After visiting Portugal 3 times already, I can say that this country is my favorite destination in the South of Europe so far. The people are friendly, the beaches are the most beautiful in Europe and the food is fingerlicking good for a fish lover like me. So when I received an invitation to go surfing in Centro de Portugal, I said YES before I even double checked my agenda.
After an easy 2,5 hour flight from Amsterdam to Porto, we arrive in Figueira da Foz. To be honest with you: I did not know this place yet, but it is becoming more and more popular among surfers, because of the famous 1 mile-long right waves. We arrive in the evening so first it is time to eat! We visit cosy restaurant Marégrafo. Within a minute we have olives, bread with melted cheese and tasty sardines on the table. IAMNEVERGOINGHOMEAGAIN. The wine with the Marégrafo label is excellent. Tomorrow I will have to show my ‘not so perfectly developed’ surf skills, so I allow myself 1 glass of the red wine…
The next morning, after a good night sleep in Hotel Costa de Prata, it is a bit cloudy, but the group is excited. I am travelling with 4 great surfers and they are not scared of a little rain: you will get wet anyway. With a great sense of Joie de Vivre they easily slip into their own wetsuits and run towards the water.
João, our surf guide from Naturexperience, hands me a brand new wetsuit, that had never been worn. Oh my… After a 15 minute battle with the suit and myself (damn, too much food at Ali Oçakbasi last week ) and feeling ‘a little’ embarrassed, this sausage is ready to conquer some waves! It has been 7 years since I last surfed in Australia. After a couple of unnoticed nose dives, trés élégant, I finally manage to stand up on the board again. Hallelujah!
In the afternoon it is time for a well deserved lunch, including some healthy fresh fruit shakes. We continue our trip and drive to Nazaré. This old fisherman’s village is a popular destination for tourists in the summer and famous for monster waves. Hawaiian surfer Garrett McNamarra has a house close to the beach here in Centro de Portugal and did the unthinkable: he surfed a 78 feet (23,77 meters) high monster wave a couple of years ago. An absolute world record! Just a few crazy surfers are up for that challenge. Click HERE for an impression of the giant waves at Nazaré. The video is shot at the lighthouse below.
There is a small museum where you can see the surfboards used by some of the Nazaré heroes. The boards are a lot heavier than normal surfboards. The surfers are launched into the waves by a jetski to give them the speed they need. Sure, why not right? I decide to lay out in the sun for a bit though, since I want to be able to sit up straight for dinner in the evening…
Nazaré is a beautiful, old town. We have dinner at restaurant Taberna d’Adélia. This is my favorite restaurant of the trip. The olives, the cheese, the squid, the bread… it is so good! For dessert we get a number of small jars with different flavours: Cheesecake, Banoffee, Chocolate & Coconut Mousse & Portuguese Custard. Yummm!! We sleep in Hotel Maré, that is perfectly located in the city centre.
After last night’s dessert I can use a workout. Today we drive to Peniche. The world’s most prestigious surfers love this place in Centro de Portugal, because of the perfect tubular waves. We visit the SPO Surfboard Factory. This is where the surfboards for the monster waves in Nazaré are made. So interesting to see the boards come together step by step. They’re making a special miniboard for a briljant surfer and talent of only 8 years old… hopefully not for Nazaré… not yet.
Peniche has a number of great surf spots, so you will always find a place with the perfect conditions. Some good options are: Almagreira, Consolaçao, Lagide, Molhe Leste and Praia Norte. This last beach is perfect for beginners like me. I spend all afternoon in the water, untill the sun goes down. Surfing is so addictive. Tomorrow I will fly back to The Netherlands, but I have a feeling I will be back in this beautiful (surf) country, really soon….
♥ A special thanks to Visit Portugal, Centro de Portugal, Tap Portugal & Naturexperience for sponsoring this trip to Centro de Portugal Portugal.
Click HERE for my favorites in Lisbon!