Secret Surfing Spots

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Your guide to some of Europe's secret surfing spots, boasting good waves and fewer crowds.

Sights

Avoid the crowds and catch the best waves

Europe's shores are lined with great surfing spots, but particularly in the hotter months, avoiding the crowds can be tricky. Whether you're a seasoned surfer or want to try out the sport for the first time, we've gathered a wide selection of quiet locations for you to hone your skills.

Carcans-Plage, Aquitaine, Western France

When you think of surfing in France, your mind may wander to Biarritz in the southwest. Whilst the surf here is excellent, the beaches can get pretty busy, which can be intimidating, especially if you're a beginner. Another beach that's great for surfing lies further up the west coast in the form of Carcans-Plage.

This sandy haven is a really pleasant alternative to Biarritz's famous Côte des Basques, and if it's a hot day you can walk up the beach for even quieter surfing spots. Beginners will feel at home here as the difficulty level is low, but it still benefits from the same easterly winds as the more crowded beaches further south.

Europe is home to some of the world's best surfing spots

Europe is home to some of the world's best surfing spots

Playón, Asturias, Northwest Spain

Spain's north is famous for the world-renowned surfing beach, Mundaka, which is just north of Bilbao. However, you'll find waves that are perfect for intermediate surfers in Spain's Asturias region if you travel a little further west. Beautiful mountains in the surrounding natural parks overlook the beaches here, and you will often find the sands completely empty.

The nearest shops and amenities are at San Juan de la Arena, a sleepy fishing town, and with smooth sands lying beneath the waves, there are no hazards when surfing here. The wide beach means that it's open to the North Atlantic winds coming in from the Bay of Biscay, and this creates good groundswell that's ideal for seasoned surfers.

Spain's north coast is a beautiful spot for a sunset surfing session

Spain's north coast is a beautiful spot for a sunset surfing session

Ouddorp, The Netherlands

This spot is great as it's rarely busy, and is just a few hours' drive from Calais. It helps if you go when there's a strong wind, but the waves here are generally very consistent, and the shores are much quieter than some of the busier beaches, like Hart Beach. It's a safe environment for beginner surfers, and lovers of nature will enjoy spotting seals in the water.

Another fun spot for surfing in the Netherlands is Hoek van Holland. This beach can get a little busier than Ouddorp, but is safe with good waves which are equally reliable. The Netherlands isn't known as a surf location, but if you're looking for somewhere private and near to Calais, this is a good option.

The North Sea offers up its own unique surfing experience

The North Sea offers up its own unique surfing experience

Vila Nova de Milfontes, Alentejo, Southwest Portugal

In southern Portugal, the Algarve is the place best known for its surfing. Further west, a little up the coast, you'll find the region of Alentejo, which boasts good waves and fewer crowds. In the warmer months, you'll find a few crowds around due to the nearby summer resort, but as a surfing spot it still remains underrated.

Sitting at the northern point of the Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park, we recommend catching the waves as they approach the river mouth of the Rio Mira. If you travel around the area, you'll find many small beaches made of both reef and sand, which are worthy surfing spots. The wave quality here is good, and they're best suited to intermediate level surfers.

Surfing is a fun activity and can be a great hobby for the kids

Surfing is a fun activity and can be a great hobby for the kids

Dossen, North Brittany, France

If you don't want to drive too far inland, the shores of Brittany offer up some great waves, albeit a little cooler than the ones that are offered further south. There are a number of beaches dotted around and you can try surfing on any of these, but by far the best is Dossen. It's well-known for windsurfing in particular, but makes a fantastic surfing spot too, and never gets too crowded.

Its location means that it's easily affected by the wind, and the huge white sands are an ideal place to enjoy a family day out. The conditions attract a range of skilled surfers, and it's a very naturally beautiful area to enjoy. Even during busier days, there are life guards around, so you'll know that the family is safe.

Northern Brittany's coast is a great place to catch more challenging waves

Northern Brittany's coast is a great place to catch more challenging waves

Afife, Praia do Bico, Northwest Portugal

Scattered along the northwestern Portuguese coast, you'll find some perfect surfing opportunities. One of the best-known spots around these parts is Peniche, made famous by the World Surf League, and whilst the waves here are worth visiting, a more secluded experience can be enjoyed at Afife.

You will get some crowds here on a hot day, but it's far quieter than Peniche and is a little closer to home as it's right in the north of Portugal. The waves here are consistent and you'll get quality surf all year round. There is a variety of different waves, although beginners might struggle with the strong riptides here, so if you're just starting out, it might be a good idea to head to the nearby Vila Praia de Âncora, where you'll find easy low waves and soft sands.

The waves at Portugal's Afife are perfect for seasoned surfers

The waves at Portugal's Afife are perfect for seasoned surfers

Getting there and around

Inspired by our secret surfing spots? Grab your board and wetsuit, and jump in the car. With your journey from Folkestone to Calais taking just 35 minutes with Eurotunnel Le Shuttleyou'll make the beach in time for those perfect barrel waves.

Book your journey

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Photo Credits:
Europe is home to some of the world's best surfing spots - Image by Flickr user Tiago J. G. Fernandes
Spain's north coast is a beautiful spot for a sunset surfing session - Image by Flickr user jose.rebollar
The North Sea offers up its own unique surfing experience - Image by Flickr user Kitty Terwolbeck
Surfing is a fun activity and can be a great hobby for the kids - Image by Flickr user Kyle Taylor
Northern Brittany's coast is a great place to catch more challenging waves - Image by Flickr user Chlara
The waves at Portugal's Afife are perfect for seasoned surfers - Image by Flickr user Véronique Mergaux

All pictures licensed for commercial use at time of publication.

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