Azores Islands: Surfing in the Azores Islands

📅 29 March 2024 | Guides, Portugal | ⌛ 20 mins

Surfing in the Azores

Surfing in the Azores Islands has become quite popular in the past years. I guess, that is no surprise, since these beautiful islands offer some of the best surfing spots.

The Azores Islands are scattered across the vastness of the North Atlantic Ocean, which beckons travelers with a promise of volcanic landscapes, lush greenery, and a unique cultural tapestry. Beneath this idyllic facade lies a secret world, a haven for surfers seeking consistent swells, uncrowded breaks, and a connection with nature unlike any other.

Thus, I made this ultimate guide for surfing in Azores Islands for you, so it’s easy for you to plan.

Azores Surf Spots Maps

Surfing in São Miguel Island

São Miguel Island boasts a diverse range of surf breaks catering to the spectrum of surfers, from seasoned veterans to enthusiastic novices. The island’s unique position in the North Atlantic Ocean exposes it to consistent swells generated by distant storms, ensuring a reliable source of pumping waves throughout the year. Let’s review the best Sao Miguel beaches for surfing.

Santa Bárbara Beach – Ribeira Grande

Surfing in the Azores can be one of the most unforgettable experiences ever. Starting your journey at Santa Bárbara Beach is a good spot.This right-hand point break peels off a volcanic reef, offering long, hollow walls that challenge surfers with their speed and power. During winter swells, Santa Bárbara unleashes barrels that will leave even the most seasoned surfers breathless. People consider the surfing at Santa Barbara Beach to be the best surfing in the Azores. Thus, I would for sure advice you to visit it.

Praia do Norte - Ribeira Grande

Nestled near Santa Bárbara Beach, Praia do Norte offers another right-hand point break that caters to intermediate and advanced surfers. This spot generates powerful waves that peel off a rocky outcrop, providing a thrilling ride for those seeking a challenge.

Praia do Populo – Lagoa

Situated on the south coast of the island, Praia do Populo in Lagoa caters to a wider range of surfers. This beach boasts a forgiving beach break that produces consistent waves, ideal for developing one’s skills. The waves here are typically smaller and gentler compared to Santa Bárbara, making it an excellent surfing spot for beginners and intermediate surfers to gain confidence and improve their technique.

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Mosteiros Beach

Located on the westernmost tip of the island, Mosteiros Beach is a haven for experienced surfers seeking a secluded escape. This exposed beach break picks up consistent swells and delivers long, powerful rides. The remote location and challenging waves make Mosteiros Beach a favorite amongst seasoned surfers who appreciate an untamed surfing experience.

Ilhéu de Rosto de Cão

This islet situated off the eastern coast of São Miguel provides a truly unique surfing experience. Accessible by boat, Ilhéu de Rosto de Cão boasts a long left-hand point break that peels off a volcanic islet. The waves here are known for their speed and power, offering a thrilling challenge for experienced surfers.

Rabo de Peixe

Located on the northern side of São Miguel Island in the Azores, it receives consistent swells throughout the year which means excellent waves for surfing. Rabo de Peixe is primarily known for its powerful and fast reef break waves, better suited for experienced surfers. While a great surf spot, the waves at Rabo de Peixe can be challenging and are known for occasional strong currents.

In the past Rabo de Peixe offered excellent left-hand waves but these have been altered by construction in the area. The spot still offers good surfing conditions but is not quite what it used to be.

Surfing in Terceira Island

This Portuguese island boasts a hidden secret – world-class surfing conditions. Surfing in Terceira Island is known for its consistent swells rolling in from the Atlantic Ocean, coupled with a diverse coastline that create an ideal environment for surfers of all experience levels. Whether you’re a seasoned wave rider chasing adrenaline-pumping barrels or a beginner seeking gentle rollers to learn the ropes, Terceira beaches offer some of the best Azores surfing spots.

