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First time? Quick, instant guide to European surf zones

Hossegor durfing the Quik Pro France © WSL/Scholtz



Travel Blogs

Portugal, France, UK, Madeira and Lanzarote offer the best in European surfing

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 1 October, 2016 - Europe is home to some of the best surfing spots in the world, both for beginners and for pros. Today there are over 2.5 million surfers all across Europe since the ancient Polynesian art landed in the Old Country in the 1950s.

The Algarve

The Algarve is known for its sunny Mediterranean climate and beaches, and attracts millions of European holidaymakers every year. It also happens to be one of the best surfing spots and wave rich locations on the continent. It has two coastlines along the west and south sides meaning you don’t have to tussle with the locals and tourists to catch the best waves.

The west is a little more exposed than the south and is often hit by big waves, so if you’re a advanced-experienced surfer, the west coast of the Algarve is one of the most radical surf spots in Europe. However, even if you’re a beginner, the south coast offers smaller waves so you can begin to find your feet on a more manageable sea.


2014 winner Mick Fanning © ASP/Poullenot

Some of the best surfing beaches in Portugal include Praia de Arrifana, which is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the country, and is good for surfing all year round. 

Peniche is another great part of Portugal and is known as the ‘Capital of the Wave’ because of its great surfing conditions all year round. One beach in Peniche, Praia Supertubos, is famous for its perfect, tubular waves and is known as the Pipeline in Europe.

These types of waves attract professional surfers from around the world and in 2010 it was host to one of the stages of the World Cup of Surfing. The best time to go to this beach is in October. 

France, West Coast

Hossegor © WSL


When it comes to France, most people think of croissants and the Eiffel Tower. But although the country is renowned for its glorious food, the whole of the West coastline offers beautiful beaches and varying qualities of surf. The further down the coastline you go, the better the waves get.

Around Hossegor surf spots such as La Nord is best for pros or kamikaze surfers, due to the incredibly powerful waves. Other top surfing spots in France include Les Bourdaines, Le Penon and Les Montagnes Mortes. These beach breaks are special because the seasonal Atlantic swells get funnelled through a deepwater canyon just off the coast of Hossegor. The waves then hit the groomed sand banks with open-ocean power.

Lanzarote & Fuerteventura, Canary Islands

San Juan © WSL Europe/Masurel


Both islands are situated in the Atlantic Ocean close to the coast of Africa, and offers up some of the most radical surfing spots in Europe. With good year-round temperatures it is the perfect place for  surfing all year. Lanzarote is known as the Hawaii of Europe and the North, East and West coast pick up swells and good waves throughout the year.

The big and powerful waves come between October and March. Experienced surfers can test themselves on waves at La Santa or Punta de las Mujeres. 

For both beginners and more advanced surfers Famara is a good location with a huge arc of sand catching the swells for you to surf. Fuerteventura offers very similar waves to Lanzarote and is considered one of the best places in Europe for heavy, uncrowded waves.

The best times to surf in Fuerteventura is during the morning or late afternoon when offshore conditions and the cool Atlantic breezes generate world class surf. The Sotavento Beach in Fuerteventura is one where the wind never stops blowing. Other great surf spots in Fuerteventura include Rocky Point, La Pared, El Muelle and Spew Pits. 


Madeira offers a challenge for even the most advanced and experienced surfers in the world. The picturesque island sits alone in the Atlantic defiantly in the way of any swell coming from the North Atlantic. The experience of surfing in Madeira is one to be cherished with powerful, uncrowded waves offering a chance to really test surfers’ skills with the full force of the Atlantic.

The best times to surf here is between October and April. One of the most radical locations in Madeira for surfing is Paul Do Mar, a fast, hollow, right hand point break. 



Cornwall is known for a lot of things, but for the British and for a lot of Europe visiting England, Cornwall is the go to place for surfing and has been for over 40 years. Newquay in particular has been a breeding ground for national and international champions and boasts an impressive number of stars.

Towan Head, Newquay is home to the famous Cornish Cribbar wave, a rare phenomenon that happens just a few times a year, which creates massive waves in excess of twenty feet high. With a number of both beginner and experienced beach spots, Cornwall really does cater for everyone when it comes to surfing.

Some perfect spots for beginners include Harlyn Bay and Towan Beach in Newquay which avoid dangerous rips and reduce the chances of big wipe outs. Some more experienced surf spots here include Praa Sands (often seen as the jewel of the south coast), St Agnes and Chapel Porth where rips are extremely strong and waves generally spit beginners out as soon as they step into the sea. 

With a huge number of radical surf spots all around Europe it’s difficult to find a location that isn’t home to impressive waves that are perfect for both beginners and for expert surfers. With locations that are perfect all year round there’s always somewhere to go to catch the perfect wave.

Connor Christopher

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