You’re trying to find the best surfing holidays in Europe. There are surf schools and camps all over Europe, and a tremendous amount of surf spots to choose from. But what are the prime options to go surfing in Europe? And which countries are the best choice to make the most of a Surfing Holiday?
This depends on what you’re after. In this article first we will cover different types of Surfing Holidays. There are options for those travelling alone, with friends, or with the family. Also the choice of transportation and accommodation include Surf Camps, All Inclusive Retreats and even Camper Vans for hire. After describing a few types of Surf Holidays, we will list a few of our top locations for Surf Holidays in Europe. You can also find more information about How To Get Into Surfing here.
Surfing culture has grown into a real lifestyle over the past few decades. And will all this demand, we see opportunities to surf popping up and spreading on every coast. It’s a great time to be going on a Surf Holiday!
Types of Surf Holidays
Our top option for a Surf Holiday is no doubt to visit a Surf Camp. Surf Camps are great for solo, as well as group travelers. Wave enthusiasts who want to learn to surf properly and get serious about surfing are in the right spot at a Surf Camp.
There are several types of camps, ranging from more simple ones with tents, to B&B style houses that often also include other activities besides surfing. Depending on the Surf Camp you choose, the age of fellow surfers differs. Whereas the simple tent Surf Camps attract a very young target audience, older travellers often prefer a more luxurious accommodation.
While staying at a Surf Camp, surfers are able to learn from scratch, improve their ability to catch green waves, or perfect their skills with an experienced instructor. There are usually several instructors who take care of the different levels of surfers. Groups are divided based on experience level (Beginner and Intermediate) and there is a dedicated coach for each group.
The best countries to visit for a Surf Camp are Portugal or Morocco. Surfivor Surf Camp in North Portugal was founded 15 years ago and offers the best opportunities to start surfing. Apart from instruction on the beach and in the water, Surfivor offers 2 Surf Theory Lessons. The camp also offers yoga lessons in the summer and a weekly BBQ for all guests and staff. You can find more information and book a trip on https://surfivorcamp.com.
Hiring a van has the immediate advantage of being completely independent. Nearly all European countries offer rentals. Options include simple vans with a built-in accommodation all the way to fully equipped high tech vans with all amenities needed.
A camper van is the right choice for Couples, Solo Travelers or small Groups. The van option is also better for who bring their own boards and want to surf independently, or are fairly comfortable hunting for waves. Many ‘secret’ surf spots are off the beaten track. A van is a great way to explore the less popular surf spots and coasts in Europe.
Van Hire is also a great option for those who want to go surfing but also to explore a new country. Van trips are very popular in the south of Europe, but Norway also is an excellent choice due to its breath taking scenery. More on Surfing in Norway later in this article.
Visiting a surf school is a good option for travelers coming for culture and country, but want to try a surf lesson on holiday. In the main surfing countries like France and Portugal, surf schools can be found in many places and are used to walk-in customers. Make sure to book a lesson at least the day before, so you can ensure a place. This is especially important during the summer season.
Surf Schools should use certified instructors that can provide assistance in catching the first waves and informing about ocean safety, as well as improving surfing performance with more advanced surfers. But if you prefer to practice alone, they also offer surfboards and wetsuit rental daily or weekly.
Surf schools cannot only be found in large cities but also often in smaller surf hot spots and are thus a good choice for individuals looking for single day options. When travelling the UK or Denmark, surf schools are a good option.
More and more hotels and resorts include surfing lessons in their sports activities. When booking an all-inclusive holiday, surf lessons are either included in the sports package or can be booked separately. This kind of surf holiday is ideal for families that want to spend a relaxed time together, but also like to have the chance to try something new.
All-inclusive resorts usually address beginners to intermediate surfers and also often have surfing lessons specifically targeted at kids. The best options for all-inclusive holidays including surfing can be found on the Canary Islands.
Travelling with larger groups is a logistic challenge and requires an experienced accommodation. Several surf camps have special offers for big groups like schools, sports clubs or travel companies. Besides the availability or accommodation for many people, Surf Camps or hostels also have enough experienced surf instructors as well as equipment to serve the needs of large groups. Groups of more than 10 or 20 can also typically find good discounts, especially in smaller Surf Camps. The surf hot spots France and Portugal will be the most suitable choice for group travel.
