We are based in 2 different areas Santa Cruz and Baleal – Peniche.
Let me give you a small description of both places, which are about 40km from each other.
Santa Cruz is a lovely small town, a long time summer resort village bathed in history, with a few restaurants and beach bars, blessed with 20km of coast drawn in a straight line, from Santa Rita to Praia Azul.
End of July and August is the highest season and full of people everywhere, but still quieter than Baleal. In Santa Cruz, local people have the habit of going home to lunch, so at the middle of the day, we can very often find the beach almost empty until 3 to 4 pm, when it starts packing up again. The coast is totally turned to West, with few cuts, which makes the sea and waves, sometimes rough even during Summer. Surf beginners will always get their chance, as long as we comply with the tide! The classes will always have to be close to a low tide schedule.
Baleal has a lot more tourists everywhere, but also a lot more services. You breathe a kind of new distorted Surf Culture everywhere although a lot of fake people selling unrealistic experiences. Lots of illegal foreigner in each corner, coming to Portugal only during this season to work with tourists. But a wonderful wonderful place with its own characteristic. White thin sandy beaches, red earth to the north, a bay, an island, and so many cuts that if the wind changes, you can walk and change Surf Spot and keep surfing offshore conditions.
For surfing purposes, the sea is a lot easier in Baleal, and that also means there’s more crowd, so there’s more stuff to deal with. As long as you come in peace, it should be ok!
Baleal has an island and Peniche is actually a peninsula, very exposed to all types of swell virtually any day of the year.
It’s your call. We have every day one class at Lower tide in Santa Cruz (The only schedule possible, according to the conditions of the beach) and 2 or 3 schedules available at mid tides or even in high tide if the waves are smaller. Reach out to us and we’ll help you make up your mind!