Surfing in Europe
In recent years, surfing holidays have become increasingly popular in Europe. You might be surprised to learn that there are many amazing surf spots in the Old Continent that rival the swelling waves of both Australia and North America. The Beach Boys sang “Surfin’ USA” – it might be time to come up with a tune about surfing in Europe!
Whether you are an experienced surfer or a novice, a surfing holiday in Europe will allow you to tame some incredible waves and enjoy beautiful scenery at the same time. We have selected a handful of perfect surfing destinations in France, Ireland, and the Netherlands. Some are ideal for a family getaway, while others are trendy and appealing to groups of friends.
If you are travelling by ferry to your destination of choice, you’ll be able to bring your favourite, customised surfboard with you. If you don’t have one, don’t worry. Nearby surfing schools will provide you with the equipment you need. Ready to reign over the seas? Then read on!
The Causeway Coast can be found in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, and has seen its celebrity explode in recent years due to the TV series which was filmed in several places located along it. Tourists from around the world come here to follow the footsteps of Daenerys and Tyrion, but also to enjoy a great day at the seaside resort of Portrush. This lively, picturesque town boasts three beaches, which have all been awarded a Blue Flag, a prized offered by the government to the finest beaches of Ireland.
East Strand Beach is popular with water sports enthusiasts, especially surfers. If you already know a thing or two about surfing, go ahead and take on the Portrush’s waves. If you know nothing – like Jon Snow – do not worry: knock at the local surfing school’s door to book a lesson. After a memorable day in the salty water, relax your muscles by walking the beach’s promenade and admiring the view.
With its colossal cliffs, of which the colours are ever changing, Etretat is one of Normandy’s most beautiful destinations and holds a particular place in the French imagination. It serves as the background to Maurice Leblanc’s classic novel The Hollow Needle, in which the famous thief Arsene Lupin goes on a search for the mythical treasure of the Kings of France that is believed to be hidden within a hollow cliff.
While many visit Etretat in hope of finding it, others venture onto its beach in quest of something else: the rush of surfing. Thanks to its climate, Etretat is a true surfer’s paradise. It attracts a rather experienced crowd, so try driving to the nearby beach of Vaucottes if you are looking for a less competitive atmosphere. If you feel ready for the waves of Etretat though, the best time to go is from October to May, when the tide is low, and the south or south-west winds blow.
One more thing: do not sneak a pebble from the beach as the stones protect the city from being flooded. It is illegal to take away one as a little souvenir…
The Pink Granite Coast of Brittany owes its name to the colours, ranging from pink to red, of its round and animal-shaped stones – if you look closely, you will see the pattern of a dolphin, a seal, or another creature transpire. Located in this out-of-this-world scenery, the seaside city of Perros-Guirec offers a panoramic view of the archipelago of the Seven Islands, where rare birds have found a safe haven. They will be your companions as you walk on the beach of Trestraou which boasts 1.4km of pristine sand.
Throw your surfboard into the mesmerising sea and from there, you will be able to admire the hilltop view across the charming hotels and casinos of the city. The local surfing school welcomes children from the age of four and, as it only takes a short walk to reach the heart of the city, you will be able to treat them to an ice cream or a sweet crepe to celebrate their first surfing experience. As the French say, “après l’effort, le réconfort” – literally ‘after the effort, the comfort”.
The Netherlands might just be one of the most interesting European destinations. The Hague is home to the International Court Justice, the only organisation of the United Nations that is not in New York. While The Hague no doubt has a serious side, it has a fun one too. Scheveningen, one of The Hague’s districts, is a gigantic seaside resort that looks like a bona fide theme park. With its huge wheel, it is the perfect holiday spot for friends seeking thrills and adventure. Its artificial reef guarantees decent waves throughout the year, which makes Scheveningen especially beloved by surfers.
A few years ago, a temporary surfing village was built. Although it has now disappeared, the spirit of surfing lives on. You will be able to indulge in this sport at Scheveningen’s beach and try out related activities, such as windsurfing and kitesurfing. If you are just there to tag along with your surfing-mad friends, take a walk on the 400-metre-long pier, a jewel of modernity that will offer you a grandiose view of the North Sea.