10 surf towns you need to visit

From the surfing capitals to some off-the beaten path spots, these are the 10 stellar locations you need to visit.
Cesar Alvarez
Cesar Alvarez


Surf nomad

Roaming the globe with a surfboard and a laptop, crafting digital stories that ride the wave of surfing culture.

Whether you are a first-timer or a seasoned surfer, you can start saving up for your travels now. We have put together some places that you won’t want to miss. From the surfing capitals to some off-the beaten path spots, these are the 10 stellar locations you need to visit. 

1. Lagos: Warm, blue, and eco-friendly

Over the last few years, Portugal has gained traction as a surfing spot. Located in the Algarve region, Lagos boasts consistent waves and a laid-back, relaxed atmosphere. Surfing in the Atlantic guarantees waking up to waves every day so, if you don’t want to risk missing out, head to Lagos and you won’t miss a day of surfing. Not only this, Lagos has been awarded as one of the most sustainable tourist destinations worldwide. Waves, chill and eco-friendly, what else is there to ask for?

2. Byron Bay: Wave hello to nature and music

This Aussie beachside town has stolen surfers’ hearts for decades. Located in South Wales, Byron Bay is where surfing meets diving, whale watching and skydiving. With subtropical rainforests nearby, it is not hard to spot all sorts of backpackers. On the surfing side, Byron Bay might be a bit packed, but it is still possible to find undisturbed waves when the swell is bigger. Once your feet are on land, enjoy the music scene and the foodie culture of this surfer town.

3. Florianopolis: The vibes of a Brazilian island

Among the many surfing spots the largest country in Latin America offers, Florianopolis is one of the cleanest and most relaxed. This magical island makes the list because of its diverse offer. Just started? Try the waves of Barra da Lagoa. Getting the hang of it? Praia Mole. A pro surfer? Better in Praia Joaquina. This town has something for everyone!

4. San Clemente: Surf breaks in the Orange County

California’s iconic county has so many surfing spots it is hard to select one. Right between San Diego and LA, San Clemente is the perfect place for adrenaline junkies - head to T-Street for fast waves - and paparazzi, as many famous sportspeople can be spotted surfing in the area. Surfers from all over the world visit this jewel of the region both in summer and in winter.

5. Tofino: Canada’s Surf Capital

Canada’s surfing culture, born outside Tofino in the Pacific Rim National Park,  goes back as far as the sixties. It’s no surprise if you look at the endless surfable miles found along Mackenzie Beach, North Chesterman and Cox Bay. If you happen to be around British Columbia, take the ferry to Vancouver Island and drive to Canada's Surf City to enjoy the stunning nature that surrounds this surfing spot. With a population under 2000, the town is ideal for a relaxing, nature holiday.

6. Zarautz: Where the surfers go

Consistent waves throughout the year and abundant school options make Zarautz the spot of surfers who want to get away from tourists. The Basque Country coastline in the north of Spain is over 200 kilometers long, so there is plenty of space for everyone. The quality of the waves explains why Zarautz holds many world surfing championships. A short car drive and you will be right in San Sebastian, haven for gourmets and sacred land of tapas lovers.

7. Santa Cruz: The surfing museum

Better known as the Surf City, northern Californians and travellers alike enjoy the sandy beaches and the breaking waves of Santa Cruz. Four miles away from the city, you will find Four Mile Beach, a great, all-level spot covered by cliffs that keep the harsh winds away. Honoring its surfing tradition, Santa Cruz has museums and cafes dedicated to the many surfing legends that rode the waves here.

8. Jeffreys Bay: Beyond the waves

This South African surf town is a cultural hub of the water sport. Jeffreys Bay is on every surfers’ bucket list. Dozens of cafes, bars and restaurants are found in this former hippie hangout. Expect live music, amazing seafood and tons of memorabilia. As for the surf itself, the town is famous for having the absolute best right-hand surf break (J-Bay).

9. Haleiwa: A heavy-wave paradise

You won’t need to put a filter on the pictures of your trip to Haleiwa. The turquoise sea, white-sand beaches and palm trees will be enough. It is possible to find breaks for every level, as well as some real challenges if you are up to them. Perhaps more amazingly, Haleiwa has managed to preserve the traditional flavor and spirit thanks to the efforts and locals and visitors, 

10. Upolu: Untouched beaches

If you have already checked out most of the towns on this list, maybe it’s time you give the surfing enclaves of Samoa a chance. We guarantee you have never seen a place like this before. The Island of Upolu, located in the middle of the ocean, is home to coral reefs, coconuts and exotic, rare species of flora and fauna. Even for the most experts, a surf guide is recommended to make the most of the trip, as some areas are very remote and waves in certain zones pack a punch. However, the virgin, lush landscape makes it worth the adventure.