I’ve never been a natural surfer. I’ve tried a few times in Ireland, Siargao in the Philippines and Indonesia, but I’m very much a beginner. So when the opportunity came to try surfing in Lagos Portugal with the legendary Surf Experience surf school I thought it would be a great opportunity to hone my skills.
So here’s everything you need to know about my favourite Lagos surf school, surfing in Lagos in general and what to do in Lagos when you’re not surfing. This gorgeous Portuguese surf town has a lot to offer.
Surfing in Lagos Portugal – What You Need to Know
How to Get to Surf Experience Surf Camp Lagos
Surf Experience, the Lagos surf school I visited, is located in the Algarve region of Southern Portugal. The best way to get there is to fly into Faro airport using one of the budget airlines (Ryanair or Easyjet). From there you can arrange an airport pick up through the surf school OR you can get a quick taxi ride to the train station (10 euro) .
A train from Faro to Lagos cost 7.30 euro and takes about 1hr 45minutes. Lagos is the last stop so there’s no need to worry about missing the stop. From the Lagos train station it’s only a short walk to the main town.
If there are 4 of you travelling together you might be better off paying for a taxi from the airport to Lagos. I will cost around €100 and you should agree the price in advance. Obviously it will be more comfortable.
Surf Experience – My Recommended Lagos Surf School
Surf Experience is run by the two Tobys, a dynamic duo that love to surf (obviously). They also have a very real obsession with Star Wars. These guys are chilled and welcoming and along with their wonderful staff made me feel right at home.
They’ve been running Surf Experience for over 20 years. This camp is a real passion project and it shows. Their knowledge and love of surfing is what makes them number 1 on Tripadvisor. Seriously, these guys have more positive reviews than I can count. There is no doubt in my mind that Surf Experience Lagos is the best surf school in Lagos.
Staying at Surf Experience Surf Camp Lagos
I stayed in the Surf Experience Surf House. It’s a bit like staying in a Star Wars themed luxury hostel, perfect for solo travellers, groups of friends or even couples. The beds are comfortable and towels and bed linen are provided.
There’s a gorgeous rooftop terrace with picnic benches and bean bags. I spent a lot of my time on that rooftop drinking GREEN wine, eating cheese and generally falling in love with Lagos and Surf Experience.
The surf house has a great community vibe and is where everyone hangs out where they’re not out surfing. If you’re looking for something a little quieter there are plenty of other options too. The pensao has private rooms with ensuites and is a short walk from the surf house.
There are also boutique and studio apartments for bigger groups such as families or just people who like their privacy.
All of the Surf Experience accommodation options in Lagos are extremely central and are only a short walk to the nearest bars, restaurants and shops.
Surf Lessons in Lagos
OK, so what are surf lessons in this lagos surf camp really like? Well, here’s the schedule;
8.30am, get up, get dressed and grab some breakfast
9.15am load up the jeeps with the surfboards, gear and food and head for the beach
10am slither into your wetsuit and hit the waves
12.30pm DELICIOUS LUNCH (prepared in-house by Rachel)
14.30pm Afternoon surf session
16.30pm Load up the jeeps and head for home
The group lesson format is really what I love about surf camps and Surf Experience in Lagos was no exception. The lessons were extremely comprehensive. Before anyone gets in the water you are taught all about the board and the sea, what to look for in the waves and how to avoid injuring yourself or others. This is all done with great enthusiasm and encouragement.
What I love about surfing lessons is that when everyone else is floundering around and making mistakes there’s also a lot less pressure to be a naturally fantastic surfer. I didn’t feel self conscious and so everything was a lot more fun. We all encouraged each other and applauded even when we caught the tiniest of waves or stood up for a millisecond. It was a wonderful atmosphere and, in my opinion, the best way to learn.
Surf Experience always have at least two or three surf instructors with the group, and once a week they film the lesson so that you can watch yourself and analyse what you’re doing wrong and what you could do better.
