Surfing is the perfect antidote to the hassles of everyday life, which is why so many people travel the world chasing that perfect wave. Choosing the best surfing destination isn’t just about the waves (although they’re pretty important) to add to the experience you’re probably want to bag yourself some gorgeous surroundings too. Here are our Top 10 of the most beautiful and best places to surf in the world…
1. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – for great beach parties and great waves
Rio de Janeiro is home to some of the best beaches in the world and up and down the coast Rio boasts 54 surfing spots – here there’s a wave to suit everyone. Experienced surfers should try Baixio, tropical or Reserva; those with a death wish or surfer’s ego can attempt Shock or Laje Cartao Postal and the beginners should try Canal de Camboinhas. Staying in Rio is relatively cheap so it’s easy to take up the surfer lifestyle no matter where you come from. The best surfing season in Rio is July/August when the water is a steady 20 ̊C and the swells are high. The weather is at its hottest in January but the swells are lower this time of year.
2. Maldives – one of the most beautiful places to surf in the world
Why surf in Maldives? For the translucent water, flat sandy beaches and 26 atolls spanning 1190 islands – most of which are uninhabited. Cokes (Thulusdhoo Island), Five Islands, Pasta Point, Tombstones and Yin Yang are the Maldives best surf destinations suitable for surfers of all levels of experience.
Extreme surfers should try Meeru reef and ‘Ninjas’ is good for beginner surfers. July/August sees the biggest swells, although the swells are relatively big all year round with slightly milder ones in March/April and November. The weather is tropical, humid and dry from November to March and from May to November there’s more of a chance of rain, strong winds and stormy weather.
3. California, USA – one of the most iconic surfing destinations in the world
Easily one of the most beautiful places to surf in the world! With almost 500 surf spots to choose from along the Californian coast, surfers can take their pick. You can also choose a quiet beach or party beach, all offering breathtakingly beautiful scenery. Hardcore surfers set off for northern Californian spots like Del Norte and Southern California – with the world-famous L.A. beach scene – offers more fun than consistently good waves. SoCal rocks but if you’re there just for the waves go north young man. Some of the top picks in California are Old Man’s, San Onofre State Beach; Surfrider Beach, Malibu, San Francisco; Fort Point; South Beach and Ocean Beach.
4. Perth, Western Australia – an underrated place to catch waves
Australia’s famous surfing spot and the whole of Western Australia itself is a good place to escape the crowds. Perth can be divided into Perth North, South and central with the Perth city center having the most surfing spots. On the city beaches, Trigg Point takes the prize hands down although there can be a lot of surfers in the water at the same time.
Waves are great all year round in Perth, and Scarborough also has good banks. In the cold months of July/August you’ll need a wetsuit but the swells reach their maximum, January/February are the hottest months but there are smaller swells. If you go a little south you’ll reach Avalon Point, Bunbury, Surfer’s Point and Margaret River – one of the better spots. Going north you’ll find bigger swells. The local surfers are hospitable and you’ll probably end up having a few lagers and hooking up with a Sheila.
5. Cape Town, South Africa – surf against a stunning scenic backdrop
Cape town offers spectacular beach scenery with a backdrop of the majestic Table Mountain if you plan to surf here. The people are friendly here and the beaches are sublime. Cape Town also has about 150 great surfing spots. There is an open sea from Cape Horn to the coast so the swells can get pretty large. In Cape Town, two seas meet so you get the constantly chilly water of the Atlantic and the warmer Indian Ocean in False Bay.
June/August are the winter months with large swells and the chance of thunderstorms but all year round you’ll find surfable waves in Cape Town. In January/February water temperatures can be 13 ̊C while the air is 35 ̊C. You can also enjoy the laid back multi-cultural city where flip-flops and shorts are de rigueur and the women are beautiful. Cape Town is one of the immerging top tourist destinations but surfers have been well aware of its charms for years.
