Top 17 Surfing Destinations in Europe

Surfing in Nazaré, Portugal

Ort der VeranstaltungNazaré

Surfing in Nazaré, Portugal

Nazaré, a charming fishing village on the West coast of Portugal, has gained global fame as one of the top surfing destinations in Europe, particularly for big wave surfing. Its unique underwater geography, including a deep-sea trench, creates monstrous waves that can reach up to 30 meters high, attracting professional surfers from around the world. The town made headlines in 2011 when Garrett McNamara set a world record by surfing a giant wave, and again in 2017 when Rodrigo Koxa broke this record, conquering a 24.38-meter wave. These feats have placed Nazaré firmly on the map as a mecca for extreme surfing.

Unlike traditional surfing, big wave surfing in Nazaré requires unique skills and years of experience. Surfers are towed into these massive waves using jet skis due to the sheer size and power of the waves, which are too risky to paddle into. The town's Praia do Norte is renowned for its challenging conditions, suitable mainly for professional surfers or locals familiar with the treacherous waters. However, for those not ready to face Nazaré's formidable waves, the West coast of Portugal offers several other excellent surfing locations within close proximity.

Surfing in Newquay, United Kingdom

Ort der VeranstaltungNewquay

Surfing in Newquay, United Kingdom

Newquay, located in Cornwall, United Kingdom, is a premier surfing destination renowned for its array of spectacular beaches and consistent surfing conditions. With over 11 beaches stretching along seven miles of coastline, Newquay offers a diverse range of surfing experiences for both beginners and advanced surfers. Fistral Beach, arguably the most famous in Newquay, is known for its large Atlantic swells and is a hub for surfing competitions, including the prestigious Boardmasters festival. Meanwhile, Towan Beach, located centrally and known for its north-west facing orientation, is ideal for beginners due to its sheltered conditions and clean waves. Great Western Beach, another central beach with fewer surf schools, provides a quieter environment for those new to surfing.

Newquay's reputation as a surfing mecca is bolstered by its long-standing surf schools offering extensive tuition, with board and wetsuit hire included. Watergate Bay, just north of Newquay, is a favored spot for advanced surfers and hosts the English National Surfing Championships. Lusty Glaze, a smaller, privately-owned beach, is another surfing location offering lessons and equipment hire, though it requires navigating steep steps. Newquay's surfing culture, enriched by its picturesque beaches and reliable waves, makes it a top choice for surfers seeking the quintessential British surfing experience.

Surfing in Hossegor, France

Ort der VeranstaltungHossegor

Hossegor, nestled along the French Atlantic coast, is acclaimed as a world-class surf destination, attracting both beginners and advanced surfers. Known for its high-quality beach breaks and consistent swells, Hossegor offers a range of surf spots suitable for various skill levels. From the formidable waves of La Graviere, famous for its proximity to the shore and intense shore breaks, to the more beginner-friendly waves of La Sud and Les Estagnots, Hossegor caters to all surfing preferences. The area is celebrated for its wide, sandy beaches and the quality of its waves, particularly during the summer and autumn months, making it an ideal surfing locale in Europe.

Hossegor's surf spots are diverse, offering different challenges and experiences. La Sud is known for its sheltered, manageable waves, making it popular among surf schools. Les Estagnots and Les Culs Nus, while suitable for beginners, can offer more thrilling waves at low tide. Les Bourdaines, north of Les Estagnots, is another spot favored by beginners, known for its consistent waves. For those looking to escape the crowds, spots like Le Penon and nearby Messanges offer alternative surf experiences. Overall, Hossegor's surf scene is vibrant, supported by numerous surf schools and shops, and is complemented by the relaxed lifestyle and scenic beauty of the French Atlantic coast.

Surfing in Mundaka, Spain

Ort der VeranstaltungMundaka

Mundaka, located in the Basque Country of Spain, is revered in the surfing world for its extraordinary left-hand barrel wave, considered by many as the best in Europe and arguably one of the best river mouth waves globally. This revered surf spot boasts perfect waves that can reach up to 4 meters in height and offer rides as long as 400 meters. The waves at Mundaka are best shaped by a south-southwest wind and a strong northwest swell, creating ideal conditions for deep barrels and leg-burning rides. The estuary at Mundaka forms a perfect sandbar that results in hollow, tubular waves, much to the delight of surfers.

