The Best Places to Surf and Stand up Paddling in Europe

written by local expert Anna Faustino

Anna is a co-founder of Adventure in You and has been traveling the world for the last 9 years. She has spent time living in Thailand, Mexico, Indonesia, and Spain and is our local expert in these areas. Her expertise on travel, gear, and building businesses have been featured on Foundr, Business Insider, Yahoo Travel, and more.

For someone who loved surfing or other wind and sun-related surface water sports, Europe might not be the first place to come to its mind. In general, Australia and Hawaii embody the popular surfing culture that we see all over the world.

However, with that being said, Europe can offer you an adrenaline-packed and fun-filled surfing holiday as well. Combined with stunning landmarks, quaint little towns, and beautiful scenery, it’s a win-win chasing the waves in Europe.

Yes, you can have your waves and your wine too!

Apart from surfing, stand up paddling is another popular alternative with a broader range of locations to choose from. You can experience calmer waters, slide on lakes and rivers, all while enjoying the landscape without any specific surfing skills.

Being an avid surfer and watersport enthusiast, there is nothing more appealing to me than frolicking in warm beaches, however, when the waves are good, you have no choice but to put on a wetsuit and enjoy the waves! In our current trip to Europe, while I am out of commission thanks to an injury, watching surfers play in the water is still something I enjoy doing.

If surfing and stand up paddleboarding is your jam, here are some of the best locations to enjoy these sports while in Europe.


If you want to go stand up paddleboarding or surfing, France is a great option. With amazing locations like Biarritz, Cap Ferret, and Hossegor, France offers you surfing and SUP spots that can tickle your fancy.

Biarritz is a perfect spot if you want an undiluted combination of surf, sun, and culture mixed with fascinating attraction. Surfing in France is one of a kinda. Between the vibe, the intriguing mix of fun beaches and of course, the waves, it’s no wonder that this place is so popular amongst watersport enthusiasts.

Other than Biarritz, at the east of Hossegor lies a quiet and small beach called La Gravière. The gorgeous beach, great waves, and the strong winds make it one of the best surf beaches in France.

For stand up paddling, Normandie is a great choice. You can paddle on Etretat, L’Anse du Brick, Yport, Vacotte and Wissant. With its remarkable historical legacy, you have the chance to combine exploring and some cultural heritage together with your watersport of choice. surfing in france

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Whether you are a rookie or a more experienced surfer, Ireland offers surfing hotspots that will grace you with astonishing waves.

No matter the season, the strong winds in Ireland’s beaches always seem to be present so make sure you get a good wetsuit. With some excellent beach break waves, combined with the amazing Irish culture, Bundoran is a perfect spot to surf in Ireland.

If you are looking for a bigger challenge or looking to improve your surf skills, you have nothing to worry about as the location has waves for surfers of all abilities.

Sligo is also another spot in Ireland to enjoy the surf vibe. The location features a community of surfers who are ready to help you have a great time surfing. With the waves pitching over the reef, you can experience some pretty epic waves when the season is good.

The consistency of this beach at the northern part of Ireland makes it perfect for intermediate surfers. Also, you can whet your stand up paddle appetite by paddling in some of the inland and open water
with favorite surfing spots.

SUP spots in Ireland are:

  • Caragh Lake – the serene environment of this spot makes it stand out. The huge lake has a lot of entry points and gives you plenty to explore. When paddling on this lake, you can see the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks mountain range peaks, if you look east.
  • Royal canal, Killary harbor, Lough Leane, Old head, Inisbofin, Clifden, Clew Bay, Lough Derg, and Dollymount beach offers plenty of room for you and your stand up paddleboard.


You can’t go wrong picking Spain for your next surf and SUP trip. Do you know why? Spain offers some spectacular locations to surf and between the sea, the sun, and the amazing food, this place is a great pick to have you watersports fill while in Europe. Listed below are some of the best surf spots in Spain.

Surf spots in Spain are:

  • Zarautz beach – You can always find a peak to yourself because this location boasts beach break walls of 2.5 kilometers. It features the longest beach break in Spain. You can add more sauce to the SUP and surf fun by trying the different classic Basque dishes while in the region.
  • La Zurriola beach in San Sebastian – If you are looking for an unmatched surf trip in Spain and Europe, Zurriola beach can be a great option. It offers some attractive beach break barrels, lots of cultures, great surf shops, and nightlife. In Europe, this beach is regarded as one of the most consistent beaches for summer surf. Stand up paddling here will give you a shocking and exciting view of the city. No doubt, the overlooking mountain surrounding the beach makes the few more stunning.
  • Mundaka – The waves here are great, and it’s one of the best places to surf in Europe for intermediates. It is surrounded by forest and mountains which adds to the overall ambiance of the place. The wave at this spot is at its best between low tide and mid-tide.

Additionally, you can stand up paddle along the rugged coastlines of Mallorca, Majorca, and Menorca. You can also paddle along the bank of the historic river called the Guadalquivir River. It offers you stunning sights that ensure a second to none surfing experience. zarautz surfing spain

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Let me guess, you probably think that Norway shouldn’t have made this list. Don’t be deceived. Even though Norway can be raw and secluded, the surf can be anywhere from firing down to non-existent. The waves vary from small to an epic barreling wave.

However, whether you are a newbie, intermediate, or even a pro, Norway can be one of the best places to surf in Europe. It is important to note that the surf spots in Norway are far and it might require you to drive a long distance. The views along the way make it worthwhile!

If you are keen to SUP, you can explore the beautiful Vangsvatnet Lake in Voss Centre and amazing fjords of Norway.


Surfing in Portugal can be a fun-filled and sweet experience that is second to none in Europe. It offers  some surfing hotspots where you can also stand up paddle. From Peniche to Ericeira, a historical and beautiful fishing town, you have the opportunity to pick the most preferred place for you.

In Peniche, the Cantinho da Baía provides surfers of all levels with a fantastic wave. The right and left peak starts slow, then speed up and becomes hollow as it reaches the inside. In addition to your surf trip in Peniche, you can also explore the historic town center to have a glimpse of the Peniche Fort São Pedro, and Nossa Senhora dos Remédios Sanctuary.

The town of Ericeira features Foz do Lizandro beach, a summer surf scene that epitomizes relaxation and fun. Three World Surf Reserves exists, and Ericeira is the only one in Europe. The amazing coastline is filled with surf and it displays topnotch surfers all battling to catch epic waves. When it comes to things to do in Ericeira, surfing naturally comes number one.

For stand up paddling, Luiz Saldanha Marine Park is a perfect contrast to the big waves. It is a park located at the base of Arrabida; protected from the prevailing North Easterly Winds. It has the high water visibility, so stand-up paddleboarding here is like paddling in an aquarium. french surfer

Hopefully, these watersport hotspots all over Europe has given you some inspiration. The next time you’re craving for some surf and SUP action, just because you’re in Europe it doesn’t mean you can’t get your fill.

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