- Also check out our Top 10 of the most beautiful places to visit in South Africa
6. Hawaii – one of the coolest surfing destination in the world
The iconic and beautiful surfing destination is famous for its huge waves, its beautiful surroundings and for its surfer camaraderie. Hawaii boasts the top surfing spots of Hanalei Point, Hanalei, Kauai; Banzai Pipeline, North Shore, Oahu; Maui and the Big Island beaches. Although one of the best-surfing destinations here is Oahu. The hot spots here are Waimea Bay; Off the Wall; Pipeline and Log cabins.
The surfers are picky about who they share the waves herewith but the winter swells can’t be beaten. It can get crowded out in the water being such a popular surfing destination. Huge swells and water temperatures of 24 ̊C in January bring out all the best surfers. If you want to be by yourself with just challenging waves, rips, undertows and sharks try Pier One. The island beach parties and friendly smiles will make you feel at home and you’ll feel like the greatest surfer in the world having arrived at this world-famous surfer’s Mecca.
7. Spain – one of the best places to surf in Europe
Spain has several splendid surfing destinations, Pais Vasco; Cantabria; Asturias; Galicia; Andalucia and the Mediterranean Coastline. The best thing about this surfing destination (aside from the great scenery) is the constant good weather and reliable waves. Cala Finestrat; Cabopina and Formentera are just a few of the 100 Spanish Mediterranean surfing spots.
Most of the surfing coast is suitable for all surfers but has little or no extreme surf for hardhead surfers. There are also a few spots for beginners like Mallorca. Watch out for the frequent sand bars, beach break and rocks. The swells aren’t that big but the party is on! September and October are the best surfing months in Spain. For a more solitary surf head for the Galicia region where the swells are large in January/February and the temperatures 10 ̊C. Here more daring surfers can try Rinlo or seijo Branco. In November/December head for Andalucia for huge swells and mild but temperatures, with the warmer weather comes the smaller waves.
8. Bali, Indonesia – great waves and beautiful scenery
Bali is an island paradise with crystal clear water and fine sandy beaches and the waves aren’t bad here either! The southern ocean swells come in from Antarctica and the coasts are covered with great surfing opportunities. June-September is the Bali dry winter when surfing here is at its best but the crowds can bring you down.
Some of the top sites are Ceningan Point, Ewan’s Left (coral reef) and Karamas Beach (a bit rocky) all of these are best for experienced surfers. Fearless surfers should head for Ketewel or Impossibles and beginners can catch a wave at Kuta Beach. In Kuta you’ll also find plenty of Bali accommodation. For high swells and temperatures of around 27 ̊C in the water visit from May to August. Although the warm weather continues all year round and you won’t need a wetsuit here. One of the most stunning surfing destinations in the world!
9. Cornwall, UK – home to many amazing surf beaches
This might not an obvious choice but for those on the continent, this one can be special. Cornwall is known for its unspoiled coastline and wild rugged scenery. For fantastic breaks try the well-known surf post-Bude. Further north you’ll find reefs and point breaks and experienced surfers will like Barrets Zawn.
Those looking for some action should try the Box or Rusey beach-Pengold. Further west, Newquay is the popular surf town and you’ll find more surfing spots in northern Cornwell. Water temperatures range from 9 ̊C to 17 ̊C throughout the year. Cornwell is a laid back surfing destination in the quiet sense of the word. You won’t feel like you are in a surfing mecca but will know you’ve discovered a gem.
Check out our trip to Fistral Bay surf beach in Newquay Cornwall…
10. Fiji – an amazing place to surf
Fiji is a slice of paradise, with friendly locals, year-long good temperatures, tubular reefs and strong swells. Many of the resorts have private beaches where you’ll need to be a guest to surf but you can find your own stretch of beach. Try Yanuca Island for informal surfing and Castaway Island or Tavarua Island for dream waves. Other spots of note are Beachouse; Macas’ bend; Namotu Lefts and vesi Passage, Kadavu. If you’re a kamikaze surfer then head for Mini Cloudbreak or the Lighthouse. The waves are substantial all year round but they reach their peak in November. December is also a good time to visit as the water temperature hits 28 ̊C.
Enjoy the waves!