Viana do Castelo, Portugal

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Viana do Castelo, Portugal

Post by PK1111 » Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:33 pm

Viana do Castelo, Portugal

Several good guides to windsurfing at Viana do Castelo, ... -portugal/ ... elo-beach/

Having spent a couple of weeks there this August 2019, I was surprised to be the only Brit poleboarder I could find.

Good points:
Usually cross shore, Starboard tack jumping and port tack riding, just like Shingleshire
Consistently windy and wavey through the summer months, at least in the 50% to 75% of days range. Most used sail size is 5 to 5.5
Large mostly sandy beach with easy access
Plentiful cheap accommodation for rent although you may need to travel to the beach
Cheap flights from London and easyJet carry windsurfers for a reasonable fee
Only an hours drive from Porto
Very diverse conditions, good for surfing and paddle boarding in the morning and windsurfing later in the afternoon. Waves get bigger at the southern end of the beach.
A full on Nortada day will have you on your smallest sail
Eating out options are cheap and good quality, although not very diverse. Not a problem if you like Portuguese cooking!
A full westerly ground swell can easily hit 2m at 10 plus seconds and with lots of diverse spots in the bay, you can get some great wave sailing.
It’s a very pretty spot with lots of alternate activities and especially good for families.

Bad points
Wind can be quite gusty and hover around 15 knots, making board selection tough.
The bay can be quite choppy and bouncy
Most waves are small wind chop, about 1m at 10 seconds or less and don’t reach the main sailing area
There are some large rocky points along the bay. Good for creating peeling wave sections, but covered at high tide and can become a risk
It’s a very popular kite surfing destination and most are very good. Most follow the rules of the road and are well behaved. A minority are jerks.
Car hire is noticeably more expensive than other locations.
The water is cold and you’ll need a full spring suit most of the time if surfing.
Air temperatures can be much lower than other Mediterranean spots or the canaries, typically 25 degrees, but could drop to 20 if overcast.
Staying at and renting from some locations can be quite expensive.

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Re: Viana do Castelo, Portugal

Post by PhilN » Thu Aug 15, 2019 8:01 am

Sounds good, I think the PWA event would have boosted numbers there. How did the windguru forecast compare to the actual wind delivered?

I've noticed the Peniche forecast a bit further south is always stronger than Viana but might not take into account any local affects.

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Re: Viana do Castelo, Portugal

Post by Radialhead » Thu Aug 15, 2019 8:21 am

There's a webcam there that might help check reality against the forecast. ... castelo-hd
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Re: Viana do Castelo, Portugal

Post by PK1111 » Thu Aug 15, 2019 2:18 pm

The weather reports for Viana were mostly accurate for sun and rain, but most under reported the Nortada wind by at least 5 knots and possibly 10 on a strong day.

If windguru says 10 to 15 from North then it always 15 to 20!
The only forecast I found that was really accurate (and I can’t believe I’m about to say this!) was Magic Seaweed.

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Re: Viana do Castelo, Portugal

Post by jamz » Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:45 pm

Had a family holiday at Viana do Castelo last year (first week of August) staying at the Feel Vianna hotel. Its a great place even though the wind didn't play ball. Think I managed 2 days sailing out of the 10 days we were there. It was just before the heatwave that hit Portugal. Anyway the two days sailing I managed were fun and went supping the other days. Wife and kids loved the chilled relaxed vibe of the hotel and surrounding area. Glad to hear that the conditions are more consistent than I experienced PK1111.

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Re: Viana do Castelo, Portugal

Post by billyboy » Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:33 pm

@jamz, I was there for teh heatwave and the week after. No wind during the heatwave at all but 5 days the week after - 2 of them stacked on 4.2m. Not many waves during my stay either, but when they came it was really good. PK's description pretty much nails it except:

You get super flat water at the north end where there is protection from the harbour arm and its x-off. Especially at high tide. Its perfect for learning in the mornings and for freestyle or burn and turn in the afternoons.

Being 20-25C rather than 30-40C should be in the "Pros" column, not the cons!! (although it got up to 38C when we were there...)

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