In the first part of the series I wrote about spots in Europe where you can catch some sun and waves in Winter. In this part I suggest which European spots are worth considering as a Spring surfing destination.
The spring surf trip is an interesting idea especially when you live in central Europe. March and April can still be rough in terms of weather, serving cold air, lot of clouds and often snow. So where to look for spring waves and sun? At this time of year, I would choose the Iberian Peninsula, two destinations to be exact.
Destination no 1: Costa de la Luz, Spain
I’ve checked this one in person in April 2017 and I was under a huge, positive impression. The Atlantic coast between Gibraltar and the estuary of the Guadiana river consists of interesting surf spots (including El Palmar, Conil de la Frontera) and beautiful historic cities (Cádiz – where you can also surf, Seville, Tarifa – windsurfing capital) and Gibraltar.
Personally, I had the opportunity to surf in Conil de la Frontera, which is an intimate town fifty kilometres south of Cadiz. I met a fantastic instructor there and took one of the best surfing lessons in my life. It was the beginning of April, we came across a decent swell. The water was 17 degrees Celsius, and for one week there was not a drop of rain.
Conil is a really good destination because in the very short space there are different beaches with different sea floors and different orientation. You can have several different directions of wind and it’s always a spot in Conil that should be working. I would say that for beginner and intermediate surfers it’s absolutely perfect because you can walk out to sort of waves chest depth and you can still get really long rides. It’s a very gradual transition between shallow and deep. The weather is fantastic and it’s still very, very, very unexplored and uncrowded. – Andy Bottomley, founder of Oceano Surf School in Conil de la Frontera
In addition to the surf and tourist experiences it is just worth seeing Spain in the Spring. It makes a completely different impression than the same country in the summer months, dried up by the heat. Adding a 20-degree Celsius guarantee, a lot of sunshine (Cadiz is a city that has more than 300 sunny days a year) and a small amount of tourists (also those chasing after the waves) you have an almost perfect place.
Why it’s worth to go there:
- direct air connection from Poland (Seville)
- few surfers and tourists
- ideal spots for beginner and intermediate surfers
- water temperature: approx. 14-17 degrees Celsius
- air temperature during the day: 18-23 degrees Celsius
- non-surfing attractions in the area: Cadiz, Seville, Gibraltar
- spring in Spain is simply beautiful
Destination no 2: Sagres, Portugal
Costa de la Luz isn’t perfectly exposed to the Atlantic swell, which I learned during the autumn surf trip. And that’s why the second direction I recommend this time of year is the Portuguese Algarve, and more specifically Sagres. Conil de la Frontera and Sagres are less than 450 km away, which can be covered by car in 4.5 hours. In a situation where the Atlantic coast of Spain doesn’t work, Sagres is a natural and reasonable choice.
The town is a mecca of surfing in this part of Portugal. Locals argue that it is the best place for surfing in the whole country, because it “collects” swell from both the South and the West. Sagres is intimate and the tourist surfing season runs from April to November. There is a rich hotel and restaurant infrastructure in town, so you can accomodate and eat well. You have to be aware, however, that apart from surfing, there isn’t exactly a lot to do there. Algarve is not famous for its historic heritage, and the nearest large city is a typical resort town Lagos.
Why it’s worth to go there:
- a guarantee of waves
- a large number of various spots
- a wide range of surfing schools (ATTENTION: it is expensive, for example: 2 hours of private surfing lessons – 150 euro)
- delicious cuisine in local restaurants
- non-surfing attractions in the area: Prince Henry the Navigator maritime academy, Lagos
- great weather – a lot of sunshine
In the next part: where to go for summer surfing?