Forget the frightful monsters of the US Atlantic or the perfect peelers of the Pacific Islands; if you’re after rugged surf, fantastic waves and something a little closer to home then the ExtremePie.com top 5 European Surf Destinations will leave you wanting more. From secluded islands that soak up incoming swell from the west, to coastal waves that crash into the mainland, there’s plenty of surf around these parts for you to really enjoy a day in the surf perfecting your skills.
Newquay – Cornwall
It’s impossible to talk about European surf spots without someone mentioning Cornwall, and Newquay in particular. Surf arrived on UK shores in the 50’s and since then, UK residents have flocked to the South-West every summer to catch the best waves at Cornish beaches such as Fistral and Watergate Bay. Combined with so many other things to do, Newquay is the perfect destination for a summer UK break with breaks! Fistral Beach plays host to the Boardmasters championships every year so when you surf these waves you know you’re enjoying quality breaks that are good enough for the pros. With lots of surf schools and plenty of gear to hire or buy, Newquay should be a stop on every surf road trip.
Thurso – Scotland
Home to what is arguably the UK’s longest and most hollow waves (if not the best in Europe) Thurso in Scotland can hold its own against the world’s most celebrated. With powerful waves rolling in, Thurso is also the host spot for the O’Neill Cold Water Classic and has also helped to put this surf spot on the map. Scotland might not be at the top of the bucket list for European surf spots for most surfers because as you’d expect it’s pretty child. Thurso is cold but you’ll be rewarded with awesome surf. Cold-water gear is a must here if you want to enjoy your day in the water so make sure your wetsuit is up to the job.
Biarritz – France
Head a little further south from the UK and you’ll find Biarritz, the surf capital of France, if not Europe as some might argue. This place is a magical mixture of grand and relaxed on a great scale thanks to its history as a playground for the royal and the rich, Biarritz has benefitted from investment and as such attracts a lot of surfers looking for great surf, nightlife and facilities. La Grande Plage is the longest beach in the city and while it doesn’t enjoy as much swell as others in the region, it boasts all kinds of conditions making it a great choice for surfers of all levels. The Roxy Pro holds a stage in Biarritz too so if it’s good enough for professionals it’ll be fantastic for everyone else.
Supertubos, Peniche – Portugal
With a wave height of up to 12 ft, super challenging and incredible to watch as surfers take it on, Supertubos is a major contender in ‘the world’s best surf’ category. A destination for many a surf competition, Supertubos is just as the name suggests – super and tubular. And as well as being pretty fast and powerful, experienced surfers love this wave and it’s not surprising why but in order to really experience Supertubos at its best you need to be down on the sand in the right conditions. Although facilities on the beach are limited and in town there’s not a great deal to do, in Peniche it’s all about the surf so what else could you need?
Mundaka – Spain
Home to one of Europe’s most famous waves, Mundaka is a small coastal village nestled in the Bay of Biscay. Situated along Spain’s northern coast where the surf is pumping, Mundaka isn’t for the faint hearted and this sometimes dangerous yet powerful and fun wave isn’t one to be taken lightly. Despite its small town location it does get crowded so if you want the first surf on the waves, get there early in the day and later on in the year when the all-important sandbar is at its best. Mysteriously, the wave disappeared for a 3-year period in 2003 after the estuary was dredged. As it turned out, the sandbar was destroyed and it’s taken this long to build back up to the awesome wave it is now.