For many people, surfing represents a real way of life with essential codes, values and places of practice. If the most popular spots are in Hawaii, Australia, South Africa or Brazil, France is not left out. And if there is one region that stands out and attracts an increasing number of surfers, it is Les Landes. With its endless beaches and its huge rollers, this region is undeniably the emblem of surfing in France and a meeting point for all enthusiasts of the discipline. We had the chance to go on a road trip in the Landes for 7 days, in search of the best surf spots. We made this stay in a van for more freedom and less constraints. Follow us to discover our journey that did not leave us indifferent!
A region with ideal conditions
Before starting our journey to discover the most beautiful surf spots, we thought it was important to highlight the common assets of all the beaches in this region. The Landes coasts are particularly well cut and their direct exposure facing the Atlantic Ocean guarantees intense swells and high waves. Many of the large beaches are lined with pine forests. Perfect for resting and enjoying a little shade during the hot weather. These ideal conditions have attracted renowned surfers in search of new destinations since the 1950s. The first surf schools are born, as well as campsites and hostels for aficionados of the discipline. In the space of a few decades, surfing and its very particular culture have become firmly established in the region, and the infrastructures linked to this practice are not lacking. If many spots seduced us, we wanted to present the following ones to you.
Day 1 and 2: Hossegor and Seignosse, the classics
We are definitely starting with the crème de la crème. These two stations are among the most famous and popular in the world. They offer spots of great beauty that will satisfy both beginners and experienced surfers looking for thrills.
Novices can learn the basics on the beach South of Hossegor or that of stagnots. This is where most of the surf schools are located. You will clearly not be alone, but we find this rather reassuring when you are starting out and need advice. The swell is rather weak and the waves remain tamable. For the most seasoned, it is towards the Bare-Bottoms, the beach North or the gravel pit that you have to surrender. There, the rollers are numerous and particularly impressive. The waves regularly reach 2 meters and sometimes even 5 meters in optimal conditions. There are many other spots and we will summarize them for you below, but these particularly appealed to us.
Proof that these two resorts stand out, it is in Hossegor that the men's and women's world championships take place each year: the Quicksilver Pro and the Roxy Pro. It is then the whole region that comes alive and welcomes enthusiasts from all over the world.
But throughout the year, there is a large number of accommodations for surfers, water sports shops, or even clothes shops smelling of salt. The atmosphere is friendly and conducive to meetings and sharing.
To go further, here are the main spots of these two star stations:
- Hossegor: the North and South beaches, the Centrale, the Gravière, the Point d'Or, the Culs-Nus
- Seignosse: the Estagnots, the Bourdaines, the Penon
Day 3: Capbreton, friendly and spruce
Capbreton is undeniably turned towards the sea. This resort has a pretty marina, a fishing port (the only one in the Landes), a daily fish market and many beaches where surfers can meet in complete relaxation.
The city has several spots but Santocha And Prevent stand out if we stick to the pure practice of surfing. They are rather different despite the lifeguard station common to both beaches. Le Prévent is ideal for families and beginners. The waves are fairly moderate, but plenty of them and breaking just right. Santocha on the other hand offers a more dynamic practice with a swell perfectly controlled by the surrounding natural elements. If it is possible to learn the basics on this spot, we will come there rather with a moderate to confirmed level. Santocha attracts not only surfers, but also many other sliding disciplines such as kite-surfing. Little tips for the more experienced: the beach of Track takes advantage of a large swell to offer fast and more demanding tubes.
Capbreton's friendly refreshments allow you to end your day in a friendly and warm atmosphere.
Day 4: Le Vieux-Boucau, a lively resort all year round
North of Seignosse and Hossegor, Vieux-Boucau is much less populated than the three resorts mentioned above, but it is nonetheless a pleasant and particularly joyful spot. Rarely, it remains lively all year round, even in winter, when other resorts are only attractive in spring and summer.
The advantage of Vieux-Boucau is that it has great beach breaks, beaches where sandbanks cushion falls. This asset makes it an ideal beach for beginners or those who wish to practice this sport in complete safety. There are very good surf schools in Vieux-Boucau to learn and improve. And the icing on the cake, the atmosphere is rather warm, whether you come here in summer or in the middle of winter.
