Summer is just around the corner, which means sun, swell, and surfing. But before you pack up the van or book your plane tickets to sunnier shores, spare a moment to think about your surfing destination. Are you getting everything you want out of it?
Tap into your sense of adventure and check out one of these 8 most exciting surf towns in the world for your next surfing trip. Each entry on this list combines awesome surfing with a buzzing and flourishing nightlife, fun things to do, and welcome distractions that might take you out of the water for a few hours.
For surfers that want something more than just a beach and good waves, Hossegor in France is the place to go. Not only is it a European surfing mecca, but it also has endless bike trails, a quaint European harbour, and is within 40 minutes of the flashy and bouncing Biarritz.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Warmer waters and diverse surfing conditions have allowed Tel Aviv in Israel to make a name for itself among the world’s surfing community. The city has a modern, liberal vibe, and there are ample work opportunities for those wishing to stay longer.
Canggu has become a haven for those looking to escape the crowds and hustle of nearby Kuta. Canggu (pronounced Changgu) is smaller, more relaxing, with a host of bars and cafes. You won’t find mega-clubs, massive resorts, and a McDonalds on every corner. But you will find endless beaches, breathtaking sunsets, and a chilled-out vibe.
Hainan Island, China
Most people don’t think of China when they think of the best surf towns. But that is precisely why it is a surfer’s paradise. You and your friends will be some of the only surfers on the water, in what can only be described as perfect waves and conditions.
Hainan offers consistency. The island has reefs and points, and the surfing community is beginning to break out, giving the island a feeling of being at the forefront of an emerging community. For those who make the effort to get there, Hainan Island rewards bountifully.
Bilbao is one of the lone surf towns in Europe that enjoys waves all-year round. It is a modern city, with a thriving surfing community. However, for me, it was the food that drew me in. The Basque Country in Northern Spain is home to some of the finest and freshest food on earth, giving you a little extra to look forward to when you leave the water.
Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
It isn’t the easiest place to get to, most travellers have to take a flight from the capital, San Jose. However, Santa Teresa is the quintessential Central American surf town.
Dusty roads take surfers to pristine, unspoiled beaches, lined with small surf lodges, authentic restaurants, and picturesque cafés. For those looking for non-surfing activities, Santa Teresa has plenty of snorkelling and hiking trails to explore.
Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
No list of the world’s most exciting surf towns would be complete without an entry from Hawaii. The island is known for its prolific swells, laid-back atmosphere, and tropical paradise. It doesn’t disappoint.
I stumbled across Ericeira while I was visiting Portugal in 2015. I hadn’t heard of it as a surfer’s paradise. The town offers a glimpse of traditional Portuguese life, with ridiculous waves. Forget your chain stores because Ericeira isn’t about that. It is about an abundance of beaches, a thriving cafe culture, and getting hammered by some of the biggest waves Europe has to offer.