Mundaka's charm extends beyond its waves, encompassing the quaint fishing village from which it derives its name. The town, unspoiled by its surfing fame, offers a delightful mix of traditional Basque houses, friendly locals, and delicious cuisine. Discovered as a surfing destination in the 1970s, Mundaka has since hosted numerous international competitions and legendary surfers, including Kelly Slater and Andy Iron. While the waves may be less frequent than other nearby beaches due to its unique orientation, the quality of the surf at Mundaka makes it a coveted spot for surfers worldwide. When not surfing, visitors can enjoy the town's vibrant culture and scenic beauty, making Mundaka a top European surfing destination.

Surfing in Tenby, United Kingdom

Ort der VeranstaltungTenby

Surfing in Tenby

Tenby, located in Pembrokeshire, South-West Wales, is a picturesque seaside town renowned for its beautiful beaches and vibrant surfing scene. This quaint town offers a unique blend of historic charm and exciting surf opportunities, making it a standout destination for surfers in Europe. Pembrokeshire's coastline is distinguished by its high cliffs, wide sandy beaches, and natural harbors, providing a variety of surfing conditions. The area is enveloped by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, which includes the stunning 190-mile Pembrokeshire Coast Path, offering surfers not just waves but also breathtaking natural scenery.

Tenby's coastal location ensures a mild climate with consistent surf conditions throughout the year. The town's beaches, such as the famous Tenby South Beach, are ideal for both novice and experienced surfers. With its clear waters and sandy shores, Tenby South Beach is particularly popular among families and those new to surfing. For the more adventurous surfers, the nearby Pembrokeshire Coast offers challenging waves and less crowded spots. The town's rich history, combined with its surf culture, makes Tenby a unique and compelling destination for surfers seeking both great waves and a rich cultural experience.

Surfing in Anglet, France

Ort der VeranstaltungAnglet

Anglet, a striking surfing destination located in the heart of the Bayonne-Anglet-Biarritz agglomeration on France's Basque Coast, is renowned for its 4.5km of beautiful sandy beaches and excellent surfing conditions. The area is a natural convergence point where the Landes' sandy beaches meet the rocky coast of the Atlantic Pyrenees, creating a unique landscape cherished by surfers worldwide. Anglet is celebrated for its diverse surf spots, including the famous Cavaliers beach, known for its tubular waves and hosting professional competitions, making it a globally recognized surfing spot.

The beaches in Anglet, such as Marinella, Corsaires, Petite Madrague, and Madrague, offer a variety of surfing experiences, from easy and accessible waves for beginners to more challenging conditions for advanced surfers. The area is protected by cliffs against southerly winds, providing smaller waves than in the northern part of Anglet, and creating ideal conditions for surfers at all tides. The Anglet Surf Club, the most significant surf club in France, is a testament to the area's surfing significance. With its natural beauty, vibrant surf culture, and a range of surf spots, Anglet stands out as a top surfing destination in Europe.

Surfing in Bundoran, Ireland

Bundoran in Ireland stands out as a leading surfing destination, known for its long coastline and consistent waves that attract surfers globally. Renowned for its diverse range of surf spots, Bundoran offers ideal conditions for surfers of all skill levels. From stunning beaches to impressive reef breaks, the town provides a vibrant surfing culture that extends throughout the year. Whether it's the height of summer or the depth of winter, surfers find solace in Bundoran's waters, with numerous beach and reef breaks in close proximity to cater to their surfing needs.

The town's fame as a surf haven is bolstered by its hosting of prestigious events like the European Surfing Championships and its popularity with renowned surfers. Bundoran's surf scene benefits greatly from the local surf clubs and schools that foster a safe and inclusive environment for surfers. With the town’s surf-friendly amenities and the allure of its natural beauty, Bundoran continues to be a top destination for both novice and experienced surfers seeking exhilarating surf experiences in Ireland.

