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Beach

First and foremost beaches are associated with swimming and sunbathing. Quite a few of them are scenic or outstanding at a special time. Share your favorite beach which you already experienced.

Nazare, Praia do Norte became famous for the biggest waves ever surfed at the Big Wave Awards Contest with world records between 80-100 feet. Usually, the highest chance for watching these waves occurs between November to January. The waves can be seen from Praia do Norte close to the clifftop ford and lighthouse.

Nazare clifftop ford and lighthouse

It’s a unique experience to see surfers among the waves. It’s one of the most difficult places to predict the conditions. The annual surf event with the best surfers from all over the world takes part between mid-October to late February. If “Giant Waves” are predicted, and the surfers arrive at Praia do Norte it’s an exciting spectacle to watch the surfers getting towed with the jet ski into the next monster wave.

A surfer get towed-in at Nazare

The tuned jet skis have 300 hp for this kind of sport "Tow Surfing". These waves are so powerful and fast that paddling is impossible. To figure out how to increase the chance to catch a day where surfers riding those massive waves continue reading for details. You’d like to know the real story about the world record in January 2018 and the 100 million times clicked video?

When Do These Waves Occur 

When giant waves are build up jet skis and surfers appear

The Big and Giant Waves appear between October and March but are most likely to happen from November to January. These waves are not predictable far in advance on short notice only with the current technology for forecasting conditions. Predictions are accurate for three days only. To experience the big waves, you have to monitor the forecast. Either you are flexible, or you spend your vacation in Portugal as we did. We spent some time in Porto and north of Spain in Galicia to visit the popular Cathedral Beach. We monitored the waves forecast each day, and when we figured out there is a high chance for giant waves, we drove the entire way from Galicia to Nazare back. Such a big event does not often happen, so we took the chance. When we arrived in the Zulla Nazaré`s Surf Village popular among surfers in walking distance to Praia do Norte, we got told that several surfers from Brazil arrived the day before.

The Zulla Surf Village in Nazare

At this moment we’d known it was the right decision to come here. Another opportunity spend your vacation in Lisbon, Sintra and the surroundings and monitor the forecast. It’s just 1.5 hours drive north of Lisbon. Even if all accommodations are fully booked, it doesn’t take too long to come to Nazare from Lisbon. Big Waves Surf Forecast

What Causes and Indicates These Huge Waves

The north, deep water canyon of Nazare reaches a depth of 5000 m and is 230 km long. This canyon generates and amplifies such waves up to 100 feet / 30 meters height. There are 4 key factors in particular which indicate these enormous waves:

  1. Wave size > 3 meters 
  2. Wave period > 13 seconds 
  3. North Atlantic storms during autumn and winter bring swells to the canyon 
  4. Incoming tide makes the conditions even better
PT Portugal

Despite the weather, it‘s a breathtaking beach where you walk between huge rock stacks for almost two kilometers at low tide. At high tide, the sea covers the entire beach up to the steps. The tidal range can be up to 7 meters during the big spring tides. The tides are coming in pretty fast. You need to enter a gate to get to the 120 steps down to the beach.

120 steps down to Bedruthan Beach

From November to February the gate is closed due to severe weather and surf and also during periods of bad weather. This spectacular beach is best visited up to two hours before low tide to maximise your time here. Plan at least 3-4 hours for a visit. Tide Times Bedruthan Steps

Bedruthan Steps in Fog

Crowds

Often only the main car park is open. At low tide and around midday cars are queuing for space. If you arrive one or two hours before low tide, you increase your chance for a parking lot. The Café is popular for jacket potatoes, cream tea, and homemade scones; the reason that it gets busy at midday especially at weekends.

Weather

The coast experiences a mild climate throughout the year. The average temps in the summer are around 20°C, but 30°C are possible in July and August. Autumn is slightly colder on average 13°C to 18°C. The spring temps are around 11°C to 15°C. Due to drizzle, fog, and wind which occurs throughout the year, it may feel pretty chilly. Usually, the driest months are April, May, and August. The water temp is quite cold even in the summer maximum of 17°C.

Tip

Stay nearby in Padstow for a couple of days to visit Bedruthan, Tintagel Castle, Lanhydrock House. Bodmin Moor to mention a view of the many highlights.

Bodmin Moor
Bodmin Moor

Our favorite hike is the coastal path from Carnewas at Bedruthan to Padstow. The rugged scenery is just mind-blowing. We highly recommend staying in the luxury Padstow Townhouse B&B. The only issue you may have afterward is that you don't want to leave this awesome house and this high-level service. Another option for low budget travelers is the Hostel YHA Treyarnon Bay north of Bedruthan Steps.

