Paddle Boarding In Portugal: 6 Amazing Spots To See On A SUP

Whenever I’m traveling near the coast I see people on paddle boards. This sport has grown like crazy over the last few years, and recently I took the plunge and spent some time on a SUP. I had so much fun! That’s why I asked the folks at Paddleboard Insiders to give me the best spots to explore when paddle boarding in Portugal. 

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So I can give them to you! 😊

Add these spots into your itinerary for your next trip, and let’s explore Portugal on a SUP.

Location #1: The Algarve

Why paddle board here? The Algarve is famous for its breath-taking cliffs and golden beaches, making it a paradise for paddle boarders. Imagine paddling over clear blue waters, exploring hidden coves only accessible by water, or even spotting some dolphins if you’re lucky!

Location: Google Maps

Hotspots To Explore:

  1. Lagos:
    • Ponta da Piedade: Famous for its stunning rock formations, caves, and turquoise waters, Ponta da Piedade is a must-visit for paddle boarders. You can paddle through arches and explore hidden grottoes, making it a fun spot for an adventure.
  2. Albufeira:
    • Praia da Coelha: This small, secluded beach surrounded by cliffs has really calm waters, which makes it perfect for beginners or those looking for a peaceful paddle. The clear water has excellent visibility so you can expect to spot some nice fish.
  3. Faro:
    • Ria Formosa Natural Park: This protected area features a series of saltwater lagoons and islands that are best explored on a paddle board. It’s also a fantastic place for bird watching, as it’s a major hub for migratory birds. White Storks and Egrets are really common here so make sure you bring your binoculars.

Location #2: The Lisbon Coast

Paddleboarding with a view of history: Near the capital city, the Lisbon coast offers a unique blend of urban scenery and natural beauty. You can paddle past historical landmarks such as the Belem Tower and enjoy a spectacular sunset with the 25 de Abril Bridge in the backdrop.

Location: Google Maps

Hotspots To Explore:

  1. Cascais:
    • Praia do Guincho: Known for its strong winds and wide sandy beachs, Praia do Guincho is popular among surfers and is also excellent for more experienced paddle boarders looking for a bit of a challenge. The views of the Sintra mountains add to the stunning scenery so bring your camera.
  2. Estoril:
    • Tamariz Beach: Nestled between Cascais and Lisbon, Tamariz Beach is more sheltered than Guincho and offers calmer waters, making it perfect for beginners or those looking for a relaxed paddle. The beach is also close to the beautiful Estoril Casino gardens, providing a picturesque backdrop for paddle boarding.
  3. Costa da Caparica:
    • Praia da Fonte da Telha: This beach is a bit further south of Lisbon and stretches for miles, offering plenty of space for paddle boarders to explore. The waters here are usually calm, and the extensive sandy beach backed by cliffs creates a serene environment for a day on the water. This area is less crowded than the central Lisbon beaches, allowing for a more peaceful paddle boarding experience.

Location #3: Madeira

The island of Madeira, with its dramatic cliffs and challenging sea conditions, offers an exciting SUP experience for more advanced paddlers. The views here are absolutely insane, with steep mountain drops straight into the ocean! This makes for some amazing photography on your board, and this is a must-see spot when paddle boarding in Portugal.

Location: Google Maps

Hotspots To Explore:

  1. Funchal:
    • Praia Formosa: This is one of the largest public beaches in Madeira, located in the capital, Funchal. The waters here are generally calm, making it a great spot for beginners. Paddle boarding around Praia Formosa allows you to enjoy both the open sea and views of the scenic cliffs surrounding Funchal.
  2. Porto Moniz:
    • Natural Swimming Pools: Formed by volcanic lava, the natural swimming pools of Porto Moniz are filled with crystal-clear sea water. These pools provide a unique setting for paddle boarding, offering calm waters and the thrill of navigating around natural volcanic rock formations. This spot is particularly appealing for those looking to combine swimming and paddle boarding.
  3. Machico:
    • Machico Bay: This is a historical bay where the first settlers landed in Madeira. The bay has a large sandy beach, which is rare in Madeira, and calm waters that are ideal for paddle boarding. From here, you can explore the coast and enjoy panoramic views of the mountains that stretch along the eastern part of the island.

Location #4: Azores

paddle boarding in Portugal

The Azores archipelago, which is a pretty spot located in the mid-Atlantic, is amazing! Paddling here means calm waters one moment and then exciting swells the next, all accompanied by stunning views of volcanoes and maybe even a whale! If you’ve ever seen one of those videos with a paddle boarder meeting a whale in the wild… it could have been on this coastline.