Surfing in Supertubos, Portugal

Supertubos in Peniche, Portugal, is renowned for its exceptional beach break, ranking alongside Carcavelos as one of the best in Portugal. This world-class spot is famous for its long, heavy barrels, particularly with larger west/southwest swells. The beach break offers both lefts and rights, with the lefts often being superior. Suitable for advanced surfers on bigger days, it also accommodates less experienced surfers when the waves are smaller. The beach features multiple peaks, but the best ones attract crowds on good days. Supertubos is best experienced from September to May, providing steep barreling beach break conditions that are rarely found in European waters.

Supertubos gained global recognition after being selected as a stop on the World Surf League tour. Its fame as one of Portugal's most popular surfing destinations comes from the heavy barreling beach break that resembles waves typically found on reef breaks in the Indonesian islands. The wave is formed by a hefty westerly swell hitting the sandbar off Peniche's coast, creating steep take-offs and powerful tubes. The site hosts the Rip Curl Pro Portugal event every October, drawing top surfers and large crowds. Access to Supertubos is straightforward, with Peniche being easily reachable from Lisbon by bus, car, or transfer.

Surfing in Thurso, United Kingdom

Ort der VeranstaltungThurso

Thurso, located in the northernmost part of the Scottish mainland, has emerged as a premier cold-water surfing destination, renowned for its exceptional quality waves and unique surfing experience. The town, though understated locally, is a magnet for surfers worldwide, drawn by the allure of its fabled surf. Thurso East, the most prominent break, is often likened to a "coldwater Nias," offering world-class barreling right-hand waves comparable to those in Hawaii, sans the tropical backdrop. The prime surf season stretches from October to April, characterized by cold waters flowing from the River Thurso, adding an element of bravery to the surfing experience here.

The surfing culture in Thurso has been steadily growing, thanks in part to modern wetsuit technology and social media exposure, making the chilly waters more accessible. The area is distinguished by its variety of surf spots, from flagstone reefs offering quality surf to beautiful beaches like Torrisdale. Thurso hosts surfing competitions and events, contributing to its reputation as a hidden gem in the surfing world. The local surf scene is supported by dedicated surfers like Mark Boyd and Iona McLachlan, Scotland’s National Surfing Champions, who honed their skills in these challenging waters.

Surfing in La Zurriola, San Sebastian, Spain

Ort der VeranstaltungSan Sebastian

La Zurriola, located in the vibrant city of San Sebastian, Spain, is a premier surfing destination renowned for its exceptional waves and lively atmosphere. Distinguished from San Sebastian's other beaches by its geographical location, La Zurriola is more exposed to the Cantabrian Sea, offering surfers intense multi-peak waves throughout the day. This beach is perfect for surfers of all levels, with beginners recommended to surf near the Kursaal conference center for gentler waves. The 800-meter coastline not only caters to surfers but also invites activities like volleyball and soccer, adding to the beach's dynamic and sociable environment.

La Zurriola is situated adjacent to the Gros district, known for its bustling surf culture, vibrant bars, and exquisite gastronomy. Accommodation options abound in this area, making it ideal for a surfing getaway. The beach's proximity to top-notch pintxo bars and eateries like Bodega Donostiarra and Uh-Mami ensures surfers can easily refuel after a day in the waves. For those new to surfing, La Zurriola offers numerous surf schools such as Pukas and Zurriola Surf Eskola, providing professional guidance and equipment rental. Additionally, the nearby surf town of Zarautz offers alternative surfing experiences just a short drive or train ride away.

Surfing in Foz do Lizandro, Ericeira, Portugal

Ort der VeranstaltungEriceira

Surfing in Foz do Lizandro, Ericeira, Portugal

Foz do Lizandro in Ericeira, Portugal, is a renowned beach break, favored for its consistent surf conditions. Formed by a river mouth, it features multiple peaks along the beach, including a left on the south side and an a-frame with lefts and rights in the middle. The beach break is ideal for beginners when the waves are smaller, owing to its sandy bottom and gentler waves. However, with bigger swell, the rips can become strong and dangerous, making it more suited for experienced surfers. The best surfing conditions are with southwest or west swells and east wind directions. This spot is equipped with excellent facilities including parking, showers, and cafes, making it a popular choice among surfers.

