Everything You Need to Know About Surfing in San Sebastian

Spain’s northern coastline is famous for its magnificent surfing spots, and what makes San Sebastian even more unique is that it’s one of the few places in the world where you can find amazing waves right in the heart of a lively city. 

This allows you to combine surfing with other amazing things the city has to offer: culture, nature, gastronomy… you name it! Get ready to dive in—here’s our complete guide to surfing in San Sebastian. 

Get ready to catch some waves with this guide to surfing in San Sebastian.

Get started: Head to Zurriola Beach

In the city of San Sebastian you can find not one or two but three beaches in total, and Zurriola is where you want to head when in search of some good waves to catch. Known as the surfers’ beach, it’s every water sport enthusiast’s favorite spot in town.

Right next to Zurriola Beach, you’ll find the Gros district—the hip surfers’ neighborhood full of lively bars and great gastronomy. With its many hostels and bed and breakfasts, this is the perfect area to find accommodation for your surf getaway.  

Insider’s tip: Head to Calle Peña y Goñi for some of the best pintxo bars in town. Our favorite is Bodega Donostiarra, where you will find traditional Basque food and some of the most iconic pintxos in San Sebastian. And if you need some energy before hitting the waves in the morning, every surfer’s number one breakfast place is Uh-Mami, which serves the freshest smoothies and açai bowls in town. 

Zurriola Beach is home to the best surfing in San Sebastian.
Zurriola Beach draws surfers from all over the world for its great waves and beautiful surroundings.

Beginner? No worries!  

First time riding the waves? No problem. Start off by renting a wetsuit and a surfboard from one of the many surf schools around Zurriola Beach, such as Pukas or Zurriola Surf Eskola

If you’ve never surfed before, the best way to get started is with the help of a professional. All of the schools offer guided surf classes where you’ll learn everything you need to know. Choose your level from beginner to advanced, a group class or a private class—whichever best fits your needs. 

One of our favorite things to do in San Sebastian: surfing at Zurriola Beach!
If it’s your first time hitting the waves, learn from the best at one of the many surf schools near Zurriola Beach. Photo credit: Estitxu Carton

Catch a train to a true surfers’ village

If you want to move around or the waves aren’t ideal in San Sebastian, you can always drive or catch a train to the nearby village of Zarautz, a true surf town only 15 minutes away from San Sebastian. Besides a gorgeous long beach with some of the Basque Country’s best waves, it’s an attractive city where you’ll also find great pintxo places. 

If you’re really hungry after your surf session, we have great news: Zarautz is just a five-minute bus ride away from Getaria, a village famous for amazing seafood and txakoli, the local white wine. Our recommendation for lunchtime pintxos is Elkano Txiki—a true foodie paradise.

The seaside town of Zarautz is one of the best day trips from San Sebastian.
Zarautz is just 3.5 kilometers (a little over 2 miles) downshore from Getaria. If you’re feeling up to it, you can easily walk from one to the other in about an hour! Photo credit: Oleg Sidorenko

Find more waves from France 

Sometimes the grass is greener on the other side—but in this case, we’re talking about the waves. You’ll find some of the best on the French side of the Basque Country. Hendaye and Biarritz are both great spots, and they’re less than 30 minutes away from San Sebastian—great options for a day trip!

Catch a bus back to San Sebastian right before dinner time. After all, nothing wakes up the appetite better than a good surf session, and txikiteo is the perfect way to end your day catching waves.

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