Ahhh... summer. Long days. The smell of sunscreen and charcoal barbecues in the air. Tanned skin and cruisy waves. What more could you want?

Well, how about a summer surf holiday in Europe where you learn to surf and soak up some culture. Below are our top 3 European countries that offer unbeatable summer surf vacations.

Ready, set, shred!

Why should I learn to surf in Europe during summer?

Here's a question that we hear all too often: "Why should I learn to surf in Europe during summer when there are so many other popular destinations for surfing?"

In fairness, it's a sensible question. It is, after all, slightly more challenging learning to surf in Europe than in tropical climates.

However, the fact you’re learning to surf in Europe does have its benefits.

Long beaches, sandy bottoms and a wide range of waves: this is what you can expect in Summer - Algarve, Portugal.

High quality surf experiences

Beginner surfers visiting Europe for a surf vacation will be blown away by the sheer number of surf schools, camps, tours and retreats available.

You can literally choose your own surf adventure, whether it's a villa retreat in Portugal or a yoga and surf camp in France. You can also find surf experiences to fit any budget, which means you don't have to break the bank to enjoy a memorable surfing holiday in Europe.

Cultural immersion

One of the biggest draws to learning to surf in Europe during summer is the opportunity for cultural immersion.

While tropical destinations have beautiful beaches and warm weather, you're often only exploring one country or culture. A summer surf holiday in Europe allows you to experience a range of cultures, food and languages – all within a short flight or drive away.

Difficult now, easy later

While learning to surf in warm water wearing only boardshorts or a bikini sounds nice, the transition from warm water to wearing a wetsuit in cold water is challenging.

If you learn to surf in cold water while wearing a wetsuit though, you'll find it easier to pop up and manoeuvre on a wave when the time comes to shed the neoprene and surf warmer waters.

That said, parts of southwest France and northern Spain can have surprisingly balmy sea temperatures, so you may be able to get away with a swimsuit or boardies in the height of summer.

Varied scenery

From the scenic Picos de Europa in Spain and the rugged cliffs of the Algarve in Portugal to France's seemingly endless coastline, Europe offers a diverse range of landscapes for your surf vacation.

Not only will you get to surf in different types of waves and conditions, but you'll also get to explore the stunning surroundings and see a wide variety of landscapes that you might not encounter in other popular surf destinations.

Food and wine

Food and wine deserve their own section because let's be honest, they're a big part of any vacation. And Europe is known for its delicious food and wine offerings.

Imagine finishing up a morning surf session and indulging in some fresh seafood paella with a glass of local wine on the beach. Or stopping by a charming cafe for a croissant and espresso before hitting the waves again in the afternoon. Sounds like our recipe for an epic time!

Diverse wave types

While a lot of tropical destinations are lousy with reefbreaks, Europe is more well-known for its beachbreaks and pointbreaks.

These break types are arguably more suited to beginners, with gentle takeoffs, soft bottoms and long, forgiving walls. That said, you can always scout for more challenging waves as your skills advance. Europe really does have it all.


  • Beginner surf season: May - October
  • Best waves: Supertubos, Arrifana, Ribeira d'Ilhas, Amado
  • Why we love it: Affordable, great for beginners, fantastic weather

Ready for a surf lesson in one of Europe's best beginner beaches: Arrifana.

Talk to anyone who has taken a learn-to-surf trip in Portugal and they'll drift off, become teary eyed and wax lyrical about how it was "The best time of their life."

The country has a wealth of surf schools and camps that cater specifically to beginners, with experienced instructors who’ll ensure you're in safe hands. The consistent beachbreaks also make for perfect learning conditions, while the enviable weather and affordable prices make Portugal a top choice for a summer surf holiday in Europe.

We currently run a few summer surf trips in Portugal that are ideal for beginner surfers (check our Algarve Villa Retreat here) and intermediate/advanced surfers (view our glamping retreat here).

These camps not only offer top-notch surf lessons, but also include accommodation, meals and extra activities like yoga and sunset picnics. Needless to say, if you only have time for one European surf vacation destination, Portugal should be at the top of your list.

Learn more about Portugal through our location guides: Northern Portugal, Central Portugal and Southern Portugal.


  • Beginner surf season: June - September
  • Best waves: Zarautz, Razo, Oyambre, El Palmar
  • Why we love it: Diverse landscapes, user-friendly beaches, pintxos

Expect to be amazed at every turn, in Northern Spain. And to find some incredible waves to learn how to surf - like Oyambre.

Spain is one of the most geographically and culturally diverse countries in Europe, which is reflected in its surfing scene. From the green hills and rugged cliffs of Northern Spain to the sunny beaches of Andalusia, there's something for every type of surfer.

For beginner surfers, we recommend heading to the northern coastline for its consistent beachbreaks and user-friendly waves. The Basque Country offers some fantastic options such as Zarautz and Razo, while the region of Cantabria is also a great choice with long, sandy beaches like Oyambre that are a beginner’s dream.

In addition to the great surf, Spain is also known for its delicious food and lively culture. So after a day of surfing, be sure to indulge in some pintxos (tapas) and sangria!


  • Beginner surf season: June - September
  • Best waves: Hossegor La Sud, Les Estagnots, Le Grande Plage, Moliets
  • Why we love it: Vibrant surf culture, delicious cuisine, endless beachbreaks

Anything better than walking back to camp at sunset, ready for a shower and a glass of red wine? Surf living in Moliets.

The touchdown point of surfing in Europe when it first arrived in the '50s, France is still a top destination for surfers of all levels. And with an iconic surf culture that boasts an array of characters, waves and memorable competitions, it might be the ultimate surf destination for those who want to experience all the surfing lifestyle has to offer.

For beginner surfers, there are plenty of beachbreaks on offer along the coast that cater to all levels. The southwest coast around Hossegor and Biarritz, in particular, is a top choice with consistent waves and a heady surf scene. And let's not forget about the delicious French cuisine and wine that make for the perfect après surf experience.

Take it from us, you won't regret picking France as your summer surf destination in Europe – if only for the bread and cheese alone.

Final Thoughts

If you're craving a summer surf vacation that's got culture, waves and delicious food, Europe is the place to be.

With a diverse range of landscapes, beginner-friendly waves and high-quality surf experiences, Portugal, Spain and France are all top choices for your next surf adventure.

Check out our upcoming surf trips in these destinations and get ready to wax up, paddle out and surf the waves of your life. It's never been easier to combine your love for surfing with a European vacation!

Book a trip today