Surf Experience Instructors
Well, this little band of tanned, sun-bleached heart breakers are pretty much all English. During my time there I met Mark, Penny, Sarah and Griff. However, surf instructors tend to change seasonally so you might meet an entirely different crew if you visit. Either way, they’re guaranteed to be fun, friendly and qualified.
The Surf Experience instructors will teach you the 1,2,3 of popping up and all the other fun stuff that goes with it. They watch from the whitewash or they paddle out back with you, cheering you on and giving you pointers. If you feel like sitting out a session one day they won’t make you feel bad or pressure you. A rest is always allowed.
These guys are the best instructors and made learning to surf in Lagos one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.
Things to do in Lagos When You’re Not Surfing
Soooo if you want to take a day off from surfing there are plenty of things to do in Lagos. I MAJORLY recommend a trip to Dona Ana beach. It’s a 15-20 minute walk from the surf house and has the most beautiful view. It’s the perfect place to sit and watch the sunset with a couple of drinks.
There are also kayaking and snorkelling trips as well as boat trips and booze cruises which can all be organised through the Surf Experience office, or independently.
There is often a lovely little market down by the marina. It’s nice to go for a stroll there and browse the stalls. Just make sure you bring cash. The main town of Lagos is gorgeous and full of boutique shops too. I loved just strolling around doing a bit of shopping and stopping for a drink or an ice cream.
Massages can also be organised by Surf Experience on certain days to soothe your sore muscles from all the surfing. Plenty of things to keep you busy on your recovery day. I’d also recommended sleeping because, let’s face it, you’re going to be wrecked.
Places to Eat and Restaurants in Lagos
Breakfast and lunch is included everyday as part of your stay with Surf Experience, unless you skip surfing then you’ll have to find your own lunch. Rachel, the WONDERFUL chef, cooks up splendid healthy food for lunch every day which gets devoured on the beach between surf sessions.
There are also organised meals some evenings. For instance we had a BBQ night on the rooftop where we paid 15euro for all the amazing BBQ food we could eat AND as much Sangria as we could drink. AMAZING! You work up quite the appetite learning to surf in Lagos. There are also paella nights.
If you fancy going out for food, which we did A LOT, the guest relations manager at Surf Experience will be happy to suggest and reserve a table for you in one of the many restaurants.
Here are a few of my favourite places to eat in Lagos:
– Pizza d’Luigi (great cheap pizza, perfect after a night out!)
– Beats & Burritos (super chill, great place for lunch/dinner and a drink)
– Nah Nah Bah Burger Place (SO SO tasty with a delicious veggie option. I actually met my boyfriend here!)
– O Camilo (great for seafood lovers and has beautiful views)
– Bora Café (Love this place for breakfast, brunch or just juice/coffee)
You can browse more Lagos restaurants here.
My Favourite Bars in Lagos Portugal
There is no shortage of bars and places to drink in Lagos, Portugal. And the town certainly has a bit of a party reputation! Of course, you don’t have to drink or party if you don’t want to. But if you do, here are a few of my favourite spots:
– Three Monkeys (Pool table and extremely fun atmosphere. Guaranteed a good party here.)
– Zanzibar (great bar for cocktails at a reasonable price.)
– Eddie’s Bar (nice central bar for a cosy, cheap, chilled drink.)
– Inside Out (late night bar know for dance parties and fish bowls, open until 4am.)
– Red Eye Bar (Surf bar, free shot with your first drink!)
What Did I Really Think of My Lagos Surf School Experience?
Surfing in Lagos Portugal with Surf Experience was such an incredible experience. I have a new found appreciation of the sea and the waves. I made friends that I hope to keep for years to come and I got to top up my tan.
I’ve tried surfing in Ireland, Indonesia and The Philippines but Portugal was by far the best! Surf Experience, Lagos is the best place to learn to surf or just perfect your skills. Whether you’re a solo traveller, a family or a couple, everyone will have an AMAZING time as Surf Experience.
For more information on learning to surf in Lagos with Surf Experience check out their Facebook Page HERE.
Surf Experience provided me with a complimentary stay. However, the opinions expressed in this post are, as always, my own.
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