Want to travel further afield to find that perfect beach break? Here are six European surfing destinations worth hopping on a plane to get to.
Ireland has some great beaches, that’s no secret. However, if you want to spread your wings and take your surfing to the continent then we’ve got you covered. As well as great waves, your chances for tan lines are far higher!
1. Peniche, Portugal
A quiet fishing town 90km outside Lisbon that is taken over by surfers when the swell hits right. The break has the nickname ‘Supertubos’ due to its consistent quality waves and makes a great location for a first surf trip. It has plenty of surf infrastructure from which you can rent equipment or take extra lessons. Food and drink are pretty cheap and the water never drops below 10°C.
When to go: Peniche is great all year round.
2. San Sebastian, Spain
San Sebastian offers great waves all year round in a lovely relaxed setting. Zurriola beach is right in the centre of the city which means you can walk from your apartment in the attractive Old Town. There are plenty of surrounding beaches as well and Biarritz is only an hour and a half away. The city is renowned for its cuisine and has the most three Michelin star restaurants in the country so you’re spoilt for choice if you fancy treating yourself once you dry off.
When to go: Winter offers the best waves though the weather is changeable.
3. Hossegor, France
Hossegor is the French surfing Mecca and attracts large amounts of surf tourists throughout the year. It’s not far from Biarritz, and only a little further from the Spanish border. Hossegor has one of the best surf breaks on the continent and used to be a regular stop off for the ASP Surf Tour. It caters for all experience levels, though when things get serious it’s sometimes best left to more experienced surfers. Food and drink choices are plentiful and there’s no shortage of board rental shops. Hossegor gets some of the warmest water in the Atlantic with the mercury even passing 20°C on occasion, though this tends to be when the waves are smallest.
When to go: Waves are pretty consistent but biggest from November-February.
4. Klitmøller, Denmark
Denmark doesn’t immediately spring to mind when thinking of surf havens but Klitmøller offers a great getaway off the beaten track. The beaches are best-known for their kite and wind surfing but when the wind gets too weak for them the best waves for surfing are to be found. With the best waves found in the winter months, Klitmøller certainly lives up to its nickname of the ‘Cold Hawaii’.
When to go: October to February is your best bet. Wrap up warm.
5. Sennen Cove, England
Cornwall is no secret when it comes to surfing in the UK but fighting the crowds around Newquay can quickly get tiresome. Another hour down the coast is Britain’s most westerly beach, Sennen Cove. The waves are consistently good, breaking from the left and the right and you’ll occasionally get a barrel. The spot is surrounded by rolling hills and fierce cliffs providing a less touristy feel than the rest of Cornwall and is better for it.
When to go: Pretty consistent year-round but the best waves are between September and April.
6. Hoddevik, Norway
The most northerly point on our list, the beaches of Hoddevik in Norway offer great surfing in the wild. The fishing village of the same name is situated in a natural bay giving surfers shelter and an impressively consistent break. The water gets pretty icy so winter wetsuits, hoods and gloves are a must. There are some places to hire boards and other equipment but stocks are more limited here. The steep mountains that surround the beach make for a majestic sight and, with small numbers of visitors, this is a great place to reconnect with the nature behind the waves.
When to go: The surfing only really drops off between June and August. Avoid those and bring a thick wetsuit.
At all these locations you will be able to hire a board, but if you want to take your own ride then be prepared for the extra hassle and baggage costs. Here’s a quick look for short haul airlines:
- Aer Lingus: €40 per leg
- EasyJet: €80 return
- Ryanair: €50 per leg (€60 at the airport)
- TAP Portugal: €50 per leg (up to 2m – €100 per leg over 2m)
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