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Portrush | © Evelyn McCullough/flickr
Portrush | © Evelyn McCullough/flickr
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The Most Spectacular Places to Surf in Europe

Picture of Luke Bradshaw
Sports Editor
Updated: 20 July 2017
Europe has a fantastic variety for surfing all across the continent, from the icy waters of northern Scotland to the balmier conditions of the Canary Islands. So, with summer in full swing, Culture Trip picks out some of the very best beaches to surf throughout Europe.

Bundoran, Ireland

Situated in Donegal, Ireland’s northernmost county, there are a number of brilliant surf spots near the town of Bundoran, in Donegal Bay. The beach at Tullan offers the most reliable and consistent conditions, suitable for surfers of all abilities, but those seeking a bigger challenge should head to ‘The Peak’, which has a brilliant reef break at low tide.

Biarritz, France

In the Basque region of France, close to the border with Spain, Biarritz in one of Europe’s surfing hotspots and one of the best in the world. Cliffs dissect 6km coastline to form six beaches, all of which lend themselves to high-quality surfing. As such, there are also plenty of local surf schools to aid development.

Biarritz | © BZ1028/flickr

San Sebastian, Spain

Home to international surf competitions, Zurriola beach is the place to head to in this part of Spain, which, like Biarritz, is close to the Spain/France border. Offering great breaks regardless of the tide there are also plenty of facilities located nearby, including changing rooms, showers, bike racks and plenty of places to eat and drink.

Porthleven, England

This is probably Cornwall’s best reef break and as a result it can get fairly busy, but the crowds are worth it. This offers a consistent swell and produces large tubes but surfers should be careful because at low tide it can get dangerously shallow.

Porthleven | © Tim Green/flickr

North Canyon Beach, Portugal

Quite simply the waves here are gigantic. The 5,000m canyon off the coast causes huge breaking waves to form, some reaching as big as 100ft. While the waves attract big-wave surfers eager to test their metal, there are other parts of the beach that have more accessible offerings.

North Canyon Beach, Nazare
North Canyon Beach, Nazare | © MarkYourWaves Surf/flickr

Klitmøller, Denmark

An almost terrifyingly chilly spot that has become known as ‘The Cold Hawaii”. This part of Denmark has a number of different surf spots but Klitmøller is the best. The winds make it popular with windsurfers and the area is know for events and competitions.

Klitmøller | © Cold Hawaii/flickr

Portrush, Northern Ireland

The Portrush West Strand is one of the most popular places to surf in Northern Ireland and is fantastic for beginners, but the ‘Blackrocks’ reef offers bigger and tougher waves that suit the more experienced. The alternative is the East Strand which requires greater skill than its western brother.

Mundaka, Spain

East of San Sebastian, this little fishing village is near the city of Bilbao, and offers a testing dangerous wave that is at its best between low and mid-tide. The excellent left-hand barrel forms extremely quick and it’s probably best surfers head there in the autumn, when conditions are at their best.