Matosinhos surf experience – find out what to expect at Matosinhos Beach.

The main beach of Porto, in Northern Portugal is also one of the most crowded surfing spots in this part of the Portuguese coast.

The popularity of Matosinhos beach has not so much to do with the surfing conditions itself (as in the vast panorama of surfing beaches in Portugal, Matosinhos does not rank the highest), but with the location and accessibility of the beach.

Situated just mere 15 min away from downtown Porto, the beach can be easily reached by car or public transportation from most areas of the Greater Porto area and on foot from anywhere within the town of Matosinhos.

An extensive, nearly a mile long, soft-sand beach stretches along the town centre, being probably the easiest accessible in this part of Portugal, also for people with limited mobility,  strollers and wheelchairs.

See drone images of Matosinho Beach:

The beach infrastructure in Matosinhos is extremely well developed. There are public showers, sun shades and beach beds for hire, extensive free parking area, first aid post and lifeguards (during the beach season).

The beach is sheltered by a large breakwater which reduces drastically the strength of waves but also guarantees fairly stable conditions for beginner and intermediate surfers.

The bottom is mainly sand, with very little rocks; the direction of waves – right and left.

The most common complaint from the advanced surfers about Matosinhos beach is the lack of the wave power. The waves – mostly beach break – rarely exceed 50 m in length .

Surf schools Matosinhos

A great beach for a first-time surf experience or those who would like to acquire and/or consolidate basic surf skills, Matosinhos Beach offers plentiful solutions for both classes and equipment rental.

Here are just some of the surf schools at Matosinhos Beach:

Matosinhos surf downsides

Weeverfish (peixe-aranha in Portuguese) is indicated as one of the threats at Matosinhos beach. Luckily, the fish with poisonous spikes on its dorsal fins is less common in Northern Portugal, than in, for example, the southern region of Algarve.

The greatest concern amongst the beach goers in Matosinhos is pollution. The beach is located near a major fishing port, which by itself generates a considerable amount of waste; there are also some outlets of the public sewer system in the immediate vicinity of the beach making the quality of water not ideal, to say the least. Swimming bans due to excessive levels of pollution are occasionally issued for Matosinhos Beach.

Also, due to the proximity to major urban areas, as well as the accessibility, in the summer Matosinhos beach often gets crowded, on land as well as in the water, where the surfers have to dispute over waves.

Attractions at and around Matosinhos Beach

A large promenade, with space for walkers, joggers, skaters or cyclists accompanies Matosinhos Beach on most of its length, making it a perfect location for those who enjoy see views but necessarily sand between their toes.

She changes monument is dedicated to Porto fishermen.

‘She changes’ is the name of a sculpture by Janet Echelman, which happens also to me on of the most iconic sights near Matosinhos Beach. This installation consisting of steel cable and rings in form of a fishing net, locally referred to as the ‘anemone’ is situated in the mid length of the promenade.

On the southern tip of the beach, you will find a more traditional tourist attraction – an medieval fortress, known as Cheese Castle (Castelo do Queijo, in Portuguese). The cheese lovers should not be fooled: the peculiar name derives from the shape of a rock on which the fortress is build and not from the cheese itself.