Time to get the wet-suits and board shorts out and hit the beach. Surfing is one of the most popular board sports ever invented. With over 20 million surfers throughout the world, there truly is something magical about surfing that attracts people from all walks of life. Surfing isn’t a walk in the park though, it is a test of athleticism, balance and nerves. Although the sport is often associated with summer, there is a great variety of places throughout Europe that come to life at different times of the year.

Today, we look at the best places to test yourself against some big waves.

Biarritz, France

Find a training partner that is willing to push themselves to the limit alongside you for the grueling and rewarding challenge ahead. Competing in ÖTILLÖ will be a memory that will last with you forever. It is rare to find a race so demanding yet so rewarding.

The south-west coast of France is known for its hollow waves and ideal surf climate. Biarritz is most famous for ‘Le Grande Plage’ which is always packed with visitors looking for a good place to surf. If you want a real test, head to the Anglet area north of the city where you’ll find ‘Les Cavaliers’, a challenging surfing beach flanked by two rocky gliders.

Algarve, Portugal

The Algarve region stretches along the South and East coasts of Portugal, both of which face into the testing Atlantic swells. There is a great variety of surfing areas along this route so you’ll never have to surf the same beach twice. Some of the best spots include Arrifana Reef, Canal and Beliche. These beaches experience a huge tidal range, so it’s important to get the timing right to make the most of your surfing adventure.

Cornwall, UK

Located in the far south west corner of Britain, Cornwall is also ideally placed to catch Atlantic swells. Wet-suits are a necessary piece of gear in Cornwall as this location enjoys its best surfing conditions from Autumn through to Spring. The big wave spots in this area are known to hold in excess of 20ft on a good swell.

Mundaka, Basque Country

Mundaka comes to life every winter when the sun-seekers are replaced by thrill-seekers. Surfers come here every year to take on what is considered by many to be one of the best rivermouth waves in the world. The ‘Mundaka wave’ has hosted plenty of surf contests including World Tour events.

Klitmøller, Denmark

Denmark may not be synonymous with surfing but big waves can be found along the northwest coast all year round. Klitmøller in particular is an ideal spot for surfers of all skill levels. The town is often referred to as “Cold Hawaii” and boasts optimum conditions for other water sports such as kitesurfing and windsurfing.