São Julião

São Julião is a beach break that has the opportunity for a lucky score, especially when it’s too small at other breaks. The conditions shift quickly with tide and wind changes. You might find, as I did, that paddling out when it looks mediocre turns into a fantastic session. It’s always advisable to keep expectations low… if it doesn’t turn on, you won’t be too upset.

São Julião Pictures

About São Julião Beach Break

Break Type: Beach

Skill Level: Intermediate

Crowd: Low – usually less crowded than breaks closer to the center of Ericeira

Accessibility: Super Easy


São Julião: Hope When It’s Flat Everywhere Else

The Wave
Typical of beach breaks, São Julião can deliver punchy waves, especially during high tide and with offshore winds. I’ve surfed it a few times where it had short, fast, and powerful barrels. You definitely want a shortboard that can make steep drops if it’s like this. However, if you’re going there because everywhere else is flat, this probably won’t be the case, and you’ll be better off with board with more volume.

The Terrain
Framed by cliffs on both sides, São Julião features a central river that contributes sediment, enhancing sandbank formation. Be mindful of rocks to the north and south ends of the beach, which can pose hazards if you drift. Access is easy with a quick paddle out from the beach and a free parking lot atop the cliff, where you’ll also find a café with great views and strong coffee.

Swell & Wind
São Julião doesn’t handle large swells well; the wave shape tends to disintegrate when overpowered. It’s best visited during smaller swells. The winds here are variable, so it’s worth a check even on days with less-than-ideal forecasts. Surprisingly, even when other areas are blown out, São Julião can offer clean conditions at intervals throughout the day.

The local scene is typically welcoming as long as you approach with respect and friendliness. Regulars here, as at any surf spot, appreciate good manners and consideration in the lineup.