Costa Nova Beach is one of the main sand strips of the so-called Venice of Portugal – Aveiro. It strings along a lovely section of the Atlantic and offers some of the less-busy waves of the northern coast.
An introduction to Costa Nova Beach surf
Costa Nova isn’t usually mentioned in the same breath as the other famous surf spots in northern Portugal. Why? Well, in a region that lacks a little consistency even at the best of times, this one’s another run down on the ladder. That’s not to say the surf is bad. It isn’t. You’ve got miles of beach break and point breaks to pick from, often completely to yourself. It’s just that the spots here are quite exposed and can be prone to blowouts with onshore winds.
Still, when the stars do align, it’s a doozy as they yanks would have it. Western swells come in straight off the heart of the Atlantic to offer some pretty strong wedges and A-frames with both left and rights. There’s also a nearby jetty break that holds up really well on bigger days and with northerly winds – just check out Praia da Barra for that.
And if you’re wondering what to do in Costa Nova when the waves aren’t pumping, then you’re in luck. The wonderful city of Aveiro is just a stone’s throw inland. It’s super easy to reach and has some fascinating cultural attractions, from centuries-old convents to canals dotted with punt boats.
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This is just one part of our greater guide to surfing in Portugal
Costa Nova Beach surf at a glance
- Quite empty
- In a lovely, traditional Portuguese beach town
- Near to Porto and with good access to loads of other northern beaches
- Not very consistent
- Quite touristy
- Not a huge array of accommodation
What will I find in this guide to Costa Nova surf
- An intro to surfing in Costa Nova Beach
- Where is Costa Nova Beach
- Costa Nova surf spots
- Hotels for surfers in Costa Nova Beach
- Surfing season in Costa Nova Beach
- Restaurants in Costa Nova Beach
- Things to do in Costa Nova Beach
Where is Costa Nova Beach?
Costa Nova is one of the main beaches associated with the city of Aveiro. It runs north-south on a barrier island along the edge of the Aveiro lagoon. Just above it is the slightly livelier resort town of Barra (where there’s also some good surf). The A25 is the main road in. Use that to go from the surf breaks to Aveiro centre in around just 15 minutes by car.
Costa Nova: A surf spot guide
Costa Nova isn’t a full-on surf destination. In fact, lists of what to do in Costa Nova usually revolve around the cultural draws of nearby Aveiro and kicking it on the beach. However, that’s actually one of the main draws of the surf in these parts – it’s quiet and largely undiscovered. Some of the main spots in the region include:
Costa Nova Beach
This is the main place to put board in water. Situated directly in front of the famous painted Costa Nova houses, the resort’s beach is the focal point of life and surf. It runs for about 1.5km in total, which means there’s a multitude of peaks to get stuck into. The best of them are usually with direct W swells and easterly winds (though that’s rare). More likely, you’ll have a northerly cross-shore, which is okay too. Try to hit the spots around low tide, when there’s way more shape and you can even catch the odd glassy tube on larger days. Throughout summer, Costa Nova surf tends to lose a little power, making it a good time for beginners. A few rips to watch out for but usually nothing too bad. Also great for body boarding.
Praia da Barra
Praia da Barra marks the mouth of the Aveiro Lagoon. It comes with a long jetty that can help squash up westerly and northerly swells to create some pretty good, classically north Portuguese, waves. You’re talking hard wedges that turn slaps and can go heavy overhead come the winter. On smaller days, Praia da Barra offers mellow, mushy breakers but it’s almost not worth the effort paddling out for that. When it’s working, the jetty at Barra can draw some big crowds.
Whack the boards in the car and venture northwards from Costa Nova up some of the lesser-known quarters of the Silver Coast. You’ll soon arrive into compact Torreira, a laid-back tourist spot with a nice beachfront. The waves are surprisingly consistent, considering there’s rarely any crowds around. Erosion protection jetties offer some good shape to waves but there’s also a lot of mush. Watch out for strong on shores that will play havoc with things. TL;DR – good for days that aren’t so windy and little adventure up the coast.
The best Costa Nova hotels for surfers
You’ll find that a lot of the accommodation options in Costa Nova are apartments and self-contained units. It’s just that sort of holidaying spot. Anyhow, that’s generally better for surfers on account of the extra room and the fact that aparthotels and flats will usually have space to store you boards and whatnot.
