When most people think of surfing they think of the summer. Golden beaches, crystal waters, and blue skies accompanied by glorious surf and maybe even a nearby surf bar.
What a lot of people don’t realize is that surfing is an all-year sport that can be enjoyed just as well in the autumn as the summer, as long as you’re willing to find the right spot.
Surfing in the autumn also has the added benefit of skipping on the crowds and tourists drawn out during the peak summer period, and it’s often way easier to find value in both your travel and your accommodation.
There are a wealth of amazing locations tucked away which provide some of the best surfing anywhere in the world, rivaling the famous spots in Australia or Hawaii but giving you the chance to experience a totally different culture and part of the world.
This is particularly true of a lot of Atlantic surf spots around the western European coast, as the gulf stream delivers warm water north and the heat of the summer peaks and only starts beginning to cool towards the end of the autumn, meaning October is actually a perfect time to schedule your next surf trip.
But where exactly should you be heading? In this article, we’re going to look at 10 of the best surf spots to hit in October, and highlight what exactly makes these places so great.
1. Maiorca, Figueira da Foz, Portugal
Portugal is probably Europe’s most famous and popular surfing destination thanks to a combination of superb nightlife, amazing surf history, and superb swells drawn up to their peak in the Autumn when the Atlantic starts to stir.
Portugal actually holds the record for the biggest wave ever surfed, and this alone makes it a place that all surfers should try to visit at least once. The culture is also packed with fun, and the beaches of Portugal are lined with excellent beach bars.
Maiorca in particular is a very popular spot and the right-hand break found here is actually Europe’s longest and draws a lot of attention from all over the world. There are many surf camps in the area and lessons that will suit all skill levels.
2. Peniche, Portugal
Staying in Portugal but moving a little further south, Peniche is another great October surf spot that actually hosts the Rip Curl Pro Peniche event in the latter half of the month, usually between the 12th and the 23rd. It’s a peak point in the professional surf calendar and there are few better places for this to occur.
The surf here comes complete and there is something for everyone from beginners to the pros, while the town itself is a beautiful place, a small fishing community that thrives alongside the churning waves.
The pro event itself only joined the calendar back in 2009 but it has made a huge name for itself thanks to the massive and reliable hollows and tubes that repeatedly hit the beaches here.
Much like the rest of Europe’s Atlantic coast at this time of year, this is caused by a combination of the gulf stream and the tumultuous changes that come with a transient season.
3. San Sebastian, Spain
If you’re seeking something a little more cosmopolitan than a rural fishing community, San Sebastian in Spain is a great place to head. It’s a beautiful city in the basque country, famous for its unique culture, language, food, wine and crucially, it’s surfing.
There are tons of amenities with buzzing nightlife and retail centers and beautiful beaches both near the city and a little further out from the hustle and bustle.
The surfing here may not be as prestigious as some other locations but it has everything you’ll need to get out and carve.
It’s also very well located, only a few hours drive from Pamplona if you’re interested in the rich culture of the area, and also the city of Bilbao.
4. Taghazout, Morocco
Morocco is another amazing Atlantic option that is quite easy to get to and is a country of rich culture and history.
There are also a lot of different locations well suited to different skill levels, with many surf camps located in Taghazout but also plenty of others in Agadir and Tamraght.
There are also some super gnarly places that will really challenge experienced surfers, such as Killer Point, Imsouane, and Anchor Point. All of these offer some of the most challenging waves, and there are plenty of other hidden spots along the Moroccan coast just waiting to be found.
Much like the nearby Canary Islands, the weather here stays mostly sunny year-round and the water temperature remains quite comfortable even during the deep winter months.
5. Hossegor, France
The southwest coast of France is one of the most overlooked spots when it comes to great surfing, and the golden sands of Hossegor offer some of the best surfing anywhere in the region.
The quality of the surfing available here is supported by the Quiksilver Pro France surf competition which takes place between the 25th of September and the 6th of October, when some of the best surfers from all over the world compete in the amazing waters off the French coast.
In terms of accessibility, Hossegor is quite near to the cities of Biarritz and Dax, with Bordeaux only a few hours north.
The town of Hossegor itself is quite small but there are plenty of amenities, none of them more impressive than the waves rolling in off La Graviere. While the surfing here is fairly consistent and good for most of the year, the autumn brings the Atlantic alive.
The proximity of this location to Spain also makes it quite easy to head further south and hit a few other amazing spots if you’ve got a large appetite for travel and quality surfing.
6. Fuerteventura, Canary Islands
The Canary Islands are one of the most beautiful places in the world and are located just off the north coast of Africa.
The island of Fuerteventura itself gets almost year-round sunshine due to its unique location, and it also remains warm almost constantly. The north of the island in particular has some of the best surfing, particularly near the town of Corralejo.
The island itself has stunning scenery and plenty to explore, and its constant stream of gorgeous weather makes it an amazing choice even during the autumn months when the rest of Europe is preparing to face the onset of winter and darkened nights.
7. Oahu, North Shore, Hawaii
No list of amazing surf spots could be complete without including the world’s most popular surfing location and the cradle of modern surfing culture.
During the winter months, the northern shores of Oahu become one of the best surf spots in the world and are home to one of the most revered stretches of coastline, the Seven Mile Miracle.
This area of the island is home to 36 of the best breaks anywhere in the world, making it perfect for experienced surfers who want a lot of different locations in a relatively small area.
If you’re a more inexperienced surfer then the south side of the island will have more manageable waves at this time of the year, making it the perfect time to give Hawaii a visit if you’re a total beginner.
The weather is warm and tropical almost year-round and the water stays fairly pleasant even at the peak of winter.
Go Nuts Hawaii is one of the best surf camps located on the north coast and is set up right next to the world-famous V-land beach, with some of the most experienced instructors anywhere on the island.
8. Cocoa Beach, Florida, United States
While it isn’t as associated with surf culture as Hawaii or California, the sunshine state is one of the best surf spots and has produced many of the greatest pro surfers over the years.
Towards the end of October Florida starts to get very consistent swells particularly at Cocoa Beach, as well as a few other locations.
Florida has many places to visit and has a very vibrant party culture and nightlife that will put most other surf towns to shame.
In terms of surf camps, there are a few which will accommodate varying skill levels, making this an ideal place for beginners also.
9. Bundoran, Ireland
This is a little bit of a hidden gem, one of the best-kept secrets of the surfing world lies on the unsuspecting northwest coast of Ireland!
In the autumn warm tides are pushed north by the gulf stream and the conditions for surfing in this area suddenly become world-class.
The growing popularity of this place among surfers means that it isn’t as well connected as some other locations and doesn’t have all of the amenities some surfers may expect, but it makes up for this by being less crowded than more famous locations.
10. Southern Province, Sri Lanka
The beautiful island of Sri Lanka is a little further afield, but it’s well worth the trip due to its perennially warm waters, decent swells, and stunning scenery.
It’s home to some of the most interesting cultures in the world and has almost total sunshine year round so there’s never a bad time to make the trip.
Probably one of the best beaches here is near Weligama which is also renowned as a superb spot for inexperienced surfers to start learning.