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Surfing in Biarritz

Surfing at la grande plage, Biarritz

A guide to surfing in Biarritz

With surf spots in Biarritz like Le Miramar, La Grande Plage, La Côtes des Basques, Marbella and La Milady, Biarritz has a number of spots for a good surf all year.

Biarritz is one of Europe’s most famous surfing destinations, and it’s easy to see why. With year round swell, 5 different surf spots and a spectacular Basque Country setting, you’ll quickly fall in love with the area.

Depending on the tide and the size and direction of the swell, you’ll always find a wave to surf. Even if it’s big and the wind’s blowing onshore you needn’t despair; head to La Côte des Basques and you’re almost sure to find a surfable wave.

One of the most memorable experiences you can have as a surfer in summer in Biarritz is to go for an evening surf. With the sun setting and over the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees silhouetted in the background, you’ll be in surfer heaven.

Check out our Active Holiday Guide for the lowdown on fun things to do in Biarritz, including surfing, SUP and lifeguard training, plus accommodation options, a selection of our favourite places to eat and Biarritz’s top night spots.

Watch this: The Joel Tudor Invitational in Biarritz

The Best Time of Year to go Surfing in Biarritz

There are waves all year round in Biarritz. However, the best time for you to go surfing will depend a lot on your own ability, as the surf varies in size and power between seasons. In July and August the waves are small, fun and good for learning, but watch out, there’s loads of people in the water.

In both May and June and September and October, you can surf good waves with less people in the lineup, and there’s more likely to be decent swell than in the height of summer. September is often perfect – the tourist hoards have gone home but the evenings are long and the water’s still warm. Good surfers will enjoy the winter because that’s when the big, powerful waves roll in.

With regards to temperature, the water only starts to get cold in December and even in the depths of winter you won’t need more than a 4/3 mm wetsuit. From July to the end of September you can surf in boardshorts and the rest of the time you’ll be in a 3/2.

Biarritz Surf Forecast

Biarritz, La Grande Plage surf forecast – surf report and surfing conditions for the next 3 days with swell components including wave height, wave direction and wave period, wind direction and weather forecast.

Biarritz surf forecast courtesy of surf-forecast.com.

Biarritz Surf Spot Guide

1. Le Miramar

Spot type: Beach, Reef. Offshore wind: Easterly. Bottom type: Sand and Rocks. Best tide: Mid tide.
Wave size: 1 to 3 m. Swell direction: West, North Lat Long: 43.488492, -1.555264.

Le Miramar, Biarritz
Le Miramar, Biarritz | © Flickr – Steve Shupe

Located 300 m to the north of La Grande Plage, Biarritz’s Le Miramar surf spot is made up of a mixture of sand and rocks. The backdrop is dominated by a stack of rock with a big hole in it called la roche percée, or pierced rock, which, depending on the direction of the swell shapes the wave into a bowl making for a nice hollow takeoff. Directly opposite the Hotel du Palais there’s another peak that offers both a left and a right, which can offer a good long ride if the conditions are right.

Guillaume’s take:

Le Miramar is a good spot to retreat to if it’s big as the rocks break up the swell. When the wave’s working, you can surf some nice punchy bowls with less people in the water than at neighbouring Grande Plage.

2. La Grande Plage

Spot type: Beach, Reef. Offshore wind: Easterly. Bottom type: Sand and Rocks. Best tide: Mid tide.
Wave size: 1 to 3 m. Swell direction: West, North Lat Long: 43.484804, -1.558936.

Surfing at Grande Plage in Biarritz
Le Miramar, Biarritz | © Flickr – drip&ju

Biarritz’s city beach is one of the most photographed spots on the Basque coast. Framed by a chic esplanade, the sumptuous Hotel du Palais at the northern end and rocks at the southern end, it’s a pretty iconic place to surf. The waves pack less punch here than in Anglet just to the north and the rocks trim the southerly wind and help shape the sandbanks. Surfing here comes at a cost though; parking is scarce and pricey and the break is crowded throughout the summer and at any time when the surf is good.

