Unlike Hawaii, which embodies the surfing image, Europe is not usually considered to be a major surf destination by the average person. However, while the Mediterranean
receives all of the glory and praise, it is actually Western Europe’s Atlantic Coast that draws surfers from around the world to feast on its wave-rich shores.

European surf culture began in the late 1950’s to early 1960’s, and has been steadily growing ever since. Today, there is no shortage of European surf schools, surf shops, and hotels that cater to surfers. To most novice surfers, Europe conjures images of castles, rich history, art, incredible food, and a leisurely way of life. But to the seasoned surfer, it represents a variety of great waves, consistent swells, and incredible surf culture.

The main European surf destinations are France, Spain, Portugal and Ireland. Their rugged Atlantic coastlines offer a variety of waves to suit all ability levels, from total beginners on holiday to experienced surfers looking for perfect waves.

France is home to some of the world’s best beach breaks. Spain holds the crown jewel of Europe, Mundaka, a legendary left-hand point break, plus uncharted regions that have enormous wave potential. Ireland, not for the meek, combines power and weather to produce the heaviest waves in Europe. Open to the largest swell window, Portugal is the most consistent and diverse surf destination on the European continent.

Read through our individual European country pages to learn more about France surf spots, Ireland surf spots, Portugal surf spots, and Spain surf spots.