Finding the perfect surfing spot for your skill level may be a challenge, especially since the best waves only come at specific times of day, and sometimes some beaches offer epic waves on a few days of the year. If you’re listing down surfing destinations that you’d want to visit in Europe, you’re in luck. We’ve compiled the best surf spots in Europe for every surfing skill level so that you won’t have to spend hours figuring out the tide on Google’s satellite images. We’ve divided the surfing spots according to skill level so you can easily find the one that’s best for you!
5 Best Surf Spots in Europe for the Beginner Surfers
Are you a beginner surfer or you’re planning on learning how to surf? There are a few beginner-friendly surf spots in Europe that offer mellow lefts and rights. What’s also great is that these beginner surfing destinations have a surplus of surfing schools where you’ll find qualified surfing teachers if ever you need assistance or lessons.
- Foz do Lizandro in Ericeira, Portugal
Located in the peaceful fishing town of Ericeira, Foz do Lizandro offers a consistent surf and a very reliable wave pattern. With the best waves being seen at both low- to mid-tide, beginners can easily learn how to surf without any risk of injuries thanks to the soft, sandy bottom of the beach.
Additionally, Foz do Lizandro is one of the surf spots in Europe that boast of numerous surfing schools and facilities where surfing beginners or newbies can sign up for lessons or refreshers.
- Côte des Basques in Biarritz, France
Nestled in the seaside city of Biarritz, France, Côte des Basques is considered the most famous beach in the city, thanks to its history of being the first setting for French surfing. From its picturesque beach, what makes Côte des Basques a sight to behold are the mountains that frame it. You’ll be surfing with a backdrop of breathtaking cliffs and mountains and the endless open seas.
As for surfing technicalities, Côte des Basques is a surf spot in Europe that offers mellow lefts and rights during low- and mid-tide, making it a good surf spot for novice surfers. Just make sure that you keep track of the time and tide since the waves can become increasingly challenging as the day progresses.
- Costa Da Caparica in Lisbon, Portugal
Costa Da Caparica in Lisbon is one of the surf spots in Europe that offer year-round surfable waters, offering over 100 peaks that surfers of all skill levels can easily ride. Because of the jetties located near the city’s center, the surfing conditions are better, with frequent defined waves. Like a lot of beginner-friendly surfing spots, Costa Da Caparica also offers competitive facilities, like surfing schools and shops, and lifeguards.
- Fistral Beach in Newquay, United Kingdom
Known as the setting for some of the major surfing competitions in the United Kingdom, Fistral Beach in Newquay is a popular surf spot in Europe for its consistent waves, with long lines of white-water waves and beginner-friendly green waves. However, Fistral Beach also offers waves for intermediate and expert surfers, especially during spring low tides, when larger waves and stronger winds are present.
Aside from the beginner-friendly surf spots of Fistral beach, it is also home to The Cribbar, or the Widow Maker, England’s big wave spot where expert surfers can catch up to 9-meter-high waves at specific times of the year. Because of the surrounding environment and unbelievable wave heights, The Cribbar should only be ridden by the experts.
- Praia do Baleal Sul in Peniche, Portugal
Praia do Baleal is a long beach home to some of the best surf spots in Europe where you can catch some waves, regardless of your skill level. For beginners, the south part of the beach often called “Gamboa” and “Cerro” offer smaller waves that are suitable for surfing students and surfers who are brushing up on their skills.
As for consistency, Praia do Baleal offers consistent waves year-round, so you won’t have to schedule a surfing trip at a specific period of time just to catch some waves.
5 Best Surf Spots in Europe for the Intermediate Surfers
If you’re an intermediate surfer looking for a thrill in the open seas but you’re not yet confident enough to play alongside the experts, there are a few surf spots in Europe where you can catch challenging waves without getting too overwhelmed. We’ve listed some of the best intermediate-friendly surf spots in Europe where you can get fast and hollow wave sections and heavy barrels.
- Achill Island in County Mayo, Ireland
Achill Island has a 3-kilometer beach that offers waves on the gentler side. Perfect for beginners and intermediate surfers, Achill Island is a great surfing spot in Europe for all ages – with waves that break over soft sands. You won’t have to worry about accidentally going off your board as you ride your first few waves since you’ll easily navigate through a soft landing.
However, if you’re an inexperienced surfer, it’s best to find assistance at one of the surfing schools. The beach is known for its strong rip currents, which may be extremely dangerous for novices, especially if they don’t know how to break out of one.
- Kolymbithres in Tinos, Greece
At best, Kolymbithres is a European surfing spot for intermediate surfers, thanks to its calm and easy currents. However, because the waves at this beach break over a rocky surface, beginner surfers may have a hard time trying to navigate the waves without injuring themselves.
What’s great about Kolymbithres, on the one hand, is that it offers a sense of tranquility, especially since it’s one of the beaches in Tinos that’s not typically filled with tourists and people. You can enjoy the gold soft sands and the waves after surfing.