Day 5: Les Messanges to find calm and tranquility
Les Messanges will delight lovers of wide open spaces and freedom. Depending on the hours when you come there and the times of the year, you can feel totally alone in the world. As if the beach belonged to us. This beach, like the resort, is the quietest in the area, with many surfers preferring to go to Vieux-Boucau or further south towards Hossegor and its overflowing energy.
The beach is overlooked by a pretty dune and hosts a small surf school very popular with families, the Messanges Surf School. The waves are not as high as in Hossegor for example, but they are just as pleasant to surf and slightly more secure. We don't come to Les Messanges to try new records, but to have fun in all lightness and without really forcing.
Day 6: Mimizan, land of champions
We always go further north along the sea on one side and immense pine forests on the other. The road leads us to Mimizan, a town we had heard about and were looking forward to visiting. With three beautiful beaches, Mimizan is an ideal spot for any self-respecting surfer. The resort is split in two by the mouth of the Courant and the resort's 10 kilometers of beach stretch on both sides. The North, South and La Garluche beaches enthusiastically welcome surfers of all levels. Rather, these beaches are stripped of outdoor elements and exposed directly to the ocean. They have safe beach breaks, which make them ideal beaches for beginners or surfers who want to have fun. The waves are hollow and fast.
For the more adventurous, it is possible to get away from these supervised beaches and look for wilder and more demanding spots on your own.
Mimizan has seen the growth of many surfing champions like Nicolas Capdeville or Vincent Duvignac to name a few. Enough to make young locals want to try the adventure!
Mimizan has 6 surf schools for young and old, beginners and experienced.
Day 7: Biscarosse, world famous
We end our stay in the Landes in the charming town of Biscarosse. Located very close to the Bassin d'Arcachon and the Dune du Pilat, Biscarosse is one of the largest towns in the Landes. It attracts many visitors each year and a large number of surfers choose this spot to spend a great sporting holiday.
Biscarosse has 4 kilometers of fine sandy beaches, pleasant in summer and winter. The central part is rather intended for families or beginners who wish to learn the basics of this sport in complete safety. The wind is not too strong and the waves reach 1m or even 1m50. Be careful though, at high tide, these waves can grow and create a bar that is quite complicated to cross for novices. The South beach and its more dynamic swell is ideal for experienced surfers looking for a good dose of adrenaline. The rolls are livelier and more enveloping. Biscarosse regularly organizes important surfing competitions where the greatest champions compete against the Landes rollers.
There are several surf schools, all excellent. And to end your surf session in style, the city has many restaurants, bars and brasseries with a rather cool and relaxed atmosphere.
The best surf spot?
We have presented to you what we consider to be the best surf spots in the Landes. Some have a reputation that has gone far beyond our borders, others are calmer and wilder. It is therefore appropriate for everyone to make up their own mind according to their expectations and preferences. Choose a secure spot if you are a beginner and more stormy if you want to chain the rollers. And if you are lucky enough to be there for several days or several weeks, we can only encourage you to test several of them. The many campsites in the region allow you to travel freely and on a moderate budget. Many have specific reception areas for vans and other light vehicles, often linked to surf culture. Perfect for traveling without constraints and without a route plan! If you don't want to change location, several hostels and youth hostels offer all-inclusive stays, including surf lessons. But once again, we can only encourage you to travel at your own pace and according to your mood, these beautiful Landes coasts and their many surf spots. We have made this journey from south to north, but nothing prevents you from doing it from north to south, starting from Biscarosse to reach Hossegor.
The Landes are a real paradise for surfers. The immense beaches, the direct exposure to the Atlantic Ocean and the dynamism of the tides make this region particularly attractive for aficionados of the discipline. The ideal climatic conditions, quite windy and very sunny, do not spoil the show and favor lively and fast waves. And what about the very special surfing culture that has taken hold throughout the region. Shops, bars and hostels dedicated to surfers and the world of surfing have blended into the landscape and offer a most friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Everyone will find their place, whether beginner or more experienced. This is the spirit of surfing: sharing, transmission, sympathy, positivity. And this spirit is certainly found everywhere in the Landes!