Location: Google Maps

Hotspots To Explore:

  1. São Miguel:
    • Sete Cidades Lake: Paddle boarding on the Sete Cidades Lake offers a unique opportunity to explore one of the most iconic landscapes in the Azores. The lake is surrounded by lush green hills and the famous twin lakes—one blue and one green—providing a really special setting.
  2. Terceira:
    • Angra do Heroísmo Bay: The waters around Angra do Heroísmo, a UNESCO World Heritage city, are rich in history and really pretty. Paddle boarding here allows you to see historical fortifications from the water, and the calm waters of the bay make it suitable for beginners.
  3. Pico:
    • Lajes do Pico: This area is known for its dramatic coastline and clear waters, offering pretty difficult conditions for experienced paddle boarders. The high cliffs and the view of Mount Pico, Portugal’s highest peak, provide a dramatic backdrop for an exhilarating paddle boarding experience. Plus – the waters around Pico are great for dolphins and whales (which is pretty swell)

Location #5 Douro River

paddle boarding in Portugal


If you prefer paddling on a river, then the Douro River provides a peaceful paddle through one of Portugal’s most famous wine regions. You’ll float past vineyards and old villages, and maybe (definitely) stop for a wine tasting along the way because the wine here seriously is incredible.

Location: Google Maps

Hotspots To Explore:

  1. Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia:
    • Ribeira District: Starting your paddle boarding journey in the heart of Porto, near the Ribeira district, gives you not only a nice view of the city’s colorful riverside homes, but also a close-up view of the Luís I Bridge. This area is great for those looking to combine a bit of city exploring with their water activities.
  2. Peso da Régua:
    • Corgo River Mouth: Paddling around the Peso da Régua, particularly near the mouth of the Corgo River, gives you calm water and stunning views of vineyard-covered hillsides. This area is famous for its wine production, and paddle boarding here allows for a peaceful experience away from the city, with opportunities to stop at riverside quintas (wine estates) for a taste of local wines.
  3. Pinhão:
    • Heart of the Douro Wine Region: Pinhão is located in the heart of the Douro Valley, arguably the most pretty part of the Douro River. The waters here are calm, making it ideal for beginners or those looking for a relaxed paddle. Surrounding you are terraced vineyards that climb steeply up the hillsides, historic estates, and old-world charm.

Location #6: Alentejo Coast

The Alentejo Coast is less talked about but really pretty. It’s basically a stretch of long, uncrowded beaches that make it an epic spot for those looking to enjoy some quiet time in the sun (and on the water). Plus – the food is amazing and significantly cheaper than more commercial spots like Lisbon, so if you paddle boarding in Portugal then go here.

Location: Google Maps

Hotspots To Explore:

  1. Vila Nova de Milfontes:
    • Mouth of the River Mira: This charming seaside town is located at the mouth of the River Mira, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean. The area gives you calm waters and pretty views, ideal for paddle boarding in Portugal. The cool thing here is that there are both river and oceans to explore, so you have plenty of choice.
  2. Zambujeira do Mar:
    • Beaches and Cliffs: Zambujeira do Mar has these really big cliffs and secluded beaches, which you can get to through rivers. The clear waters have a lot of visibility, so you can look at the fish while you paddle.
  3. Porto Covo:
    • Ilha do Pessegueiro: Near Porto Covo, you can paddle around Ilha do Pessegueiro, an island that is really pretty and has some cliff ruins that are fun to look at. The waters around the island are typically calm, and there are lots of beautiful beaches to explore.

Conclusion

Well, there you have it! Whether you’re slicing through the waters of the Algarve, gliding past historic sites along the Lisbon coast, braving the wild swells around the Azores, cruising alongside the verdant vineyards of the Douro River, or soaking in the calm vibes of the Alentejo Coast. Paddle boarding in Portugal has some truly amazing spots to explore. 

Each location has its own unique charm and challenges, making Portugal a diverse playground for every level of paddle boarder.

So next time you’re planning a trip to Portugal, make sure to pack your paddle board, or rent one when you arrive. There’s no better way to explore the beautiful waters of this stunning country. 

Happy paddling, and don’t forget to enjoy every moment on the water—and maybe a glass of local wine afterward! 😊

Paddle Boarding In Portugal FAQS

Do I need any experience to paddle board in these locations?

Not at all! Whether you’re a total newbie or have been paddle boarding for years, there’s a spot for you. Places like Praia Formosa in Madeira and the calm waters of the Alentejo Coast are perfect for beginners. If you’re more experienced, you might enjoy the challenges of the Lisbon coast or the Azores.

Can I rent paddle boards easily in these areas?

Absolutely! Most of these locations have local shops where you can rent paddle boards, along with all the necessary gear. The locals are super friendly and will often give you tips on the best spots to explore.

What’s the best time of year to go paddle boarding in Portugal?

Portugal is pretty warm most of the year, but for the best experience, aim for late spring through early autumn. The weather is usually sunny and the water temperatures are just right for a comfortable paddle.

Is it safe to paddle board in these areas?

Yes, it’s generally very safe, but always check local weather conditions before heading out. Most of the popular spots are well-known for their safe environments. However, always wear a life jacket, no matter how calm the water looks.

What should I bring with me besides the paddle board?

Besides your board and paddle, make sure to bring sunscreen, a hat, and water to stay hydrated. A waterproof bag can also come in handy to protect your snacks, camera, or phone. And don’t forget your swimsuit and a towel for those quick dips in the ocean or river!

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