10 Best Surfing Destinations in Europe

The European coast is a dream travel destination for surfers of all kinds.

Filled with surf spots galore and beach culture, the list of the best surfing destinations in Europe goes on and on. 

Some locations are hidden gems for professionals, like Nazare, while others are perfect for beginners and intermediate surfers, such as Bundoran.

There are even camps and lessons all over Europe with top-notch instructors to teach you everything you need to know to learn how to best experience surfing in Europe.

Europe is home to the world’s best waves.

Thus, the coastline is worth planning a surf holiday around. So get your buddies ready and head out to some of the best surfing destinations in Europe.

10 Top-Rated Surfing Spots in Europe 

1. Nazare, Portugal 

The Nazare Canyon is a world-renowned surf spot because it has the largest waves in the area. Plus, the entire country of Portugal is one of the best places to surf in, not just Europe, but the entire world. 

Advanced and professional surfers attempt to tackle these incredible, big waves, while on-lookers enjoy watching the waves and surfers with amazement. In fact, at this place, in 2017, Rodrigo Koxa surfed the biggest wave ever, a behemoth that roared up to 80 feet above the surface. 

2. Basque Country, Spanish and French Coastline

The Basque Country coastline runs 125 miles through Spain and a corner of France. Here, there are multiple places to catch a wave, which helps this coast rank among the list of the best surfing in Europe. 

The season here starts in autumn and runs through the winter. 

Here are the best surfing destinations in Basque Country: 

  • Mundaka
  • Zarautz
  • La Salvaje Sopelana
  • Menakoz
  • Biarritz
  • Anglet

3. San Sebastian, Spain

Visit San Sebastian for not only surfing but for stunning views of the mountains and lush islands overlooking the ocean. Thousands of surfers from around the world visit San Sebastian for La Zurriola Beach, in particular. 

The water may be intimidating due to the number of surfers in the water. But, San Sebastian gives off excellent vibes because everyone there is excited to surf. 

Overall, La Zurriola Beach is an excellent spot if you like to be active. There are surf championships, daily classes, football games, volleyball games, and more. The atmosphere is all about making friends on the beach and being active.

4. Peniche and Ericeira Beach, Portugal 

In Peniche and Ericeira Beach, called the surf capital of Portugal, lies one of the best beach breaks in the world. This beach break is called Supertubos, famous for its super-fast and super-heavy barrels.

5. Bundoran Beach, Ireland

Bundoran Beach is the most popular surf spot in Ireland because it welcomes all visitors. Here, you can enjoy the waves, whether you are a beginner or experienced, while also taking in Burdoran’s natural beauty.

Furthermore, Bundoran is one of the greatest surf towns in Europe and an awesome tourist destination, and a nice place to enjoy other aspects of Irish culture. 

6. Watergate Bay, England, United Kingdom

Watergate Bay in the UK is a place where you can ride awesome waves during both high and low tide. 

When you surf here, you will find that the swell is good during low tide, while the biggest waves are during high tide. This factor makes Watergate unique because not many spots on the north coast produce waves when the tide is high.  

The Watergate Bay swell comes from the Atlantic ocean and produces consistent waves because of its strong winds. Plus, every May, Watergate hosts the English National Surfing Championships.

7. Sennen Cove, England, United Kingdom

Sennen Cove Beach has great breaking waves for beginners and is England’s most westerly surf spot. The most famous part of Sennen Cove is the white sand beach that is picture-perfect against the world-class waves. 

Another reason that Sennen is a favorite among Europeans is that the area is typically less crowded than other beaches. Fewer people make for more comfortable surfing, especially for beginners who might be self-conscious. 

8. Canary Islands

The Canary Islands is one of the best surfing destinations in Europe. The islands are a great spot to catch tubes, which are short but powerful and hollow waves. 

There’s also a good swell from the exposed reef break that comes alive in the summer. However, you should be aware that this area is only for advanced surfers when the waves are in full throttle, and the locals protect this spot. 

9. Southwest France

Between Seignosse and Biarritz, you will find the best surfing destinations in Europe and the greatest beach breaks in the world. However, don’t forget Gironde and Landes, which have the most consistent swells while still offering amazing rides.

