In this article, you will discover the top 10 surf spots in Basque Country, France. While you might not initially think of France when it comes to surfing, the French coastlines actually offer some seriously epic surf spots.
As such, there’s certainly no shortage of places to surf in this region. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or an eager beginner, there’s always a surf break well-suited to you.
One beginner break, for example, is Cote de Basque beach. Here you can sign up for surf lessons led by experts who have had countless hours of surfing under their belts.
If you’re feeling ready to take on some bigger waves, there is an array of point breaks and stronger beach breaks up and down the coast, stretching from Anglet all the way down to San Sebastian in Spain. For example, Chambre d’Amour in Anglet, Grand Plage in Biarritz, Uhabia in Bidart or Zurriola in San Sebastian.
You’ll have no trouble renting a board nearby many of the surf breaks. Often they have a large selection of boards from big to small, from bodyboards to longboards. The great thing about Basque Country in the summer is that the sea is warm enough to surf in a 2mm shorty wetsuit, boardies or even a bikini. It is recommended you wear a rash guard for a bit of extra sun protection though!
First up on the list of the top 10 surf spots in Basque Country is the beautiful Anglet. The beaches and surf spots in Anglet are easy to find – considering it’s just one long stretch of sand and ocean! Starting from the north end you can visit is La Barre, a surf spot situated next to the river mouth.
As you work your way down to the south end of Anglet, there are 6 other surf breaks to discover- including an amazing beach break beneath a lighthouse.
The waves along this stretch of beach are heavier than other waves you may find in the area, such as Cote des Basques, but they offer a great opportunity for barrels and fast sections. Make sure to book a surfing activity in Anglet, Basque Country for your next trip.
Perhaps the most well-known beach in the French Basque country is Grand Plage in Biarritz. Located in front of the famous Casino and Hotel de Palais, the setting couldn’t be more ideal for Surfing activities in Biarritz. While these waves aren’t quite as gentle as the waves at Cote des Basques, they’re considered super fun for slightly more experienced surfers who are comfortable in the water.
While Biarritz is, of course, great for surfing, sometimes the weather doesn’t allow for it. When the ocean is flat, you can take a whitewater rafting trip down the Nive River nearby Biarritz. You can also go quad biking in St. Jean de Luz in the Biarritz region. No matter what the weather is, there’s always something exciting to do here.
Next up on the list of the top 10 surf spots in Basque Country is Bidart. Just a 10-minute drive down the coast from Biarritz, you can take a surfing lesson in Bidart. This is a very traditional Basque town with classic architecture and paintwork. The beach at Bidart Centre offers a mix of left and right breaks with a bit of a kick! If you catch a wave breaking to the right at low tide that is! The Uhabia surf break is just next door and is another super fun beach break with enough waves to handle the crowds.
The next great location for surfing in Basque Country is Guethary. This quaint little town is right next door to some spectacular hidden reef breaks. Surfing excursions in Geuthary, Basque Country are a dreamy place for longboarders, shortboarders and thrill-seekers alike.
Parlamentia is an amazing spot for longboarders all year round. When the swell hits this break can really hold some sizable swell, so check the report before you paddle out to this reef break.
Next, there is Cenitz offering a selection of beginner-friendly waves which break over a rocky seafloor. This location can only be surfed at high tide, so check the report before going. You can also visit Lafitenia, a right-sided point break suited for more advanced surfers.
The next surf destination on the list of the top 10 best surf spots in Basque Country is Hendaye. Hendaye is known for being THE quintessential French spot for water sports. It’s unique in that it’s particularly safe and fun, especially for beginners. This is due to the fact that the waves are not very big nor are they very powerful compared to the other surfing spots in Basque Country.
This heavenly location has a large bay with countless different breaks ideal for those starting out, thanks to the number of different waves breaks- allowing crowds to spread out a bit and give you a good chance of getting a nice long ride.
The next epic surf spot on this list is San Sebastian. One of the most famous places in Basque Country, San Sebastian is known worldwide for having incredible tapas! It’s’also known for having stunning architecture and cathedrals. Surfing lessons in San Sebastian are a bucket-list must!
The best spot in San Sebastian to surf is at La Zurriola, a beach located near the centre of town. This popular beach break is home to lovely lefts and radical rights. The surf spot consistently breaks all year-round. Just be careful to check the surf report as this spot works best on smaller swells and tends to close out once it gets over 5 feet.
France’s next location on this list of the top 10 surf spots in Basque Country is Mundaka. If you are looking for a break that can hold its own when a big swell comes to town, then Mundaka is your spot! Only a 30-minute drive from Bilbao, Mundaka is a small coastal town within the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve.
Considered one of the world’s best-left handed breaks, this long, barrelling wave is reserved for advanced surfers only! The take-off is very steep and hollows out into a fast, wide tube. Mundaka really is the perfect wave when the ideal conditions align. This is even a spot where the world’s best surfers have competed annually for the past 10 years during the World Championship Tour of Surfing.
Only 20-minutes away from Bilbao is the next marvellous destination on this list, Sopelana. This is a very consistent beach break with multiple different peaks. All the variety is ideal to accommodate the crowds and is during small to medium-sized swells.
This beginner-friendly spot is home to many surf schools and shops. You have the option to jump right in and give it a go or take a surf lesson first. There are plenty of board rentals available so you can get started working on your surf technique. Surrounded by high cliffs and sandy beaches, Sopelana is sure to take your breath away with its beauty, and when you nosedive into a wave as well!
When the ocean’s flat and you can’t surf, another fun activity you can try in Sopelana is paragliding. It’s a wonderful way to see the beaches and landscapes from the air with the wind blowing in your face.
Next on the list of best spots to surf in Basque Country is Zarautz. This surf spot near Pais Vasco offers a very reliable beach break with your choice of left and right opening waves. The surf here is generally best around high tide.
Zarautz also offers a large beach, perfect for relaxing in-between surf session. Beginners can take lessons at Zarautz Beach in Pais Vasco from one of the many surf schools here, or even sign up for a surf camp. professionals are ready to provide you with expert coaching to improve your surf skills or help you catch your very first wave. Zarautz is home to a variety of short boarding and longboarding competitions throughout the year, showcasing the world’s best surfing talent.
The last location on this list of the best surf spots in Basque Country is at Punta Galea. Breaking in the mouth of the Nervion River in Getxo is a big wave break. This right-hand point break is known mainly as a place where local Basque Country big wave surfers come to show off. It’s even featured occasionally on the Big Wave World Tour.
This wave certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted and is strictly reserved for very experienced surfers. You must be equipped with the proper safety gear and support team if you choose to surf here. If you do manage to catch a wave when a big swell rolls in here, then you’re guaranteed an unbelievable ride!
In Basque Country, you can even book a private and personalized surf lesson with surfing champion Emmanuelle Joly in Biarritz. Whatever your level, beginner, intermediate, advanced or even expert, Emmanuelle will be happy to give you his pro advice. You’ll learn read waves, improve your technique or discover secret spots only the pros know,
One of the best things about the Basque Country is that you’re unlikely to run out of fun and interesting things to do. From surfing on the waves to hiking in the mountains, this area is filled with opportunities to do outdoor sports. Check out our article on the 7 things to do in the French Basque Country this summer for ideas!