Alys Barton’s Surf Travel Guide: Europe or the Caribbean?

One of the best things about professional surfing is getting to travel to countries with incredible waves all over the world! Whether it’s for competitions or training, travelling internationally for the surf is a great way to get used to all sorts of waters and swells as well as taking advantage of the warm weather we sometimes miss in the UK! But is travelling on a 9 hour flight really worth it?

Alys Barton talks us through the pros and cons of two key surfing destinations in Europe and the Caribbean.


 Barbados is a perfect paradise setting for beginner or expert surfers. You’ll find waves for more experienced riders on the east side of the island, whereas newbies might feel more comfortable starting along the south side. That’s what I love about training in Barbados, there’s waves for every kind of rider – and the tropical climate doesn’t hurt! In Barbados, English is widely spoken, with residents usually being able to speak English and Bajan or Barbadian Creole.

However, travelling to the Caribbean is undoubtedly more expensive and time consuming that staying in Europe. A non-stop flight from London takes nearly 9 hours – that’s not counting the hours spent getting to and from airports and waiting time. I also found the time difference and jet lag tricky, meaning that I wasn't on my A game until a few days in. I’d have to plan certain times to call friends and family at home.



Bikini surfs all day

Car hire can be expensive

Surf for all abilities

Some food products can be expensive

Consistent hot weather

Flights can be expensive

Great locals

Flight is 9 hours long

Great surf vibe

Time difference: 5 hours behind UK

Awesome food

Possible jet lag

No language barrier


Blue water


No crowds in line up


 My rating out of five as a surf destination - ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 



In Portugal you can find powerful beach breaks but also lots of variety going up and down the coast, that’s why many surfers I know head out there regularly. I usually compete in Portugal throughout the year as well as use it as an awesome training ground!

In the summer Portuguese beaches can be very busy, which means it can be difficult to find a spot for interrupted surf. I can’t speak Portuguese unfortunately, and although many Portuguese people do speak English, there can be some miscommunication – especially if you travel to somewhere more remote!



Cheap flights

To get a range of surfing experiences you might need to hire a car

Cheap Accommodation

Crowded line-up

Cheap food


Consistent waves


Good weather


Friendly locals


Flight is only 2.5 hours


No time difference and no jet lag



My rating out of five as a surf destination - ⭐⭐⭐⭐


It’s so hard to pick between the two destinations, because they both have so many pull factors! Portugal is much more accessible if you’re living in the UK and is more affordable. With this in mind, I would recommend Portugal for a shorter summer surf holiday and Barbados for a once in a lifetime trip where you can spend a few weeks there and make the most of this beautiful island!