The Algarve is one of the most popular vacation destinations in Portugal, known for its beautiful coastlines and beaches.
While for many, the idea of a trip to the Algarve might conjure up images of days lounging on the sand, there are more active ways to enjoy the Algarve region!
There are many amazing surf schools in the Algarve, and we’ve put together a list of the top 10 to help you plan your next coastal adventure!
Without further ado, let’s explore the 10 best surfing lessons and surfing schools that the Algarve has to offer.
1. Algarve Surf School
Named for its iconic location, the Algarve Surf School is undoubtedly one of the most popular surfing schools in the Algarve.
The Algarve Surf School has been in business for a quarter of a century and was actually one of the first surfing schools to be established in the region.
The school itself, which was founded in 1996, offers lesson plans for beginners as well as intermediate surfers. While lessons at both levels include a basic safety overview, the beginner lessons focus more on standing techniques and positioning, while the intermediate lessons move into more advanced techniques such as rolling and catching waves.
If you don’t have your own gear, you can rent a surfboard and wetsuit for your session. You can also use the showers and stop at the mini store or cafe for essentials and food.
Algarve Surf School also offers a week-long surf camp package, consisting of a 5-day surf course, yoga classes, accommodation, and catering.
2. Surf Clube de Viana
Surf Clube de Viana is another popular Algarve surfing school with tourists and locals alike.
This surf club and surf school was founded in 1989, and it’s widely recognized as Portugal’s first surfing school. Its mission statement involves cultivating respect for the natural world while promoting a healthy lifestyle through fun, recreational sports.
Surf Clube de Viana teaches both surfing and bodyboarding, and there is almost no age limit on the sessions, with children from age 6 upwards welcome.
This is a non-profit surf school, meaning it’s accessible to all, and the club also hosts various social and sporting events year-round to foster a sense of community amongst surfers.
3. Mission To Surf
Mission to Surf offers a variety of surfing courses geared towards different demographics.
Group sessions are offered for beginners and intermediate surfers, while private lessons are available for all experience levels.
What’s great about the private lessons is that your abilities and priorities can all be outlined via email prior to the session, meaning that your learning experience will be tailored to your needs.
Mission to Surf also has a board rental service from which you can hire boards, wetsuits, and other equipment.
This surf school also runs a surf camp. Guests at the surf camp can enjoy the various accommodations, including the villa, guesthouse, and campsite, plus catering.
4. Extreme Algarve
If you’re looking for a fun-filled surfing experience, we recommend Extreme Algarve.
Extreme Algarve was founded in 2005. The founders, Michaela and Sebastian, were inspired to start the Extreme Algarve surf school by their own love of the sea, and their aim is to share their passion with other keen surfers.
The Extreme Algarve surfing school provides 3-hour-long lessons for groups of up to 8 people. The sessions are suitable for beginners since they cover basic safety and theory.
You can trust that your surf lessons with Extreme Algarve will be supervised by the most professional and experienced instructors. All instructors employed by Extreme Algarve are recognized by the Academy of Surf Instructors and the Portuguese Surf Federation.
Extreme Algarve also offers lessons in kitesurfing.
5. Arrifana Surf Lodge
The Arrifana Surf Lodge is one of the most highly reviewed surfing schools in the Algarve.
Arrifana Surf Lodge has a lot to offer, with Aldo’s surf school running all days of the week. The lessons can be tailored to suit any ability since groups are put together based on skill level.
Lessons with Aldo’s Surf School are split into halves: the land lesson and the water lesson. The first half of each lesson covers basic techniques and surfing etiquette outside of the water, while the second half moves these practices into the water for the full surfing experience.
But the services offered by Arrifana Surf Lodge don’t stop there! You can purchase either the Experienced or Advanced/Intermediate Surfer package, both of which include a 7-night stay at the Lodge, 6 days of surf lessons, equipment rental, catering, transport, and more!
Alternatively, Arrifana Surf Lodge also runs a Surf and Yoga retreat, which includes 5 yoga classes, 6 surfing lessons, 1 massage session, breakfast, lunch, and 4 evening meals over the course of a week.
6. Wavesensations Surf School
Whether you’re a complete beginner in the world of surfing, an advanced surfer, or even have a child who wants to learn to surf, you can find the tuition you need at the Wavesensations Surf School!
Wavesensations runs various surf classes, including beginner and intermediate lessons, private lessons, and lessons for children.
And surfing lessons at Wavesensations don’t have to be a one-day experience. If you choose to attend the Wavesensations Surf Camp, you can enjoy comfortable accommodation in the Surf House, which is only 600 meters away from the beach.
You can also choose from one of several Surf Camp packages. The Surf Escape is the least expensive package and includes accommodation for 4 nights, plus partial catering, 3 surfing trips, and surfing gear. Alternatively, there’s the Surf Stay, with 7 nights’ accommodation, daytime catering, 5 surf trips, and gear rental. The most expensive package is the Surf Yoga package, which includes 5 half-day surf sessions, 10 yoga sessions, and a hike.
If you’re interested in the theory of surfing, Wavesensations also has surf seminars running throughout the year, teaching surf-related knowledge such as board sizing and forecasting.
