CERES Picture Gallery

why west coast?

    centre assisted

    the supplements

student projects

module development

work experience

exploratory visits


"no-hassle"  packet

transport, h&s support,
equipment and licenses

 €239 pp / week

our guests include:


"CERES provided a really

  outstanding field course

  experience for us"

Prof William Hughes

"CERES is doing a great
 job in providing fieldwork
 experience in a wonderful
 place. I truly enjoyed
 every bit of my visit there"

Student Newcastle 2014

"I really enjoyed the hands

 on approach to learning.

 I also found all the staff  

 incredibly friendly and  

Student Sussex 2014

"Newcastle University
 students love visiting this
 beautiful part of Portugal
 and CERES provides an
 excellent range of
 activities  that enhance
 their learning experience"

Staff Newcastle 2014

"Absolutely fantastic
 week!  Learned so
 much! Axul and  Astrid
 and all the staff made us
 feel right at home! The
 variety of places visited
 was  great! Highly
 recommend this trip!

Student Portsmouths 2014

"Ceres field-courses in

 SW Portugal are  

 transformative field  
 experiences for our
 students -  and
 represent excellent value
 for money"
Staff Portsmouth 2014

"In one word, the whole
 experience was amazing.
 There was and there is
 nothing I would've done
 differently and is certainly
 a trip I will never forget"

Student Ashbourne 2014

"Loved it! Students are
 gaining invaluable
 experience and learning
 vital skills in an fun,
 exciting and beautiful
 setting. Skills and
 experiences they will
 keep with them for a
 lifetime and that would
 be impossible to learn
 in a classroom"

Staff Ashbourne 2014

"All aspects were great
 but the 'best' is split
 between Carrapateira
 and Tom's cooking"

Staff Plymouth 2013

CERES Project sport sciences Aljezur, Algarve, Southwest Portugal

sport sciences

for sport science courses

The Algarve has been asserting itself as the destination of choice for warm-weather training for professional athletes and many national squads. The west coast is the ideal region for outdoor sports all year round.

The rugged, sparsely populated terrain, panoramic scenery and pleasant temperatures attract land-based disciplines, while warm water temperatures (even in the winter) and the variety of the two coastlines suits water sport enthusiasts. Consistent swell and a multitude of spots offer world class surfing conditions that match that of anywhere in the world.

A field trip to the Algarve is a unique and effective way for students to practise different sport disciplines while reinforcing social skills; like teamwork, commitment, leadership, and perseverance. Staying at our conservation centre encourages student’s relationship to the natural environment, their environmental sensitivity and responsible outdoor behaviour through personal experiences.

“ the western Algarve is a heaven 
for outdoor sports activities ”

our offer

We assist lecturers in sport science to select training locations and design a bespoke program to achieve module aims. We work together with the trip leader in planning a cost effective, action filled training week to meet specific course requirements. We arrange equipment rentals, guided tours and lessons with our local partners. Our staff, experienced in teaching Sport Science university courses, is available to provide an academically rigorous framework for practical activities with theory sessions in the context of science, conservation and sustainable tourism.

Workshops are usually booked by groups staying at our field study centre. For information about prices go to page, for the CERES field trip core packet please go to page.


The south west Algarve, encompassing the extreme tip of continental Europe, combines outstanding point, reef and beach breaks with consistent swell and shelter from onshore wind thanks to west and south facing coastlines. With a bit of local knowledge you can surf every day during autumn, winter and spring. While there are numerous world-class locals and more and more visiting ASP pro-surfers, with local knowledge  there are also plenty of opportunities to find uncrowded breaks. It's a destination with waves for every level. Experts can surf the famous Arrifana point and Zavial for an unforgettable challenge. Beginners learn in warm, sunny 3ft beach break on the south coast. To substantiate practical surf sessions we provide surf-specific academic workshops in oceanography, meteorology, coastal geomorphology, sedimentology, board building and coastal conservation.