Nowadays there are several options to make surfing a special event. There are already several surf schools that offer hen party surfing. Before heading into the night, a private surf lesson for the girls turns the event into an unforgettable experience. Similarly, birthday surfing parties can be organized. This option can be booked for all ages, but especially kids’ birthday parties are becoming more popular.
Another possibility is to combine two activities: yoga and a surfboard! While Paddleboard Yoga requires a larger board and a calm water surface, it is a great way to combine water sports with yoga.
Top Surf Countries in Europe
Which country to pick depends on the level of surfing and the preferred travel experience. No matter what the final choice is, there are many options to travel various amazing countries with surfing!
Norway certainly is a special surf destination. With low temperatures and snow covered beaches in winter, the country appeals to surfers that are also nature lovers and people that do not mind the cold weather and water. During the summer, waves are welcoming especially for beginners, whereas the winter season offers some more challenging waves for advanced surfers.
Norway has a growing surf scene, with several surf camps welcoming guests now. Besides surf courses and board rental also essential equipment like warm wetsuits, gloves and boots can be rented here.
Even though Denmark’s coastline measures only 350km, the country offers several spots to go surfing. The best waves can be found in autumn and winter, but sometimes also the summer can produce some good surf.
The most popular spots can be found around Klitmøller, also now known as ‘Cold Hawaii’. Several Surf Camps are located in this area and beginners as well as more advanced surfers have the chance to try their skills on one of the waves on the Danish coast.
The United Kingdom is one of the places where the surf culture in Europe was first developed. In the early 20th century the first surfers started jumping into the waves along the coast of Great Britain and Ireland.
There are numerous rankings and discussions concerning the question which is the best surf spot to be found in the UK. The popularity of surfing in the UK also means that there are many options available for beginners, advanced and professional surfers here. The infrastructure is well developed and Surf Camps and board rentals can be found all over the UK.
Whereas Cornwall in England is considered one of the most important and well known surf spots, the surf scene in Ireland and Wales is growing too. Though Cornwall offers more infrastructure and wave consistency, Wales and Ireland have something a bit more ‘off the beaten track’, stunning coastlines and friendly locals.
France is one of the surfing hot spots in Europe due to its consistent surf, the excellent beach breaks and countless opportunities to surf for both beginners as well as professional surfing. France is one of two host countries for the World Surf League, organising the event in Landes in autumn each year.
Surfing spots in France can be divided into three categories: the Mediterranean coast in the south east, which is less popular with surfing due to the small swell, the north coast of France starting from Brest and reaching up all the way to Belgium (with the surf getting better the closer to the north west tip you get) and the west coast, which is a main area for surfing with the best surf spots available.
Due to its popularity, the visitor has a vast amount of surf camps to choose from, surf spots that he can access easily and equipment rentals as well as surf shops available in the hot spots. However this also means that especially the more popular beaches can get crowded in the summer high season.
Portugal is the second country in Europe hosting a World Surf League event. The country offers some of the best waves in Europe, with suitable spots for all levels of surfing. Portugal has a very mild climate and solid surf throughout the seasons. Whereas the summer months are ideal for beginners and intermediates, the winter months offer perfect conditions with higher waves for the more advanced surfers.
One of the main areas for surfing in Portugal is the north of the country, with Matosinhos as the perfect spot to learn surfing. But also the coast south of Porto with spots like Esmoriz, where Surfivor Surfcamp is located, offers excellent conditions for surfing. Further in the south, Peniche is a known spots for surfers and lately also the waves of Nazaré have become well known due to their enormous size in winter. The great advantage of Portugal is the abundance of surf spots. Often several good surf spots can be found within a short ride from each other, giving the surfer the chance to find the best wave of the day easily.
When trying to escape the Europe winter, the Canary Islands are a good choice with mild weather and good surfing conditions during this season. Especially popular are the islands of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. However, it should be considered that the islands are of volcanic origin and do not only have reef breaks but also hide lots of rocks in the water that can dampen the surfing experience. However, several surf camps on the different islands offer surf courses and packages caring for all equipment necessary.