In addition to its surfing appeal, Foz do Lizandro is celebrated for its natural beauty and great facilities on the beach. The area is also home to reef breaks like Lage dos Tubos and Limipicos on the north side, providing variety for different surfing styles and levels. The beach's geography and its position relative to the river make it a unique surfing location in Ericeira, a region already famous for its surf culture and quality waves. Whether seeking fun, easy waves or challenging surf conditions, Foz do Lizandro offers an engaging experience for every surfer.

Surfing in Cotes des Basques, Biarritz, France

Ort der VeranstaltungBiarritz

Cotes des Basques in Biarritz, France, is a legendary beach break and a cornerstone of the European surfing scene. Recognized as one of the most beautiful beaches in France, it holds historical significance as the birthplace of European surfing. The beach is popular among longboarders and offers a wave suitable for all skill levels. It is particularly known for its ideal conditions for longboard surfing with its consistent beach break. The best surfing conditions are with a swell ranging from 3 to 6 feet, at low tide until mid-tide. Surfers should note that the north wall of the spot provides shelter on windy days. Despite the challenge of parking nearby, its proximity to the city center adds to its charm, offering easy access to local eateries and stunning sunset views at the bar Etxola Bibi.

Cote des Basques is known for its ideal swell angle from the west and works best in offshore winds from the east. The beach break offers both left and right-hand waves and is best around low tide. While it can get crowded when the surf is up, it remains a preferred spot for its picturesque setting and quality waves. This beach is not just a surfing destination but also a cultural and historical icon, encapsulating the essence of Biarritz's surf culture, as evidenced by the numerous surf shops, schools, and the presence of prestigious surfing brands.

Surfing in Ribeira d’Ilhas, Portugal

Ort der VeranstaltungRibeira d'Ilhas, Ericeira

Ribeira d’Ilhas, located 3 km north of Ericeira, Portugal, is one of the most famous and popular surf spots in the country. This right-hand point break, known for its long and mellow waves breaking over a mix of reef and cobblestones, is a haven for surfers of various skill levels. While it offers challenging conditions for experienced surfers, especially with bigger swells and strong currents, the spot is also accessible to beginners, particularly near the little reform break on the north side of the reef. Ribeira d’Ilhas is celebrated for its long peeling shoulders, making it an ideal location for refining surfing skills and drawing lines. Its consistent waves have made it a favorite for regional, national, and international surf competitions.

Despite being crowded most of the time, Ribeira d’Ilhas offers several peaks that help spread out the surfers. The inside area, known for its shorter but steeper waves, provides an alternative when the main peak is overly crowded. Another notable feature is Pedra Preta, located just north of the main peak, offering a good mix of waves. Ribeira d’Ilhas is functional at all tides, with the best conditions occurring with winds from the east and swell from the west or northwest. The surrounding valley also provides more offshore winds than other spots in the area, making it a reliable option when other locations are less favorable. The beach is well-equipped with facilities such as parking, showers, toilets, surf schools, and a bar/restaurant, making it a convenient and enjoyable surfing destination.

Surfing in Unstad Bay, Norway

Ort der VeranstaltungUnstad, Norway

Unstad Bay in Norway offers a unique surfing experience, especially known for its left-handed wave considered one of the best in the world. The deep sea off Unstad creates waves that might originate from Greenland, providing powerful and high surf ideal for experienced surfers. Autumn and winter are the prime times for surfing here, with more stable and challenging waves attracting surfers globally. The cold water surfing experience is enhanced by the spectacular Northern Lights and the enchanting winter light, making Unstad a distinct surfing location compared to traditional tropical spots. Summer at Unstad brings gentler waves, suitable for beginners and families, with professional instruction available for all levels.

