So we got advised by a Portuguese friend of mine to check out the surf in Costa Nova (map), nearby Aveiro. Only 45 minutes from Porto but a whole other world. The village of Costa Nova is beautiful and charming, though we couldn’t really figure out if the cute painted houses were original or just a tourist thing. Cause don’t let me fool you… Costa Nova is a full-on tourist spot. Including perfect paved sidewalks, a mini-golf track, and a tourist shop every three meters. Stunning nevertheless.

Campfire on the beach of Costa Nova Portugal

Roadtrip adventures

Since we made quite the spontaneous decision on going here (in high season), finding a place to stay wasn’t the easiest thing on earth. We are on a road trip, however, so we brought along the camping gear for situations like these. I’m not necessarily fond of camping, especially not in Europe. To me, this is like being cramped cheek by cheek with my fellow Dutch families and their caravans, animation programs all day long, and your toilet roll under your arm. The point of camping to me is being close to nature, sleeping under a sky full of stars, making campfires, drinking a bottle of wine watching the sunset, and waking up by the sound of birds before anyone else. I’ve tried to find this several times in Europe, but unfortunately so far no luck. Until now!

Costa Nova glamping

We ended up at the Costa Nova camping, which is in the dunes only 10m from the beach and surf! Jackpot! The camping is really basic but quiet and with nice little shaded spots. No animation programs, not a single Dutch car (which is rare, believe me), just a few other traveling surfers and some dogs running around. Here I can watch the stars, see the sunset and hear the birds, exactly the way I imagined it. It becomes even better when you walk down the beach and the place is deserted. Maybe three people in the water surfing and soft white sand as far as the eye can see.

costa nova empty beach surfing sunset portugal

Undiscovered gem

I’m surprised by how this northern part of Portugal seems to be so undiscovered still. The tourists that are here, are mainly Portuguese and it doesn’t feel overcrowded at all. Don’t get me started on the waves, because the ocean is practically empty. You almost start to question yourself if you’re in the right spot. Beautiful beaches, check. Good weather, check. Waves rolling in, check. Fresh fish for dinner, check. Super friendly people, check. I think we’re staying.


sunset silhouette surfing ocean costa nova portugal

Photos by: M. Barends, J. Roeland©

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