Cestaria Costa Nova
Cestaria Costa Nova are lovely and airy apartments with a laid-back, beachy style. Interiors are all about natural woods and white paints, with woven rugs and soothing pot plants. The location isn’t ideal for waking up to visions of the waves (you’re on the lagoon side of town here, but that saves cash), however, it is quiet and charming.
Salinas Beach House – T3 Apartment – Costa Nova
There’s enough room for a full party of six surfers in this cool beach house rental in the heart of Costa Nova. What’s more, you’ll get access to an outdoor space with a BBQ and enough room to dry those wetsuits after a day in the water. Things are self-catering, but the kitchen is fully equipped with stove and cooker, not to mention a large dining space for meeting up and sharing stories of the waves.
Step-by-step guide to planning your Costa Nova Beach trip right now
Step one: Book flights to the Costa Nova Beach…We use Skyscanner and only Skyscanner for this. The reason? We’ve always found it the best site for comparing deals from basically ALL airlines and somehow seems to offer deals that beat going direct.
Step two: Book your surf lodge. There’s Booking.com. That has consistently unbeatable rates for hotels and a nifty map feature that lets you check how close EXACTLY that hotel is to particular breaks. Or Book Surf Camps, which is the numero uno online booking platform for fully-fledged surf-stay packages.
Step three: Book surf lessons and other activities For advance booking, you can use GetYourGuide or Viator. To be fair, though, we usually just leave this until we’re there – it’s easy to book in person in most surf destinations.
A guide to the Costa Nova surfing season
Costa Nova Beach really comes into its own in the summer months when crowds descend on the town after visiting nearby Aveiro. The weather also peaks then, with lots of hot days in the 20s and 30s. However, wave wise, the high summer isn’t actually ideal. Westerly swells slacken off a little and there’s less power in the breakers. What’s more, because Costa Nova can hold up better to more powerful overheads than a few of the other spots in north Portugal, there’s something to be said for chasing bigger days in these parts. They’ll come with October and the winter. Just pack a good wetsuit and be ready to dodge some serious blown out days in the water.
Where to eat in Costa Nova
Bronze Seafood & Lounge Bar
You might need to splash the cash a little to hit this chic eatery in the heart of Costa Nova. Still, reviewers say that it’s more than worth it. The offering is Atlantic surf and turf with a twist of haute creativity. There are fresh-caught, regional fish cuts and lots of Portuguese meat. The wine list is extensive. Oh, and the location is a scorcher – right on the beach, in a light and airy shack with decks kissed by the ocean breezes. Perfecto.
If you’re after a taste of authentic Portuguese cuisine, Katekero could just be the perfect stop off. Tucked into a charming little cottage between the painted Costa Nova houses on the south side of town, it’s a quick walk from the surf breaks and the beach. The menu is all fish stews, salt cod, soups and rustic farm game, with lots of chips and salad sides to go around. Hearty, filling, and easy on the wallet.
Things to do when you’re not surfing in Costa Nova
See Aveiro and the gorgeous Mosteiro de Jesus
Aveiro isn’t considered one of the jewels of northern Portugal for nothing. It’s a pretty little town that’s set over a series of canals (hence the nickname, the Venice of Portugal). It’s centre spills through narrow alleys and cobbled lanes in a montage of fish kitchens and cafes that buzz with life. For culture buffs, the Mosteiro de Jesus is a must. It’s the onetime home of Joanna Princess of Portugal (later a saint!) and a revered place in the history of Portuguese Christianity.
Wander the Rossio district
Rossio is of the most impressive corners of Aveiro town. It rose to greatness during the 20th century, when rich traders returned from South America and built large Art Deco mansions near the waterways of the Averio lagoon. These days, it’s a real must for any lovers of eye-catching architecture and a top spot for some golden-hour photography.
How to get to Costa Nova Beach from Aveiro
Costa Nova beach is only around 11km away from Aveiro, so it might be a good idea to take a taxi (it shouldn’t cost more than €15). There is also a bus that leaves from Aveiro train station and costs €2.4. If you have a car, the drive should only take around 15 minutes.
How to get to Costa Nova Beach from Porto
The easiest way to reach Costa Nova Beach from Porto is to take a train to Aveiro and then either a bus or taxi. There are two train options to choose: An express, more expensive train that takes about 45 minutes, or a cheap urban train that takes 1h15. You can take the express train from Campanhã station in Porto and the urban one from São Bento. There is also a bus from Porto to Aveiro, but we wouldn’t recommend that option. The bus takes much longer and is actually more expensive!
This is just one part of our greater guide to surfing in Portugal