The best places to surf in Europe include Peniche and Nazaré in Portugal, Biarritz and Hossegor in France, the Basque Country in Spain, Godrevy Beach in the UK, Llangennith in Wales, Sligo in Ireland, and Unstad Bay in Norway. Each offers unique waves and experiences for surfers of all levels.
Your Guide to the Best Places to Surf in Europe
When you think of surfing destinations, your mind might immediately wander to the sunny beaches of Australia, Hawaii, or Indonesia.
But have you ever considered Europe?
It’s rapidly becoming one of the best places to surf in Europe, boasting a vast coastline and diverse wave offerings.
While the renowned global destinations are famous for their unique surf cultures and challenging waves, Europe’s surf spots are an enigma waiting to be unraveled by you.
Unlike the predictable tropical climates and predictable wave patterns in other global destinations, Europe brings its own brand of unpredictability.
This only adds to the thrill of riding the European waves.
Furthermore, what sets the best places to surf in Europe apart is not just the waves, but the rich history, culture, and breathtaking landscapes that surround them. Imagine riding a wave with a historical castle or lush vineyards as your backdrop.
So, the next time you’re planning a surf trip, remember that some of the best places to surf in Europe might just offer you the unique blend of surf and exploration that you’re craving.
Why Surf in Europe?
When it comes to choosing your next surf destination, Europe might not be the first place that springs to mind.
But let’s go deeper into why it should be on your radar.
Diverse Waves for Every Surfer
Europe offers a plethora of wave types.
Whether you’re a beginner looking to catch your first wave, an intermediate surfer seeking a bit more challenge, or a pro aiming to conquer monstrous swells, Europe has it all.
You’ll discover that the best places to surf in Europe cater to every skill level, ensuring that each surf session is both challenging and rewarding.
More Than Just Surfing: Embrace the European Charm
After an exhilarating surf session, imagine strolling through historic towns, savoring world-famous cuisines, or even picking up a new language.
The proximity of Europe’s surf spots to its cultural heartbeats ensures that your surf trip is interspersed with moments of cultural immersion.
With the best places to surf in Europe, it’s not just about the waves; it’s about the stories, the histories, and the experiences that accompany them.
Affordability Meets Adventure
Think surfing in Europe will break the bank?
Europe, with its diverse range of countries, offers budget-friendly options that won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
From affordable surf camps and hostels to economical car rentals, your European surf adventure can be both memorable and cost-effective.
The best places to surf in Europe often come with the added bonus of cost-saving opportunities, ensuring you get the most bang for your buck.
Portugal: The Surf Capital of Europe
Portugal, with its sun-kissed coastline and consistent wave conditions, has rightly earned its title as one of the best places to surf in Europe.
Let’s dive into the key surf spots that make this nation a must-visit for every wave chaser.
CAPARICA: Surf Whenever You Desire
Want to catch waves without being bound by seasons?
CAPARICA is your answer. Welcoming surfers throughout the year, it ensures that no matter when you visit, the waves will be waiting for you.
It’s not just about the frequency but also the versatility of the waves, making CAPARICA a favorite amongst many.
Nazare Canyon: For Those Who Dare
If you’ve ever dreamed of riding colossal waves, or you’re just curious to witness the giants of the ocean, Nazare Canyon is the place to be.
Renowned for its monstrous waves, it attracts the brave-hearted from all corners of the globe.
Remember, this is not for the faint-hearted, but if you’re up for the thrill, Nazare promises an experience unlike any other.
Peniche: The Best of Both Worlds
What’s unique about Peniche?
Its ability to cater to surfers of all skill levels. If you’re a beginner, plan your visit in the summers, when the waves are gentler and more forgiving.
For the experts seeking a challenge, winter brings with it the promise of larger, more powerful waves.
In Peniche, every surfer finds their groove.
Algarve: A Surfer’s Paradise
Nestled in the southernmost region of Portugal, Algarve is more than just picturesque landscapes.
It’s a haven for surf enthusiasts, with its consistent waves, stunning beaches, and vibrant surf culture.
Whether you’re looking to hone your skills or simply immerse yourself in the world of surfing, Algarve beckons with open arms.
France: A Surfer’s Paradise in the Heart of Europe
France, often celebrated for its wine, art, and culture, also hides some of the best places to surf in Europe along its expansive coastline.
Let’s delve into these magnificent surf destinations that have become a magnet for wave enthusiasts globally.
Biarritz and Anglet: Side by Side Wave Excellence
Nestled close to each other, Biarritz and Anglet form a dream duo for surfers.
These neighboring towns are not just about their scenic beauty but are also blessed with exquisite waves.
Whether you’re looking to catch a serene sunset surf in Biarritz or challenge yourself with the rhythmic waves of Anglet, these two spots promise a memorable surf experience.
