The Best Surfing Camps to Book in Europe

Barinatxe Beach close to Moana Eco Surf House in Spain is perfect for surfing
Barinatxe Beach close to Moana Eco Surf House in Spain is perfect for surfing | Courtesy of Moana Eco Surf House / Expedia
Photo of Alexis James
22 November 2021

Surfing may be intrinsically linked to the sun-battered sands and white-tipped waves of Hawaii or Rio. But Europe’s coastline far surpasses that of both North and South America combined. Whether it’s in the Atlantic, the Mediterranean or even the Arctic, there’s a wide choice of surfing spots all over the continent. From Portuguese fishing towns to Norwegian bays, we’ve put together a list of the best surf camps in Europe. Book with Culture Trip, and ride those waves.

Chilled-out pleasures at Rapture Surf Camp Ericeira, Portugal

View of Rapture Surf Camp Ericeira from the street
Courtesy of Ericeira Surf Camp / Expedia
The 10km (6.2mi) of coastline around Ericeira, northwest of Lisbon, provides breaks for all levels of surfers, whether you’re a confident wave-carver or going in completely green. As the only European venue featured on the list of World Surfing Reserves, this western Portuguese fishing town has a strong claim to be the continent’s surfing capital. And this chilled-out camp overlooking Foz do Lizandro Beach is the perfect base for surfers, featuring a mix of double and dorm rooms, along with three private apartments.

JoYu Surf Shack, France, for everything thrown in

Bedroom at JoYu Surf Shack with ensuite bathroom facilities
Courtesy of Joyu Surf Shack / Expedia
Owners Geoffrey (Jo) and Jutta (Yu) share a passion for the outdoors that can be detected in every nook and cranny of this welcoming guest house on the French Basque coast. Eat, Sleep & Surf packages include a week of full board, airport or train station pick-up and a daily shuttle to the best surfing spots in the region. Martial-arts expert Jo will also throw in a free natural-movement fitness session. You don’t even need to bring a surfboard – a wide range of handmade examples can be rented on a daily or weekly basis.

Environmental endeavours at Moana Eco Surf House, Spain

A domed wooden building at Moana Eco Surf House
Courtesy of Moana Eco Surf House / Expedia
North of Bilbao, the groovy revivified port city in Spain, this guesthouse runs according to three central tenets: surfing, nature and sustainability. Solar panels, rainwater collection and local vegetarian and vegan produce aid the case of the latter, while nature is never too far away, with a spa garden of more than 2,000sqm (21,528sqft) of native trees and plants. As for the surfing, guests are only 400m (1,312ft) from the surf school on Barinatxe Beach. Rooms featuring Basque wood bunks range from shared 10-person dorms to private family rooms that can sleep up to six.

Nice Way Cascais, for Portuguese exuberance

Outdoor pool in front of the rose-coloured hotel Nice Way Cascais
Courtesy of Nice Way Cascais / Expedia
Whether it’s the boho-chic wallpaper, the palm-lined pool or the barbecues that could feed a Tudor king, everything about this Cascais hostel, a 30-minute journey west of Lisbon, yells jolly japes. Sign up for a two-hour surf class here, and you’ll get your lift to and from the beach, a wetsuit and insurance all included. If you’re feeling brave, sign up for a three-hour cliff-diving excursion, including a 20-minute cycle to the launch point. For something a little more serene, the hostel also puts on a daily yoga class.

Icy exhilaration at Unstad Arctic Surf, Norway

Scandi-style living room at the Unstad Arctic Surf
Courtesy of Unstad Arctic Surf / Expedia
You might not think that Norway crests the wave in the sport of surfing, but Unstad Bay has been an unlikely haunt for surfers for nearly 50 years. It is entirely possible that Thor Frantzen and Hans-Egil Krane were the country’s first surfers when the Beach Boys inspired them to make their own boards in 1963; now, Thor’s daughter Marion owns and runs the beach-house accommodation that emerged from their passion. This being the Arctic, a wetsuit is non-negotiable, but the cold water does make the after-surf sauna and hot tub all the more satisfying.

Base Surf Lodge, England, for delicious dining

Palm-covered outdoor seating area at Base Surf Lodge
Courtesy of Base Surf Lodge / Expedia
Cornwall is cool if you stay at Base Surf Lodge. Rob and Lou put on a feast that is cooked on a wood-fired barbecue, with veggies grown in their own tropical garden. With the likes of wild Cornish venison and baked sweet potato with feta cheese on the menu, guests here won’t be lacking in energy when it’s time to tackle Newquay’s Atlantic playground. The daily two-hour surf lessons take place on either Fistral or Towan Beach, with both locations only a five-minute walk from the lodge. You’ll also be offered full-day board and wetsuit hire for the duration of your stay.

Activities aplenty at Surf Riders Fuerteventura, Spain

Roof terrace at Surf Riders Fuerteventura
Courtesy of Surf Riders Fuerteventura / Expedia
There’s more than one type of surf on offer at these lively digs on the Canary Island of Fuerteventura. Guests can opt to channel more of nature’s power by kite- and windsurfing. Book lessons at the property, and you’ll be picked up first thing, all gear included. Thanks to a skatepark only being 50m (164ft) away, guests can also get their hands on skateboards, with bikes available as well to those looking to explore more of the island. Rooms in this gleaming white villa include doubles and twins with ensuite bathrooms and ceiling fans and also a quad room that is ideal for larger groups.

Star Surf Camp Moliets, France, for party antics

Tent at Star Surf Camp Moliets
Courtesy of Star Surf Camp Moliets / Expedia
North of Biarritz, southwestern France, a bohemian bell tent here sleeps three guests, and packages include a breakfast buffet, a picnic lunch to take with you and dinner on your return. The beach is only a 10-minute walk away, so you don’t have too far to take your board, and lessons are tailored to your surfing skill and experience. Beginners are more than welcome. The party atmosphere at the camp means there’s no drama if the conditions aren’t great for surfing. Instead, simply settle in for pub quizzes, yoga sessions, live music, cheese and wine nights, and even tapas and sangria day trips across the border to San Sebastian.

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