The Algarve is one of Portugal’s most prized possessions. It’s well known for its jaw-dropping cliffs, caramel-coloured strips of sand and scallop-edged bays. It has both a south and west-facing coastline, so it’s perfectly angled to pick up Atlantic swells from almost any direction, which makes the Algarve a surfers' paradise. In fact, there are over 20 well-rated surf spots to choose from. And warm weather throughout the year gives you all the more reason to grab a board and hit the surf.
If you’re looking for consistently good waves, make tracks for Praia de Falésia. The waves here can hold heights of up to 10 feet on a good day – so it’s great for both beginner and intermediate surfers. This beach is also renowned for its orange-tinted cliffs and a huge belt of sand that unravels all the way from Vilamoura to Olhos de Água. Plus, you can pick from an impressive portfolio of watersports - there’s everything from paragliding and wakeboarding to diving and waterskiing. And if you’re an advanced surfer, look no further than Praia da Amoreira. This beach can be found around 20 minutes’ drive from Monchique, a scenic market town that’s well-known for its cobbled streets and whitewashed houses. Plus, this beach is something of a hidden gem, so you can avoid crowds on the sands and in the water, too. To help keep you safe while you’re in the water, make sure you always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
Sound good? Check out our holidays to the Algarve
You’ll hit the surfing jackpot in Madeira. Thanks to its nearby neighbour Portugal, the island also benefits from large Atlantic swells throughout the year. The best time to visit is during the months of November and February, when the waves are at their highest and most consistent. Plus, did we mention how beautiful Madeira is? When you’re not surfing, you can spend the day exploring botanical gardens, taking in soaring mountain views, and learning about some of the world's tastiest wines at the Madeira Wine Institute.
One of the best places to go surfing in Madeira is at Jardim do Mar. You’ll find this picturesque town about 30 minutes’ drive from the centre of vineyard-covered Ponta do Sol. There are three surf-perfect beaches to pick from here, including Portinho, Enseada and Ponta Jardim. Remember that the ocean’s currents can be very strong – you need to be a confident swimmer to give surfing a go, and make sure you pay attention to warning flags and safety notices when on the beach.
Tempted? Check out holidays to Madeira
It’s no surprise that Costa Rica is a hub for surfing. True to its translated name ‘the rich coast’, it’s surrounded by both the Caribbean and Pacific Ocean, which brings warm waters and long, sandy beaches. It’s these two factors which make perfect surfing conditions for beginners and pros alike. Plus, most of the beaches here are cloaked by palm trees and bright-green jungle, so they’re picture-perfect, too.
Playa Tamarindo tops the list when it comes to the best places to surf in Costa Rica. You’ll find it on the northern Pacific coast. Tamarindo Beach is flanked by hippy beach bars and plenty of watersports shops that ooze surfer chic. While you’re there, take to the waves at nearby Witch’s Rock - a huge boulder which towers out of the sea, creating a stunning backdrop for those all-important surfing GoPro photos. The best time to surf at Witch's Rock is at high tide during the dry season, from December to March. It’s during these months that the waves can reach up to five feet high. And remember that if you’re feeling a little nervous, it’s best to take a lesson or two with a professional before heading out on your own.
Playa de Matapalo is another big hit among surfers. These sands are preserved for guests at the RIU Guanacaste and RIU Palace Costa Rica, so there's plenty of room for you to stretch out on your towel or take to the waves. The swells here can range from five to ten feet, so they're ideal for surfers of any level.
Is this surfing spot calling your name? Check out our Costa Rica holidays
Fancy a trip to Mexico? Holidays here are all about relaxing on tropical beaches, exploring Mayan ruins and sampling some of the world's best nightlife. It’s also a haven for surfers, with surf-perfect places like Cancun and Nuevo Vallarta up its sleeve – both major in beautiful beaches with swathes of golden sands. The prime time to surf in Mexico is during the rainy season, which lasts from May until September. During these months, you can expect emptier beaches and southern swells which make for ideal surfing conditions.
Cancun is a great place to learn how to surf. Here, the waves are gentle and rolling, thanks to its Caribbean Coast location. Nuevo Vallarta, on the other hand, soaks up swells from the Pacific Ocean which means the waves can reach up to eight feet high on a good day. Remember to check the weather and tides before you paddle out, and learn to observe the ocean so you can identify rips, wind changes and other hazards.
Got all the wanderlust you need? Check out our holidays to Mexico
If you’re looking to head further east in search of your next surfing holiday, make sure you tick off Sri Lanka. There’s so many reasons to visit the teardrop of India, including national parks, exotic wildlife and some of the best beaches. And because of its snug position in the Indian Ocean, you can bet it’s a year-round surfing destination, too.
We think Negombo takes first place when it comes to surfing in Sri Lanka. It’s also known as the kite-surfing capital of Sri Lanka. The best time to visit Negombo is between January and March, when the north-westerly trade winds create tip-top surfing conditions. Plus, there are plenty of dive schools around here if you fancy going below the surface. Hikkaduwa is another great place in Sri Lanka to pick up a board and hit the waves. The resort itself has been popular among holidaymakers for decades, and it’s been renamed the ‘hippy hangout’ thanks to its relaxed, backpacker vibes. The waves here can range from three to 10 feet high, and there are lots of local breaks, where all levels of surfers go to catch the waves. Make sure you surf in the designated areas marked out by the lifeguards, and be sure to avoid strong currents.
Ready to hit the surf? Check out our holidays to Sri Lanka
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Author: Olivia Hunt
Enjoy an adults-only escape at the TUI BLUE Falesia in Portugal. This place boasts a secluded clifftop location and à la carte dining options.
In a prime spot on the Riviera Maya, the beachfront TUI Sensatori Riviera Cancun offers up a taste of the finer things in life.
Located on the gloriously unspoiled Matapalo Beach, Riu Guanacaste is a five-star beauty that feels like your own private paradise.
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