Santa Catarina Beach

Undisputedly, Santa Catarina stands as the crown jewel of Terceira Island beaches for surfing. This exposed reef break mercilessly unleashes powerful, predictable waves that peel perfectly across a volcanic shelf. Renowned for its long, hollow rides and barreling sections, Santa Catarina is a surfer’s dream, offering the chance to carve down long walls and experience the exhilarating rush of an oncoming barrel.

Strong currents and consistent northwesterly swells characterize Santa Catarina. Due to the reef’s shallow nature, powerful waves can break unexpectedly, demanding respect and a high level of surfing proficiency. It is perfect for experienced surfers who are seeking a challenge.

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Praia da Vitória Beach

Praia da Vitória is among the beaches in Azores, boasting a golden sand beach that presents a more accessible surfing experience compared to Santa Catarina. Here, gentle rollers perfect for honing basic skills coexist with more punchy peaks that can challenge intermediate surfers. Consistent swells ensure there’s almost always a wave to ride, making Praia da Vitória a surfer’ paradise throughout the year.

Praia da Vitória experiences moderate currents and consistent swells rolling in from the north and northwest. The presence of a jetty on the northern end of the beach can influence currents, so checking with local surf schools or experienced surfers is advisable. Ideal for beginner surfers, intermediate surfers, experienced surfers looking for a relaxed surf session.

Quatro Ribeiras Beach

Nestled amidst a charming village, Quatro Ribeiras entices with its black sand beach and gentle, forgiving waves. The sheltered nature of the bay creates a calm environment perfect for learning to surf. Surf schools in the area offer professional instruction and board rentals, making Quatro Ribeiras an ideal spot for first-time surfers to take their initial steps on the wave.

Protected by the surrounding cliffs, Quatro Ribeiras boasts weak currents and smaller swells, offering a safe and ideal learning environment for beginner surfers. It is perfect for beginner surfers and families with young children.

Porto Martins

Porto Martins is another Azores surfing spot for surfers seeking an escape from the crowds. This rocky point break generates long, playful rides that are perfect for intermediate surfers to hone their skills. The scenic backdrop of volcanic cliffs adds to the allure of Porto Martins, creating an unforgettable surfing experience.

Moderate currents and consistent northwesterly swells characterize Porto Martins. Be aware of occasional strong currents around the headland, and always prioritize safety when entering the water. Try it out, only if you are an experienced surfer seeking a less crowded spot and a bit of a challenge.

São Mateus

São Mateus caters to the thrill-seeking surfer with its powerful, barreling waves. This exposed reef break unleashes unforgiving waves that demand respect and advanced surfing skills. Not for the faint of heart, São Mateus offers a chance to test one’s limits and experience the raw power of the Atlantic Ocean.

Strong currents and powerful northwesterly swells dominate São Mateus. Due to the challenging nature of the waves, entering the water at São Mateus is only recommended for experienced surfers who are comfortable navigating powerful conditions.

Surfing in São Jorge Island

Carved by volcanic eruptions and sculpted by the relentless Atlantic Ocean, São Jorge Island in the Azores archipelago emerges as a hidden gem for surfers of all experience levels. Untouched coastlines, consistent swells, and a breathtaking natural backdrop make surfing in São Jorge a unique experience which lets you immerse yourself into the Azorean culture.

São Mateus

Carved by volcanic eruptions and sculpted by the relentless Atlantic Ocean, São Jorge Island in the Azores archipelago emerges as a hidden gem for surfers of all experience levels. Untouched coastlines, consistent swells, and a breathtaking natural backdrop make surfing in São Jorge a unique experience which lets you immerse yourself into the Azorean culture.

Ermida da Santo Cristo

Nestled within the Fajã da Caldeira de Santo Cristo, Ermida da Santo Cristo is a surfer’s haven for beginners. Here, rolling left-handers peel off from a cobblestone seabed, offering long, forgiving rides ideal for honing your skills. The sheltered nature of the bay creates a calm environment, perfect for practicing paddling, pop-ups, and maneuvering your board. Breathtaking scenery adds to the experience, with lush green cliffs cradling the beach and the iconic Fajã da Caldeira de Santo Cristo settlement providing a glimpse into traditional Azorean life.