Unstad Arctic Surf, the local surf operator, provides top-notch equipment and safety measures, ensuring a comfortable and secure surfing experience. The location, part of the Lofoten archipelago, is not only known for its exceptional surf conditions but also for its breathtaking natural beauty. Surfing in Unstad, whether in the summer's midnight sun or the winter's icy waters, promises a memorable adventure, distinct from any other surfing destination in the world.

Surfing in Cantinho da Baía, Peniche, Portugal

Cantinho da Baía in Peniche, Portugal, is celebrated as one of the best spots for beginner surfers. This beach break, with both right and left-hand waves, is known for its smooth formation, making it ideal for those just starting out. The wave begins slowly, gaining speed as it moves inward, providing a perfect learning environment for novices and intermediates. During the summer, Cantinho da Baía stands out as the most consistent wave in the area. The spot operates best with northwest winds and swells, offering a reliable and enjoyable surfing experience throughout the year.

Located conveniently in front of a surf school and bar, Cantinho da Baía is not just about surfing; it's a complete experience with easy access to facilities and surf equipment. The spot is popular, often crowded, reflecting its reputation as a top destination for surfers. Apart from the excellent surfing conditions, the area around Peniche, including nearby Supertubos, is recognized globally for its superb waves, hosting prestigious competitions like the WCT. With numerous surf shops, schools, and accommodation options, Cantinho da Baía is a prime location for both learning and enjoying the sport of surfing.

Surfing in El Quemao, Lanzarote, Spain

Ort der VeranstaltungLa Santa, Lanzarote, Spain

Surfing in El Quemao, Lanzarote, Spain

El Quemao, located in La Santa, a village in Tinajo, Lanzarote, Spain, is renowned as one of the world's top surfing spots. Known for its powerful waves and perfect tubes, El Quemao offers an exceptional surfing experience, especially during groundswell days. This left-hand reef break is famous for its fast, deep tubes, ideal for expert surfers. The wave starts with a vertical drop, leading into a deep take-off, and is known for both left and right formations. The best conditions for surfing at El Quemao are found between October and March, with full tides, east-southeast winds, and north swells. The spot, famous for its challenging waves, is accessible via the pier in the village of La Santa, which also provides a variety of accommodations, restaurants, and surfing schools and shops.

El Quemao's reputation as the "Pipeline of the Canary Islands" is well-deserved, attracting surfers from all over the globe. It's a destination that combines the thrill of surfing with the beauty of Lanzarote's rugged landscapes. The spot is particularly mesmerizing during the winter months, when surfers can experience large, barreling waves against the backdrop of the Calima, a hot and dusty wind from the Sahara that enhances surfing conditions. The annual El Quemao Class event, a testament to the surfing spirit, brings together a community of surfers in a vibrant atmosphere of competition and camaraderie, showcasing incredible talent and bravery against the formidable waves.

Surfing in The Bubble, Fuertaventura, Spain

Ort der VeranstaltungFuerteventura, Canary Islands

The Bubble, located on Fuerteventura, is celebrated as one of the best and most popular surf spots on the island. This spot is particularly revered by expert surfers for its consistent, high-quality waves. Known for its powerful and fast-breaking waves that form both lefts and rights, The Bubble offers the possibility of tubes, providing an exhilarating surfing experience. The sea floor at this spot is composed of volcanic rock, making wipe-outs potentially dangerous. Surfers should exercise caution, especially during weekends when the lineup can become crowded quickly. The consistent and reliable conditions at The Bubble make it a standout destination for experienced surfers seeking challenging waves.

Fuerteventura, known for its diverse range of surf spots, caters to all surfing levels, from beginners to advanced. The island is characterized by varying wave and wind conditions that activate its numerous reef and beach breaks. Notably, The Bubble stands out with its remarkable wave quality, drawing surfers for its unique challenges and consistent conditions. Fuerteventura's surfing scene is vibrant, with numerous schools and rental shops, making it an ideal destination for both learning and enhancing surfing skills. The island's Northshore offers numerous reef breaks suited for advanced surfers, while other spots cater to beginners and intermediates, emphasizing Fuerteventura's versatility as a surfing destination.