Healthy escapes: Wanna go (posh) surfing?
Fancy yourself wetsuit-clad, riding proud and tall atop a surfboard come summer? Pack your bags and get your practice in a bohemian surfer’s paradise on Portugal’s west coast. Just keep it hush-hush.
Happy payday one and all! We’ve got just the thing if you’re craving an active escape from the unrelenting gloom of the British winter. Plus, you’ll feel a sense of satisfaction much greater than if you blow your earnings on the dregs of the January sales or a boozy dinner.
Whether you’re an experienced surfer or first timer who fancies yourself as a tousled-haired board babe, we know a great little place, 100 miles north of Lisbon, on Portugal’s rugged coastline. Surfer’s Lodge Peniche is a luxury surf shack in the bay of Baleal, a long-time bohemian bolt-hole for Europe’s most discerning wave-riders, which sits alongside the Peniche peninsula.
Its unique positioning means it picks up Atlantic swells from all directions, providing an unmatched range of surfing conditions that are perfect for first-timers and serious wave-riders alike. Don’t worry if you’re not feeling the hard stuff, there are body-boarding lessons available from the adjoining surf school on gentler waves ten minutes away in Prainha, too.
But it’s not all about the surf. Loosen up with a massage or gentle session of hatha yoga before indulging in the best the beach bars and cafes have to offer (do not miss the Portuguese nata tartlet), or head up to the sun-soaked roof terrace for a dip in the Jacuzzi. Chilling in the lodge’s open communal space, a scrubbed wood-paneled room with floor to ceiling glass windows, roaring log fire, books and board games aplenty, makes you feel like you’re gatecrashing the home of a seriously cool surfer dude (in a good way). It transforms into the perfect space come supper time, too – with top notch service, and enough low lighting and tinkly music to justify a slinky top and another coat of mascara.
You’ll work up a rapacious appetite burning up to 1000 calories in a morning’s surfing, so you have our permission to hit up the juicy chicken wings. Want to keep it light? Dishes like tuna ceviche are served to gourmet perfection (and ideal washed down with a glass of white from boutique wine range Secret Wines Of Portugal). Serious fitness, surroundings you won’t want to leave and utterly faultless food.
Surfers Lodge Peniche (+351 262 700 030, surferslodgepeniche.com) has doubles from €118 a night or twins from €59pp (mid-season). A one-week surf package, staying in a suite, costs from €605pp (mid-season) including breakfast and five dinners, five days of surfing lessons, one yoga lesson and one massage. Fly by TAP Portugal (0845 601 0932, flytap.com), which has daily flights from Manchester, Heathrow and Gatwick to Lisbon, from £94 return, including taxes.
Photographs by Roxy. Model wears Optic Nature Onesie, £60, www.roxy-uk.co.uk