Road tripping looks like your best bet for scoring the surf on the Continent this summer
You don’t need to have lived through an unprecedented global pandemic, been locked down and taken an almost certain financial hit to feel like a you merit a Euro surf trip to reinvigorate your stoke levels.
But you have. And so you probably do.
While the future of travel looks set to change radically as we enter the ‘new normal’ epoch, with the idea of staying relatively local a more sustainable alternative to jetting off the other side of the world on a whim, as Europeans there is a richness of opportunity a day or so’s drive away (with maybe a little bit of boat/tunnel, too), with a variety of surf scapes, natural beauty and cultural contrasts to enjoy, too.
Recent moves by major European governments indicate that from July onwards, you’ll be able to take a summer trip across most of the Continent’s main surf zones.
Spain & Portugal
A statement in April that Spanish borders will be closed in both directions until autumn was recently updated, with the Spanish prime minister declaring as from July 1st, Spain will reopen to foreign visitors.
“From now, foreign tourists can plan their vacations in our country.”
The current two week quarantine (in place until June 7th) is already being relaxed in relatively Covid unaffected areas like Canaries and the Balearics, some of Spain’s most tourist dependent regions, although not traditionally summer surf zones.
Meanwhile, Portugal currently has no quarantine rules for visitors, except for some restrictions for travel to Azores and Madeira islands.
As the current information stands, you should be fine to seek surfing on every corner of the Atlantic coasts of the Iberian Peninsula this summer, all the way from Sagres to San Sebastian.
Historically popular for summer surfers partly due to the relative consistency of summer waves, as well as having Europe’s only real legit trunkable water temps (sure, you could go to Galicia, if your idea of summer surfing is ice cream headaches and being cold in a 4/3), France looks set to be open for foreign tourists this summer, following announcements this week from the prime minister.
Edouard Philippe presented the measures as for phase 2 of the containment exit plan: “Each one of us can start booking vacations. We will announce new rules this week… from now on, you can book holidays for July and August.”
While Philippe’s address was mainly concerning French nationals, with the 100km limit on internal travel in France was also relaxed this week and campsites taking bookings for July onwards, it is understood that from June 15th, France will reopen borders with European countries in both directions.
The UK quarantine takes effect as of June 8th (that’s starts, not ends) adding a bit of uncertainty in the short term for UK travellers, with little indication for the time being how long it will last.
The quarantine does not affect the Republic of Ireland though, so you could conceivably return from a Celtic slab hunting trip anytime without having to lockdown, that is, assuming you can get there/back.
As for air travel, industry estimates are that this summer will see around 50% of pre-Covid capacity. And while there are hopes that getting off our addiction to relatively cheap air travel will one upswing of the pandemic in the new normal, at this stage, it seems like a road trip is probably your best bet for a number of reasons.
Although if you are experiencing eyesight issues (from surfing or otherwise), probably best not to test them by loading up the SUV and jumping on the E3 motorway, or any other.
Cover image: @lugarts