Surfing in Spain

Welcome, wave riders, to Spain, a surf spot that wraps around the wild Atlantic and the warm Mediterranean. Sun-soaked Spain is a treasure trove of surf spots, with its impressive coastline offering a smorgasbord of breaks, swells, and surf-friendly beaches. From the pumping breaks of the Basque Country and Cantabria in the north to the gentler, yet no less exciting, swells of Andalucia in the south, there’s something here for every saltwater addict. Spain’s surf scene is rich with culture, vibrant festivals, and an infectious love for the ocean. With a diversity that caters to newbies finding their balance, intermediates looking to step up their game, and seasoned pros seeking adrenaline-pumping waves, the surf in Spain is as varied as its delicious tapas. So grab your board, slap on the sunscreen, and vamos a surfear!

Where to Surf in Spain

Spain’s coastline is a beautiful medley of hidden coves, sandy beaches, rocky reefs, and powerful points, serving up a platter of surf spots that cater to every level of skill and bravado.

On the northern Atlantic coast, the Basque Country stands as a beacon for surfers. Mundaka, arguably Spain’s most famous wave, is a world-class left that pumps out long, hollow tubes when the conditions align. Nearby Zarautz, the longest beach in the Basque region, is a perfect playground for beginners and intermediates.

Asturias and Galicia, further west, might be less famous but they pack a punch with spots like Rodiles and Pantín, the latter of which hosts a World Surf League qualifying series event.

Cantabria boasts Somo, a sandy beach break offering consistently surfable waves for all levels. Further west, El Sardinero in Santander provides a mix of beach and reef breaks, appealing to a range of surf abilities.

When it comes to Andalucia in the south, it’s all about relaxed surfing under the sun. The Costa de la Luz, with spots like El Palmar and Los Caños de Meca, delivers great summer swells.

Off the coast of West Africa, the Canary Islands are an all-year surfing paradise. Lanzarote, the north shore of Fuerteventura, and Tenerife are littered with surf spots like La Santa, El Cotillo, and Playa de Las Américas, respectively. Known as the ‘Hawaii of Europe’, this volcanic archipelago dishes up everything from mellow beach breaks for beginners to heaving reef breaks for the seasoned pros.

Whether you’re a newbie looking for a forgiving beach break or an experienced surfer hunting down adrenaline-pumping reef breaks, Spain has got you covered. Just don’t forget your board, and a spirit of adventure.

When to surf in Spain

The timing of your surf trip to Spain largely hinges on your skill level and the region you plan to visit. The Iberian country experiences diverse surfing conditions across its coastline throughout the year.

If you’re looking to conquer the biggest, most adrenaline-pumping waves, you’ll want to book your trip during winter, from November to February. This is when the Atlantic stirs up substantial swells, with the northern regions such as Galicia, Cantabria, and the Basque Country seeing the best action. These powerful breaks are best suited for experienced surfers. Water temperatures can drop to about 12°C, so pack a good quality wetsuit.

For beginners and intermediates, the summer months, from May to August, are more ideal. The waves are generally smaller and more manageable, especially along the southern Andalucian coast, where spots like El Palmar come alive. Water temperatures in the Atlantic can reach up to 20°C, making for comfortable sessions.

The Canary Islands, dubbed the “Hawaii of Europe,” are a different beast. Their location off the coast of Africa means they experience good surf conditions all year round, although winter tends to see the biggest swells. With water temperatures rarely dropping below 18°C, you can get away with a spring suit or even board shorts during the summer.

Overall, while Spain has waves for every level throughout the year, knowing when and where to go can help you score the best the country has to offer. So, grab your board and prepare to taste the salty goodness of Spain’s surf!

Culture and Non-Surfing Activities in Spain

While the waves in Spain are a major drawcard, it’s the vibrant culture, historical richness, and natural beauty that truly make a surf trip here unforgettable. The Spanish live life with gusto, evident in their love for food, music, and celebration. They are warm, open, and passionate – qualities you’ll experience firsthand as you immerse yourself in the local scene.

Away from the coast, Spain boasts a plethora of historic cities and landmarks. Explore the grandeur of Granada’s Alhambra, the old-world charm of Seville, or Barcelona’s iconic architecture, thanks to the creative genius of Gaudí. Spain’s artistic pedigree runs deep, from the surrealism of Salvador Dalí to the cubism of Pablo Picasso.

For the foodies, Spain is a gastronomic paradise. Tapas, paella, jamón ibérico, and an array of delicious seafood await. Don’t miss the wine regions of La Rioja and Ribera del Duero, perfect for a post-surf vineyard tour. And then there’s the nightlife – Madrid and Ibiza are world-renowned, but almost every town and city come alive after dark with lively bars and clubs.

Outdoor enthusiasts will also find much to love. Hiking in the Pyrenees, kitesurfing in Tarifa, or rock climbing in Montserrat offer an adrenaline fix, while calmer pursuits can be found bird watching in Doñana National Park, or stargazing in the Canary Islands.

And then there are the countless fiestas and festivals. From the running of the bulls in Pamplona to the fiery flamenco fairs of Andalucía, Spain loves a good party. Remember, the Spanish siesta is a real thing – it might just be your secret weapon to keep up with the pace of the Spanish lifestyle!

Surf, culture, food, nature, nightlife – Spain has it all. Enjoy the waves, but make sure to venture beyond the beach. The memories you make off the water might just rival those you create on it.

“Know before you go” surfing in Spain

Surfing in Spain is an incredible experience, but it’s essential to prepare properly to get the most out of your trip.

Firstly, Spain is a part of the Schengen Zone, so ensure you’ve got the right visa if you’re coming from outside the EU. The official language is Spanish, but regional languages like Basque and Catalan are also spoken in certain areas. While English is understood in touristy spots, learning a few basic Spanish phrases can help in more remote regions.

Safety is paramount. Respect the ocean, understand the local surf etiquette, and always stay within your ability level. The coastline can vary significantly, with everything from mellow beach breaks to powerful reef breaks. Ensure you’re familiar with the conditions, and if in doubt, don’t paddle out.

While surfing is generally a year-round sport in Spain, water temperatures vary greatly between regions and seasons. A good quality wetsuit is essential for winter surfing in the north, while boardshorts will suffice for summer sessions in the south or in the Canary Islands.

Be prepared for the local lifestyle. Spaniards often have late dinners and stay out until the early morning, especially in the summer. Embrace the siesta culture to keep up with the locals.

Be aware of local laws and customs. Nudity is legal on Spanish beaches, and some are designated naturist beaches. Also, wild camping is generally prohibited in Spain, so you’ll need to find official campgrounds or other accommodation.

Lastly, Spain is a diverse country with a rich history and culture. Try to explore beyond the waves. Visit historical sites, sample the local cuisine, and interact with the locals. You’ll discover there’s so much more to a Spanish surf trip than just the surf. Happy travels and epic waves, amigo!