World class wave riding and lagoon conditions on the doorstep of one of the world’s most culturally rich cities! Thousands of years of history and buzzing atmosphere make Lisbon a great choice that is also just a few kilometres from some of the best beaches for kitesurfing or surfing on the Portuguese coastline.
Guincho is ten minutes from Cascais and 20 mins from Lisbon and delivers solid cross-onshore wave conditions for experienced kitesurfers. When it’s big it gets gnarly and the wind often gets very strong (5 - 7m kites), so is more suited to the hardy wave seeker.
During summer most kiters head over the iconic 25 de Abril bridge to spots like Fonte da Telha (where Gustykite school is based) in Costa da Caparica to get their kite fix in a wider expanse of coastline. Gustykite are able to teach and organise trips around the various spots that Lisbon offers.
The Nortada winds tend to build later in the afternoon meaning you can surf in the morning at beaches like Caparica and Carcavelos. Carcavelos is open to kiters in autumn, winter and spring, but both spots are ideal for intermediates when the swell is small. Check with a lifeguard if you’re not sure about when you can hit the water.
It’s not uncommon to surf, SUP and kite all in the same day. Ericeira, Peniche, and Foz do Arelho are also close by, so it’s perfectly feasible to hit up multiple spots in one day. On the other end of the spectrum is the Obidos Lagoon. Just an hour or so out of Cascais, Obidos is the perfect spot for learners due to its consistent wind and flat, shallow waters. The other flat water option is Lagoa de Albufeira to the south within a 20 drive from Lisbon although the lagoon is closed to kitesurfers during the summer 'bathing season'.
If crowded in summer there are countless other beaches. Another top tip is Troia, a 90 minute drive and short ferry ride away. It’s rare, but it can be absolutely top notch, beautiful and is rarely crowded!
WIND, WEATHER AND WATER
This piece of Portuguese coastline is a swell magnet, often attracting Europe’s best conditions - it’s no wonder that the WSL holds flagship events here! The biggest waves are found in winter (October to April) and if you’re hunting the swell you’ll need a thick wetsuit and something warm for the evenings. The prevailing north / northwest wind works very frequently with the high season running from May through August.
The Nortada wind kicks in around the Lisbon region from noon and builds through the afternoon leaving the mornings with glassy conditions for surfing. On hot days prepare to change down kite sizes as the day progresses due to the thermic effect. In the summer it's usually seven to 12 metre weather, but bring your five metre for the occasional 40+ knot blow-out at Guincho!
Air temps are balmy compared with Northern Europe, averaging 17°C / 63°F in the winter months, 21°C / 70°F in the spring and then 27°C / 80°F+ in the height of summer. The sea temperature is highest in August, reaching 20 – 22°C / 68 - 72°F and is at its lowest at the end of February, dropping to 14 – 16°C / 57 - 61°F. For kiting when the wind is up you’ll need a 3/2mm spring suit. In winter you’ll need at least a 4/3mm suit and often booties.
Over the winter months the wind is more fickle, often blowing from the east from November through to February, which is offshore and gusty in the lagoons. Again, the strength can vary hugely and the wind can die off pretty quickly in the afternoon too, but, with a bit of local knowledge you can get yourself to the right place at the right time and score some epic winter sessions.
GUSTYKITE teach in Guincho, at the Fonte da Telha Kitebeach or the Albufeira lagoon, depending on where the conditions are best. They offer private or group lessons, a rental service and more.
SOUTH ADVENTURES teach all levels, all year seven days a week. Ratios are no more than 2:1. North, Ion, Advance and Underwave gear available for hire / purchase. Airport and beach transfers, gear storage, accommodation, tour services, SUP and surf lessons all available. Languages spoken by instructors: English, Portuguese, Spanish and French.
Accommodation options are varied, from self-catering apartments to hotels, from the cheap and cheerful to five star.
FREE SPIRIT HOUSE is a high-end hostel with capacity for 26 people and caters to all levels of budget; from private suites to shared bunk-bed style rooms. Each guest has a closed place to store their belongings, including surf boards and kite gear. There is a beautiful garden with a swimming pool, plenty of communal areas to chill in, a fully equipped kitchen and even a bar! Yoga is on offer as well as retreat package options. There is also free street parking and it's just a few minutes drive to Guincho beach if you want to go kitesurfing in Cascais, or use the hostel as a base and a gateway to Lisbon and surrounding beaches.
You won’t be struggling to fill your time in Lisbon should the wind not arrive! If you’re determined to be in the sea, there are world class waves up and down the local coast with plenty of SUP/surf schools and rental outfits to get sorted with kit and lessons.
As Lisbon is a modern metropolis, everything is within easy reach. Buzzing in the summer, the architecture is amazing and the hilltop castle, Castelo de Sant Jorge, has incredible views across the city and river. If you’re looking to party, Lisbon is the right place. The party scene is incredible with a seemingly limitless number of bars and clubs. There’s everything from fast-food joints to traditional family run restaurants, as well as Michelin Star options and everything in between. For self-catering, supermarkets and shops are in plentiful supply.
Just 20-30 minutes drive away, Cascais is a peaceful historic beach city that offers many restaurants, cultural events, bars, shops and beaches. Minutes from Cascais town centre and beaches (via the free shuttle!), Free Spirit House is a high-end surf, kite and yoga retreat destination with a swimming pool. From there it’s easy to visit the historic sites of Sintra and you can enjoy the beautiful natural parks in the surrounding area, known for its stunning hiking and rock climbing environment. Bike hire is possible and the cycle along the coast to Guincho Beach is a treat. Cascais has easily accessible supermarkets and the public transport is decent.
When staying in the Lisbon area it’s a good idea to have access to your own transport as most spots are within 25 minutes drive. Car hire is cheap, too!
FOOD AND DRINK
Restaurants range from traditional Portuguese family run eateries to the Michelin starred. Then dive into the streets of Chiado, Cais do Sodre, Principe Real and Bairro Alto and get in amongst the dozens of bars and nightclubs, all within walking distance of one another.
Lisbon Airport (LIS) is super accessible from anywhere in Europe and just a ten minute drive or taxi ride from the centre of the city. From there you can hire a car, take a Taxi, Uber or train to Cascais and beyond. You could also fly into Porto Airport (OPO) which is three hours north. Faro Airport (FAO) is 2.5 hours south.
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