There are so many world class waves right on our European doorstep, mainly in France, Spain, and Portugal. Going to any one of said destinations will fill a void for any surf-starved human but there’s more to surfing holidays than just surfing and here are my top five reasons why Europe has it all and is the place to go this Summer:
You can fly return with Ryanair this June from London Stansted to Biaritz, France for £45, Stansted to Santander, Spain for £35 and Stansted to Faro, Portugal for £77. You can look like a hero and treat the missus with a flight to Spain that costs less than a parking ticket and parents can fly a family of four away for £150. Enough said.
Whether it’s the fresh croissants, pan au chocolat, baguettes and beer in France, the seriously good grilled sardines (sardinhas asadas) and Port in Portugal, or the delicious and aesthetically pleasing pinchos and rich Red Wine in Northern Spain, Europe has the best food and drink in the World and enough variety to suit all palate. Fact.
Beat the typical late-risers for an early surf, then take a lazy walk through the ancient, cobbled streets of Lagos, Portugal to one of the typical cafes for a café preto and you will be in awe of how beautiful the place is. The slow life is the good life. In Northern Spain you have the iconic Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Roman Baths and pre-Romanesque art (and world-class cider) in Asturias and the Camino de Santiago (St. James’ Way) that stretches from the French-Spanish border to Galicia. And French culture, well you know the score; proud people, passionate about food and late nights, you have to just go to get it.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a mechanical Indonesian barrel, but for most of us a good old fashioned beach break with heaps of peaks (meaning less crowds) is where we can hone our skills comfortably and luckily Europe is home to some of the best beach breaks in the World. SW France is pretty much one massive 200km beach, Spain has beaches and coves facing all angles and in Portugal it’s always offshore (if you know where to look). This sort of setup is also perfect for learner surfers and kids, as you aren’t getting thrown over the lip of a wave into coral reef.
If you go on a surf trip to Europe the biggest risk of disease comes from the sexually transmitted kind, which should still be taken very seriously, but compared to holidays to Central America, Indonesia, South Africa etc a bit of chlamydia is a walk in the park. Malaria ridden mosquitos, rabid dogs, deceiving dengue fever and a million other tropical diseases seem to be lurking around every corner full of life threatening potential.