7. FilSurf Surf School
FilSurf Surf School provides some of the best surfing lessons in the Algarve, and Portugal as a whole.
Whether you prefer to learn on a 1-2-1 basis or as part of a group, the FilSurf Surf School will deliver. Group and individual lessons are 3 hours long and include gear rental, beach-based surf instruction, and a snack.
If you want to embark on a surfing journey rather than a single session, you can sign up for one of FilSurf’s surfing courses. The basic course package is 3 days long, but you can book a course for up to 5 days. After that, there’s an added cost for each additional day.
Students enrolling in a FilSurf surfing course will also be able to make use of the villa, which is located 15 minutes from Praia da Luz. While staying at the villa, guests can make use of the facilities, including the free wifi, swimming pool, and big-screen television.
8. Raven Surf School
Raven Surf School is not as well known as some of the other Algarve-based surfing schools on this list, but it’s one of the best organizations for learning to surf in the Algarve.
Group lessons and private lessons are available, and the ability levels are divided into Beginner, Improver, Intermediate, and Advanced. That means there’s a Raven surf plan to suit everyone!
Private lessons with the Raven Surf School include video analysis, where an ASI-qualified instructor will review footage of your session with you, helping you to actively improve your surfing technique.
Raven Surf School also offers lifesaving courses. Lifesaving is a useful qualification for any surfer to have. A lifesaving course with Raven Surf School lasts 3 days and covers key lifesaving skills as well as first aid and life support. Physical fitness is also assessed. If you pass the assessment at the end of the course, you’ll receive an internationally-recognized certificate of qualification.
9. Sagres Natura Surf School
The Sagres Natura Surf School is a great choice of surf school in the Algarve for any more experienced surfers as well as beginners.
There are plenty of beginner-friendly surf schools in the Algarve, but for those intermediate and advanced surfers who want to keep improving while having fun, Sagres Natura is one of the best options. Complete with video analysis and functional training on the beach, the advanced surfer package at Sagres Natura Surf School yields real results.
Sagres Natura Surf School also offers lessons for beginners and children, so anyone is welcome. Lessons are 1.5 hours long, but the Surf and Stay package means you can extend your surfing experience for up to 14 days!
You can book a stay at Sagres Natura’s accommodation for either 7 or 14 nights, with either 5 or 10 days of surfing, plus transport, equipment rental, and catering in the daytime. You’ll also get a discount in the Sagres Natura Surf Shop.
For those who want to practice several balance-based board sports in the Algarve, Sagres Natura Surf School also offers a Surf and Yoga package, where participants can stay at the accommodation for a week of surfing and mindfulness.
10. TSE Surf School
Finally, we would definitely recommend TSE (The Surf Experience) Surf School to any aspiring or enthusiastic surfers passing through the Algarve.
TSE Surf School caters to beginner, intermediate, and advanced surfers with its lesson packages. The school has been in operation since 1995, and its team of professional instructors produces the excellent result you’d expect from a school this well established.
In addition to individual and group surf lessons, TSE offers surf day packages, which include between 3 and 4 hours of surfing, equipment rental, and lunch.
Other packages offered by TSE include an all-inclusive surf camp and several surf-themed weeks over the course of the year.
If you’re interested in branching out from just surfing, TSE offers standup paddleboarding tours, surf and yoga, surf and climbing, surf massage, and even jet surfboarding! There is never a dull moment with The Surf Experience!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are The Best Surf Spots In The Algarve?
The Algarve is home to many great surf spots, some of which are used by the surf schools mentioned above.
Sagres is definitely one of the most popular surf spots in the Algarve. Arrifana Beach, Amado Beach, Porto de Mos, and Zavial are also well-known surf beaches in the area.
Can You Surf In Portugal In The Winter?
Yes, you can surf in Portugal (including the Algarve) during the winter, and some of the surf schools we’ve talked about today even have specific winter surf packages.
However, surfing conditions are likely to be more challenging during the winter months and you can expect bigger swells, sometimes reaching 15 feet.
So, if you’re a beginner, you’ll probably be better off learning how to surf in Portugal during the summer. If you’re a more advanced surfer looking for a challenge, Portugal’s winter surf could be just what you’re looking for.
Do I Need A Wetsuit To Surf In Portugal?
Don’t be fooled by Portugal’s year-round temperate climate and hot summers. The water around the coast of Portugal actually stays fairly cool throughout the year.
This means that you should still remember to buy or rent a wetsuit before you go surfing in the Algarve, whatever the time of year.
Are There Sharks In The Algarve?
If you’re considering getting surf lessons in the Algarve, but are worried about sharks, we have some good news for you. Although there are sharks around the Algarve region, there have never been any shark-related incidents or attacks reported in the area.
There are so many surf schools in the Algarve that it’s easy to find somewhere offering professional surfing lessons. However, if you’re looking for the best possible experience, we recommend choosing a surf school from this list.
Whether you’re starting out on an exciting surfing journey or just want some help taking your skills to the next level, these schools in the Algarve are the perfect way to add some active fun into your vacation.