You have been peppering us with questions about where in Europe to catch the best summer waves (we are talking about the northern hemisphere summer). So, let’s dive into our guide on the matter.

First off, let’s set the stage with some basics about surfing in Europe during the sunny months of June, July, and August:

The Not-So-Good News:

Let’s be blunt, great waves aren’t the norm in summer in Europe for any competent surfer. The European coasts perk up with decent swells when the northern Atlantic lights up during the chillier winter months.

And sorry to break your dreams, but scoring epic barreling surf in the Mediterranean, English Channel, or North Sea during summer will not happen. The differences with winter, which we’ll elaborate on later, are pretty stark.

The Bright Side:

There’s still hope along the Atlantic coast where, if you hit the right spots at the right times, you can find some decent waves. Plus, you will enjoy the best weather of the year with less wind, warmer temperatures both in and out of the water, and long days that let you stretch your surf sessions way much longer than during winter.

The difference between summer and winter surf-wise:

In a nutshell, during winter, our planet tilts away from the sun, making the northern Atlantic much colder than in summer. The clash of frigid water and tropical waters coming from the equator brews up storms that send waves toward European shores.

Come summer, these storms are fewer and feebler because the whole ocean heats up and the waves they create get pushed away by the summer easterly wind.

Therefore, summer big tempests not only become rare and weaker but also form further north towards the Arctic and Greenland, far from Europe, and come to shores at less favorable angles.

difference between waves direction in summer vs winter for western europe
Winter vs Summer swell direction on the atlantic coast of Europe – roughly (very roughly)

So, Where Should You Go for a summer surf in Europe?

If you are looking for good surf, remember two things: you will need exposure to swells and favorable winds. Think nonexistent or offshore winds = those blowing from the land out to sea.

While wind might not be a major factor due to its milder nature during summer, swell exposure will be crucial as it can get really flat for months in not-so-lucky places and spots in the regions.

Surf size forecast in the  Atlantic during summer
A small swell in late June of 2021 approaching Western Europe, map from

Note that we are still speaking of natural phenomena, so sometimes you may expect the unexpected and see swell maps that are vastly different from the ones you see above.

What we can learn from all of this, is that the best places to surf during the summer months of June, July, and August in Europe are most likely the southern half of the west coast of Ireland, the southwest of France, northern Spain, and the northern half of Portugal. Timing-wise, the closer you are to late July or early August, the greater the chance of encountering poorer-quality surf and getting skunked. Conversely, the closer you are to May or September, the better your chances of scoring good waves, as the Atlantic won’t be too far from its winter mood.

General Advice:

If surfing is the main thing on your holiday agenda and you are not a beginner, you might want to reconsider or delay your trip, perhaps opting for a destination in the southern hemisphere where the surf will be up. But if surfing is just the cherry on top of your travel plans or you are just at your first surf sessions then you should aim for the selected locations we spoke about to maximize your chance of  getting waves.

Ps: We also have guides on the surfing seasons of France and a guide to surfing it’s northwest region Brittany.

Would you have any questions that we could answer?

Do not hesitate to ask it to us by leaving a comment down there.

If you need any surfing equipment, have a look at our performant and accessible Fins , Traction Pads, and Leashes, we deliver worldwide!

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