Europe’s beaches may not be known among surfers like those of Hawaii, Australia or Bali, but there are a few great spots around the continent for wave hunters. From the cold waves of the North Sea to the perfect tubular waves of the Atlantic and the warm, turquoise waters of the Mediterranean. Just take a look at this list of the best places to surf around Europe:
1. Stagnone Lagoon, Italy
Located on the southernmost tip of Sicily, Stagnone Lagoon is an ideal spot for kitesurfing. During summer, the water is always hot due to its low level and the persistent hot breezes create perfect conditions for kitesurfers, who can reach a speed of up to 100kph. You will find many places to rent gear from, as well as kitesurfing schools around the lagoon.
With over 20 square kilometers, the lagoon is surrounded by an archipelago of small islands dotted with ancient saline windmills that separate it from the open sea. Inside the lagoon there’s Mozia or Motya Island, site of an ancient and powerful city settled by the Phoenicians. The nearby city of Marsala is famous for its eponymous wine and has a rich heritage, having been built on the ruins of an ancient Carthaginian city.
You can feel great at Porticciolo di Marsala.
2. Hossegor, France
Hossegor is located in south-western France, on the Atlantic coast. It’s part of the well-known Hossegor-Seignosse-Capbreton surf area. Still under the radar, Hossegor is famous for its waves and the strong wind, offering many fine beach breaks. The area has been called “Europe’s answer to Hawaii” and is a magnet for professional surfers in winter, when the consistent, powerful five-meter waves break on the exposed Atlantic coast.
Hossegor coastal area has become a surfing microcosm filled with schools, surf camps and hostels, where you’ll find everything from equipment to accommodation, food, surf tours and events. It all started at the nudist beach Les Culs Nus – “the naked butts” in French – where surfers began to gather in the 60s. Today it’s a popular hangout with one of the best beach breaks.
Moor your boat at Port de Capbreton, located in Capbreton commune, popular for its seaside resorts and its busy beaches.
3. Mundaka, Spain
Mundaka is located in northern Spain, in the Basque Country. It has become internationally renowned for its surfing scene, its boasting 400 m long waves and a 90 meters long, 100 meters wide beach. Mundaka is particularly animated during autumn, when surfers gather to ride one of the longest left-hand waves in the world. Waves usually reach 5 m in height.
Mundaka is a small town centered around its fishing port, that is surrounded by colorful Basque-style houses and various bars and restaurants. It’s located in the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, a picturesque area that has a lot to offer to non-surfers too. You can visit Izaro Island, Ogoño mount and the estuary of the Urdaibai River.
We recommend Real Club Maritimo del Abra Real Sporting Club, also known as Puerto del Abra Sporting Club, located in San Sebastian.
4. Bundoran, Ireland
Located on the southwest coast of Donegal, this picturesque fishing village offers cliffs and beaches that are ideal for both experienced surfers and beginners.
In 2012 National Geographic magazine named it as one of the World’s Top 20 Surf Towns, saying that Ireland, known among surfers as “Europe’s cold-water Indonesia” should be on the bucket list of every surfer. Even though the waters are cold, the pubs and locals are always warm, serving up national specialties such as Guinness and oysters to the tune of traditional Irish music. The main surfing beach is Tullan Strand but there are many surrounding reefs and beaches.
A great place to meet locals and surfers is The Bridge Bar, situated overlooking the Peak, Ireland’s most famous reef break. Explore the coastline with a day trip to Slieve League, an area of sea cliffs with spectacular views. Around Bundoran there are two coastal walks: Cliff Walk, taking you along the cliff top and seashore of Bundoran’s West End; and Rougey Walk, a circular path with nice views of the Atlantic.
5. Fehmarn, Germany
Located in the Baltic Sea, Fehmarn is Germany’s third largest island and one of its sunniest locations, with 2200 hours of sun per year. It’s known as the “Hawaii of the North” and attracts a considerable surfing crowd. Along its 78 kilometers of coastline you’ll find 20 sandy beaches, picturesque freshwater lakes and rugged cliffs. Fehmarn is one of the most popular places to surf in Germany, especially among beginners, who can enjoy many bays with shallow waters.
With its favorable location and optimum wind conditions, Fehmarn is ideal for kitesurfing, windsurfing, sailing and paddling. The island has around 10 diving spots, most of which located on the western and eastern coast.
We recommend mooring your boat at Seglerverein Lemkenhafen e.V., a port situated in the fishing village of Lemkenhafen.
6. Avon Beach, Dorset, England
Avon Beach, situated at Mudeford to the east side of the Christchurch Harbour entrance, near Bournrmouth is a 400m long sandy beach with views of the Isle of Wight and the Needles Lighthouse. Due to the sand banks, the beach provides a good place for kitesurfing and windsurfing beginners and it’s also great for surfing, SUP (stand-up paddle), canoeing, windsurfing and kitesurfing.
The sand bar is shallow enough to pick up waves (up to four meters) even with a limited swell running beneath. After storms pass, the spot turns into a magnet for those seeking high waves and break points. Dorset offers nearly 160 km of coastline, so there are many beach destinations to enjoy, each with its own unique charm and character, from wide strips of golden sand to secluded private coves.
We recommend the Parkstone Yacht Club, located in Poole.
7. Peniche Peninsula, Portugal
The beautiful coastline of Portugal offers plenty of destinations and at Peniche Peninsula, a strip about 15 km long, all levels of surfers will find perfect swell and good wind conditions. Famous for its long, tubular waves, and also known as the “Pipeline” in Europe, this beach offers waves with crests that create hollow tubes. These waves are nicknamed “Supertubos” (super-tubes) and attract professional surfers from around the world. In 2010 it was the host of one of the stages of the World Cup of Surfing.
A good beach for beginners is Praia do Lagido, a wide white sand strip with 1.5 m swells, holding up to until 2.5m. There are several surf schools to choose from, taking beginners and more advanced surfers to different spots every day. Pipeline and Lagido beaches are the setting of Curl Pro Portugal, an event part of the World Surf League Tour.
Our recommendation is Peniche Marina, a fishing port located in a sheltered area.