Surfing in the Basque Country: a beginner's guide

Maria Lundin Osvalds | Live the World

September 6, 2022

The French Basque country is a true surf mecca and one of Europe’s most popular destinations for those new to surfing. Here is a guide for beginners.

France’s Atlantic Coast has several famous spots that attract surfers from all over the world. The Atlantic Coast can be rough and windy during autumn and winter. For pro-surfers, this is not an issue, as the waves get bigger and more powerful. But for beginners, the summer swells are more to prefer. Visit at the beginning of summer, or in September, as the high season makes the region very busy and crowded. 


Stay in Biarritz

Several of the best places for beginners are situated in and around the city Biarritz, which makes it a perfect destination for those willing to try surfing. Choose Biarritz as your base, and explore from there.

This picturesque city is both a place for the laid-back surfers and the high-end tourists from Paris visiting for a weekend away. The mix of people has made Biarritz a vibrant hub for all kinds of travelers. So, when your aching muscles are tired from surfing, Biarritz is a beautiful city to explore.  Take a break at a café and order a "pain au chocolate" and a coffee, or why not a glass of wine and a nice dish of seafood. Biarritz has restaurants and cafés for everyone and every taste. Surfing makes you hungry – and good food is never as good as after a lovely surf session!

Surfing in and around Biarritz

Those completely new to surfing will probably benefit from taking a lesson or two before going off on their own. And in Biarritz, there are several surf schools and teachers offering classes in different price ranges. There are also surf camps in and around the city. These camps are popular with those who wish an intensive course to learn basic surf skills. There are surf camps for teens, young adults, and the more mature crowds.

©Wikipedia/Valentino Funghi

La Côte des Basques is the main surf beach in Biarritz. Along the beach promenade, there are small shops renting surfboards for an hour or a day. If you are a beginner, you might not want to travel with your board. That’s why it is much more convenient to rent equipment at the beach. This beach is perfect for surfers who are still beginners but know how to get along in the ocean and have the basic skills after a couple of lessons.

If you are staying in France for a while, you might want to discover some more places and beaches that are suitable for beginners. He[ndaye]( is just south of Biarritz, bordering Spain, and a perfect spot for a first lesson. The waves there are too high and powerful. Another popular spot is Hossegor, that is situated an hour north of Biarritz. Both are definitely worth exploring! 

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