Hossegor: A Coastline for Every Surfer
A name that resonates with most European surfers, Hossegor offers a coastline as diverse as the surfers it attracts.
Whether you’re a novice trying to find your balance or a seasoned surfer chasing the perfect barrel, Hossegor has a wave for you.
Its varied spots along the coastline ensure that every surfer, irrespective of their skill level, feels at home when they paddle out.
TIP: The Isle of Ré, located off the coast of La Rochelle in France, is one of the best places to view the phenomenon of square waves.
Spain: Beyond the Flamenco and Bullfights
While Spain might be renowned for its passionate dances and historical spectacles, it holds a secret allure for surf enthusiasts.
Hidden among its diverse landscapes are some of the best places to surf in Europe.
Let’s uncover these Spanish surf havens that promise waves and memories to cherish.
For experienced surfers, Zarautz Beach in Basque Country is a must-visit.
With world-class waves that attract some of the biggest names in surfing, Zarautz is definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a challenge.
The Basque Country: Where Waves Meet Revelry
In the heart of Spain lies the Basque Country, an enchanting blend of culture, festivities, and impeccable surf.
As you ride its waves during the day, prepare to immerse yourself in the region’s vibrant party scene by night.
This harmonious blend of adrenaline-packed surf sessions followed by lively evenings is what sets the Basque Country apart from other surf destinations.
Asturias and Galicia: Spain’s Surfing Treasures
Venturing slightly off the beaten track, Asturias and Galicia beckon with their untouched beauty and consistent waves.
These regions, lesser-known to the general traveler, are revered sanctuaries for surf lovers.
With their uncrowded beaches and promise of uninterrupted wave sessions, Asturias and Galicia stand as testaments to Spain’s diverse surf offerings.
Whether you’re in search of tranquility, wave variety, or simply a unique surf experience, these regions have got you covered.
United Kingdom: Surfing the Isles Beyond the Castles
The United Kingdom, often associated with its rich history, regal palaces, and iconic landmarks, has a lesser-known side that beckons surf enthusiasts from around the world.
Among its green hills and ancient cities lie some of the best places to surf in Europe. Let’s dive into these British surf sanctuaries that promise waves for every soul.
Godrevy Beach: A Surfing Gem on the English Coast
Located in the picturesque seaside town of Hayle, Godrevy Beach offers a unique surfing experience that caters to a broad spectrum of enthusiasts.
Whether you’re just starting your surf journey or have carved countless waves, Godrevy Beach has the perfect blend of beginner-friendly and intermediate waves to cater to your surf cravings.
With miles of stunning shoreline, it provides ample opportunities for long rides and memorable surf sessions.
Beyond Godrevy: UK’s Array of Surf Destinations
The UK’s coastline is dotted with numerous surf spots that await your discovery.
From the challenging waves of Cornwall to the serene beaches of Devon, and the rugged coastline of Wales, every region offers a distinct surfing flavor.
Whether it’s the gentle waves of Scarborough in the northeast or the powerful breaks of Porthcawl in Wales, the UK is brimming with spots for you to explore and indulge in.
So, when you think of the UK, remember it’s not just about afternoon teas and the Big Ben; it’s also about the thrilling call of the waves.
Ireland & Wales: The Celtic Wave Riders Beyond Folktales
While the Celtic regions of Ireland and Wales are celebrated for their ancient myths, captivating landscapes, and soulful music, there’s another tale that’s often left untold.
Nestled among their rolling green hills and dramatic coastlines are some of the best places to surf in Europe.
Join us as we ride the waves of these Celtic shores and uncover their surf stories.
Llangennith: Where Wales Sings a Surf Tune
Positioned on the enchanting coast of Wales, Llangennith stands tall among surf spots, captivating the hearts of surf enthusiasts.
The region offers consistent waves, drawing both local and global surfers to its shores.
Llangennith’s allure isn’t just about its waves; it’s about the Welsh spirit that surrounds it.
Post your surf session, take a moment to breathe in the fresh air, listen to the sea’s melody, and perhaps even catch a glimpse of a traditional Welsh celebration on the sandy shores.
Sligo, Ireland: Surfing Amidst the Irish Lullabies
Venture to the heart of Ireland, and you’ll find Sligo, a town that harmoniously marries its Irish charm with the thrill of surf.
Riding Sligo’s waves is an experience that transcends the physical; it’s about connecting with the region’s folklore, its vibrant culture, and the warm smiles of its locals.
As you catch a wave in Sligo, you’re not just surfing; you’re becoming a part of an age-old Irish tale, surrounded by tales of leprechauns and the sweet sound of Celtic tunes.
So, when in Ireland, remember to not only seek its gold at the end of the rainbow but also its golden waves.
Norway: The Arctic Surf Adventure Beyond the Northern Lights
While Norway is often lauded for its breathtaking fjords, mystical Northern Lights, and rich Viking history, there lies an adventurous side of this Nordic nation that’s waiting to be surfed.
