There are few places as epic as Portugal!
WIND BY SEASON
Summer season is the best time to kite in the Lisbon area - anytime from May to September. You'll have wind several days a week, and warm summer conditions on the beach! Water temperature on the Atlantic calls for a 3/2 wetsuit, and lagoon riders can get by with much less. Winter wind is typically storm conditions and you'll want to watch the forecast if you want to plan a winter trip. Expect strong wind, heavy surf, and colder water. Check the forecast online at WindGuru.
This is a choose your own adventure sort of place - If you want to stay in a beachfront hostel or guest house and be exploring nature every day? You can. If you want to stay in the cultural center of Lisbon with every amenity you could hope for, with restaurants and bars and nightlife right outside your door? You can do that too! But whatever you do, don't forget to get in a car and go for a drive to see some of the sights in this incredible country!
Kite center and school - Windspirit
Portugal travel tips - Lonely Planet
Wind forecast - WindGuru
Wave forecast - Magic Seaweed
Welcome to wave rider heaven. The beaches within a couple hours of Lisbon have world class waves, both for surfers and kitesurfers. The more kite friendly beaches like Peniche and Guincho will have some rocks and obstacles on the spot, and are recommended for advanced riders. Beginner wave riders can play on the long beachfront at Fonte de Telha in the smaller waves.
Flatwater is on the menu here in Portugal, with many lagoons throughout the country. The two closest lagoons to Lisbon - Lagoa de Óbidos and Lagoa de Albufeira are heaven for freestylers. These spots are also a great place for beginner kiters to get some practice in. Just watch out for the tides changing in these spots, and be sure to link up with one of the schools if you're new to the sport.
Portugal has great kite conditions for beginners. The steady summer winds make for fairly easy learning conditions, and the facilities on the beach at Windspirit are ideal for those who wish to learn to kite in the ocean. If you're already kiting but a little nervous about trying a new spot, head to Windspirit at Font de Telha for a friendly kite community and a big beach to ride.
The amount of things to do in the Lisbon area is virtually limitless. Head into the city to see culture, history, and for entertainment - day and night. If you'd rather be out in nature, Windspirit offers lots of land and sea excursions including SUP, snorkel, kayak, and can organize ATV trips, trail running, hiking, and more. One of the best alternative activities is just to pick a direciton and drive, and stay off the highway. You'll find some beautiful coastal villages and local towns to stop for a bite to eat and see some incredible old world sights. Head south to the Algarve for a real treat!
Lisbon is super easy to get to from most countries - with a major international airport. A rental car is essential for visiting the different kite spots, but is quite difficult to drive and park in and around the city. Accommodations are varied and will suit any budget and style of travel from solo kiters on a budget to famliies and groups. First time visitors to Portugal will be relieved to find that most people in the tourism industry speak some English, which makes it an accessible trip for any traveler!
Kiteboarding Spot Guide
There aren’t a lot of places with a coastline as impressive as Portugal! From the Algarve on the southern coast all the way up to the beautiful cities near the northern border to Spain, there is so much to explore. Endless beaches, waves, and charming Portugeuse villages abound. And best of all? No shortage of kiteboarding beaches!
Here's your introduction to kiteboarding in one of Europe's cultural hotspots: Lisbon, Portugal.
Our last European destination is one of the most popular kite spots in Europe - Tarifa, Spain. When it comes to kiting in Tarifa, the trade off for being in the center of the kite community is often crowded beaches and gusty winds. Well worth the visit, but to make the most of a European kite holiday, why not add Portugal to your trip?
Only 6 hours by car from Tarifa, Lisbon will feel like an entirely different world. With many kite spots in the area, you can experience chilled sessions on a wide open beach near the city, flatwater fun on one of the lagoons, and more culture, history, and sightseeing than you'll know what to do with!
Portugal is known in the kite community for it's incredible wave spots, steady thermal winds, and friendly beaches. For those that love exploring all that kiteboarding has to offer, this is the place to be!
Summer: The best season for kiting is from May to September, when the wind blows around 4 days per week. This is a thermal wind that crops up in the afternoon and goes til sunset, delivering stable conditions ideal for any kiter. Wind blows between 15-25 knots.
Winter: Adventurous kiters may prefer the winter months, when the beaches are virtually empty. In winter, the waves are firing and the storm winds crank. You'll want to watch the forecast if you're planning a winter trip and book the flight when a storm is coming in, as you can't count on the wind at this time of year. Experienced kiters only.
Whatever time of year you come, expect that you'll have a few days per week without wind and take advantage of those days to go exploring!
Weather / Temperature
Summer: Warm temperatures and beautiful, steady winds - summer is the time to be in Portugal! Water temperature in the Atlantic Ocean is cool, and a 3/2 wetsuit is recommended. On a hot day, kiters who spend most of their time on the board could get by with a shorty. Because you're in a coastal city, come prepared for anything. Cloudy weather can lead to cooler temperatures and evenings can be cool as well. You'll want beach clothes, city clothes, and party clothes in this spot!
