7 of Europe's Top Surf Spots

February 19, 2016

Want to know where the best surf spots in Europe are? Look no further. Our top seven features great surfing beaches in France, Spain, Portugal and Ireland.

In need of some Vitamin Sea? There's no need to go surfing the web to find it. Forget distant continents with picturesque coastlines and far-flung shores, there's awesome surf spots closer than you think.

1. Gravière Beach

Surfing at Gravière Beach in France

Where? Hossegor, France

Best time to surf? All year round

Recommended level? Advanced

Situated on the west coast, Hossegor has been hailed as one of best surf spots in Europe. It's blessed with an array of beautiful sandy bays that attract holidaymakers from across the continent. Families head for Plage Centrale with its plentiful shops, bars and restaurants but Gravière Beach is the perfect 'tube spot' inviting experienced surfers looking for hollow waves and strong winds.

2. Côte des Basques Beach

Surfing at Côte des Basques Beach in France

Where? Biarritz, France

Best time to surf? All year round, but early autumn is less crowded

Recommended level? All

Hosting a week-long surf festival that rakes in 200,000 people each year, Biarritz might just be France's surf capital. The long, open beach of Côte des Basques stretches for a clear two kilometres when the tide is out and it's here that Euro-surfing is first thought to have begun in 1957. Set against the backdrop of rugged cliffs boasting gorgeous views of the Pyrénées mountains, this Basque gem is a surfer's paradise. 

3. Zarautz

Surfing at Zarautz Beach Spain

Where?  Gipuzkoa Province, Spain

Best time to surf? From autumn through to spring

Recommended level? Beginners and intermediate

Surfers of all levels head to this small town which is popular for its chilled, quaint vibe. Zarautz is home to many surf schools meaning that beginners are well catered to, although the level of surfing out on the waves can get pretty high. If you get tired of crashing about in the surf, you'll find that the 2.5km beach provides plenty of sunbathing space while Zarautz's old town comes to life once the sun sets.

4. Mundaka

Surfing at Mundaka Beach Spain

Where?  Biscay Province, Spain

Best time to surf? From autumn through to spring

Recommended level? Intermediate and advanced

Located in the Biosphere Reserve of Urdabai, Mundaka may be relatively undeveloped, but that's one of its draws. Huge swells roll in from the Bay of Biscay and crash into a perfect sandbar at Mundaka's estuary to create gigantic hollow waves with the potential to span up to 400 meters. Mundaka was formerly one of the sites of the World Championship Tour of Surfing.

5. Supertubos Beach

Surfing at Supertubos Beach Portugal

Where?  Peniche, Portugal

Best time to surf? Autumn

Recommended level? Advanced

Formally known as Medão Grande beach, Supertubos was a host for the 2010 World Cup of Surfing. It's famous for its perfect tubular waves, earning it the (unofficial) accolade of 'the European pipeline'. As a result, this relatively quiet fishing village has become one of the best surf spots in Europe and attracts professional surfers from across the continent.

6. Praia do Norte

Surfing at Praia do Norte Beach Portugal

Where?  Nazaré, Portugal

Best time to surf? From autumn through to spring

Recommended level? Advanced

Home to the biggest waves in the world, Praia do Norte is regarded as one of the globe's best surfing destinations. In both 2011 and 2013, surfer Garrett McNamara broke the world record for the largest wave ever surfed, which in 2013 was just over 100ft. Unsurprisingly, these huge waves pull in top-level surfers from all over the globe. Make sure to take some time out of the sea to climb to the beautiful Miradouro do Suberco viewpoint for a stunning panorama of the coastline.

7. Bundoran

Surfing at Bundoran Ireland

Where?  County Donegal, Ireland

Best time to surf? Summer and autumn

Recommended level? All

Ireland's location off the Atlantic Ocean has bequeathed it an array of spectacular surf spots. Beautiful Bundoran is considered one of Ireland's, if not Europe's, very best destinations for waves and has hosted the European Surf Championships a number of times. If you can brave the not-so-hot weather and chilly waters, the rewards are great. 

Ben Leach Ben's longest trip involved 15 months of backpacking around Australia and Southeast Asia, and now he shares his experiences with Travioor from London. Luckily, after spending so long staring at cheesy sunsets, drinking too much Goon and eating his weight in Pad Thai, he can still manage to put a few words together.