Lonely Planet Writer

This woman has compiled a book on the most idyllic surf trips around Portugal and Spain

Surfing and travelling are a match made in heaven, with epic waves and unforgettable experiences scattered around every corner of the globe just waiting to be discovered. With so much on offer, a new book compiling the most idyllic surf trips around Portugal and Spain is due to be published later this summer. The book, Surf & Stay written by surfing enthusiast Veerle Helsen, includes details of secret campsites, hidden hotels, authentic beach restaurants and other items of interest to surfers.

Almagreira Beach in Peniche, Portugal.
Almagreira Beach in Peniche, Portugal. Image by Veerle Helsen

Helsen recently bought an old camper van and spent six months solo travelling around the Spanish and Portuguese coastlines. Working under her motto, “surf, see, sleep and eat”, the book combines her passions, surfing, travelling and discovering hidden gems.

Algarve, Portugal.
Algarve, Portugal. Image by João Bracourt

Locations include the Algarve, Lisbon and its surrounding areas, Porto, Ericeira and Peniche, as well as north Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country. The book charts some of the best beaches available, including where the breaks are and what amenities and points of interest are nearby, including restaurants, bars, sights, campsites and spaces for vans. Local tips are also provided on each of the areas, including information on the best time to visit.

Author Veerle Helsen spent six months living in a van, travelling across Spain and Portugal. Image by Veerle Helsen

Meeting surf photographers on her travels, Veerle was able to include stunning shots of the places that she wanted to feature in the book. An architecture and interior design journalist, Veerle’s picks include diverse experiences with unique touches, such as local, authentic bars and eateries serving delicious food in beautiful surroundings. She also wanted to show the more untamed side of the two destinations. “I knew how pristine Spain and Portugal could be, but more importantly, I never expected to see their wild, rugged side, where time stands still and the views haven’t changed in fifty years,” Veerle said. For travellers embracing van life, Veerle’s book even includes the exact coordinates of interesting places that she found during her travels.

Casas na Areia in Comporta, Portugal. Image by Nelson Garrido

Surfing has proven to be increasingly popular in the tourism industry, with Airbnb last month announcing an updated partnership with the World Surf League that sees them offering over 75 unique and local experiences hosted by surf professionals around the world.

Surf & Stay is due for release in August through Lannoo Publishers.

More information is available on the official website.