GB United Kingdom

Kynance Cove situated on the Lizard Peninsula is an unspoilt Cornish gem with lovely beaches at low tide and a brilliant clear turquoise sea. Rocky islands, stacks, and arches attract tourists, artists, and poets as well for hundreds of years. But words will not justice it’s beauty. The cove and coastal path to Lizard Point are always worth to visit no matter what kind of weather occurs. Though during summer it’s packed with hundreds of people each day. 

Avoiding Crowds

Kynance Cove during low tide in the evening without the crowds

More than 250.000 visitors come to explore this beautiful stretch of coastline each year. Kynance Cove is packed with tourists and locals alike during summer and lovely sunny weekends. To enjoy the truly magnificent cove and the coastal path as well come here either during the week or in the shoulder season. During July and August, it’s hard to enjoy this magnificent piece of mother nature and the spectacular views. You are queuing at the car park, the climb down and at the café as well. Hundreds of people try to get a glimpse of this beautiful stretch of beach at the same time. Winter can be nice as well but colder. There is limited parking. The main car park fills up pretty soon during the busy time of the year. There is an overflow parking nowadays which takes an additional 30 minutes to walk. So, if you like to visit Kynance during summer or at an awesome weekend, you should come early (before 9 am!!) or late in the day.

Tides

Kynance Cove cave during low tide

The tides are coming in fast. So, check out the tides before you visit Kynance Cove. The best time for heading down is when the tide is going out without any left footprints. Explore the arches and caves around, There are several small tidal islands and rare serpentinite rocks here. Some of them got eroded by the sea. One of the islands is Asparagus Island which is accessible at low tide. Tide times Kynance Cove

Weather and Crowds by Season

The Lizard Peninsula experiences a very mild climate due to the Gulf Stream and mainly warm winds from the west. The water temperature is pretty cold even in summer usually below 18°C / 64°F. The sea is often quite rough – not safe for swimming - no lifeguards on duty.

Spring (March-May)

Flower carpet along the coastal path from Kynance Cove to Lizard Point

March and April are still pretty chilly with daily temps around 11°C / 52°F. Rain decreases in May and daily temps rise up to 15°C / 59°F. March and April are the low season except for Easter. May is already a favourite month for visitors but still a good time for a vacation. Days are often pleasant and sunny. Wildflowers and orchids are in bloom in May and June.

Summer (June-August) 

The coastal path close to Kynance Cove

That’s the driest time of the year although be always prepared for a rain shower. Daily temps on average are almost 20°C / 68°F and can sometimes even reach 30°C / 86°F. Most cottages and hotels are fully booked and prices are on a high level. If visiting Kynance Cove during summer holidays in July and August, you won’t enjoy this remarkable place. It’s utterly overrun, no space for a towel just queuing. Too many visitors will spoil your visit at the cove.

Autumn (September-November) 

Coastal path from Kynance to Lizard in rain

September is one of the most beautiful months for Cornwall and often remains warm. Average daily temps are still around 17°C / 63°F and 14°C / 57°F during the night. Fewer people visit Cornwall in September. October and November are quiet. It’s easy to find a beautiful cottage to stay. Precipitation increases in October. Temps drop to 12°C / 54°F in November. Bring a snack in October and November; the café could be closed.

Winter (December-February) 

Kynance Cove in winter without any crowds
Photo by John Such on Unsplash

Most rainfall in winter however beautiful blue skies can occur as well. Winter is mild daily mean temp around 10°C / 50°F. Except for Christmas Holidays, it’s peaceful and quiet here. Many cafes and shops are closed. Bring your own picnic to the cove. Plenty of accommodations are available.

Things to Know and Opening Hours
  • Facilities are available at the car park opened from Easter to the end of October, at Kynance Cove throughout the year.
  • The Polpeor Cafe is open between Easter and late October.
  • Dogs are prohibited at the busiest time of the year from Easter Sunday to the end of September from 7 to 7, but most people ignore that.
  • Lizard Point Lighthouse is usually open from Easter to the end of the summer. You can either walk from Kynance Cove to Lizard Point or get here by car. Parking fee is requested if not National Trust member.
  • If you plan to walk the circular trail you can also park the car in Lizard village. Facilities are availble here.
     
Where to Stay on Lizard Peninsula

The Lizard Peninsula is such a quiet and beautiful part of Cornwall that we decided to stay here for three nights. We explored much of this area by feet. There are some hotels and accommodations around. Hotels Lizard Peninsula 
We'd chosen the lovely Top House Inn with Pub. We spent each evening in the pub enjoying the excellent food and fresh Cornish fish as well while drinking cider. They have eight comfy en-suite rooms in the centre of the village. Take your full English breakfast and walk the 3 km to Kynance Cove.

GB United Kingdom

Praia da Ursa is still a hidden gem and not overrun. The beach is not easily accessible, and the trail is not well marked. If you come here bring a picnic and enjoy this secluded beach. Praia da Ursa is not far from Cabo da Roca roughly 45 minutes to one hour hike. You can visit Ursa throughout the year though summer can be pretty hot. During winter after rain, the trail is more slippery. Continue reading to get a detailed trail description.

