Is there anything you can’t do in Europe? Legally, the answer is yes, but surfing is definitely a go, and a great one for water lovers to tick off their Europe tour agenda.
So much more than historic cities or legendary landmarks (although granted, we'd visit just for those), if you wanna catch a wave and get wet in Europe, these are best spots to do so...
Mental Meters in Madeira
Madeira’s a small island in the Atlantic so it’s no surprise that it’s home to some crazy big waves. The north side of the island houses the biggest surf spots of Porto da Cruz and Ponta Delgada, but places like Paul do Mar and Jardim do Mar are big attractions on the southwest side as well. It’s a gorgeous island and a great surfing choice for experienced surfers.
Mullering in Munich
If you’re a geography buff and confused because you know Munich isn’t coastal, you aren’t thinking far enough outside of the box. Munich is home to a manmade river named the Eisbach, and manmade waves that have become quite the tourist and surfing attraction in the city.
There are a couple of slower waves on the river but the main wave has a strong current and is suitable for experienced surfers only. It’s also a constant wave which means there are no breaks, so endurance is key. Want to stay dry? It’s tons of fun to watch from the shore and see who can stay up the longest.
Carving in Cornwall
Cornwall is definitely the surfing hub of England, but there are a lot of other worthwhile spots too. Devon, Bournemouth and Tynemouth are three other great options, but there’s a whole lot of coastline to work with in England so it’s a great place for all skill levels. North Cornwall has the most documented spots and Fistral Beach is very popular with both locals and tourists.
Swells in Spain
Like Portugal, Spain has the mild climate advantage for surf lovers and a 4,000km shoreline that’s just waiting to be explored on a board. The Atlantic coast is where to head for surf, so stick to the northeast side of the country. San Sebastian’s Zurriola Beach has been compared to some of the surf in Australia and California, and Mundaka is considered one of the top ten waves worldwide. Pais Vasco and Cantabria are popular and wave-rich spots as well, as the waves are usually consistent and vary for all skill levels.
Pipelines in Portugal
Madeira aside, Portugal has dozens of surf spots, with Centro and Lisbon having the most variety. The weather is mild and the surf varies in swell size meaning there’s something for just about every skill level. The water may not be the warmest but the weather is amongst some of the best in Europe. Check out Sagres, Amado Beach and Peniche in particular for some stellar waves.
Foamies in France
France has a lot of surf options and they aren’t all concentrated on one coast which gives you a nice opportunity to check out other adventure activities in different parts of the country. There’s inconsistent action on the Mediterranean coast, but the north and west coasts are the best spots to head to. Hossegor and Biarritz are two of the most popular areas and are both on the southwest end of the country, close to Spain. The beachbreaks are stellar, and there are some really big waves for the taking.
Impact Zones in Ireland
Ireland is a great surfing hub and the Atlantic Ocean doesn’t disappoint in the wave department. Yes, the water is cold, so grab a wetsuit and be prepared to revel in the uncrowded surf, then sweeten the deal and warm up with a Guinness afterwards. Bundoran is the surf capital in Ireland and it’s great for every skill level as well, and Aileen’s’ wave off the Cliffs of Moher is known worldwide in the surfing community as a perfect 12m wave. Eire, Sligo, Donegal and Kerry are some superb spots as well.