Surfing in Lagos Portugal

The small city Lagos is an all year surf destination located in the western Algarve. Surrounded by plenty of awesome surf spots Lagos is a very popular place to use as a base on surf holidays for all skill levels. There are many great surf beaches within a half an hours drive from Lagos. See our guide to surfing in Sagres, a town close by where it is all about surfing. Lagos itself is home to some of the most beautiful beaches and ocean scenery in Europe and has a nice vibe for a surf trip with plenty of surf shops, surf schools, funky hostels, cool vibey bars, coffee shops and restaurants. Lagos surf is not really well known, but the town has two very surfable beaches, Meia Praia and Porto de Mos that produce very nice waves during the right conditions. With smaller waves most of the time this is a great place to learn and very popular with the surf schools. When the south swell picks up there are very nice waves to ride for all levels. Surfing is one of the best things to do in Lagos.

Surf spots in the town Lagos

Meia Praia Beach (Praia de Sao Roque)

Meia Praia is the longest beach in the Lagos region, just short of 5 kilometres of beautiful white sandy beach stretching from the Lagos Marina all the way to the Alvor estuary. The western side of Meia Praia (closest to Lagos Marina) is called Praia de São Roque, this is the best area for surfing on this long beach. 

meia praia beach
Meia Praia beach, going for a walk on the 4.5 km stretch of sand, a 9km return walk on a flat summers day.

The beautiful Meia Praia beach does not often produce good waves for surfing, but with south swell coming into the bay, some days the spot can have very nice waves getting up to about shoulder height. In summer it is very flat on most days and in this swimming pool like conditions at Meia Praia I often go and do long open water swims, so it is really flat like a lake! There is, however quite often just enough swell for local surf schools to offer beginner lessons here. 

Surfing at Meia Praia

Meia Praia is a beach break with lots of peaks when it is working, the sandy bottom is fairly shallow, getting deeper gradually, with no rocks  it is a relatively safe spot to learn. The waves usually break quite close to the shore, making for fairly easy paddling out; it is not a very long paddle to the backline. The best waves are on the west side at Praia de Sao Roque next to the harbor wall, you will see most surfers cluster here. Because Meia Praia is a beach break with many peaks it does not feel too crowded even with many surfers in the water.

surfing meia praia portugal
Surfing Meia Praia, friend and local instructor, Ale, riding his long board on a day with some nice swell.

Best Surf Conditions for Meia Praia, Lagos

Swell direction

South, South East Swell – Meia Praia offers the best waves for surfing when ground swell from a South, South East direction comes into the bay. The spot also works with large North West Swell.

Wind direction

Offshore wind direction is from the Northwest, combined with South or South East Swell will result in the best surf conditions

Best Tide to Surf Meia Praia

Meia Praia works the best with low or mid tide, depending on conditions.

Water Temperature at Meia Praia

Water temperature varies between 15C and 20C irrespective of season. Water temperature in the Algarve is on the cold side, very seldom there are days that you can surf in board shorts. If you want to stay in the water for more than an hour a full length 4/3mm suit is recommended.

Surf Hazards at Meia Praia in Lagos

  • There can be strong rip currents when the waves are bigger, so be aware.
  • During summer the beach can be packed with swimmers, sunbathers and surfers, be careful not to surf into other bathers enjoying the waves. 
  • Stay out of boating zones indicated by buoys. 
  • Be aware and careful of surfers learning. Surf schools sometimes have big groups that stick together, you can identify them as groups all wearing the same rash vest. Since it is easy to paddle out you will see these groups of new surfers sitting in the backline.
  • Respect the locals, always stick to general surfing rules.
surfers in the backline

Things to do on Meia Praia Beach

This is a great beach to enjoy with friends and family that don’t surf. This long beach is perfect for walking, sunbathing and playing on the beach. There are plenty of permanent shade/ planted umbrellas with beach chairs that can be rented in season; permanent beach chairs are free out of season. On the west side of the beach there are a couple of cafes to enjoy a cup of coffee, beer or something to eat after a session. 

Meia Praia Facilities

  • Parking: yes
  • Restaurant: yes
  • Toilet: yes
  • Sunbeds: yes
  • Lifeguards: yes, in season on the western side

Getting to the Meia Praia Beach Surf Spot

To get to Praia de São Roque on the western side of Meia Praia where there is surf follow the road from the Marina de Lagos past the train station for about 700m, there is plenty of parking near both restaurants. On the beach walk towards the harbour wall (marina), there should be some other surfers in the water.

Praia de Porto de Mos

Porto de Mós is one of the best beaches in Lagos. It’s a long golden sandy beach between cliffs and the ocean located on the north side of the town, 4.5 km (10 min) drive from Lagos Marina. The beautiful beach has both beach and reef breaks. This is a popular surf spot for long boarders with a clean, long, mellow wave. When it works here waves break all along the length of the beach with plenty of peaks on the sandy bottom. On the right end of the beach there is a flat rock reef where nice waves break from time to time. The spot is more consistent than Meia Preia and it often works in the winter months when there is big swell on the west coast. In summer time Praia de Porto Mos is flat most of the time and I often go spearfishing on the reef in this flat glassy conditions. There is a lot of parking here right next to the beach (and the restaurants). In summer and autumn if Mos is working there are usually plenty of camper vans from traveling surfers coming from all over Europe parked here.

