When considering surfing holidays in north Spain, San Sebastian is often overshadowed by Basque Country standouts like Mundaka and Zarautz. But as you’ll find out in this guide to San Sebastian surfing holidays this stunning town is no stranger to very good surf conditions.
You can find San Sebastian on the Bay of Biscay in Spain’s mountainous Basque Country. The cobblestoned old town is a vibrant mix of upscale shopping and pintxo bars serving local wines and produce. The town is vibrant, and a night out can be very late and lively.
San Sebastian is well known for the stunning beaches of Playa de la Concha and Playa de Ondarreta where the picturesque promenade is lined with world renowned restaurants. Although you can surf on both these beaches, Playa de Gros (Zurriola) is normally where you find the best conditions.
Set between a breakwater and rocky headland, the beach absorbs enough swell to prevent locals from having to drive elsewhere for most of the year. Several Junior and WQS events have been held along the sandy stretch of Playa de Gros (Zurriola) over the years and conditions rarely disappoint.
At Playa de Gros (Zurriola), waves just as likely from local windswells as from distant groundswells across the Atlantic Ocean. The ideal swell direction is from the northwest so keep an eye out for southeasterly winds.
The western breakwater of Zurriola beach sometimes shaves swell into chunky closeouts. But the correct composition of sandbars and tide can produce a series of peaks – breaking way outside before rolling in – with rippable rights and lefts closer to the eastern headland.
A waning tide can even serve up punchy righthand barrels if you find yourself in the right spot.
A plethora of shops offer wetsuit and board rentals. However, getting there with your own gear is easy enough as the train station is only a ten minute walk from the beach. There are also a lot of local surf schools if you want some tuition during San Sebastian surfing holidays in north Spain.
Locals, including a sprinkling of etiquette-oblivious bodyboarders, are a tight-knit bunch.
Summertime, while perhaps the best time to party in Old Town, is the season to avoid if you want a true San Sebastian surfing holiday in North Spain. Pink-faced tourists tend to clog up the warm-water lineup with funboards and inexperience.
Waiting until September to visit means cooler weather, but better waves and less congestion. The best surf conditions prevail in autumn and winter when thundering Atlantic energy swoops into the region – unfortunately when most of surf schools have packed up for the season then and the town is less lively.
Although there are better surf conditions on other beaches in the Basque Country, San Sebastian surfing holidays in north Spain have the added benefit of being located in a great city. There is plenty of accommodation to suit all budgets, bars and restaurants to cater to all tastes and it is all set in a stunning location.
We feel San Sebastian makes a great surf destination in it’s own right. However it would also be an ideal base as part of surfing holidays in north Spain – after all there are a lot of breaks to explore!
During San Sebastian surfing holidays, we recommend that at least once you get up early, reheat last night’s tapas, and paddle out at sunrise. You’ll be rewarded with lonely rides while everyone else is still in bed probably nursing hangovers.
We hope you found this guide to San Sebastian surfing holidays in north Spain useful. You can check out more articles about Surfing in Spain here.