Discover the Best Outdoor Activities in Portugal
Portugal is the place to be. The small Iberian country is the perfect adventure holiday destination. Besides its unique historical and cultural heritage, a superb cuisine, and a lively nightlife, there’re diverse outdoor activities options in Portugal.
Lately, it’s one of the most popular holiday places in Western Europe. The World Travel Awards, the most prestigious award in the tourism industry, awarded Portugal as World’s Leading Destination 2018. If you don’t fancy lazing around on the beach all day or shopping souvenirs, stay with us and get to know the most thrilling adventures and sports experiences for your adventure holiday in Portugal.
Outdoor Adventures in Portugal 365 Days a Year
Despite being a small country, Portugal’s landscapes offer a wealth of diversity. There’re endless outdoor adventures in Portugal, such as world-class surfing, SUP and kayaking tours, road cycling, and mountain biking, to name a few. Besides, the mild climate makes it possible to explore its opportunities 365 days a year.
However, how to find the best adventure tours and sports activities without getting stuck in a tourist trap? Long lines and packed sites are not what you are looking for; instead, natural landscapes, beautiful beaches, and adrenaline rush are.
Let’s kick off with surfing; perhaps what most thrill-seekers are looking for when planning an adventure holiday in Portugal. The Portuguese coast is blessed with a bunch of world-class surfing spots. There are all kinds of waves, suiting all surfing levels: from first-time surfers to giant waves chasers.
World-Class Surfing Spots
For those willing to learn how to surf, Portugal is a great option. There’re thousands of surf schools along the Portuguese coast, accredited by both the Portuguese Surfing Federation and by Turismo de Portugal. If you’re staying in Lisbon, we suggest taking surf lessons in Carcavelos. Located around 30 minutes away from downtown Lisbon, Praia de Carcavelos offers surfing schools, surf shops, bars, and restaurants for a day at the beach.
Continuing heading west, it’ll lead you into Cascais and Sintra. There’re several points, and beach breaks along the coast such as Sao Pedro do Estoril, and Praia do Guincho. Advanced surfers can easily find excellent surfing conditions by themselves. Having a surf guide, though, is the right choice for those who want to score the best surfing according to swell size and wind direction, without wasting too much time. There’re surfing lessons for beginners in Sintra and Cascais as well. Besides, there’re several guesthouses and surf camps offering packages combining accommodation and surfing classes.
Also, you can find many other outdoor activities in Sintra and Cascais, such as mountain biking, hiking, and rock climbing. It’s well-known among mountain bikers that Sintra possesses extraordinary conditions for mountain biking. Taking advantage of being inside the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, the Sintra hills, fields, and the coastline below offer MTB enthusiasts countless circuits on offer. It’s possible to explore it self-guided. We suggest, however, to join a guided mountain bike tour in Sintra due to its challenging trails and degree of technical skills required.
On October 14th, 2011, Ericeira became the first World Surfing Reserve in Europe. It was recognized for its unique environment, wave quality, and density of surf breaks. Coxos and Ribeira D’Ilhas are the most popular ones. There’re, however, many other surf spots around, offering opportunities for all levels. There’re surf lessons in Ericeira as well.
Peniche is perhaps the best surfing destination in Portugal. Not by chance, it hosts a stage of the World Surfing League (WSL) at Supertubos. Strategically located in a peninsula, it offers excellent surfing conditions in almost any wind and swells direction. There’re many surf guesthouse and surf camps, some offer packages combining surfing and yoga training. By the way, there’re several yoga retreats not only in Peniche but all-around Portugal.
By crossing the River Tejo, we head towards Almada. Costa da Caparica is a lively resort town commonly visited by locals. It’s also well-known for its perfect surfing conditions, where many surfing schools are based. Close by, at the Municipality of Setubal, locates de Arrábida Natural Park.
Authentic Sports & Outdoor Adventures
Arrábida Natural Park has incomparable natural beauty. Its combination of blue sea with chalky cliffs and green vegetation covering the mountains offers a unique landscape to visitors. Besides being considered as a genuine international scientific relic, it provides diverse sporting experiences to liven up your summer holiday. Snorkeling, scuba diving, dolphin watching, SUP, hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, cycling… you choose.
Next to Portinho beach locates the Fort of Nossa Senhora da Arrábida. The place is home to the Oceanographic Museum, for those who want to learn more about animal and plant life.
Continuing further south is the Alentejo province. Southwest Alentejo and Vicentina Coast Natural Park stretch for around 150 km along the Alentejo coast all the way into Sagres (Algarve). Of course, surfing is available everywhere on the coast. Vila Nova de Milfontes is one in many resort towns in the area. It’s a nice place for an adventure holiday in Alentejo. Besides surfing and bodyboarding lessons, SUP and kayaking up the Mira river is a pleasant experience.
Finally, the Algarve. The world-wide known Portuguese province is hands-down the top summer holiday destination. Its weather is mild and sunny all year. There’re many resort town options, suiting different interests and tastes — Albufeira, Lagos, Praia da Luz, Sagres, etc.
The region offers several water sports and adventure tour opportunities. SUP and kayak tours through gorgeous beaches with crystal blue waters, cliffs, and beautiful caves are a highlight. And a smooth and pleasant experience for everyone. For travelers looking for something more adventurous, we suggest joining coasteering – a thrilling combination of swimming, cliff jumping, and rock climbing. Besides, surfing, wakeboarding, road cycling are just other possibilities.
And Much More Adventures
Still, there’re many other places and regions not listed above. The North of the country, for instance, summing the city of Porto and all the River Douro region also offers many adventure possibilities. Not to mention Nazare, the giant wave surfing arena is worth visiting the lighthouse and its museum.
We hope our report inspires you to visit and explore the country’s landscape and enjoy Adventures in Portugal.