Fajã da Caldeira de Santo Cristo

This dramatic horseshoe-shaped bay on the north shore of São Jorge transforms into a playground for intermediate and advanced surfers when winter swells roll in. A series of world-class point breaks peel off from volcanic headlands, offering long, challenging rides that test your skills and technique. 

The most renowned breaks include Lago do Linho, known for its powerful, hollow barrels; Esquerdas da Igreja, a fast and maneuverable left-hander; and Direitas do Paço, a powerful right-hand point break demanding precise positioning and commitment. Due to the exposed nature of the breaks and strong currents, this area is best suited for experienced surfers comfortable navigating challenging conditions.


On the northern coast, Manadas Beach unveils a powerful right-hand reef break that caters to experienced surfers. Long walls and hollow sections offer opportunities for aggressive maneuvers and barrel riding.  Similar to Baixa da Ponta, Manadas is best suited for surfers in peak physical condition with a strong understanding of ocean dynamics and rip currents.

Surfing in Pico Island

Pico Island is another surfing spot in the Azores Islands and it is not for the faint hearted. The island offers some of the best beaches to go and try out your surfing skills, so make sure to add it to your list.

Santo Amaro

While not exclusively for beginners, the eastern shore of Santo Amaro near the Baía do Canto offers smaller, more manageable waves when compared to the island’s powerful northern breaks. Here, gentle right-handers roll in over a volcanic rock bottom, providing a thrilling yet forgiving introduction to surfing on reef breaks. Keep in mind that conditions can change rapidly, so it’s crucial to be aware of your surroundings and heed the advice of local surfers or surf instructors.

Santo Amaro is another Azores surfing spot for the intermediate and advanced surfers. Do not underestimate it!

Baixa das Ponta

Dare to have some unforgettable Azores surfing experience? Venture to the westernmost tip of São Jorge Island to discover Baixa da Ponta, a remote and wild beauty spot. Here, powerful right-hand barrels crash onto a volcanic rock reef, attracting experienced surfers seeking a taste of adrenaline. The remote location and demanding conditions require a high level of fitness, surfing experience, and respect for the power of the ocean.

Planning Your Azores Surf Adventure

With consistent swells throughout the year, these volcanic islands cater to all skill levels. If you’re dreaming of an unforgettable surf trip, here’s your guide to planning an epic Azores adventure.

Best Time to Visit for Surfing in the Azores

I’m sharing the best Azores surfing season to come and visit the Azores Islands for surfing and make sure you make the most of the experience:

Spring and Fall: These shoulder seasons offer the perfect blend of powerful swells and manageable crowds. Experienced surfers will relish the consistent, larger waves ideal for honing their skills.

Summer: Summer brings warmer weather, gentler swells, and less crowded lineups, perfect for beginners and those looking for mellower waves to practice their technique.

Winter: The Azores can get some significant winter swells, offering a thrilling challenge for seasoned surfers, but the weather can be less predictable. Consider this season if you’re an advanced surfer seeking powerful, uncrowded waves.

How to Get to the Azores Islands and Around

There are a couple of options for you to choose from when it comes to how to get to the Azores Islands. Keep reading below or simply go to my article on how to get to Azores Islands:

Flights: In most of the cases, you will have to fly into Lisbon, Portugal (LIS) before connecting to one of the airports in the Azores. The two main airports are located on São Miguel Island (PDL) and Terceira Island (TER). However, if you are coming from the USA or Canada, you are lucky, because you can easily get to Ponta Delgada airport with a direct flight. 

Azores Ferries: If you wish to explore multiple islands during your vacation, ferries are the perfect way to island-hop. Atlanticoline ( provides inter-island ferry service around the Azores, so check my article here on the inter-island Azores ferries, to learn more how to get around.

Rent a car in the Azores Islands: Renting a car in the Azores is the most efficient way to access various surf spots on each island, offering flexibility and autonomy on your island excursions. Consider renting a 4×4 if you’re planning on off-roading to access remote breaks.

I would suggest renting a car through Discover Cars as they are waiving lots of additional payments that might incur if you book with any other company both international or local.

