Where to kitesurf in Portugal?
Portugal, Kitesurfing paradise?
Portugal is known far and wide for its many world-class surf breaks, but the country is also home to some great kitesurfing spots too. It’s pretty windy, and with 850km of coastline to explore, you are sure to find some great spots hidden away.
Kitesurf in Portugal is rising in popularity. If you’ve ever kitesurfed in Portugal, you’ll probably have come across other travellers in the water who are also searching for quality spots, but maybe not so many locals…
We think there’s an easy explanation for this: in Portugal, surfing ranks right up there as the nation’s favourite sport, second to football. Surfing holds a very important place in the Portuguese culture, whilst kitesurfing isn’t as highly coveted, and therefore less practiced.
Long story short, Portugal is home to a lot of kitesurfing spots with idyllic conditions that are often pretty deserted. Sounds dreamy, right?
In this article we will focus on our 4 favourite kitesurfing spots around the Portuguese capital, Lisbon. Let’s go!
Kitesurfing at “Lagoa de Albufeira”, Portugal
The Lagoa de Albufeira is a 45 minute drive from Lisbon. It’s probably one of the most beautiful places in Portugal and also, as luck would have it, an idyllic playground for kitesurfing. This shallow water kitesurfing spot is a perfect place for both beginners and experienced kitesurfers.
As the spot is a lagoon, it’s possible to kite in all wind directions, however you’ll find that the best sessions will be when the wind is blowing from the west/north-west (directly from the sea). Other wind directions can be a bit irregular.
- There are often fishermen in the middle of the lagoon
- There are oyster beds to the east of the spot (that you’ll probably end up near during a westerly wind)
- The depth of the water is shallow
- The lagoon joins the ocean, creating tides
The Albufeira Lagoon is a really unique kitesurfing spot and is considered as an area of great ecological importance (it’s a certified Ramsar Site). It is fed by fresh water coming from the Apostiça river and salt water from the Atlantic Ocean, which enters the lagoon regularly in spring.
There is loads of parking and it’s easy to find a place to launch your kite safely at the lagoon, as it’s over 1km long and surrounded by a large sandy beach.
Ce spot dispose d’un grand parking et il vous sera facile de trouver un endroit pour décoller votre aile en toute sécurité. Le lagon s’étend sur plus de 1 Km et celui-ci est entouré d’une grande plage de sable.
There are two restaurants at the Albufeira lagoon. Restaurante Praia de Lagoa de Albufeira is known for its great view of the lagoon and the restaurant O Lagoeiro is famous for the quality of the delicious dishes they serve.
Attention campers: wild camping is strictly forbidden at the Lagoon. However, there are a few campsites in the area.
Kitesurfing at “Fonte da Telha”, Portugal.
Only 30 minutes away from Lisbon, Fonte da Telha is a traditional fishing village that turns into a seaside resort in the summer season. It’s home to many bars and restaurants that are open all year round, each with an incredible natural view of the ocean, dunes, hills and forests.
Fonte da Telha is a perfect spot for beginners and intermediate riders, but don’t be fooled, it’s also awesome for experienced riders when the conditions are right. It’s not uncommon to see the GKA Kite Surf World Tour pros training here!
There are a few kitesurfing schools (located to the right of the town entrance, about 1km along the main road) where you can rent equipment and buy second hand kit.
The predominant wind is from the northwest and blows most of the time, peaking in the late afternoon. In summer, you have to be very careful of swimmers and people on the beach, unless you are partaking in the kitesurfing school, as then a special area is reserved for your lesson.
A small win for van-livers is that there are a lot of car parks in the area where you can pull up in your camper. Whilst wild camping is forbidden in Portugal, the authorities seem to make some exceptions here… All we ask is that you respect the place and pick up your waste. Wildsuits founder Olivier organises and participates in beach cleans at Fonte da Telha, and experiences first hand the amount of waste left behind by wild campers.
Kitesurfing at “Praia do Guincho”, Portugal.
The beach of Guincho is about 800 meters long and is located 35 minutes from Lisbon and 10 from Cascais. Praia do Guincho is the most famous kitesurfing spot in Portugal, after the Obidos lagoon. The wind gusts can reach more than 100km/h and sometimes it’s even difficult to walk along the beach!
Strong gusty winds oscillate between coming from the west and north-west, and Guincho is without a doubt the windiest kitesurfing spot in Portugal – a still day here is very rare! The land winds rush in a ‘funnel’ towards the beach before being released directly onto the shore. Here the waves can reach 2 meters in size, and be aware of the powerful shorebreak during high tides.
On less windy days you’ll have to be careful, as the sea will be packed with surfers and bodyboarders. Our advice; choose the northern end of Guicho if there are too many surfers in the water, as they normally leave this end to the kitesurfers!
Guincho is majoritively a spot for experienced riders who like, and dominate, strong winds and waves, therefore we wouldn’t recommend it to amateur and intermediate kitesurfers.
Praia do Guincho was a major stop in the 90’s for the World Kitesurfing Championship and is extremely beautiful and wild. A scene from the James Bond movie “On Her Majesty’s Service” was even shot on this beach!
This kitesurfing spot is located in the Serra de Sintra National Park, a UNESCO heritage site
Kitesurfing at Lagoa de Óbidos, Portugal
The lagoon of Obidos is the most famous place to practice kitesurfing in Portugal. It is a 1h30 drive from Lisbon and 30 minutes from Peniche. The lagoon is 6km long, fed by both fresh and saltwater, and is the largest lagoon in the country.
There are 2 main spots on this lagoon that are suitable for both beginners and experts.
- The estuary: the most western spot of the lagoon. Wave lovers can even reach the ocean here by crossing the estuary. This kitesurfing spot offers up a vast expanse of shallow water. It is accessible out of the summer season (from September 15 to June 15), but during the beach summer season the spot is closed to kitesurfers. Apart from a few fishermen, the spot is safe and offers up very favorable conditions for kitesurfing. The spot is accessible from one side by the beach at Bom Successo (south of the lagoon) or from the other side by the beach of Foz de Arelho (north of the lagoon).
- The interior of the lagoon: unlike the estuary, this spot is accessible all year round. It works with all wind directions (even though the north / north-west winds are best), and is an idyllic and safe spot for beginners (although be aware of a slightly narrow take-off area). This spot is also a good playground for experienced surfers too.
The lagoon is known for its fauna (different species of fish and mollusks) and its flora, influenced by the shallow waters and the vegetation that surrounds it. There are different hiking routes around the lagoon and a large-scale trail hike is organised here every year.
You’ll find campsites, hotels and parking lots for motor homes around the lagoon. Whilst the lagoon of Obidos is not often mentioned in Portuguese tourist guides, we think it is definitely worth a visit.
To conclude, Portugal is a perfect destination for kitesurfing in Europe. Most of the spots are accessible for all abilities and more or less safe. Note that the climate is pleasant and the water is relatively good all year round, a small detail that can completely change a session in winter!