Surfing at Porto de Mos

The beach break at Porto de Mos over the sandy bottom is fairly shallow, getting deeper gradually. The waves usually break fairly close to the shore, making for easy paddling out; it is not a very long paddle to the backline. The best waves are on the reef on the far end of the beach, you will see more surfers cluster here. Because Porto de Mos is a beach break with many peaks surfers spread out over the length of the beach. If you are a new surfer stick to the beach break closer to the parking area. The reef is rocky and not too sharp, but can still result in damaged boards and some bumps and bruises.

swell at porto de mos
Swell starting to pick up at Porto de Mos.

Best Surf Conditions for Porte de Mos, Lagos

Swell direction

Surfing at Porto de Mos is best with South swell or large North West Swell.

Wind direction

North winds are off-shore resulting in the best surf conditions at Porto de Mos.

Best Tide to Surf Porto de Mos

Porto de Mos works the best around mid tide, depending on conditions. With small swell this spot does not really work at high tide.

Water Temperature

Water temperature varies between 15C and 20C year round. Sea temperature in the Algarve is on the cold side, you do get the odd summer day that is great to surf in board shorts, hot weather and 20C water. If you want to surf for a while a full length 4/3mm suit is recommended.

Surf Hazards at Porto de Mos in Lagos

  • Be careful when surfing on the reef to damage yourself or your board.
  • Even on the sandy section of beach break there are sometimes rocks, so keep a look out.
  • During summer the beach can be packed with swimmers, sunbathers and surfers, be careful not to surf into other bathers enjoying the waves. 
  • On Porto de Mos surf schools usually mark the area where they are surfing with flags on the beach. Be aware and careful of surfers learning. Surf schools students can be identified as groups all wearing the same rash vest. Since it is easy to paddle out you will see these groups of new surfers sitting in the backline.
  • Don’t surf on the reef if you are learning.
  • Respect the locals, always stick to general surfing rules.

Things to do on Praia Porto de Mos

Porto de Mos is a nice beach for walking, sunbathing and playing on the beach. There are two restaurants to enjoy a cup of coffee, beer or something to eat after a session at the parking area on the beach. The beach is popular for stand up paddle boarders (SUP). When there is no swell it is a nice spot for kayaking, spearfishing and SUP.

Porto de Mos beach
Walking on Porte de Mos beach on a flat day, the reef is towards the cliffs.

Porto de Mos Facilities

  • Parking: yes
  • Restaurant: yes
  • Toilet: yes
  • Lifeguards: yes, in season

Getting to the Porto de Mos Surf Spot

Porto de Mos is about a 5km drive past the Lagos Marina, keep going past Praia Dona Ana, go left at the circle just past the fire station and keep heading straight. You can get to Porto de Mos by bus. Take the line 2 bus that serves the beaches, departs every hour from Forte de Meia Praia and stops at the Central bus station, the easiest place to catch this bus in town.

Best Time to Surf in Lagos

The best time of the year to surf in Lagos is generally in Autumn and winter (September to March) with bigger swell and less crowds, but summer can be great for beginners. In summer on a nice with water temperature of about 20C this is awesome to surf here in board shorts. I have had an awesome board short session here on a scorching summers day with a school of dolphins coming past!

Surf spots around Lagos

The Algarve is packed with plenty of awesome surf spots on the south and west coast, all within 30 minutes from Lagos. On the west coast the surf is consistent, becomes heavy with big winter swell. The south coast is not very consistent with less rideable days, but has some great beginner spots.

surfing

Surf the Algarve West Coast

Praia de Arrifana – beach break for all levels and fast point break with some hollow sections. Distance to Lagos 35km, 35 minute drive.

Carrapateira – beautiful spot below the cliffs, pics up a lot of swell and can get heavy with some hollow sections, for more experienced surfers

Sagres – beautiful cliffs and nature, real little surf town – Tonel beach is known for good consistent waves, beach break that can be surfed by all levels, popular with surf schools.

Surf the Algarve South Coast

Zavial – A nice consistent wave breaking along the southern Algarve cliffs. A fast barreling point break and a beach break with a couple of peaks.

Praia de Luz – holiday town right next to Lagos, beach break and two point breaks, be careful of the infamous Rocha Negra rock!

Learning to Surf in Lagos

Lagos is a great place to learn to surf with mellow waves, warm weather and plenty of surf schools and surf instructors. There are several surf camps around Lagos with courses generally being 1, 3 or 5 days.

surf school

Check out these Algarve Surf Camps

Surf Hostels in Lagos

Lagos has got plenty of awesome accommodation tailored for surf trips of all budgets and tastes.

Close to Meia Praia

Our top pick – The Captain’s Nest by Seewest, nice apartment walking distance from Praia de Sao Roque.

Budget

Mid Range

Luxury

Accommodation Close to Porto de Mos

Our top pick – Belmar Spa & Beach Resort, awesome luxury apartments 2 minutes walk from Porto de Mos!

Budget

Mid Range

Luxury

Getting to Lagos

It is easy to get to Lagos from Faro Airport (FAO) by direct shuttle bus. Renting a car is a very convenient option and will allow you to explore the different surf spots in the area on your own. For our detailed article on how to get from Lisbon to Lagos? and how to get from Faro to Lagos?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.