The first time you arrive at Praia do Guicnho you are fatally conquered by this marvelous beach. A right mix of wilderness and services will welcome you, giving everybody, in summer time, some really nice windsurfing days. In winter, with swell, the spot can become very challenging.
Windsurfing, spot reviews: Praia do Guincho, Cascais, Portugal
Praia do Guincho is located in the municipality of Cascais, about 30 minutes drive from Lisbon.
It is a wide sandy beach, less than a mile long, and about a hundred meters deep, which directly overlooks the Atlantic, just south of Cabo da Roca (see map in the article).
The spot works with a north wind that blows side.
It is the famous Nortada, which blows quite often here in summer. It is a wind that is generated when the high pressure of the Azores is positioned off the coast of Portugal (rotation of the winds in a clockwise direction, around it), and the low pressure takes place on the center of the Iberian Peninsula (rotation of the winds counterclockwise). Therefore, between the two baric centers, a wind channel, directed from North / North West towards South / South-East, is created (see image below). In practice, this is the beginning of the trade winds, which then also invests the Canaries.
In the case of sunny weather, a thermal wind overlaps (directed from the sea - colder - towards the land - warmer), which brings the Nortada closer to the coast. In this case, the wind on the spot is guaranteed, otherwise it may happen that it remains a few kilometers off the portuguese coast.
The wind from North / North West (which is not really definable as Nortada, though) can also originate in particular conditions, when the clouds, facing up to the heights of Cabo da Roca, keep the north of the coast cooler (you see, over the Cabo, the so-called "Bubble" - see photo), while in the Lisbon area, the sun shines, and it's warmer. The spot does not work with other wind directions.
La Nortada can begin to blow already in the morning, but it is in the afternoon, sometimes expexcially in the late part of it, which reaches its climax as intensity, giving beautiful sessions even until sunset (which is really a show, here).
The Guincho, often, in summer, is suitable for windsurfers at least intermediate level, with a minimum of malice/experience. However, it is very important to have some necessary information, to fully enjoy the spot, and avoid risks. The information given here are the result of our experience on the spot, and collected by local and aficionados. With low pressures swell, which sometimes reach the Guincho beach even in summer, the spot is reserved for the most experienced, and does not allow many margins of error.
To access the beach there are two options.
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Given that, here, it is better to come with your own equipment, regarding, the possibilities of rental, or windsurfing shops near the spot, first we must mention Wezel, a very friendly German guy, from whom we rented, and who saved us on the first day we tried the spot.
Wezel moved to Cascais from Germany, and married a Portuguese girl who works at the wave surfing center. In the morning he gives lessons to beginners in Cascais, in the afternoon (around at 13.30 - 14.00), if there is wind, he arrives at Guincho, with a vintage van (recognizable for a lion drawn on the side), with inside a lot of equipment stuff. We have rented (July 2018) a Tabou vintage Pocket 86 and a Severne Swat 4,2, for three hours at 50 euros (if you want, with 40 euros you also get insurance). It does not have a website, but you can contact it at the following mobile number: 00351 912 499 144 (he does not have whatsapp).
Alternatively, in Cascais, about 10 minutes drive from the spot, you have the shop Guincho Wind Factory, which rents equipment (the price - 2018 - is about 80 euros a day, for sail and board, with a discount of 55 euros, for those who stay at their Guest House). Near the Muchaxo Bar, there is Guincho Surf Shop, which should also provide services related to windsurfing (in addition to kitesurfing), but we do not have, at the moment, any further information or feedback to provide you about them.
Finally, but it is undoubtedly a great added value of the spot, as of a good part of Portugal, it should be noted the beauty of the places around the spot (read also the report of our holiday), which will allow you - unlike many other spots that offer only beautiful conditions in the water - to spend pleasant hours, and relax, after the session, or on windless days, and are rewarding even for those who accompany you.
Cascais is a very pleasant town, with a nice center, a beautiful area at sea (a beautiful cycling path joins Cascais to Guincho), tidy, clean, and with beatiful buildings and neighborhoods (and with some obvious wealth). However, here, you can rent apartament even at reasonable prices, if you are not in the center, or spend a pleasant evening at dinner (even in this case, maybe, stay away from the downtown restaurants). We do not recommend going to visit Sintra, if you happen to come here in summer, because, albeit very beautiful, it is really crowded in this period.
Alternatively, you can stay in the villages on the hills behind the spot, certainly at lower prices (try to do a search in the box at the bottom of the page, with booking.com).
Lisbon is beautiful (seaside area and historic neighborhoods on the hills), and worth a visit (even in the evening), and if you cross the Tejo river, through the picturesque "25th April Bridge", you will access the beautiful beaches of the Setubal peninsula and of the Costa da Caparica (see the review of the Sao Joao spot on Waterwind), with more buildings in the northern part, wildest in the southern, up to Capo Espichel.
We imagine we have convinced you to try the spot .....
Boa Sorte! Fabio Muriano
Click here, to enjoy the whole slidegallery of our holiday in Portugal, with our Guincho session included.
Here, below, the video of our session at Guincho, with condition good for intermediate surfers.
Below, we propose some links to videos showing pro or experts riders in action at Guincho, in demanding (sometimes impressive) conditions!
Thomas Traversa and Victor Fernandez at Guincho: click here.
The Jamie Hancock's video: click here.
A video taken from Nicola Bentz on the 9th of july 2016, with the spot showing very demanding conditions: click here.