Winter: Bundle up, because winter in Portugal can be quite cold! A 5/4 or 4/3 wetsuit is ideal, and extra layers for exploring the city will come in handy.
You'll find launch spots all along the coastline of Portugal, but we'll give you a short introduction to the top spots close to Lisbon. Please note: In the peak summer season, some of these kite spots are regulated very strongly, so make sure to stop in to your local kite center before you get on the water to avoid any issues with police or fines.
Playa de Fonte Da Telha
Playa de Fonte da Telha - 25 min from Lisbon. This is a long, wide, sandy beach that is perfect for kiters of every level and ideal for beginner kiters that want to stay close to the city. The best place to ride is right at Windspirit, a fully equipped kite center, school, and café that is an awesome spot to get to know the local riders and visiting kiteboarders. There is parking in front of the kite center, and the beachfront is a very short walk over the dune and train track. On the water, you'll have plenty of space to play and the most forgiving ocean conditions in the Lisbon area. You'll have experienced instructors available for those doing lessons or needing assistance, and jetski pickup available if needed.
Praia do Guincho - 35 min from Lisbon: This famous kite spot is wave lovers paradise, but a more advanced spot with lots of obstacles, rocks in the water, and heavy surf. This makes for a stunning backdrop during your kite session, but is best for advanced kiters and kitesurfers.
Lagoa de Albufeira - 40 min from Lisbon: Freestylers, this is where you want to be! A beautiful flatwater lagoon that is ideal both for those practicing tricks and those practicing kiting in general. It's beginner friendly, pro friendly, and just a nice place to hang out or go kayaking or SUPing if the wind is light. If you're in this area, Cafe Beira Mar is a great place to stop for a delicious, local lunch!
Peniche - 1 hr 15 min from Lisbon: This is a next level spot for wave riders. This fishing village has become famous as a frequent stop on the World Surf League tour. There are many breaks in this area including famous Supertubos. Conditions here can be very challenging, but hose who love the challenge and are stoked on big waves will love this spot. For an extra adventure, drive another hour north to Nazaré, famous for it's monster waves. Maybe just watch from the beach though!!
Lagoa de Obidos - 1 hr 30 min from Lisbon: If you want to work on your unhooked game, this is where you’ll want to be. This lagoon can work well for beginners as well, though conditions can change as quickly as the tides. Kite schools including Windspirit will often take their guests and students on an expedition to this spot.
With more than 1,100 miles of coastline, the spot choices are endless. If you get in a car and explore the coast on a windy day, you may discover the next hidden gem!
Riding level & Style
Level: Portugal is friendly for all levels of riding from first timers to advanced and professional riders. Beginners will want to organize lessons with Windspirit or check in with one of the other kite centers.
Style: Wave and freestyle are the favorites in Portugal, though everything including freeride, foil, and big air are possible here. All kiters will find something to love about Portugal.
Facilities & Cautions
Facilities: At WindSpirit, you have everything you need for a comfortable kite trip including wifi, lockers, a kite shop featuring Ion and Duotone products, repair supplies, showers, rescue, and good company! The cafe has delicious coffee and pastries, juicy burgers, and fresh salads. This is a great place to warm up before your session with a coffee and cool down after with a beer.
Cautions: Some of the wave spots mentioned above have plenty to be cautious of including gusty wind, rocky shoreline, and heavy surf. These spots are strongly recommended for experienced kiters. For those that are new to the game, the most forgiving kite spots are the lagoons and Fonte da Telha. There are many summer restrictions in Portugal's kite spots, and it's important to be aware of the kite zones and rules before you hit the water. Failure to respect these rules can result in steep fines and gear seizure. As long as you're kiting in the correct areas and riding within your level, this is about as low stress as it gets on a kite trip!
As a kitesurfer, you probably know what it feels like to get skunked by wind on a kite trip. Luckily, this is one of the best places in Europe to explore even without the wind. If you want to hear more about Crystal's experience visiting Lisbon, check the blog post here.
How to get there
Those who are flying into Lisbon will fly into Lisbon Portela Airport [LIS]. This international airport often ahs affordable airfares from all over North America and within Europe. For those already in Europe, driving isn’t a bad option, but road tolls can get expensive. Be sure to research your route in advance.
A rental car is essential for traveling around and exploring Lisbon's kite spots, though it is quite difficult to drive and park in the city center. When driving in rural areas, stick to paved roads!
Lisbon Water Front
Where to stay
Lisbon is a very tourist friendly destinationand is a trip that works well for every type of traveler on any budget. Hotel options range from luxury to lowkey, and there are many city hostels, beach hostels, guest houses, and AirBNBs to choose from for budget travelers!
