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Surfing in Spain: Your Guide to the Best Waves

by Octavia Drughi

The go-to resource for planning your surf camps. Find all you need to know about the top destinations and take your surfing to new heights.
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The Iberian Peninsula is home to some of the sweetest surf spots in Europe. With almost 3,100mi (5,000 km) of coastline (the Canary Islands included), Spain is famous for its rich culture, gripping history, scrumptious food, and its surf.

The best surf spots, as well as the highest concentration of surf camps in Spain, can be found on the Atlantic coast, on the mainland as well as on the Canary Islands. In Northern Spain, the Basque Country offers a great variety of waves for all levels of surfers. Further west, Cantabria and Asturias offer a good number of quality spots and big waves, while Galicia is the place to go to experience the power of the Atlantic Ocean firsthand.

 

When to go surfing in Spain

surf-spots-spain

The weather in Spain is warm and pleasant all year and dry during winter months, which makes it a popular winter surfing destination

Please note that while it’s true that you can find decent surf in Spain all year round, it is during the colder months that the Atlantic Ocean shows its true colors – the beaches are anything but calm between September and April. During summer months, beginner surfers can find plenty of warm-water waves to polish up their skills. 

If you’re planning on going on a surf trip off mainland Spain, read our guide to the best surf spots in the Canary Islands.

 

Zarautz

Recommended forAll levels

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Zarautz is where surfing in Spain took off in the 1960s. Being one of the country’s best all-around surf beaches and biggest surf town, Zarautz is a great place to set up your “base camp” for surfing in Spain. Besides the high-quality surf, you will find plenty of surf shops, cafes, bars, and surf schools.

Join a surf camp in Zarautz!

san-sebastian-spain

Spain’s culinary capital, San Sebastian, is only a 20-minute drive away, and the world-class waves at Mundaka and Sopelana are only an hour’s drive away.

The beach breaks with sandy bottoms at Zarautz are becoming more and more popular on the surfing scene and can get pretty crowded. Each year, the sandy beach hosts one of the stages of the European surf circuit – Pro Zarautz.

Best time to goOctober through April

 

Sopelana

Recommended forAll levels

sopelana-spain

An alluring surf beach, Sopelana in the Basque Country is home to a wide variety of waves: lefts and rights, some long, others fast, and some incredibly hollow.

The high-quality A-frame waves here make Sopelana one of the most crowded surfing spots in Spain. Thanks to its popularity, you will find every facility you could think of: surf schools, surf shops, campsites, bars, and restaurants.

This consistent beach break with a mix of sandy and rocky bottoms is only a stone’s throw away from the gnarly waves at Meñakoz, to be presented further down.

Best time to goOctober through April, with a small to medium swell.

Find out what are the best places to learn to surf in Spain.

 

Playa de Somo 

Recommended for: All levels

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If you’re looking for the perfect surf beach in Spain, you can’t go wrong with Playa de Somo. The quiet surf town of Somo, close to Cantabria region’s capital city Santander, is home to one of the country’s longest beach breaks, excellent for beginners and intermediates.

Join a surf camp in Somo!

Playa de Somo is a swell magnet, and the consistent beach break here produces A-frame waves up to 6ft (1.8m). There are also surf shops, campsites, surf schools, bars, and restaurants to chill in the evening.

Best time to goNovember through April; can get very crowded during the summer season, when the beach break is more suitable for beginners.

 

Meñakoz Beach

Recommended forAdvanced surfers

surfing-spain-manakoz

Photo credit quemalavida.com

In Basque Country, 15mi (25km) west of the famous surfing spot at Mundaka and just off the outskirts of Bilbao city, Meñakoz Beach is reserved for experienced surfers only. It has earned itself a reputation as a dangerous and extreme surf spot, with strong rips, super-fast vertical drops and razor-sharp rocks on the bottom. You should be prepared to get wiped out.

The gray-pebble beach at Meñakoz is home to a powerful right-hand wave that only starts to break above 10ft (3m). The average height is 18ft (5.5m).

Despite its notoriety, it is a popular surf spot in Spain and one of the most powerful regularly surfed waves in Europe. Please make sure you are ready to tackle big waves before entering the water – locals do not tolerate inexperienced surfers here.

Best time to goSeptember through April

Read our guide to budgeting and planning the perfect surf trip to Spain.

 

Mundaka

Recommended forIntermediate and advanced surfers

surf-mundaka-spain

In Basque Country, the sleepy medieval village of Mundaka is renowned on an international level. The fast and hollow left-hand barrel here is considered the world’s best river mouth wave. It is also said to be the best left-hand wave in Europe. To make it even more special, an 11th-century church overlooks the take-off point. Can it possibly get any better? Yes, it can!

The long and curved riverbank sandbars at Mundaka produce epic waves around 12ft (3.6m) tall and as long as 1,000ft (300m). These hollow, fast, and epic barreling waves have hosted a number of international surfing competitions and World Tours.

On its good days, Mundaka resembles a wave pool, with set after set of hollow waves pushing into the river mouth that never closes-in. That’s how perfect this break is! The estuary lies within the UNESCO-protected Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, so the water is incredibly clean too.