Ursa Beach without any crowds
We shared Ursa Beach with just two other hikers

Most pleasant seasons for this hike are spring and autumn. During spring flower carpets are along the path. During summer it's often boiling hot winter can be rainy but beautiful as well. We'd been here at each season, and except summer we always love to come back to this exceptional piece of nature.

Weather Ursa Beach and Cabo da Roca

Lisbon and the surroundings are a great travel destination throughout the year.

Spring

Fog at Praia da Ursa in Spring

Day temps in spring are pleasant almost 20°C. Nights are a bit chilly 10°-15°C. We love this season; not hot but warm and almost always sunny. Showers can occur occasionally. 

Summer

Ursa during summer boiling hot

Summer temps are around 25°C – 30°C but consider the powerful sun. July and August are the busiest months with tourists and Portuguese spending their vacation in their home country. These are the driest months of the year.

Autumn 

Autumn at Ursa; September still warm for a bath

September is a great month for Ursa; still warm but not any longer too hot, nights are cool on average 16°C. October day temps are still above 20°C and November around 18°C. Rain increases in October, however, the maximum is 80 mm in November. That’s not much. 

Winter 

Ursa Beach in winter, little cold

In winter the day temps are on average around 15°C, one-digit temps during the night. Precipitation occurs more often, but it’s rare to experience rain the entire day. We’d been here several times in December and January. Usually, you can even walk barefoot at the beach.

PT Portugal

The “Praia das Catedrais Beach” is the most popular beach in Galicia and a photographer’s dream. During the summer months, a permit is required. In the winter you may enjoy your walk at the beach almost alone. The beach and in particular the arches and the cathedral are accessible around low tide only!

Accessibility

Accessible during low tide only. This is particularly the case for the end of the beach where the three well-known arches are located. These arches are accessible during a short time frame roughly one hour before low tide and one hour afterward. Furthermore, the sea level has a relevant impact on how far you can get and how long you can enjoy your visit. 

Avoiding the Crowds 
Peak Season (Easter - Summer)


As Catedrais by Guillén Pére, CC BY-ND

Due to the popularity; well-known from social media, a permit is required since 2015 for Easter and from July to September now to preserve this extraordinary place. August is the worst month of the year. In July 2014 75 thousand visitors came here each week. The reason for the permit system. However, the limit of 5000 people per day is still quite high. To gain access, you even may queue before entering the beach. Cathedral Beach can get quickly crowded during low tide depending on the time of the day. Early morning is much quieter than the rest of the day. If you arrive at the end of the low tide in the peak season signs are put up, and you don’t get access to the furthest part which is the most stunning and picturesque. It's such an amazing place in winter that it is hard to believe having thousands of visitors here in summer. Consider that booking of at least 30 days in advance is mandatory. The permit is free and easy to book. Tickets Booking Cathedral Beach – Praia das Catedrais
Accommodation rates are the highest, and mostly there isn’t anything available on short notice. 

Shoulder Season (Spring - Autumn)

The Cathedral and Arches at Praia das Catedrais

Cathedral Beach is accessible without a permit except for Easter. Though the beach can get a little busy early morning or late in the evening it’s quiet and peaceful. Accommodations are available on short notice although the best rated are already fully booked. The weather can be capricious, therefore, carry a raincoat.

Low Season (Winter)

The Cathedral Beach arches at the furthermost part

During winter very few people visit the beach in the morning and also midday is bearable. It’s quiet and peaceful and you take back home unforgettable memories of this outstanding piece of nature. In our opinion the best time to enjoy this marvelous place in Galicia. You can book a cottage last minute for lower fares. Consider it frequently rains in the winter but you can't get disappointed at this time of the year.

Photography Tip

The Cathedral Beach and its famous rock arches and bridges are located towards the north. Getting the right light for a shot may be challenging but if you come here at sunrise during the winter time an atmospheric shot is almost guaranteed.

Weather 

Cathedral Beach with rainbow after a brief shower

The north of Spain experiences much more rain than the south. The driest and warmest months are from June to September. Usually, pleasant day temps around 20°C not hot as you would expect in Spain. Night temps can be chilly. Mostly one-digit day temps from November to April. Even if it is cold, foggy or rainy, Cathedral Beach does not disappoint,

Where to Stay

There is a variety of self-catering cottages, holiday homes, and hotels nearby. During the summer advanced booking is necessary. In the winter check the weather forecast first and then book your accommodation last minute as we did. Cathedral Beach is exceptional. We loved to explore this awesome beach and watched the incoming tide afterward. Stay at least one night to enjoy this place without being in a rush. We spent two nights here. 

