take up a huge chunk of your budget for the week.

Some rental companies will offer discounts of up to 20% if you rent out equipment or gear for more than 3 days. Many will also deliver the surfboard and equipment to your accommodation free of charge once you arrive or they’ll even give you a soft roof rack that you can put on your rental car to transport your boards back and forth from your accommodation to the beaches. 

Before you plan your trip to a surf camp in the Algarve, check ahead to book your surfboard rentals as soon as you can (especially in surf seasons) to avoid them all being booked up before you arrive there. You may also be offered a discount for booking far in advance. 

Most surf camps in the Algarve will supply you with surfing equipment and wetsuits as part of your package deal to make it more convenient for travelers who don’t have their own transport to get to surf shops. 

Some surf rental companies will require you to pay a deposit or insurance when you rent out one of their surfboard’s to protect themselves against any damages, whereas surf camps don’t tend to charge for damages, and as they’re aware that many beginners can make mistakes during their first few times in the water. 

Prepaid SIM Cards

Average Costs: €5-20 a week

If you’re traveling internationally it’s recommended to buy a prepaid SIM card for your trip so you can contact someone in an emergency without incurring extortionate international charges on your current service provider plan. 

Don’t get a global prepaid sim card as you may not be able to get good service in certain places where you’re staying. We recommend you buy your prepaid sim when you arrive at the airport in Portugal with most tourists opting for Vodafone or MEO. You’ll also need to present your passport when registering for a prepaid sim card so make sure you take it with you. 

Keep your data on your phone switched off whilst you’ve got your prepaid SIM and try to use free WiFi at local bars, cafes, or restaurants to browse online or to contact people back home.

Your surf camp should also have free WiFi as they’ll have many international travelers staying with them and understand the importance of staying connected to people back home and in case of emergencies. 

Public Transport

The closest airport to the Algarve is Faro airport, which is only approximately a 10-minute drive away, ideal for anyone who is renting a car, getting a taxi, or looking to get a public bus to their surf camp. 

The train service in the  Algarve is efficient with a 1-way ticket from Faro to Lagos costing under €8 for a 1 hour 40-minute journey. However, Lagos is the most eastern area that the rain network travels to, so if your surf camp is further than that then you’ll have to transfer via bus or taxi. 

Taxis in the Algarve are reasonably priced, only charging about €0.50 per km with the starting tariff around €3. There is a taxi rank at Faro airport and the customer service team there will be able to provide you with reputable taxi companies in the area.

There is a bus station at Faro airport which travels to many areas in the Algarve, be sure to check with the driver to make sure you’re on the right one. You should try to keep small change at all times if you’re going to be using the public buses as your main source of transport. Tourists can buy a tourist pass for €38 for a week which allows them to travel between all the towns in the Algarve. 

Getting a car is one of the most recommended transportations to get around the Algarve, especially for surfers as some of the more remote beaches can be difficult to get to by bus. This can increase your costs, but it will give you more freedom and allow you to get around quicker during your vacation. Faro Airport has numerous car rental companies on-site with prices starting from €140 for a week, although we recommend booking in advance to get the best deal.

Fuel prices are around €6 a gallon but they may fluctuate throughout the year. All of our recommended surf camps take under 1 hour 30 minutes to get to from Faro airport. 

Check with your surf camp to see if they have parking facilities available. Some surf camps may offer a free airport transfer service to save guests the hassle of getting public transport. 

Types of Risks

The Algarve is a highly popular tourist destination for families and is considered to be moderately safe. However, travelers should always remain vigilant with personal safety and the safety of their belongings. 

Petty theft is the main problem in tourist areas like the Algarve, so ensure not to leave your stuff lying around for everyone to see and keep your bags and wallets zipped up and in front of you where pickpockets can’t get them. 

The sun can be deceivingly strong in the Algarve so make sure you’re always topped up with SPF and you’re staying hydrated throughout the day. 

How to Prepare

Visas

If you’re traveling from the US, you will not need to apply for a visa to enter Portugal, although you will need a passport that is valid 3 months beyond the length of your stay and you are only allowed to stay for 90 days. Other travels may need to apply for a Schengen Visa depending on where they are from. 

Vaccines

The recommended vaccines for travel to the Algarve are Tetanus and Rabies, although both are not compulsory to enter the country of Portugal. 

Language and Currency

The official language of Portugal is Portuguese, however, many people and business owners will speak some English particularly in tourist areas. The currency of Portugal is the Euro.

Checking Surf Forecast

The best surfing months in the Algarve are between September and April, that’s when you’ll get the most consistent swells, although the weather at these times may be unpredictable. If you’re traveling last minute then regularly check the surf forecast before you make a reservation. However, those booking in advance will rely on luck with what waves they experience when in the Algarve. 

Travel/Surf insurance

When traveling to the Algarve for a surf vacation, make sure to get comprehensive insurance that covers overseas medical care, baggage, activities, and sports, as well as the usual passport cover and cancellation cover.