The surfer's guide to Santander

Pioneers of Spanish surfing, the golden coastline of the Cantabria region is a hotspot for record-breaking swells and waves that’ll knock your socks clean off. From idyllic bays to long sandy stretches, Cantabria is a surfer’s paradise. Get ready to ride the waves at some of the best beaches for surfing in the region. 

1. El Sardinero

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As the city’s main beach, this spot can be a little overrun with enthusiastic tourists but it is still undeniably one of the best places to surf in Santander. This beach offers a lot of facilities for surfers including showers, snack bars, changing rooms, lifeguards and a selection of surf schools for the beginners. The attractive sandy location is the ideal backdrop to an afternoon in the water, boasting swells of up to two metres and good consistent conditions. If you don’t like crowds, aim to get here on weekdays as weekends are usually busy with families soaking up the summer sun. 

2. Somo

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Located a little to the east of the Bay of Santander, Somo is another great spot for getting out on the water and taking advantage of the competitive swells. Fewer amenities than El Sardinero, this landscape is a more natural setting with a carpark, surf schools, a few bars and lifeguards on duty. A favourite amongst experienced surfers, conditions are good here with low-to-medium swells and strong waves across all seasons. If getting up on the board isn’t your thing, go along with the gang if only to witness the two kilometres of fine golden sand that hugs the water’s edge. Sitting right next to beaches, Somo Loredo and Galizano, this is a must-see when visiting Cantabria. 

3. Liencres

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Surrounded on all sides by jagged rocks and cliffs, the beach at Liencres lies on the edge of the stunning Natural Park of the Dunas of Liencres. One of the most consistently good beaches for breaks and groundswells in the region, head about 19 kilometres east of Santander to find its rugged shores. Despite it getting busy when the conditions are great, at Liencres you’ll always have plenty of paddle room. Just four kilometres from the centre of Liencres town and located right next to Valdearenas beach, make a day of it and explore the local area. 

4. Berria

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Boasting a lavish two kilometres worth of fine white sand, Playa Berria is framed either side by lush green hills and is situated 44 kilometres outside of Santander. Head to this spot when the tide is rising for peaks, tubes and some unbeatable waves. Set against the surrounding of the peninsula connecting Mount Brusco and Buciero, the scenery here is next to none. Once you’ve had enough of the surf, dry off and venture into the Natural Reserve of the Marshes of Santona nearby. 

5. Isla Santa Maria

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Arguably the best spot for surfing in the entire region, the waves on the island of Santa Maria, are unparalleled. Home to a world-class righthand reef-break, barrel waves and large swells, the island sits off the coast to the western edge of Playa Somo. Not for the faint of heart, the waters surrounding this beach are peppered with jagged reefs, shallow rocks and tight take-off spaces, perfect for experienced surfers and adrenaline junkies. Rough and ready, there is no accommodation here or extra facilities so come prepared with everything you need and book into the campsite in the mainland village of Laredo. A real sight for sore eyes, this beach is most definitely one of the best beaches for surfing in Cantabria. 

6. El Brusco

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Lying in between Playa Tregandin and Playa Berria, the massive sandy sweep that is El Brusco, is your final port of call when looking for the best places to surf in Cantabria. Set against green mountains and rocky formations, the beach is 43 kilometres from the city and is potentially the most naturally beautiful area in the region. Especially great at high tide, the strong waves here break on a sandy bottom with swells reaching heights of two metres. Next to no facilities are on offer at this paradise so once again, pack up a beach bag before you load the car. The incredible surroundings coupled with top-notch surf award this beach a place on our list of must-see beaches in the Cantabria region. 

7. Los Locos

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Just outside Suances, Los Locos caters to all levels with warm waters, calm breaks and wild waves. Drive half an hour outside the city and descend upon the golden fine sands of one of the most popular beaches in Santander. Stroll along the palm-tree lined promenade that stretches the entire length of the beach and stop at one of the many open-aired bars for a sundowner after a long day in the surf.


Catching some waves in Santander this summer? Don’t forget to tag us in your photos of the best beaches for surfing in Santander using the hashtag #ryanairstories, for the chance to be featured on Ryanair’s Instagram feed.


Flights to Santander


- Lucy Norris