San Sebastian, in the Basque Country, lies just a stone’s throw from France on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. And ocean means surfing! The ideal destination those who love this sport.
The Basque coast boasts everything a keen surfer could wish for: wind, waves and stunning beaches. And while there are waves all year round, the autumn and winter are best for surfing. If you’re looking for the top surf spots, read on!
The best surf spots in and around San Sebastian
1. Zarautz Beach (Zarautz, Spain)
Also called “the queen of beaches”, Zarautz is very popular in the region and lies just 20 minutes away from San Sebastian. Extending over 2.5 km, it is the longest stretch of sand in the Spanish Basque Country.
Regardless of your skill level, surfing here won’t be a problem! You can find plenty of surf schools in town or along the beach.
Zarautz is also a charming town worth visiting. It feels like an old fishing village with its cobbled streets, where you can lounge on a terrace, go shopping or even indulge in pintxos in one of the many bars. The central market has a friendly atmosphere and the warm welcome of the local stallholders will win you over.
2. Zurriola Beach (San Sebastián, Spain)
Zurriola beach can be found in the Gros neighbourhood. This is San Sebastian’s most famous surfing spot, where thousands of surfers flock every year from all over the world to catch the waves. It’s almost like being in Australia.
Suited for all levels, although the autumn and winter waves are best for more experienced surfers.
3. Santiago Beach (Deba)
Santiago Beach can be found a 45-minute drive from San Sebastián in Deba. About 400 metres long, it also includes Lapari beach.
This is a sandy beach with spectacular waves. Watch out, however, for its rocky seabed. Besides surfing, Deba also lends itself to beautiful walks, canoeing and windsurfing. The beach has a surf club.
4. Gaztetape Beach (Getaria)
This beach has an ample 210-metre long stretch of sand, and is located a 30-minute drive from San Sebastián.
A strong point of Gaztetape is the open sea, enticing surfers to go there to enjoy the waves. The beach has lifeguards in summer and a surfing area is reserved for this purpose. It also has a surf school.
5. Itzurun Beach (Zumaia, Spain)
This place is amazing and Game of Thrones fans will love it, as it’s one of the iconic locations from the show.
Besides its outstanding beauty, it’s also a great place to surf and the waves usually range from one to one and a half metres. The beach is located in Zumaia, a 30-minute drive from San Sebastian.
6. Hendaye Beach (Basque Country, France)
The long beach of Hendaye (3 km) is located in the French Basque Country, bordering Spain, 30 minutes by car from San Sebastian. Its gentle waves are ideal for beginner surfers. It is also the largest sandy beach on the Basque coast.
However, not far from Hendaye, in Belharra, there is a surf hotspot for professionals, with some of the biggest waves in Europe.
The best times to surf in San Sebastian
The Basque coast lies in the direction of the wind, creating perfectly sized waves, which means you can always find a spot for a surfing session. Water temperatures range from 12°C in winter to 21°C in summer.
The best wave catching opportunities are in spring and autumn. Nevertheless, the region offers big waves all year round. During the summer, tourists from all over the world want to surf here so you’ll have to watch out because there are more people in the water and, above all, use plenty of sun block to avoid burns.
The best surf schools in and around San Sebastian
1. Zurriola Surf Eskola (San Sebastian, spain)
As the name suggests, this school is on the famous Zurriola beach. It is renowned for its expertise. Prices vary according to the number of people and duration of surfing sessions. You can choose to be accompanied by an instructor or simply rent a surfboard. Suitable for all skill levels.
- Address: Usandizaga Kalea, no. 14, Bajo, 20002 Donostia-San Sebastián
- Telephone: +34685878428
- Website: http: //zurriolasurfeskola.com
2. Groseko Indarra Surf Eskola-Taldea (San Sebastian, spain)
This is a large school based at Zurriola beach. You can find all the pricing details of the surf courses on the website. Rates are cheaper for groups!
- Address: Zurriola Hiribidea, 45, 20013 Donostia, San Sebastián
- Telephone: +34695754471
- Website: https://grosekoindarra.com
3. Lehena Surf School in Hendaye (Hendaye, France)
This school is located on the famous surfing beach of Hendaye. There are several course options available, so check out the website. Group courses are more affordable.
- Address: 71 Bd de la Mer, 64700 Hendaye
- Telephone: 0559205202
- Website: https: //www.lehena.com
4. Surf Zumaia (Zumaia, spain)
The school is located near the famous Itzurun beach. Surf lessons are very affordable or you can also just rent a surfboard. Rates are also lower based on the number of people.
- Address: Polígono Larretxo, No. 18, Bajo, 20750 Zumaia
- Telephone: +34606574382
- Website: https: //surfingzumaia.com
The best bars and restaurants after a day’s surfing in San Sebastian
What could be better for surfers than a refreshing beer and a few tapas after a surf session? I recommend the Gros area, just next to Zurriola beach, which is a great place to relax with a good atmosphere.
If after a day on the waves you fancy a delicious beer, then Amuitz, in the heart of the Gros neighbourhood, is a great option. A place with a youthful vibe where you can sample local craft beers like those from the Bidassoa Basque Brewery and relax with friends.
- Address: Usandizaga 25, 20002 Donostia-San Sebastián
- Telephone: +34 943 32 08 38
- Website: https://amuitz.es/
2. Bodega Donostiarra Gros
A stone’s throw from Zurriola beach, this cosy restaurant serves traditional Basque pintxos, and at very reasonable prices!
- Address: Peña y Goñi 13, 20002 Donostia-San Sebastián.
- Telephone: +34 943 01 13 80
- Website: https://www.bodegadonostiarra.com
This is a small and well-known tapas bar just a short walk from Zurriola beach.
- Address: Calle del General Artetxe Kalea, 8, 20002 Donostia-San Sebastián
- Telephone: +34943275026
- Website: https: //pinchosbergara.es
4. Mele Mele
In Zarautz, this cosy and centrally located hamburger restaurant has a kitchen open at all hours. The custom-made burgers are very tasty. Friendly, fast service in a surf-inspired setting.
- Address: Nafarroa Kalea, 4, 20800 Zarautz, Gipuzkoa
- Telephone: +34 943504556
- Website: https://melemele.eus/
Whether you are a professional surfer or a complete novice, these are my recommendations for surfing in and around San Sebastian. Don’t wait any longer and catch a flight to this beautiful corner of the Basque Country!