- La Nord Beach at Hossegor, France
Characterized by fast, hollow waves, it would come as no surprise that this surf spot in Europe is the annual venue of the Rip Curl Challenge. With waves reaching up to 6-meters high, both intermediate and expert surfers can get their fair share of challenging high waves. What makes it intermediate-friendly though is that the waves break on soft sand, allowing surfers to easily come off a ride without breaking their surfboards or suffering from cuts and bruises from rocky bottoms.
- Les Cavaliers in Côte des Basques, Biarritz, France
If you’re looking for daring and challenging waves in France, Les Cavaliers is one of the best surfing spots in Europe you should add to your list. With surfs that can reach up to 3 meters, this beach can give you barreling waves that can easily sate your surfing needs. Schedule your trip in the autumn or winter months in France to catch the best waves!
- Mundaka in Basque Country, Spain
Called the surfing capital of Spain, Mundaka has some of the best world-class waves in Europe. While the beaches offer a tranquil escape, the waves are unforgiving and are extremely fast – fast enough for locals to wear helmets while trying to catch the high waves. If you’re looking for an adrenaline-pumping surfing experience, it would be best to schedule your trip to this surf spot in Europe between September and December.
5 Epic Surf Spots for Expert Surfers in Europe
Are you an expert surfer who has years of experience in surfing world-class waves and can navigate the open seas easily with your surfboard? Here are five expert-only beaches that you should add to your surfing destination list if you’re looking for an epic surfing trip or if you’re looking for a challenge. With powerful waves, strong currents, and challenging beach terrain, you’ll surely get an adrenaline-pumping experience at some of the best surfing spots in Europe.
- The Cave in Nazaré, Portugal
Home to record-breaking waves, Nazaré has been part of multiple world records of the highest waves ever to be surfed, from the 78-foot-tall wave that Garrett McNamara rode in 2011 to the 80-foot-wave of Rodrigo Koxa. Because of these high yet perilous waves, The Cave is only recommended for the best surfers in the world.
If you’re looking for your dream wave to surf, there’s a high chance that you’ll find it in The Cave. However, the high waves only appear a few times a year, so you’d need to schedule your trip to this European surfing spot specifically in the winter months of Portugal, between October and March.
- La Côte d’Argent in Hossegor, France
La Cote d’Argent is home to France’s longest sandy beach, which allowed it to secure its title as the surfing mecca of France. If you’re looking for challenging waves and heavy barrels to test out your skill, you can visit La Côte d’Argent in the winter months. One area in La Cote d’Argent is infamous for its board-snapping waves – La Graviere. Not for the faint of heart, La Graviere offers fast and massive tubes that only expert surfers can navigate.
- Thurso-East in Thurso, Scotland
Thurso-East in Scotland boats of world-class waves that a lot of surfers travel to experience. From the picturesque beach to the backdrop of the Thurso castle, Thurso-East is a perfect place to surf – but only for those who can boast of experience. Because the big waves of Thurso-East break over a shallow reef, inexperienced surfers may suffer a few cuts and painful injuries if they accidentally go off their board.
- Playa de Las Américas in Canary Islands, Spain
Expert surfers looking for a challenge are welcome to the beautiful beaches of Playa de Las Américas in Spain. Known for its gigantic waves in the winter months in Spain, this European surf spot is a popular surfing destination for the more experienced surfers. With waves that can reach up to 3 meters high, expert surfers can easily test their skills and enjoy the adrenaline rush after successfully riding the beach’s barrelling waves.
- laya de Meñakoz in Biscay, Spain
Considered an expert-only surfing destination in Europe, Playa de Meñakoz in Spain boasts waves reaching up to 6 meters high. Its reputation as a dangerous beach is all thanks to the unpredictability of the waves and the waves that crash on a jagged reef, which may be extremely hard to navigate for inexperienced surfers. So, if you’re a beginner or an intermediate in the world of surfing, best to keep Playa de Meñakoz at the end of your list and visit only when you already have years of experience under your wing.
Be Ready to Catch the Best Waves at These Surf Spots in Europe!
The open seas are often unpredictable and can offer some of the best and highest waves that can either wipe you out or give you the best surfing experience in your life. If you’re planning on listing down the best surf spots you can visit in Europe, there’s one thing you can do to ensure that you have the best experience possible: don’t shy away from the locals. For example, one experienced surfer, Nadav Berenstein, ensures to connect with locals to better understand the waves and seas in their part of world. The locals are experienced, and they know the ins and outs of the beaches. They know when you can expect the best waves and when you should sit it out.
For beginners, remember that safety should always be at the forefront of your plans. Make sure you know the best practices and which surfing beginners mistakes you might be committing, so you won’t have to deal with them when you’re already riding the large waves. For intermediate and expert surfers, we hope this list can point you in the right direction to your surfing goals! Good luck out there, and we hope the open seas are kind to you!