Luxury and boutique hotels in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is a picturesque surf haven on Portugal’s west coast where the Atlantic’s rideable barrels break on golden sands. The waters aren’t suitable for swimming, but there are plenty of distractions, including kayaking, paddle-boarding, shooting and skateboarding – plus treks along leafy cliffs. To the south the scenery gets more dramatic with lofty rock formations such as the Penedo do Guincho boulder. From here, platforms offer viewpoints to the Cabo Carvoeiro lighthouse and the Berlengas islands. Surf beginners can pick up boarding tips here, but the scene is serious: the Santa Cruz Ocean Spirit surf tournament is held here annually.

When to go

This side of Portugal is best experienced from April to September, when the weather is ideal for long stretches on the sand. This is the best time for fledgling surfers too, but those more experienced will find more consistently rideable waves from September.

Getting there

  • Planes

    Fly in to Lisbon Airport, an hour’s drive away from Santa Cruz. There are direct flights to the capital from major hubs throughout Europe.
  • Automobiles

    A car will come in handy for venturing out into the countryside or further along the coast, especially if you’re toting a surfboard about. Torres Vedras town is a 35-minute drive away and well worth visiting, too, so pick up a vehicle at the airport.