Best time to go: September – June

 Johnny at a clean day in Amoreira
 Axel having a kitesurf session at Alvor
 Maurice skimboarding in Clerigo


kitesurfing / windsurfing  / sailing

Wind sports in the western Algarve mean sun, warm water, uncrowded beaches, beautiful scenery and the added bonus of year round wind. A reliable thermal Nortada during the summer months, reinforced by the local topography in Sagres and Alvor, offers excellent flat water conditions. In winter low-pressures deliver strong southerly winds and waves. Praia de Alvor, home to the PKRA World Tour, provides some of the best settings to kite- and windsurf. The lagoon is protected from swell of any direction and offers lots of space and shallow areas, perfect for beginners. To augment a day on the water we can provide academic workshops in meteorology, oceanography, coastal geomorphology, board building and coastal conservation.

Best time to go: May – August for flat water, November – April for waves

sea and river kayaking

The best conditions for kayaking can be found on the protected south coast and on inland waters. The rivers and barragems of the Algarve are clean and full of wildlife. The journey down our local Aljezur River or down the bigger Arade River near Portimao is a natural way to be active and to learn about fluvial habitats at the same time. The rock and cave formations around Lagos or the unspoilt, wild coast of the Parque Natural are the best places for adventurous kayak trips. Kayak trips and sailing excursions can be combined with workshops on limestone geology and karst development or limnetic ecology. To provide a framework for practical sessions we can provide academic workshops in meteorology, oceanography, coastal geomorphology, board building or coastal conservation.

Best time to go: all year round except August

diving / snorkelling

With an excellent mix of the most diverse underwater wildlife in Europe, interesting geological features and many wrecks to explore Portugal’s diving has a lot to offer. Probably the best place to experience scuba diving and snorkelling is off the south coast; the water is crystal-clear and clean and the visibility under the water is remarkably high. The most well-known spots for diving are the waters off Lagos and Sagres, but all along the coast you will find a breath-taking array of marine life and clearly marked archaeological remains from the Algarve's history. Our villa has a large pool for basic training. The Aljezur River estuary at high tide provides a safe and fun environment to learn the first steps or to practice underwater sampling techniques. To support a snorkelling or scuba diving activity booked with our partners we can provide academic workshops in underwater sampling techniques, oceanography, coastal geomorphology or marine conservation.

Best time to go: October – November and March – July

rock climbing

Most of our local rock climbing routes are situated near Bensafrim and Sagres where there are mainly bolted routes but there is also plenty of trad for the old school climbers. To introduce beginners to the exciting world of rock climbing we recommend visiting Bensafrim. The climbing there is safe top roping (grades 3-5). For the advanced climber the limestone cliffs around Cabo de São Vicente are spectacular. They boast some of the best rock climbing in Europe, from sport climbing and multi-pitch, to deep water soloing, bouldering and adventure climbs (grades 3-8a). The south facing ridges get plenty of sun, which makes them great winter spots. During summer early mornings and afternoons offer shaded areas with pleasant breezes. A climbing day can be supported by contextualised workshops in coastal geomorphology, sedimentology and sustainable tourism.

Best time to go: all year except August

Climbing in Sagres at a limestone cliff
Hiking along the south coast
 Mountain biking along west coast dirt tracks


Walking and hiking is very popular in the Algarve. There are walks on century old donkey tracks through forests of cork oak, pine and eucalyptus and paths up the mountains with spectacular views. The foot-path follows the coast line along empty beaches and coves. The best time for a walking trip is from autumn through to spring as the summer climate away from the coast is excessively hot. Some rainfall may be experienced but it is rare for it to be prolonged. Nights can be cool and sometimes on the chilly side with morning mists during the winter. Trails vary in length from 2.5km to 17km, with a maximum ascent of 500m. The Algarve way is marked with the official red and white bars denoting international long-distance pathways. A hiking day can be contextualised by workshops in geomorphology, sedimentology and sustainable tourism.

Best time to go: September – July

mountain biking / road cycling

The rugged terrain and open, undulating countryside is ideal for cross-country and downhill mountain biking. There are various off-road trails starting right at the CERES centre. You won’t need to follow any tarmac roads before entering off-road tracks. You can ride the trails along the coast, enjoying spectacular sea views. The tracks are mostly dirt tracks with some tricky sandy and rocky parts. Or you bike up to Monchique, the highest mountain range in the Algarve and be rewarded with the breath-taking views and a challenging descend. We can arrange bike rentals and guided tours. If you prefer to go out biking on your own, we are happy to assist you with expert advice, maps and can recommend various routes, tailored to your ability. A cycling day can be supported by workshops in geomorphology, sedimentology and sustainable tourism.

Best time to go: all year except August

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