Surfing in Canary Islands

Surfing guide to Canary Islands,

Canary Islands has 4 main surf areas. There are 16 surf spots . Go explore!

Overview of surfing in Canary Islands

The Canary Islands are an island chain off the coast of Northwest Africa that are known as the “Hawaii of Europe.” This is an incredible namesake, but do these islands really hold up in comparison? The answer is a resounding yes. From the tourist amenities and accommodation options to the pounding surf over shallow lava reefs, this is the closest approximation to the Pacific islands that you will get in the Atlantic. The weather is warm to too hot year round, and although water temperatures are not tropical, a shortie wetsuit will do you just fine. There are plenty of waves, both for beginners and the most advanced, as well as a huge range of what your trip can look like. From off the grid camping to all inclusive luxury resorts, you can do it all here. The Canary Islands are officially owned by Spain, which also makes entry and exit requirements a breeze for most international travelers. What can you expect when you book a plane ticket here? Read on to find out more.

The Surf

The Canary Islands are, well, islands! This means that there is year round exposure to swell, on the North, West, and South coasts of the archipelago (similar to Indonesia in this sense). This is great news for those that might be learning or are travelling with people that want to dip their toes into surfing. There are both beginner and advanced level breaks within driving distance on all the islands. The surf here ranges from sharp shallow lava reefs to protected bays and everything in between. Know your limits, when the swell is pumping a lot of the exposed spots on the North and Western shores can become very dangerous very quickly. Not to mention you’ll be competing for waves with Europe’s best.

Top Surf Spots

El Quemao

One of the heaviest barrels you will find in the Atlantic, El Quemao is well known for it’s ultra shallow reef and ultra critical tubes. Some have called likened it to Pipeline in Hawaii and Chopes in Tahiti. Watch the clip above and you’ll find out why. This is a wave for those with vast amounts of hollow ave experience as anything less will prove dangerous.

La Izquerida

La Izquerida is a quality reef set up known for a left that breaks over a lava rock bottom. These waves tend to offer some heavy barrels when the swell picks up but smaller performance based waves when smaller. Best to check at high or mid tide. Learn more here!

La Santa

La Santa is a popular reef break that throws out both a left and right. The right is more hollow and favored by boogie boarders, but also holds good size. The left is more performance based and tends to not barrel. When very big the right is on as a tow spot, take care and make sure you know your limits. Learn more here!

Accommodation Information

There is a wide range of accommodation here. Tenerife is the most built up island here, and is considered very “resorty” making it a perfect island for a luxury vacation. Of course there will be hotels/resorts on other islands as well, but not as popular or dense as this island. There are surf hostels throughout the archipelago, as well as cheaper hotels and hostels that don’t necessarily market to surfers.

Surf camps are also an option, which will provide access to breaks that are only reachable by boat. Some islands will be great to camp on, especially the smaller more remote ones, but make sure you have the required permit before pitching your tent up.

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Getting there

Regions in the Canary Islands

There are countless islands and small rock outcroppings in this archipelago. The four main islands will be listed here.


Fuerteventura is known for its incredible beaches and high cliffs. The water here is crystal clear blue and the island has surf year round. The Northern half is where most of the surfing will be. Corralejo has many surf schools and is a good place for beginners to start, while the town of El Cotillo is home to some more difficult breaks suitable for advanced surfers. There is no shortage of surf schools here nor beginner waves.

Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria is the main island in the Canary Islands. There is also plenty of surf here. La Cicer is a surf break that is perfect to learn the ropes at, and many beginners have. Most of the waves here are best for intermediates, and offer a great canvas to progress on. That being said there are some very critical waves here, like El Fronton or La Barra, great for advanced surfers. Watch out for some localism here, it can get a little hectic at times.


Tenerife is by far the most built up of any of the Canary islands. This is the island to come to if you are looking for a luxurious stay. The coastline is full of rolling surfbreaks in front of restaurants and resorts along most of the coast. That being said, if you head to the more remote Northern areas of the island there are some advanced breaks and lava rock reefs. These won’t be crowded.


The northern Coast of Lanzarote is well known for it’s heaving reef breaks. Here you will find epic waves that are likened to Pipeline in Hawaii, and rightfully so. Beyond that there are some nice long sandy beaches great for beginners. If you head toward the south of the island or on the East Coast, there are some less popular and less quality spots. This area is mostly resort filled, so make sure you can access the break before planning on going!

Access to Canary Islands and Surf

Getting into the Canary Islands is straightforward. You are either flying or taking a ferry. Ferries are not a bad option as you can take your own car onboard most of them and you’ll want a car to access some of the spots. Airports can be found on any of the major islands, but the major hubs are on Lanzarote and Gran Canaria.

Once you are in the archipelago it is easy to island hop from one to the other using local ferries, just make sure to take note of when the last returning ferry leaves! Accessing surf is mostly by car once you are on a specific island. There are some spots that are on the smaller, more remote islands, and you’ll need a boat to get to some of these.

Visa and Entry/Exit Information

The Canary Islands are part of Spain officially, which also make them part of the Schengen Area. Therefore there are no visa requirements needed for any EU residents, and almost any international traveler will be able to enter for 90 days without a visa, more than enough time to score some epic surf. Be aware that you will need a valid passport to enter if you are traveling from outside the Schengen Area.

