In the month of july 2018, we went to explore Portugal for the first time. Although it was not a tour mainly dedicated to windsurfing, we got to gather a lot of information about this fascinating destination, and we also placed some nice sessions.
Windsurfing, holidays report: Portugal 2018
Portugal is undoubtedly a fascinating destination, with cities and towns full of history, with magic Atlantic beaches, and where you can have wonderful meals, and at generally reasonable prices. In summer, the climate is, generally, wonderful (at least in the central-northern coast), with the Atlantic that guarantees natural air conditioning. During our stay, the minimum temperature sometimes reached about 18-20 Celsius degrees in the early morning, the maximum values reached 28-30 ° C, with an average around at 25. In the Lisbon area, in particular, the summer climate is pleasantly warm, dry, and often ventilated. Portuguese people are, generally, calm and helpful (apart from certain driving habits on the highway that remind us of Italy ...). It is a country in general quite well organized, and with fairly efficient services.
But, unquestionably, Portugal is also an excellent destination for windsurfing, with many kilometers of beaches, and conditions that satisfy beginners and professional riders alike.
From Milan, we reached Portugal, landing in Porto.
Porto is a pleasant town, enjoyable especially during the evening, that you should spent in one of the Ribeira bars/pubs/restaurants, but also by walking in the morning along the banks of the Douro river. On the south bank of the river, however, you find the most famous wineries where you can taste and buy the Porto, the famous liqueur wine produced in this area.
With our rented car, we scoured the surroundings of Porto, going up to Viana do Castelo, which is a known spot for windsurfing and kitesurfing.
Unfortunately, in the days of our passage in Viana, we did not get good conditions for a windsurfing session. Light breeze, and flat sea. But the Praia do Cabedelo in Viana has confirmed itself as a fascinating beach, as well as the surroundings as well as the village of Viana. Definitely, we must go back there, to catch the wonderful conditions that can be seen in the video that you find at this link. All the details in the accurate review of the spot, which you find here on Waterwind.it (see spots section). Memorable will remain our meal based on sardines in the Castelo Velho restaurant, for 12 euros.
In the following days, we moved to the realm of surfing (but where you can also go out in windsurfing, if really expert): Nazarè and Peniche.
Praia do Norte, in Nazare ', to be clear, is the one where, in autumn and winter, the low pressures rise the biggest waves in the world, and that only the most fearless surfers, who come here from all over the world, dare to challenge. Among the windsurfers, sometimes, here, you see the very strong French rider Thomas Traversa .....
It is a place that inspires awe, even on a relatively calm day at sea, like the one in which we admired it (even if the shorebreak was still two-three meters high....).
Peniche is famous for the beach of Supertubos (a name, a guarantee), and for Baleal beach.
We had a surfing session at Supertubos, with small waves - about 1 meter, regular and precise like a clock, that typically you meet in the oceans. Baleal beach was also very beautiful. It's in Peniche, too, near the homonymous village perched on the peninsula, where there are some excellent Guest Houses.
In Peniche, and, to a lesser extent, also in Nazarè, unfortunately we found a bit of building speculation, which does not always make the panomarama close to the coast very pleasant. We also did a reconnaissance trip to Lagoa de Obidos, between Peniche and Nazarè.
But the area that, surely, we liked the most, among those we visited, is the area around Lisbon, and particularly near Cascais (which is really very charming).
We had the opportunity to go windsurfing in the legendary Praia do Guincho (read a full review of this spot here on Waterwind spots section), on a windy day, at around 25-30 knots, a little onshore oriented, and with about 1.5 meters waves.
Many had talked to me about the beauty of this spot, and also of its possible dangers.
The Guincho welcomed us, first of all, with its panorama and its unique atmosphere (a mix of wilderness and a reasonable amount of services/comforts), and then, from a windsurfing point of view, with a challenging, but feasible day.
The wind, the day of my session, was a bit onshore oriented - and therefore not perfect, while usually here it's side on. I was lucky enough to meet Wezel, the legendary German guy, who rents windsurfing equipment on the spot, and who saved me for the day, providing me with a Tabou Pocket Vintage 86, and a Severne SWAT 4.2.
Unfortunately, being on holiday here with my family I could not enjoy the other two consecutive days of wind that the Guincho has given, and so, of course, I went away with the desire to come here back soon, even if here the waves are not the cleanest in Portugal.
Cascais, in the evening, is truly enjoyable: in addition to have different places to eat good fish or meat, you can take a nice walk through the streets of the center, and try Santini icecream (the most famous Italian ice cream shop in the town).
Lisbon, although more crowded than Cascais, is pleasant, with a nice walk along the Tejo river, and a very large historical center. We happened to see it on a beautiful sunny day, with the brightness that, typically, the beautiful seaside towns can give.
But the Lisbon area also offers numerous other spots, south of the Tejo River, on the Costa da Caparica, in the Setubal peninsula.
We had a session at Sao Joao do Caparica, where there is the windsurfing center run by Elisiario Carvalho, from which we rented (also for this spot, we published the review in Waterwind spots section). That day, we surfed with 20 knots side off wind, and wiht almost flat sea, and it was a wonderful opportunity, finally, to sail along with my son, who at the end of the exit said "I really had fun, dad". And who is a father and a windsurfer knows what a dream it is to be able to do windsurfing with his children, and finally see them passionate.
The spot, like the whole Costa da Caparica, with ocean swell, in autumn-winter, can give very nice conditions, as evidenced by the video viewable at this link, and also for this reason the area of Cascais, surely, will be a destination where we will come back often.
With Lisbon visit, our journey ended. Deliberately, we have chosen to reserve for the next trip, the regions at south of Portugal (Alentejo and Algarve), because the places should be enjoyed with the right time, and not with the stressed metropolitan style, so common, nowadays.
In a future, we will tell you the rest of the story. If you have experiences to share on the Portugal, post them in the comments here at the end of the article.
Click here, to enjoy the whole slidegallery of the holiday.
The video with our windsurfing session at Guincho