France

Hossegor: Europe's surf capital

So here we are… The start of our big Europe surf trip; Hossegor (map)! Probably the surf capital of Europe with amazing waves, the ASP surf competitions in September, and long golden beaches at the edge of the pine woods. We’ve been coming here for years and actually came up with the idea of Mokum Surf Club at this very spot!

Surfing like there's no tomorrow

With probably one of the best beach breaks in the world, Hossegor attracts quite the crowd. However, Hossegor isn’t as well known as places like Biarritz and Mimizan, so you won’t find an ocean full of surf schools. Quite the opposite actually. Due to its powerful peaks, perfect barrels, and strong currents, you will mostly find more advanced surfers including the additional surf culture.

waves ocean hossegor surfing sunset france
Surfer girl on the beach of Hossegor France

Surf spots around Hossegor

For those, like me, who aren’t acing on steep, hollow, barrels just yet, there are plenty of spots around Hossegor that are a little more forgiving. Places like Le Sud, La Pointe in Capbreton or the two breaks in Seignosse. Depending on the conditions I often go surfing at the beach of Le Penon, in Seignosse. Early mornings this place is deserted with just a few diehards who are still getting rid of the sleep in their eyes. This is the perfect time to improve the skills and actually being able to catch some waves without way too talented little kids stealing them.

Circus of Hossegor

The only slight disadvantage of Hossegor is the lack of authentic charm to it. This is definitely nothing like the Riviera with cute little streets and beautiful terraces with ocean views. Hossegor is built around tourism and you notice it. There aren’t many nice restaurants or bars where you can enjoy your sundowners without having the feeling you are in a Disneyland kind of place (ok… I’m kind of exaggerating here, but you get the point).

hossegor beach plage france
tante jeanne restaurant food hossegor france

Waffles and pizza

However, they do have a few and we’ll definitely mention those! So the moment you enter Hossegor you smell waffles. I kid you not. Of course, we are in France, and they kind of made waffles their thing (stealing this genius invention from the Belgians). But this smell comes from one direction; Tante Jeanne. I don’t know about you, but my tummy starts to rumble like crazy the moment I smell waffles. It turns out waffles aren’t the only thing Tante Jeanne knows how to make. As one of the few charming places around, this one is a must-try at least once. As much as I would love to, you can’t really eat waffles for dinner. In our search for a good pizza spot, we stumbled upon Little Princess. I’m not sure how they do it, but this place is packed every time we visit. Definitely a good after-surf spot as their pizzas might just be the best in town.

Guethary village basque country france

Charming Guéthary

If you’re up for a bit of a field trip, then drive down South. What Hossegor lacks in charm, nearby Guéthary makes up for it. The whole village is built in basque style with white houses and red rooftops, balconies covered in flowers, and seaside views. Wine is served as breakfast, the coastline is covered with little beach bars, and the surfers walk bare feet through the small streets. Because of the shape of Guéthary’s bay, it’s perfect for stand-up paddling. Moving a little more towards Bidart there are plenty of waves for the surf-minded among us.

Follow the waves

Of course, the waves win it from the charm of a town. With a playground like Hossegor, every surfer with common sense wouldn’t even think of skipping this surfing hotspot. With the many authentic Basque villages around, you’ll easily be able to get your croissant in a charming setting elsewhere. And otherwise.. eating waffles at Tante Jeanne all day every day isn’t too bad either, right?

Surf’s up people, see ya in Hossegor!

Marthe

hossegor plage beach basque country france

Photos by: M. Barends, J. Roeland©