The take-off and the rides may look easy from the outside, but the strong currents make Mundaka more suitable for intermediate surfers to advanced.

Best time to goOctober through April

 

Roca Puta

Recommended for: Advanced surfers

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Photo by Javier “Pacotwo” Munoz

Near Zarautz in the Basque Country, Roca Puta is an internationally renowned powerful right-hand wave. If you haven’t already guessed what its name means, let me spell it for you: Roca Puta means “Slut Rock”. It surely is the most indelicately named big wave in the world. According to well-traveled surfers, it is also one of the most aptly-named.

Surrounded by picturesque hills, the 1.5mi (2.5km) beach at Roca Puta attracts experienced surfers with its high-performance peaks. The heavy right-hand waves here break in shallow water close to the rocks, which makes the place pretty darn extreme.

Best time to goOctober through April

 

Isla de Santa Marina

Recommended for: Intermediate and advanced surfers

surfing-spain-isla-santa-marina

Photo credit GrindTV.com

The uninhabited island of Santa Marina in Northern Spain is the largest of the Cantabrian islands. Between the island and the mainland lies one of Spain’s best right-hand reef breaks. It only starts to work from 5ft (1.5m) upwards and can produce big waves up to 15ft (4.6m). It works on all tides, but the rocks on the bottom can pose a threat at low tide.

The powerful, hollow, world-class waves here have some sweet barreling sections for experienced surfers. Beginners are advised to keep their distance and can head to the nearby beginner-friendly Playa de Somo instead.

Best time to go: November through April

 

Playa de Razo

Recommended for: All levels

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Photo by Luis Lusco

A big, open beach break where crowds are rarely an issue, Playa de Razo is a great place to sample the surf in Galicia, in northwestern Spain. Galicia is said to have the best surf in Europe, and Playa de Razo’s long stretch of fine white sandy beach is home to numerous sandbanks, which produce a variety of A-frame waves, ideal for all levels.

Thanks to its openness and exposure, consistency is guaranteed – even the smallest of swells still produce nice waves. Playa de Razo is one of the best places to learn to surf in Spain, and you will find campsites and surf schools here.

Best time to go: November through April; September and October are recommended for experienced surfers.

 

Playa de Rodiles

Recommended for: Intermediate and advanced surfers

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Photo credit surfergalaxy.com

In the Asturias region on the northwestern coast of Spain, Playa de Rodiles is confined by steep cliffs dropping straight into the Atlantic Ocean. Against this stunning backdrop, a world-class river mouth wave awaits experienced surfers. Shorter than the famous Mundaka, this left-hand hollow wave reaches over 10ft (3m) on its good days and is just as fun.

Due to the strong rips, this surf spot is recommended for intermediate to advanced surfers. Famous for its difficult surf and quite popular among locals, Playa de Rodiles can get crowded.

Best time to go: November through April

 

El Brusco

Recommended for: Intermediate and advanced surfers

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The Spanish cousin of the world-class Supertubos break in Portugal, El Brusco produces epic right and left barrels. During summer months, Noja in the Cantabria region in Northern Spain is a lively beach resort. During colder months, it becomes a ghost town. However, this does not make it uncrowded – the hollow beach break here is one of Spain’s finest and most sought-after.

Best time to go: October through April

 

Surfing in Andalusia

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In Southern Spain, opening to both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, Andalusia is famous for its strong winds. Therefore, kitesurfing and windsurfing are far more popular in this part than anywhere else in Spain. However, Andalusia has some cool surf spots too, mainly centered on the coast of La Janda, in the province of Cadiz:

  • Los Caños – A-frame reef break for experienced surfers.
  • El Palmar – A-frame sandbar break for all levels.
  • El Castillo – right-hand reef break for experienced surfers.
  • Playa de Los Lances – A-frame beach break for all levels.

For kitesurfing and windsurfing, make sure you visit Tarifa and Cadiz, two of the best kitesurfing and windsurfing destinations in Europe.

Best time to go surfing in AndalusiaWinter and spring

Best time to go kitesurfing/windsurfing in Andalusia: Winds are strong all year-round, but prime time is between May and October when the water is warm and the days are long.

Dreaming of a windy escapade? Discover the best kitesurfing destinations in Spain.

 

Surfing near Barcelona

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Patience is a virtue. This is particularly true when it comes to surfing on the Mediterranean coast of Spain. Those who wait are in for a treat – south and north of Barcelona, surfers will find an abundance of surfing, kitesurfing, and windsurfing opportunities. 

Surf spots south of Barcelona:

  • Garraf – A-frame beach break for all levels; uncrowded.
  • El Prat – A-frame beach break; usually crowded.
  • The Cemetery – a favorite spot among longboarders; offers some sweet barrels.

Surf spots north of Barcelona:

  • Río Besòs – right-hand point break at the mouth of the river Besòs for more advanced surfers; uncrowded.
  • Masnou – left-hand beach break; longest waves in the area.
  • Montgat – A-frame beach break; uncrowded.

Best time to goOctober through March

 


Are you planning a surfing trip to Spain? Now you know where to start! Join an intermediate surf camp in Spain and take your wave riding skills to the next level! 

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