Spain’s north coast offers natural beauty, dramatic coastlines and rolling mountains, creating the perfect adventure-lover’s playground. While the Basque Country may be better known for its surfing, Cantabria and the area around Santander offer some great options too. Most of the best surf spots can be found along the coast, west of the city and within around half an hour’s drive. Here are our picks of the best surf spots in and around Santander.
El Sardinero is Santander’s main city beach, so it offers lots of facilities for surfers, such as showers, changing rooms, snack bars, lifeguards, as well as a couple of surfing schools. Conditions here include an average beach break with a northwest swell, but it’s generally best for surfing when storms are brewing, when the swell can reach up to two metres (6.5 feet). Because of its location, it can get very crowded, especially on weekends.
Langre is a pretty spot, around half an hour’s drive east of Santander. It’s both remote and secluded, so you’ll never find it too crowded, and in winter it’s almost deserted. There aren’t many facilities here, it’s all natural, although you will find a campsite nearby, as well as a surfing school. The beach has an average break, which is best at low tide. You’ll also find the best swells here in autumn and winter.
Somo can be found 24 kilometres (15 miles) west of Santander, across the bay. Although this sweeping crescent is natural, it offers plenty of facilities too, such as the large carpark, showers, surf school, bars and lifeguards. It offers consistently good surf conditions, which work well on low-to-medium swells. It can get very crowded in summer, but it thins out a lot in autumn and winter.
The vast Liencres Beach is surrounded by craggy rocks and cliffs. It lies right on the edge of the picturesque Natural Park of the Dunas of Liencres, around 19 kilometres (11.8 miles) east of Santander. It has an excellent, consistent beach break and a good groundswell, but conditions are really only suitable in winter. It can get busy when conditions are at their best, but there should still be plenty of space.
El Brusco is a massively long sweep of golden sand, which lies in between Playa Trengandin and Playa Berria, approximately 43km west of Santander. Backed by verdant green mountains and punctuated by rocky formations, you can’t beat this for natural beauty. It offers a great-quality hollow beachbreak, which is especially good at high tide. There limited facilities here, so bring what you need with you.
Playa Berria is located 44 kilometres (27 miles) west of the city and is framed on either side by lush green hills. It’s a long, two-kilometre (1.2-mile), golden sand beach and offers good waves with a good swell when the tide is rising. When the conditions are at their best, it also offers peaks and tubes. There is a carpark with a couple of facilities 10-15 minutes walk away.
Isla Santa Marina
The best surf spot in the whole area is on the Island of Santa Marina, which sits just off the coast to the western edge of Playa Somo. The beach here has a world-class righthand reef break with barrel waves and large swells. There are no facilities or accommodation on the island, but you can find camping on the mainland at the village of Laredo.
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