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The Big Wave Route

Ride the biggest waves of the Bay of Biscay

The Basque coastline is one of Europe's best areas for big-wave surfing. From the Estuary of Bilbao to Donostia, the capital of Gipuzkoa, both hardcore big-wave riders and general surfing fans can experience all the power of the Bay of Biscay.

Definitely not for beginner surfers, big-wave surfing is practiced by experienced surfers on waves of 20ft or higher. Anyone attempting these waves should be well-prepared and a confident surfer.

Pais Vasco's biggest waves are generally found in the autumn or winter season, from October to February but there are always surprises. Intense, monumental, and breathtaking, the waves hitting the beaches of the big wave route are an incredible wonder to behold as well as surf.

The experience of surfing these waves, or simply watching them, can leave no-one indifferent. Visit these beautiful beaches and surf the waves if you dare!

Punta Galea

Situated below the cliff of La Galea, from which it takes it's name, this wave can be very dangerous due to its closeness to the cliff-face and the presence of rocky ridges nearby. Located at the mouth of the port of Bilbao, the enigmatic Punta Galea wave can offer sessions of up to 18 feet. The wave is a spectacular sight in itself, especially from La Galea promenade with wide green open spaces set against the industrial landscape.


Meñakoz has probably the most complete and powerful wave along all of the Basque coastline. Located in its rocky namesake cove, between Sopelana and Barrika, the Meñakoz wave can provide sessions of up to 21 feet and is well-known by fans of traditional big-wave surfing. See all the power of this wave from the cliffs, or, from the cove itself, which offers spectacular frontal views of the wave.


When the sandbar hardens at Mundaka, the waves reach 15ft but lose none of their characteristic power. One of Europe's most famous surfing beaches, Mundaka is located in a river mouth and has some of the best lefts, and fantastic hollow waves for barrel surfing or tube riding. There is a great atmosphere around the beach with fans at the local viewpoint whenever the wave is breaking for a spectacular sight.


One of Europe's biggest waves, the wave at Izaro can reach 30ft in favourable conditions. The only option is these conditions it to try tow-surfing with the help of a jet-ski. The road between the towns of Bermeo and Mundaka provides some great glimpses of the wave for those who don't want to brave the water.


Gipuzkoa's best big wave surfing location, Deba is home to the very powerful wave known as Sorgin Zulo. The wave moves a large mass of water and is surfable up to 18ft on a few occasions throughout the year when there are ideal surfing conditions. Deba's seaside promenade is the best spot for fans to watch all the surfing sessions.

Roka Puta

Roka Puta has the most surfers, and is the most active big-wave spot, in the area of Zarautz, which is a real breeding ground for big-wave riders. Reaching up to 18ft in favourable conditions, the Roka Puta wave is a long, powerful wave that is surfed both using jet-skis and on traditional boards. Observers will find the best views from many different angles in the cove of Orrua, next to the road between Getaria and Zumaia.

Playa Gris

Playa Gris is Europe's most international wave and has a large media presence thanks to its various nominations for the prestigious World XXL Awards for big-wave surfing. Tow-surfers can ride waves of more than 30ft and images of riders surfing this wave have been seen all over the world. There can be huge traffic jams on the N-634 road which joins Getaria and Zumaia but the surfing spectacle just 100m away is unforgettable.


The Agiti wave is largely unknown and has only been surfed using tow-surfing - and this only on very few occasions. Breaking very close to the cliff face, it is an almost impossible wave that leaves no margin for error. One of the Basque coasts many 'impossible waves', it is hidden behind the bay of La Concha.


The reef of Belharra, just 10 minutes from Hendaye, is home to the biggest wave ever surfed in Europe. Since it began its recent life as a big-wave surf spot, there have been only a few sessions but photographers and filmmakers have caught some incredible images of extremely brave tow-in teams surfing towering masses of water. The road that joins Hendaye and Sokoa is probably the best place to admire the surfers but you'll need a good pair of binoculars. Otherwise the best view is in the water itself!