Embracing the cold, the surfers who venture here are treated to a unique experience unlike any other in Europe.
Let’s embark on this icy surf journey and explore the waves that crash upon Norway’s shores.
Unstad Bay: Where Surfing Meets the Arctic Chill
Tucked away in the realm of the Arctic Circle, Unstad Bay isn’t your typical tropical surf haven.
But it’s this very distinction that makes it so special.
Challenging the norms, Unstad Bay beckons the brave to experience a surf session surrounded by snow-capped mountains and icy waters.
Riding waves amidst one of the most mesmerizing backdrops in the world.
As you brace the cold and paddle out, remember that Unstad is not just about catching a wave; it’s about catching a moment that few dare to seek.
Ervik: The Nordic Surf Symphony
Venturing further along Norway’s rugged coastline, you’ll find Ervik.
This spot stands as Norway’s answer to the global surf community, offering consistent waves that appeal to both novices and seasoned surfers.
Beyond the waves, Ervik introduces you to Norway’s serene landscapes and the tranquil harmony of its coastal life.
As you carve your path on Ervik’s waves, you’re also tracing the tales of ancient Norse legends and the melodies of the sea.
So, as you think of Norway, remember it’s not just the land of the midnight sun but also the realm of thrilling Arctic surf adventures.
Tips for Beginners Surfing in Europe: Setting the Foundation Right
Europe’s vast and varied coastline is an invitation not just to the seasoned wave riders but also to those who are just dipping their toes into the surfing world.
If you’re starting your surf journey, Europe offers a brilliant mix of beginner-friendly spots, qualified instruction, and a surf culture that’s both nurturing and exhilarating.
Here’s how you can make the most of your beginner surf experience in Europe.
Understanding the Importance of Beach Breaks
Navigating the world of waves might seem daunting at first, but knowing where to start makes all the difference.
Beach breaks are your best friends.
These spots, where waves break over sandy seabeds, offer a softer and more forgiving environment for learners.
Falling, as you’ll quickly realize, is a part of the learning curve.
With beach breaks, your falls are cushioned, ensuring you can get back up with confidence and continue your ride.
Embracing beach breaks helps you build a strong foundation, setting the stage for more challenging wave adventures in the future.
The Role of Surf Camps: An Immersive Learning Experience
Think of surf camps as your surfing crash courses.
These are places where like-minded enthusiasts come together, guided by seasoned instructors, to learn, practice, and celebrate the joy of surfing.
Europe’s coastline is dotted with numerous surf camps catering specifically to beginners.
These camps provide an environment that’s both structured and fun, ensuring rapid progress.
From understanding wave dynamics to mastering the pop-up, these camps offer a comprehensive learning experience.
And the best part?
They often come with added bonuses like yoga sessions, cultural excursions, and a chance to forge lifelong friendships.
Local Surf Schools: Tapping into the Local Know-How
While surf camps are an immersive experience, sometimes, you might prefer learning at your own pace or diving into the local surf culture directly.
This is where local surf schools come into play.
Offering lessons spanning a few hours to several days, these schools provide flexibility in learning.
Guided by local instructors, you’ll not only learn the art of surfing but also get insights into the best spots, local surf etiquettes, and hidden gems.
Remember, every wave has a story, and who better to narrate it than the locals themselves?
So, as you embark on your European surf journey, remember that it’s not just about riding waves but also about understanding them, respecting the ocean, and connecting with a community that shares your passion.
Dive in, ride with confidence, and let Europe’s waves shape your surf story.
What is the surfing capital of Europe?
Portugal’s town of Peniche is often referred to as the surfing capital of Europe, known for its consistent waves and hosting international surf competitions.
Is there anywhere to surf in Europe?
Absolutely! Europe boasts a plethora of surf spots ranging from the cold waters of Norway to the warm beaches of Spain and Portugal. Notable areas include the coasts of France, Spain, Portugal, and the United Kingdom.
Is there surfing in Spain or Portugal?
Yes, both Spain and Portugal are renowned for their excellent surf spots. Spain’s Basque Country and areas like Asturias and Galicia offer great waves. Portugal, with spots like Peniche, Nazare, and Algarve, stands out as a premier surf destination in Europe.
What countries are best to surf at?
While Europe has multiple countries offering great surf spots, the top contenders are often Portugal, Spain, France, and the United Kingdom. Each offers a unique surf experience tailored to various skill levels.
Why is Portugal so good for surfing?
Portugal’s geographical location, facing the vast North Atlantic Ocean, provides it with consistent swells. Combined with its varied coastline, from the massive waves at Nazare Canyon to the beginner-friendly spots at CAPARICA, it offers a diverse range of surfing experiences. The country’s rich maritime history and surf culture further solidify its reputation as a top surf destination.