If you’re kiting with Windspirit, Gui’s hostel is affordable and only a short drive to the kite center. For those that want a bit more action in a popular surf spot, Costa da Caparica is a great place to stay outside of the city. Check out Tryp Hotel Lisboa Caparica. Hotel Evidencia Belverde is another high end hotel that’s not near the beachfront, but is central to the kite beaches, lagoons, while being accessible for those who wish to visit the city. Both of these hotels have Windspirit rates, so don’t forget to ask when you book!
Those traveling with non-kiters will want to look at Lisbon or Sintra as their home base. In these spots, there is plenty to do and see on foot, which means you’re right in the heart of the action when the wind isn’t blowing!
What to eat & drink
While you're in Portugal, you'll definitely want to try out the local flavors. Coffee lovers may find ordering coffee a bit confusing - try the Meia de Leite if you don't know where to start! Don't forget to order the local favorite pastry Pastel de nata to enjoy with your coffee.
With so much coastline, seafood is hard to beat in Portugal. If you’re on the beach in the evening when the fishing boats come back in, you’ll experience Arte Xavega – when the nets are dragged onto the beach and you can choose your catch of the day.
If you’d rather choose from a menu, there are beautiful waterfront restaurants with fresh sushi and fish in Costa da Caparica, though you’ll pay a premium to eat on the waterfront. Some of the best seafood in town is in some of the most basic looking restaurants.
In Lisbon center, you'll find unlimited food options. If you prefer to cook yourself, you’ll find food stalls on the shopping streets with everything you need for a delicious fresh meal at home.
Rygo & Kristen's top food picks.
- Focaccia in Giro – Tasty sandwiches and fresh bread.
- Princesa do Castelo – Healthy, vegan, creative food, small limited menu.
- Taberna Ti Camila – The sangrias are out of this world.
- Café do Rio – AMAZING burgers with the best sauces.
- Taberno do Largo – Outdoor café, always busy, home of the famous Setubal Choco Fritos.
- Avenida Café – Little café with an outdoor patio, big acai bowls, good coffee, and warm Pastel de natas!
- Machadas – outdoor seating, delicious octopus in Portugal, really good sangria and dessert – Try the gelato and the chocolate torte.
- De Pedra E Sal – Cool atmosphere inside great Pasta, great atmosphere. Slightly more expensive and upscale.
- Taberna do Ganhao – the best tuna steak you’ll ever have and the best octopus. You must go here.
- Bar do Bruno – Right on the beach with a great view. Enclosed outdoor patio where you can watch surfers, good coffee and acai bowls!
- O Tracadinho – Traditional/authentic Portuguese restaurant with massive tuna steaks. Cozy little place.
This destination is ideal for friends, family, and mixed groups. There is so much to do from exploring history, art, culture, and food in the city center to going out and exploring nature in one of the many national parks. Windspirit can help you organize a trip, or you can organize with any tour agency in town or on the spot. On the water, you can SUP, surf, snorkel, kayak, dive, sail, and more! Off the water, hiking, ATVing, trail running, or just exploring th e local villages will keep you busy for days on end.
If you’re staying south of the city, a very affordable way to get into the city and experience Lisbon from the water is to take the local ferry from Cacilhas.. This is a cool little waterfront settlement and marina where you can board a ferry and get dropped off on Lisbon’s beautiful waterfront for a day of exploring. On the way back in the evening, grab dinner in Cacilhas for amazing fresh fish and a very local experience at Farol or one of the other seafoods restaurants nearby.
In Lisbon, you could spend the whole day walking around the small, stone streets and peeking into shopfronts and cafes to get a glimpse of local culture. There’s museums, galleries, shows, live music, or just lounging by the waterfront with a drink and enjoying the view and the buskers!
If surfing is on your radar, you can find schools and beaches via Surfermap.com
If you’ve got a couple days to explore, head south on the coast to visit the Algarve and check out the towns of Sagres and Faro – absolutely beautiful coastal areas with towering cliffs and incredible scenery. If you stay off the highway and get on the road less traveled, you will see some magical old world villages.
Don't forget to watch our video spot guide to see what's on offer at Portugal kite spots! If you have any questions about the kite spot, please send us a message or reach out to Crystal on Facebook or Instagram.
We look forward to sharing the next Destination with you!
See more of Lisbon. Explore behind the scenes and come along for the making of this episode.
Crystals 2018 Gear picks.
North Kites USA team rider and a MACkite team rider. Originally from Canada, she now calls the entire world her home, playground, and her workplace. She goes where the wind blows - so if you see her at a kite beach somewhere in the world, say hello! Her primary goal is to share her love of kiteboarding and travel and all the lessons learned along the way with the world.
Facebook: Crystal Veness
Written and produced by Ryan (Rygo) Goloversic and Crystal Veness