For beginners, the summer months here are ideal because of their mellow waves. Conversely, advanced surfers should visit in the winter and autumn months for more intense surges. 

Yet, overall, there are always numerous surf areas for beginners and some big-wave surf locations for experienced surfers. 

Plus, don’t miss out on southwest France’s great nightlife as well as the many surfing festivals and competitions that take place each year. Biarritz, in particular, is a great destination for experiencing the culture of surfing in Europe because it was here that the first Europeans began to surf in the 1950s. 

10. Portrush, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

Portrush West Strand is Northern Ireland’s best surfing destination as well as its surf capital. Portrush is also famous for golf and food, but the surfing here is just as good with consistent waves and great swell. 

However, just remember that the waters in Northern Ireland are almost always cold, so you should think about bringing a couple of extra-thick wetsuits on your journey. 

Best Surf Villages to Visit

The ocean is one thing, but the culture is another. If you want to relax, eat, and drink in a small town when you are not surfing, here are the best places to visit for a top-notch surf town experience in Europe.

  • Bundoran, Ireland
  • Mundaka, Spain
  • Biarritz, France
  • San Sebastian, Spain
  • Newquay, England 

Best Surf Camps

A surf camp is a great way to dive headfirst into surfing and learn from knowledgeable instructors. You will also meet new people and take on many destinations every day when you try out one of these camps.

So, if your goal is to learn to surf in Europe, you will want to check out these numerous surf camps. 

  • Surf Lisbon House in Lisbon, Portugal
  • The Surf Experience in Lagos, Portugal
  • Wave Rider Surf Villa in Fuerteventura, Canary Islands
  • Chill In Ericeira Surf House in Ericeira, Portugal
  • Surf Castle in Peniche, Portugal 
  • Salty Days Porto in Porto, Portugal
  • Arrifana Surf School & Camp in Sagres & Vicentina Coast, Portugal
  • Moby-Dick-Lodge-Surf-House in Sintra, Portugal
  • Wood-n-Sea-Surf-Lodge in Hossegor & Capbreton, France 

You should research the above locations to find the best price and best surfing destinations for you. 

Additional Surf Spots in Europe

If you’ve gotten tired of the prominent locations, less-popular spots also offer incredible days in the water. Just take a peek outside the main coastline, and you will be surprised by some hidden gems.

Hoddevik, Norway, is surrounded by mountains and a unique place to ride the waves. You will feel like you are in another world when you walk on the white-sand beaches that overlook the mountains. 

Sardinia is an island that lies in the center of the Mediterranean Sea. The closest coastlines are in Spain, France, Italy, and certain African countries, making some of the best swells and best surf spots in Europe.

Fistral Beach is a destination in Newquay, England, that has surfing competitions year-round. Get a lesson here and admire the energetic atmosphere on the amazing beaches and beach bars nearby. 

Kiltmøller, Denmark, also known as Cold Hawaii, is one of the most beautiful beaches and altogether best destinations for surfing in Denmark. People also love this spot because the cold conditions allow for a unique surf trip. 

Conclusion

Europe has the best destinations to experience big swells, reef breaks, prime surfing spots, surf camps, and the best waves. Whether traveling to the North Sea, the Atlantic coast, the west coast, or the North Atlantic, you can find destinations in Europe that will have surfing spots and towns to explore. 

One of the best parts about Europe is that it barely has an off-season because, in some areas, the weather is always cold. Thus, you can surf at the best destinations year-round while also exploring gorgeous European countries.

France and Spain have a long coastline of the best surfing destinations with the best waves and vibes. Similarly, Ireland and the UK have the best destinations with solid tides and consistent swells.

However, Portugal is the number one location for surfers who are experienced and ready to live their life by the ocean.

If you are new to surfing, you can find surf schools or surf lessons in the best destinations in Europe for a great price. Surf camps will also have you meeting new people who love spending time by the sea while you learn to ride the waves. 

So, next time you plan a surfing trip, skip Australia and Hawaii and immerse yourself in European surfing. You will have the surf trip of a lifetime because of all the diverse spots you can travel to and the different cultures you can experience.

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