Need to get away on a SUP vacation? Learn all you need to know about how to SUP the coastal caves in the Algarve, Portugal, with AlgarveSUP!
The Algarve is the southernmost region of Portugal and as a result gets all the best weather. Speak to any real estate agent down here and they'll tell you we get 300 days of sun a year and they're not wrong. When it's cloudy or raining in the rest of Portugal, chances are it's hot and clear in the Algarve. It's a perfect location for stand up paddle.
The summer lasts from May through to October but you can paddle all year round in the Algarve. In winter, the swells increase in size on the west coast which is great for those of you who enjoy paddle surfing. Portugal is well known for it's big surf, having recently hosted the biggest wave in the world a little further north of Lisbon in a sleepy village called Nazaré. However the best thing about winter paddling in the Algarve is the relatively warm temperatures and lack of wind. So, prepare for clear still days in the middle of winter.
The Algarve enjoys a stretch of almost 200km of southern coastline, much of which is populated with impressive sandstone cliffs. You could start at Sagres (the westernmost tip of Europe) and paddle all the way east but we prefer a zone of cliffs and caves that begin at a little town of Ferragudo and run east for 14 kilometres all the way to a town called Armação de Pera.
In particular, a few paddle strokes away from Benagil Beach is a huge cathedral like cave with two arches at the entrance and a large hole in the roof. We spent a morning paddling around this impressive natural rock formation and marvelled at it's size and complexity. Don't stop there though, around every promontary is yet another gem of a beach and the place is studded with great little beach bars and restaurants where you can stop off for some refreshing nourishment.
It's rare to come across other paddlers, although in the summer months there is a fair amount of tourism traffic with boats from Albufeira and Portimão taking day trippers along the coast to see the sites. In the smaller fishing villages, traditional fishing boats double up as tour busses and trundle around the delightful little coves. It's a really peaceful scene but if there's a big swell running you'll soon learn to keep away from the cliffs as the reflection of the swell off the rocks can make things a little tricky.
To learn more or book a tour with Algarve SUP, head to their website here.