Guillaume’s take:

Located bang in the centre of Biarritz, La Grande Plage is the town’s most famous surf spot by far. You’ll find good surfable waves here even when it’s too big elsewhere along the coast. The downside is that it’s rare that you’re on your own in the water. In summer, you need to take extra care because the waves are rammed with both local rippers and total beginners making the surfing pretty hectic and borderline dangerous.

3. La Côte des Basques

Spot type: Beach. Offshore wind: Easterly. Bottom type: Sand. Best tide: Low to Mid tide.
Wave size: 1 to 2.5 m. Swell direction: West, North Lat Long: 43.479503, -1.566811.

Surfing at La Côte des Basques in Biarritz
View of the Côte des Basques surf beach and the Belza Villa | © Flickr – Daniel Jolivet

Popular with longboarders, when the conditions are right, La Côte des Basques offers long mellow rides that can go on and on. At low tide, the beach is huge and it’s a great spot for beginners. At high tide, it’s a different beast – the beach disappears to nothing. In the winter and spring the ocean washes up over the rocks and if the waves are big it can be downright dangerous. If you get stuck, and you’ve still got some paddling in you, you can either paddle north round the rocks and get out at Port Vieux beach, or head south to Marbella where there’s always a bit of a beach. Shortboarders may want to check out the reefs at the southern end of the beach that kick up a punchier wave.

Guillaume’s take:

In summer, the Côte des Basques is a paradise for longboarders. The setting is spectacular with the Belza villa dominating the northern end of the beach and the foothills of the Pyrenees framing the southern end. The waves are less hollow than elsewhere and if you find the right peak you can get a ride that lasts for hundreds of metres. It’s a great spot for learning and so no surprise that there’s loads of surf schools here, but that also means that it’s crowded in the water.

4. Marbella

Spot type: Beach. Offshore wind: Easterly. Bottom type: Sand. Best tide: Mid tide to High tide.
Wave size: 1 to 2.5 m. Swell direction: West, North Lat Long: 43.468103, -1.573139.

Heading in after a surf at Marbella, Biarritz
Heading in after a surf at Marbella, Biarritz| © Flickr – Jean-Claude Mouton

Marbella to the south of La Côte des Basques in Biarritz is a beach break hemmed in by rocks at its northern end and a groin to the south. The spot gets good swell but when it’s big, the wave can break a bit early and peter out. You end up doing a lot of duck diving for relatively few waves. Therefore, Merbella is best surfed on an outgoing tide or when the waves are smaller. In those conditions it can be super fun, just watch out for the rocks at the end your ride. The Marbella Surf Club is here and can lend the spot a bit of a cliquey vibe. To access the beach, head south past the Côte des Basques and turn right at the bottom of the hill. There’s a small carpark with easy access to the beach.

Guillaume’s take:

Marbella occasionally kicks up a great wave and the spot can even work at high tide. This is real locals beach, so surf here with respect for the regular rippers.

5. La Milady

Spot type: Beach, Reef. Offshore wind: Easterly. Bottom type: Sand and Rocks. Best tide: Mid tide.
Wave size: 1 to 2.5 m. Swell direction: West, North Lat Long: 43.464534, -1.575729.

Beautiful light at La Miladysurf beach, Biarritz
Beautiful lights at La Milady, Biarritz | © Flickr – Valéry Lafue

La Milady is located the other side of the groin at the southern end of Marbella and it’s a similar spot in many ways. A decent shorebreak, it works best in small waves with a short fun ride straight out front. The left at the southern end of the beach is pretty mellow and on occasion a right pops up at the northern end. Watch out for rocks when you’re finishing up your wave, or when you wipeout.

Guillaume’s take:

La Milady is especially well-known for its left that can really be outstanding when the conditions are right. At the same time, you need to watch out for strong rips that can drag the unwary out to sea.

Please leave a comment below if you need specific advice for your surf trip to Biarritz, or if you have any recommendations to help us improve this guide. Happy holidays!

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