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Ann’s Cottage Travel Guide: Top 5 Europe Surf Spots


Ann’s Cottage Travel Guide: Top 5 Europe Surf Spots

September 27, 2018
Blog News

You may not have put Europe at the top of your dream surfing destination list... but you need to right NOW! When you think of dream waves your head conjures up images of Australia, Bali or Hawaii... those are the waves made of magic right!? Well... Europe is home to its own magic, as well as some of the best breaks and surfers on the planet!


Image courtesy of WSL

Europe has stunning landmarks, diverse cultures, stunning beaches... and yes perfect waves! There really is nothing like a Euro road trip, especially when those September swells hit... so get ready to pack up your van and hit the road!

santa cruz

Image courtesy of WSL

With empty waves just waiting for you to explore... alongside some of the most incredible world-class breaks and stunning scenery... really, what more could you ask for? The perfect peak is just waiting to be found... luckily for you, we've picked our Top 5 places to surf in Europe! Get exploring...

 The World Renowned 


Image courtesy of WSL

Hossegor is a legendary surfing spot and while it may just be one stretch of sand it is home to four very distinct surf spots. La Sud is the most sheltered wave so is nice on big days and good for those beginner surfers. La Nord is the best spot when it's massive as the outside bank holds the swell and creates a good fast right wall into the channel.

La Graviere... now this is the creme de la creme and THE spot people come to South West France for! The sandbank sits further out here than the rest of the breaks creating an outer reef style roll in wave that's fast and punchy. Les Cul Nus is a quieter break that is usually better at mid to high tides with a moderate swell, but when it's on it has powerful action.

For the Beginners...

biarritz -wsl

Image courtesy of WSL

Biarritz is a great place for beginners to surf, while the coast receives less swell it handles a variety of different conditions. The rolling peaks are fun and easy for beginners to learn on... and there are still some spots for more experienced surfers to enjoy.

For the Intermediates...  

Pencihe- wsl

Image courtesy of WSL

There is surf almost every day of the year in Peniche and a variety of spots for all different abilities... BUT the world-class spot and undoubtedly the best beach break in Portugal is Supertubos! Long, heavy tubes are guaranteed, as well as a few closeouts. The left is usually better and it works best with NE winds, a decent SW swell and mid-tide... but you won't get these conditions every day! 

The Big Wave Spot


Image courtesy of WSL

This is not a spot for the faint hearted... waves at Nazare are big, heavy and powerful! This is big wave surfing for the real experts, but even if you can't surf it we'd recommend just coming to watch Nazare when it's going off. The best conditions are with the wind blowing from the east and west, plus it's a beach break so it works at low tide.

The Holy Grail 


Image courtesy of WSL

Mundaka is a dream left-hand barrel and has an almost mythical status, it is (probably) the best rivermouth wave in the world. A long triangular sandbank catches the stronger swells which creates a long flawless tube. The wave has steep challenging takeoffs, a sick barrel section and a long fast wall. Good conditions here rarely last longer than two days so it's usually only rideable for about 50 days out of the year... so make sure you time it right!

It's all about the timing...

anglet france, wsl

Image courtesy of WSL

While we may all go on about the Cornish summer (and what a summer it's been) we do know that summer has a bad reputation for waves. We often get weeks on end with glorious sunshine but dreaded flat seas... then incomes autumn! Autumn is the best time of year to be a surfer in Europe, it's even when the WSL rolls into town so you might be surfing the line-up with the pros!

The best season to head to Peniche and Mundaka is from September through to October to grab the most of those September swells and beyond. Biarritz gets better into the winter so is best to head to from October to December. Hossegor is at its peak all the way from September through to December... and if you want to head to Sagres in Portugal then don't worry the season lasts all year long!

Flying high...


Flying into Europe depends on where you want to start your adventure... You can get a direct flight from Newquay to Faro and start your adventure in Portugal, following the coastline the whole way. Or if you want to start your adventure in France you can get a flight from Newquay to Bordeaux with a connection via London Gatwick.... or go all out road trip and grab the ferry across and start your journey from there straight down to Hossegor.

All a board... 

The BEST thing about doing the car ferry is you get to take all the stress out of lugging your board and all of your gear on a flight because you can put it all in the van and away you go... BUT if you do decide to fly these are the baggage costs you can expect!

Peniche - WSL

Ryanair: You can fly directly from Newquay to Faro with Ryanair but as these guys are known for their crazily cheap flights they tend to add the money on elsewhere. Standard board lengths always go without a problem but it's hard to find a limit on length. Max weight is 20kg, and it's £50 each way for large sporting equipment.

Flybe: This is a handy UK airline, they may not be the biggest planes but they are great for hopping about our islands. It costs £30 to take your board on as long as it doesn't exceed 300cm in length and 20kg.

British Airways: These guys are pretty good and your board bag will be considered part as your checked luggage as long as it doesn't go over the weight limit... just make sure to check the tiny length restriction!

Suited & Booted...


Europe's waters may not be as cold as you think... around Peniche they hover around the 20° in September and drop to 17° in December. Hossegor drops a bit colder in December to around 13° so if you plan on staying in the winter months you might want to take a 5mm wettie with you. Although if you plan on just surfing through the autumn months then a 4mm should keep you nice and warm!

Where to rest your head...


A road trip across Europe is the stuff dreams are made of... grab your board, hit the open road and pass through all those incredible different countries surfing some epic waves! It's the best way to get off the beaten track, find the hidden gems and truly explore each place.

Or if the van life isn't quite for you then make sure to check out one of Europe's incredible surf houses, it's a great way to get to know the local area and different breaks, as well as getting to hang out with some like-minded people! 

Whilst you're there...

Europe isn't just the home to some incredible waves, it also has some stunning culture, art and landscapes just waiting to be explored. Whether you are looking to discover hidden away towns along the way or head to some of the more well-known cities there is plenty to take your fancy!

lisbon- International House World Organisation

Image courtesy of International House World Organisation 

If you are surfing Peniche you NEED to head up to the incredible city that is Lisbon! Lisbon is one of Europe's fastest growing cities with an incredible history, vibrant neighbourhoods, fun nightlife... and we won't even get started on the food. So whether you want to take a trip up the gothic Santa Justa Elevator, wander through the narrow cobbled streets or take a trip to the magical place that is Sintra... there really is something for everyone!

While in France you can spend your time soaking up the surf culture... places like Biarritz and Hossegor are all about surfing and you will find it everywhere you go... which is all part of the fun! BUT... don't be fooled there is still plenty of culture to be soaked up to, and loads of cool bars and cafes to hang out in!

spain-san-sebastian- pinnacle worldwide

Image courtesy of Pinnacle Worldwide

If your Euro-trip takes you through Spain (which we really think it should) then make sure to head to San Sebastian one of the Basque Country's most famous towns for some beautiful beaches and stunning restaurants... and whilst you're there explore some more of what the Basque Country has to offer!

There is no denying Europe is an adventure like no other... where else can you travel through so many different countries in one day, surf so many epic waves and eat so much incredible food (yes the food is important!)

Nothing beats travelling through Europe on the hunt for the BEST surfing spots... the swell is pumping, get the vans loaded, your board at the ready and your wettie on because it's road trip season!!