Companies that provide the possibilities for taking part in the growing trend of activity holidays are sprouting up all over the place, others have been around for years and are now booming, with people from all over the world wanting to enjoy new and exciting experiences whilst on vacation.
This article tries to point out what is possible, what is exciting, and how to keep it safe if you’re looking for this type of holiday. Whether you are an extreme beginner or a long time adrenaline junkie, there are plenty of reasons to get active in Portugal!
We also can advise the best companies to try these activities with and give you the opportunity to book through our site. Are you looking for something that is not mentioned here? Please contact us, we love to help.
Let´s look at the activities available. Number one for fame and recognition has to be surfing!
Surfing – Portugal is famous for its surfer waves and people come here to surf all year round. Portugal has a large coastline and the best waves in Europe for surfing. The climate is mild and the wave swells vary largely from place to place and depending on the time of year, making it an ideal place for beginners right up to very advanced surfers. Nazare is one of the famous spots thanks to Garrett McNamara’s record breaking monster wave rides, but Nazare’s waves are generally not suited to the novice surfer. Other great surfing spots are Guincho, Cascais, Costa da Caparica, Ericeira, Matosinhos, Porto and various spots in the Algarve.
Scubadiving – the Portuguese coastline in one of the longest in Europe with its wild western Atlantic shores to the more quiet and warm Algarvian waters. Portugal has many diving opportunities from certified courses to recreational diving. Its abundance of sea life and aquatic parks make Portugal a much loved destination for scuba divers.
Flyboard! Relatively new, this sport is fast becoming one of the favourite activities to practise on the Portuguese shores and inner lakes by adrenaline junkies from all over the world. It is a high energy sport with a low learning curve, accessible to anyone above the age of 16 who wants to experience the feeling of flying like a bird and diving like a dolphin. In one session most people have mastered the art of flyboard. For groups, we can organize flyboard anywhere in Portugal where the water is deep enough.
White Water Rafting – this energetic and exciting sport is only practised in one place in Portugal as there is only one river that provides the perfect conditions. It is located in the north, 50 km from Porto city. The river Paiva is a fast moving rain formed river in a mountainous landscape and this sport is best practised outside of the summer months when the river is full.
Paragliding – becoming more and more popular, there are many companies offering paragliding experiences, with equipment and introduction tandem paragliding jumps taking place all over the country. Official paragliders are connected to the FPVL federation and subject to both national and international laws. If you are in doubt you can contact these people. Tandem Paragliding can be an amazing first time experience for those that like to take to the air and experience it much like a bird, without the sound of engines or the confinement of an airborn vehicle, open and subjected to the elements. The amazing views will have many returning to repeat the activity over and over. There are many places giving the possibility of courses that offer the official international certification giving the licence to fly alone.
Kite surf – another great activity that is fast becoming a popular reason for travelling to Portugal is the enervating and exciting practise of Kite surfing. Kite surfing is based on 4 different sports – surfing, wakeboarding, paragliding and windsurfing and can be practised in various styles. Kitesurfing is based on riding the waves while being guided by a kite and it falls under extreme sport. It can be practised by most but should not be attempted without the help of professionals who can provide the right guidance, theory lessons and certification.
Paddlesurf (or paddle boarding) – is based on the Hawaian tradition which provided transport between the islands. People would replace themselves using boards and paddles on which they would either sit or stand while using the paddle to move. Paddle surfing is currently being offered at various spots in Portugal and is a nice slow moving way of discovering various coastlines either in a group or with individual guides. It’s a sport that can be practiced when the sea is too smooth for surfing but also adds variety for the more experienced paddle surfer on the waves.
Canyoning or, as it known in the USA, canyoneering – traveling in canyons using a variety of techniques, which may include other outdoor activities such as walking, scrambling, climbing, jumping, abseiling (rappelling), and swimming. It can be done in various places in Portugal mostly in the north close to Porto. It is a great activity for the adventurous and can be done by all ages in the company of a proper professional.
Ballooning – currently we work with one company that offers ballooning in various spots including Lisbon and the Algarve. This company has been providing ballooning experiences for decades and is one of the most prominent companies in Portugal for this activity. Ballooning can be enjoyed from any age under professional guidance.
Parachuting – can be learned at various places in Portugal that are fully licensed and can provide you with the right certification to parachute anywhere in the world. For the beginners we have various companies on our site that offer tandem jumps either for individuals or groups at various heights.
Extreme Jet Boat – in Porto you can get one of the fastest water experiences that you have probably ever experienced, on an extreme jet boat ride. This must be the most exciting way to discover the water and shores of the Douro river, right in the heart of Porto.
Skiing and Snowboarding – on the Serra da Estrela, skiing and snowboarding is possibly one of Portugal’s best kept secrets. Yet every year the Portuguese travel on mass to the Serra Estrela to enjoy the snow in a relatively small ski resort in one of the most beautiful mountain regions in the world. One of the nice things about skiing in Portugal is that winter and summer are only a few hours apart. So why not enjoy both seasons in the one holiday!
Wakeboarding, jet ski and still water activities – on almost every lake in Portugal you will find nautical centres offering a range of extreme water activities and equipment hire. From wakeboarding to canoeing and kayaking, as well as scuba diving in some of the deeper waters like Castelo do Bode. You can dive to rediscover the old villages under water that had to make way for the damming.
Horse riding – a great activity that can be done freely in nature all over the country. Portugal is famous for it´s Lusitano horses, a breed of horses that is used mostly for dressage and free riding. The horses are gracious and beautiful and a pleasure to ride. Portugal also has one of the most renowned horse fairs worldwide the Golega horse fair, which is organized once a year in the central town of Golega, the horse riding capital of Portugal. We are offering various possibilities to ride free, or learn to ride, either with or without accommodation, throughout Portugal.
All activities can be booked and found on our site and if you don’t find what you are looking for, let us know, we will find it for you!