Praia de Illas nearby Cathedral Beach
Praia de Illas nearby

There is a series of scenic and picturesque beaches where we also had a closer look too. Our favorite cottages are the Villas las Catedrales; fully equipped also with heating which is essential during winter. These villas are newly built and super clean. 

Villas las Catedrales close to the Cathedral Beach
Villas Las Catedrales, parking just in front

All available accommodations around Cathedral Beach. Bookmark the link for the lowest fares at booking.com.

ES Spain

Moreton Island is a popular and beautiful paradise just 40 km from mainland Brisbane. It’s a year-round destination although the winter provides more stable weather. The island is occasionally overrun. To find out the quiet and peaceful time for your visit continue reading.

Moreton Island, Tangalooma Shipwrecks
Shipwrecks at Tangalooma

Peak Season - Avoiding Crowds

The entire island is super busy on long weekends, Christmas Holidays from mid-December to late January, Easter Holidays, and for the Spring Holidays around mid-September for more than two weeks. If traveling by 4WD advanced ferry booking of up to six months is recommended, by walk-in at least two weeks. Before booking the ferry check the campground availability first. Also, lots of day trippers come by ferry either to Tangalooma or Bulwer, and cruise ships bring day trippers as well.

Fully booked ferry to Tangalooma, Moreton Island
Fully booked ferry to Moreton Island

Weather and Crowds (Season Details)

Brisbane experiences a rainy season from November to March during the hot summer. Thunderstorms are likely to happen, cyclones are rare. April to October are drier, but showers can occur throughout the year. 

Spring (September-October)

Pleasant day temps on average above 25°C and night temps are refreshing cool below 20°C. Usually, not much crowded except the spring holidays around mid-September for more than two weeks. From October onwards, the sea starts to warm up and rain increases.

Summer (November-March)

Day temps are on average around 30°C and night temps around 20°C. The Christmas Summer Holiday starts mid-December and lasts until late January. This is the most crowded time at all. If possible, avoid these weeks on Moreton. Often the weather is fine, but thunderstorms can happen quite frequently. The water temp is relatively warm around 25°C.

Autumn (April-May)

Pleasant temps in April and May. These are the quieter months on Moreton, especially during the week except the Easter Holidays which last two weeks. Campgrounds are not fully booked. The water temps are slightly cooler than in summer but still nice.

Winter (June-August)

Pleasant day temps on average around 20°C but chilly nights with 10°C and below. So, bring a warm sleeping bag for camping. These months are the driest. Usually, Moreton is quieter at this time of the year except for two weeks holidays end of June/ beginning of July. The water temp is cooler almost 20°C. If you like to snorkel bring a wetsuit or shorty.

Weather Moreton Island 1991-2015
Average Monthly Temperature and Rainfall for Moreton Island from 1991-2015

Helpful Links

One of the 15 Tangalooma Shipwrecks at Moreton Island
Where to Stay on Moreton
Camping

If coming by 4x4, you have lots of opportunities to choose from; like one of the 5 campgrounds with facilities or one of the basic ones on the island. Pre-booking is required.

  1. If you visit the island by feet, take the ferry to Tangalooma and pitch your tent next to the jetty. It’s just a short walk to the 21 beautifully located campsites. Online booking for the camping permit is essential. Therefore internet access is provided at the information board. Advanced booking is recommended during weekends and holidays. A spontaneous stay is possible but not guaranteed. Showers and long drop pits are available.
  2. Bulwer and the Comboyuro Campground are known to be very family friendly. There is the Castaways Café, Resort, and Store with a good selection of groceries for a long term stay. They also offer beautiful cabins. It takes roughly two hours to walk from Tangalooma to Bulwer.
  3. The Blue Lagoon is a beach campground and also an excellent spot with the refreshing lagoon in walking distance on the eastern side. You can park your car next to your tent or trailer. Facilities are provided.
  4. Ben-Ewa north of The Wrecks reached by 4x4. It's a popular spot for families due to the sheltered by waters. The campground offers shady sites and protection from stronger winds.
  5. North Point Campground can be reached by 4x4 only. The grassy sites, some provide shade are closely located to surf beach. You can't park your vehicle next to the tent in short distance only.

    Queensland National Parks Campsite Booking 
Accommodations
  • Another option for those who don’t want to miss a comfy bed book one of the view accommodations in Tangalooma on Moreton Island. Accommodation Booking for Moreton
  • The Tangalooma Resort has some great offers; guests can rent a 4WD, guided snorkel trips are offered, and you can watch dolphins in the evening when they get fed. Tangalooma Resort
     

Tangalooma Island Resort from the ferry
Tangalooma Island Resort

Ocean Life Highlights

  • Whale watching at Cape Moreton during their migration from June to November. Book a tour to experience these amazing giants in the ocean.
  • Dolphins, dugongs, turtles, and sharks can be spotted throughout the year around the entire island.
AU Australia