The 16 best Surf spots in Canary Islands

Overview of surfing spots in Canary Islands

El Confital

Right | Exp Surfers
150m long

El Fronton

Peak | Exp Surfers
150m long

El Lloret

Right | Exp Surfers
150m long

Mosca Point

Left | Exp Surfers
300m long

La Izquierda / Spanish Left

Left | Exp Surfers
100m long


Right | Exp Surfers
100m long

El Paso

Peak | Exp Surfers
200m long

Derecha Del Faro

Right | Exp Surfers
200m long

Surf spot overview

Lineup Lowdown

The Canary Islands are known for many things, and a little bit of localism is one of them. Starting from the good, surf tourism has really taken off here. Meaning that there will be surf camps and beginner beaches/programs wherever you’d like to surf where the waves are suitable. This has led to more people coming for the waves etc… As a response there has been a development of localism which tends to stay secluded to the more advanced reefs as well as some spots near and around big tourism areas. Generally, however, lineups give good vibes as long as you are following the rules of etiquette and respecting the locals. There will always be a mix of people in the water given the destination status of the Canary Islands, so make some new friends!

Surf seasons and when to go

The best time of the year to surf in Canary Islands

The Northern Hemisphere winter will be the ideal time to come, specifically right on the beginning and tail end of it. These are the times of year that the North Atlantic becomes very active and sends seemingly endless swell to the coasts. The one problem you might have is finding the right spot for the right wind. That being said, the beginning and tail end will have a good mix of swell and favorable wind. The off season (June to August), will yield small swell and almost exclusively on the Southern sides of the islands. This is a great time of year to come and learn how to surf as the temperatures will be high both in and out of the water, perfect for beginners to gt used to surfing. These swells will also be smaller and more forgiving, generally breaking onto sand as opposed to the lava reefs in the North.

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Canary Islands surf travel guide

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Activities other than Surf

Surfing might be a major draw to the Canary Islands, but the archipelago brims with a plethora of other activities. Adventure seekers can venture into the volcanic landscapes, hiking through stunning national parks that showcase the islands’ unique geology. For wildlife enthusiasts, the surrounding Atlantic waters are ripe for whale and dolphin watching tours, presenting an opportunity to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.

The underwater world is just as intriguing; with scuba diving and snorkeling revealing a myriad of marine life. And for a taste of local culture and flavor, visiting the local wineries, especially in Lanzarote, offers insights into the region’s viticulture and a chance to savor its produce.


While Spanish stands as the official language of the Canary Islands, the influence of international tourism means English is widely spoken, especially in popular tourist hubs. However, making an effort to learn and use basic Spanish phrases can be rewarding. Not only does it show respect for the local culture, but it can also lead to more authentic experiences, deeper connections, and perhaps even uncovering local secrets that most tourists might overlook. Here is a list of some phrases and words you might find useful.


  • Hola: Hello
  • Buenos días: Good morning
  • Buenas tardes: Good afternoon
  • Buenas noches: Good evening / Good night
  • Adiós: Goodbye


  • Sí: Yes
  • No: No
  • Por favor: Please
  • Gracias: Thank you
  • De nada: You’re welcome
  • Lo siento: I’m sorry
  • Disculpa/Perdón: Excuse me

Getting Around

  • ¿Dónde está…?: Where is…?
  • Playa: Beach
  • Hotel: Hotel
  • Restaurante: Restaurant
  • Baño: Bathroom
  • Estación de autobuses: Bus station
  • Aeropuerto: Airport


  • Ayuda: Help
  • Emergencia: Emergency
  • Policía: Police
  • Hospital: Hospital
  • Médico: Doctor


  • ¿Cuánto cuesta?: How much does it cost?
  • Dinero: Money
  • Tarjeta de crédito: Credit card
  • Efectivo: Cash

Basic Conversation

  • ¿Cómo estás?: How are you?
  • Bien, gracias: Good, thank you
  • No entiendo: I don’t understand
  • ¿Hablas inglés?: Do you speak English?


The Euro (€) is the undisputed currency of the Canary Islands. Travelers will find the islands to be relatively affordable compared to many parts of mainland Europe. Accommodations, food, and activities cater to a range of budgets, making it accessible for both backpackers and luxury seekers. Whether you’re indulging in a seaside dinner, renting a board, or booking an excursion, your money often stretches further here, ensuring you get the most bang for your buck.

The Canary Islands beckon travelers not just with their consistent surf but also with a harmonious blend of European and African cultures set against the backdrop of dramatic volcanic landscapes. Beyond the allure of their waves, the islands promise a rich tapestry of experiences. From their unique gastronomy and wine to the warm camaraderie in their lineups, the Canaries offer a distinct charm that sets them apart from other surf destinations. Combined with the mild climate that graces the archipelago year-round, it’s evident that the Canary Islands are more than just a surfer’s paradise – they’re a haven for any traveler seeking a blend of adventure, relaxation, and cultural immersion. So, whether you’re paddling out into the azure waters or exploring the inland treasures, the Canary Islands await with open arms and endless possibilities.

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