Praia do Cabedelo, in Viana do Castelo, is one of the best windsurfing spots in Portugal, both with flat water and waveriding conditions. We have recently scoured it, and we sum up, in this article, a series of valuable information to ride here.
Windsurfing, spot reviews: Praia do Cabedelo, Viana do Castelo, Portugal.
Viana do Castelo, is in the Minho region, north of Portugal, not far from the border with Galicia (Spain).
The village rises on the north bank of the Limia river. From the point where the river flows into the Atlantic, towards the south, instead, the marvelous Praia do Cabedelo, about 1.5 km long, begins, but in reality, without interruption, it continues in the other beaches of this part of Portuguese coast, up to Praia da Amorosa (about 4 km from the mouth of the river). It is a deep sandy beach, behind which a coastal dune rises, sometimes imposing, 10 meters high and even 2-300 deep.
To reach the beach and the spot, there are basically three possibilities.
The first and most convenient requires that you drive all along Avenida do Cabedelo (see map in the article), until you reach the parking lot near the "Aquario bar", at the end of it. Once parked here the car (free parking), at the southwest corner of the parking lot, you have a wooden walkway, about 300 meters long, which crosses the dune (semi-flat, here), and gives you access to the beach.
At the end of the walkway, you have a nice bar with a panoramic terrace overlooking the ocean, and the center of windsurfing, kitesurfing and surfing "Viana Beach Center". From here, a last walkway of some tens of meters, goes down to the beach (where you have another small bar). This first described solution is the most convenient (if you do not rent gear), in terms of distance between the parking lot and the beach; moreover, here, the path on the catwalk is almost flat, apart from the last stretch behind the beach. However, it requires you to transport your equipment for a long distance, and a trolley could be handy.
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Other dangers, apart from a more or less healthy wipe out, with more significant waves, are not known, and it is probably for this reason that Praia do Cabedelo in summer is so popular; it can also be relatively crowded (but it must be said that the bay is really wide).
With lighter thermic wind, and without perturbation swell, the whole spot (even the southernmost portion) presents ideal conditions for a freeride session.
The beauty and popularity of Viana is also linked to the fact that the area is very pleasant. As mentioned, the coastline is beautiful: it is urbanized, but without obvious signs of building speculation, and sometimes also wonderfully wild, especially in the south of the beach.
The historic center of Viana is small, but suggestive and welcoming, to be enjoyed both for daytime walks and for evenings to spend there. We happened, by chance, to stop for lunch at the Castelo Velho restaurant, on the river side, where we ate some memorable grilled sardines (frankly, we do not explain the negative reviews you find on Tripadvisor). Near Viana, you also have Guimaraes and Braga, two other historical centers that deserve a visit (read the article about our holiday in Portugal in July 2018).
Even the surrounding countryside is quiet, and pleasant (very green, with small villages or scattered houses). So you can rent an apartament in Viana center, or in the surrounding countryside.
Many prefer to stay right on the spot, for greater convenience, and avoid facing the car parking problems. For those who love staying outdoors, and in the middle of the pinewood, surely the Orbitur campsite is a good chance (note, however, that the access gate to the walkaway that leads to the beach closes at 20.00).
Or, if you really want to treat yourself well, you can rent a room at the Hotel FeelViana, a beautiful wooden structure rather well integrated into the coastal landscape behind the dune of Praia do Cabedelo. The Hotel has very comfortable rooms and services, and prices are not exaggerated, but consequent.
The Hotel is also one of the two structures that, at the moment, are able to offer the possibility to rent windsurfing equipment (they have Neil Pryde sails, and Jp boards of the current year). For three hours, the cost of the full rig and the board rental is 60 euros (prices 2018). They offer the possibility to rent even to those who are not guests of the Hotel.
The other option to rent, as mentioned, is offered by Viana Beach Center (at the North access to the beach). They have Fanatic boards, and Duotone sails. Prices similar to Feelviana.
Before closing this detailed review, we point out that in the area we also went to have a look at the spot of Ofir, near Esposende, a little further south. It's another spot that offers conditions suitable for intermediate level windsurfers with the Nortada, even if the high towering buildings close to the beach make it less charming than Viana.
Boa sorte! Fabio
Read also the report of our session at Viana, in june 2021.
And below you can see videos of the PWA slalom finals held in Viana, in June 2018