Find Your Rental Car

Surf Camps and Schools in the Azores Islands

Wondering which are the best surf schools and camps in the Azores Islands?! I have gathered a list of the best ones, so you can easily make your decisions.

Azores Bagus (São Miguel Island): Embrace the “Aloha Spirit” at Azores Bagus, a haven for surfers seeking a comfortable and progressive learning environment. Renowned for its exceptional ISA-qualified instructors, Azores Bagus offers a variety of packages, from surfing in the Azores for beginners to helping the experienced ones, you will find everything there.

Their flagship 8-Day Atlantic Surfcamp is renowned. This comprehensive program caters to all skill levels, with five 2-hour surf lessons, video analysis, and theoretical sessions to refine your technique. Beyond surfing, Azores Bagus fosters a communal atmosphere, organizing BBQ nights and cultural excursions, ensuring an enriching and unforgettable Azorean adventure.

Santa Barbara Surf School (São Miguel Island): For those seeking a personalized approach, look no further than Santa Barbara Surf School. Situated directly on the pristine shores of Santa Barbara Beach, this laid-back school offers exceptional instruction for all experience levels. Whether you’re conquering your first wave or honing your barrel-riding skills, Santa Barbara’s friendly and certified instructors cater to your individual needs.

Azores Surf School (São Miguel Island): For those yearning for unmatched flexibility and a tailored surf experience, look to Surf Azores or Azores Surf Camp. Surf Azores offers a variety of packages and private lessons, catering to surfers of all abilities.  Choose from private or group lessons, full or half-day options, and even extended surf coaching programs – the choice is yours!

Spot Azores

Spot Açores is one of the best things invented for the Azores Islands! It is for sure your go to place when you are deciding what and when to visit. These cameras are located in different areas of all the Azores Islands and will for sure help you navigate easily your trip. The best part is that you can check the weather around the Azores Islands and tweak your holiday to become a never ending sunny trip.

FAQs Answered

Is the Azores Good for Beginner Surfers?

Absolutely! The Azores boasts a remarkable diversity of surf breaks, offering a spectrum of wave characteristics to suit all skill levels. Beginner surfers will find plenty of idyllic spots with gentle rollers and forgiving conditions. Here’s a breakdown of why the Azores is a fantastic choice for learning to surf.

What Kind of Wetsuit Do I Need in the Azores?

The water temperature in the Azores Islands varies depending on the season. Generally, a 3/2mm wetsuit (3mm thickness in the torso and 2mm in the arms and legs) is suitable for most of the year, offering a comfortable balance of warmth and flexibility. During the cooler winter months (December to February), a thicker 4/3mm wetsuit might be necessary for extended sessions in the water.

Are There Any Hidden Surf Spots in the Azores?

The Azores Islands, with its volcanic origins and dramatic coastlines, harbors a treasure trove of surf breaks waiting to be discovered. While some spots are well-established favorites, there’s a certain allure to uncovering a secluded cove with pristine waves all to yourself. However, always approach with caution.

Pay attention to the prevailing wind and swell direction. Consistent swell lines hitting specific stretches of coastline can be indicators of potential surf breaks. Once you identify such areas, scout them out on foot or by drone to assess their accessibility and wave characteristics.

Or simply ask locals. The Azorean surf community is known for its welcoming spirit. Striking up conversations with local surfers can be your gateway to uncovering lesser-known breaks. They might share their favorite hidden spots or offer guidance on where to explore.

Can I Rent Surfboards in the Azores?

Absolutely! Most surf schools and camps in the Azores Islands offer surfboard rentals, catering to surfers of all levels.  This eliminates the need to travel with your own.

Are There Sharks in the Azores Islands?

Yes, sharks are present in the waters of the Azores. The archipelago lies in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, a migratory route for many shark species. However, encountering a shark while surfing in the Azores is incredibly rare.

Statistically, the risk of a shark attack while surfing in the Azores is extremely low. There have been zero documented attacks on surfers in the Azores’ history.

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I hope that you have enjoyed reading this article about surfing in the Azores islands! Let me know if you found it useful or would like to add something below 😉