It’s safe to say that both France and Spain go overlooked when it comes to surfing in Europe – especially the past couple of years with Portugal (namely Nazaré) stealing a lot of the limelight in surf magazines, and it’s easy to see why in this video. However, for the majority of us seeking safer surfing conditions, both France and Spain offer fantastic opportunities and below we showcase 10 locations that tick all the boxes.
Let’s start with Brittany in France being the most convenient as it is closest to the French ferry ports so you’re just a short drive away from some great surf. Brittany is something of a wall-to-wall coastal paradise making it a haven for surfers. The conditions in Brittany tend to be fantastic for much of the year, though for obvious reasons it’s usually preferable to head out when the weather gets a little warmer. As for specific surf hotspots in Brittany, these two come highly recommended:
La Torche has become something of favourite among both surf crowds and families in search of sand, sea and summer fun. The surf is world-class and the location is stunning, although it does tend to get busy in the school holidays. Do be aware however that the rip can move as fast as 8 knots in the winter months.
If you’re looking for year-round consistency with regard to both the surf and a slightly less chaotic/crowded beach scene in general, La Guidel is probably the place for you. Ideal exposure brings the promise of great surf conditions.
When you consider the fact that there are more than 450 km of stunning coastlines to play with, it’s hardly surprising that this region of France is littered with great surf spots. It’s also one of the most fantastically laid back and relaxing corners of France in general making it the ideal place to head for an extended surf break.
To be honest, you really cannot even consider heading this way without checking out what La Sauzaie has to offer. Not always able to promise the biggest or most dramatic swells, it’s a fantastic place to head for serious quality barrels at the right times.
Something of a staple for those with more of an interest in long-boarding than hard-core surfing, this gorgeous little coastal region is another firm favourite among families. It doesn’t necessarily serve up the biggest waves you’ll come across in France, but it’s a wonderfully pretty and relaxing place to go surfing.
A quick mention also has to go the way of Sauveterre, which serves up two great right-hand reef breaks with a spectacular backdrop.
The Bay of Biscay
Considered by many to be the best place for big-wave surfing in the whole of Europe, the Basque coastline is a force to be reckoned with. There’s definitely plenty on offer for amateurs and intermediate surfers all year round – that is, until the 20ft waves start rolling in then it’s time to watch the professionals!
This place never fails to pull in the crowds throughout the year of whom about 99% take things very seriously. If you’re into 18ft waves and extraordinary views from below the bay and out at sea, this is the place for you.
Taking things one step further, Playa Gris has been nominated for countless awards and is the place to head for jet-ski tow-ins and waves that often reach in excess of 30ft. You’ll need to time things carefully however, as traffic getting in and out of the place can be nothing short of a nightmare.
Playa De Pantin – Galicia
Finally, we round off this list with Playa de Pantin in Galicia, an exposed beach break that pulls in surfers all year round. Featuring stunning beaches, gorgeous green coastlines and an incredible array of hidden coves and corners, the area around Pantin serves up outstanding surf opportunities for the intermediate to advanced surfer.
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