The Ultimate Guide to Asturias Surf

by Nuno D'Angelo

Asturias surf spots run along the northern coast of Spain, beneath rugged mountains and in hidden coves. It’s pretty empty wave territory still, but has some cracking spots for adventurous shortboarders.

Asturias surf at a glance

We might use affiliate links in this post. Basically, you click em’ and we get a little something from your booking or purchase. They help us keep offering more and more in-depth surf guides to awesome places all around the globe. So, thanks for that!

The good

  • Perhaps the best left rivermouth the surf north Spain can offer!
  • Gorgeous countryside
  • Consistent west-facing beaches

The bad

  • Tidal changes can make the best breaks awful, so time your surfs right
  • Some localism in the better spots – Rodiles, especially

This is just one part of our larger guide to surfing in Spain

What’s in this guide to Asturias surf?

An introduction to Asturias surf

Asturias surf

Ask anyone from Spain and they’ll tell you – Asturias isn’t really like anywhere else in the country. Heavily influenced by the Celts in the Iron Age, it can sometimes seem more like Wales or Ireland than the home of banditos and pealla. But, no, it’s in Spain. Dragging along the top of the country, it sports mist-haloed mountains and lush green valleys. Did we mention that it’s more like Wales than Spain here?

The geography creates unique surf landscapes, that’s for sure. Unlike the Basque and Galicia, Asturias is all hulking cliffs and soaring coastal peaks. It’s rare to find sweeping bays of sand (but there are some) and there’s a lot of submerged topography getting involved in the dominant swells coming west and north over the Bay of Biscay. Sadly, that means Asturias surf doesn’t have the same consistency as, say, Landes, which is on the same oceanfront to the north-east. It’s more sporadic, harder to access, and can be quite fickle.

None of that applies to the stand-out surf spots in Asturias, though. We count about three of four really great places. They are: Tapia de Casariego (a mecca for rare Asturias beach breaks), Rodiles (a pretty shapely rivermouth break that gets hollow), and the Salinas-Avilés area (home to quick, tubey waves over sand, much like in nearby France). You will need to watch the tides here, as there’s big variation and it can really change the character of the best surf breaks.

Where is Asturias?

Asturias is one of the main pieces in the jigsaw that is northern Spain. It sits smack dab in the heart of the north coast, bordering Cantabria to the east and Galicia to the west. The wide, open Bay of Biscay opens up to the north of town – that’s where the waves come from. Gijón isn’t the capital but is the largest city in Asturias. However, the main airport is in the small parish of Santiago del Monte, near the surf breaks of Salinas.

A guide to the Asturias surf spots

Asturias coastline

Asturias surf covers all sorts of types of break. We won’t lie – the region isn’t the best for surfing. It’s got harsh geography that means there’s a whole load of disruption that the oncoming W and NW swells have to contend with. However, a few west-orientated beaches can turn on the goods. So, too, can the unique underwater topography, with some particularly nice rivermouth spots on offer…

Rodiles

Rodiles is one of the most famous Asturias surf spots. We’d go one further and say it’s the region’s top-quality wave. The spot forms off the rivermouth of the Ria de Villaviciosa, where the sandbanks give pretty perfect left handers that run right the way across the front of the whole bay. Can handle around a max of 12 foot but is best at 10. Low tide sees the best conditions and winter is prime because you’re more likely to catch rare northerly offshores. Locals will own the spot when it’s working, which is annoying.

Gijon

Gijon is the kingpin of about seven or eight great Asturias surf spots. We’ve dedicated a whole ultimate guide to the town because it definitely deserves it. There’s decent variety on offer. Playa España is to the west of town. It needs at least 4 foot to get going (hence why summer is tricky) but offers nice lefts off the point at mid tide. San Lorenzo is the local fav. It’s in the heart of the city and has some decent hollow waves at its max of 7-8 feet. Gets crumbly sometimes and has a speckling of surf schools.

Check out our complete guide to surfing in Gijon, Asturias

Xago

Xago sits to the north of the industrial port town of Aviles, but still feels pretty remote thanks to a backdrop of mountains and big headlands. It’s west-facing, so pulls in good Atlantic groundswells and can still be pumping when spots like Rodiles don’t have a hope. Nearby mountains also cut out the summer NE breezes, so we’re inclined to say it’s one of the best places to go wave hunting between May and August. Expect a series of peaks across the beach, occasionally hollow – especially at high tide – and a few rippable rights with potential for turning off the lip. Good fun and usually not too crowded.

Salinas

The second of the Asturias west-facing beaches brings up the goods because it enjoys proper exposure to cross-Atlantic W swells. That means it tends to work better than most in the region in the summer months. There’s also extra punch to the peaks here, particularly if you paddle out at the north part of the bay known as Playa de San Juan. Salinas is sadly overshadowed by the industrial sprawl of Aviles, but there are hollow barrels at 8-10 foot if you can put up with it.

Have a read of our complete guide to surfing in Salinas right now

Playon De Bayas

British surfers will recognise a lot of Croyde in Playon De Bayas. A big dash of sand that sweeps out from the a high headland at one end, it’s a consistend beach break spot that even works in the smaller summer months. Hazards include a few rocks and a little pollution (but only if you come to ride the harbour break at the westernmost end of the bay for the quick lefts).

Frejulfe

Frejulfe is a lovely little spot that’s framed by grassy coastal hills and pockets of pine forest. It doesn’t draw anywhere near the crowds of Gijon, so it’s more of an escape-to-nature sort of place. Surf wise, you get plenty of beach peaks that are best at 4-6 feet on NW swells, and there’s a rivermouth to the east. Look out for a few patches of rock.

Tapia de Casariego

Tapia de Casariego – or just Tapia for short – is one of the headline acts on the Asturias surf scene. It’s competition pedigree but also uber-consistent. We like that it gets decent swells in August, traditionally the flattest month of all. Try to time it for a retreating tide, when the rights off the headland really shape up nicely. Great for shortboarders when small. Could be XXL in midwinter and you’ll need the gun board.

Essential gear for surf trips to Spain

Wetsuits (men):

  • [SUMMER – April to September] C-Skins Session 3/2 | Again, we’ve focused on the flex when it comes to choosing the right summer suit for Spain. That’s mainly because thermo features can take a back seat when the mercury cranks up here. You’ll need arm coverage to counter the winds, but then you can afford to add features like the Freedom Zip and Xtend 2 neoprene that C-Skins do so well. All very eco-friendly too, which is nice.
  • [WINTER – October to March] Rip Curl E-Bomb E7 4/3mm | The Rip Curl E-Bomb benefits from uber-stretchy E7 neoprene. Boys in the office won’t stop going on about how it’s like surfing in a rash vest. That’s a nice touch on the waves of Basque and Cantabria, which often need a lot of repositioning. The 4/3 should carry you right through the Spanish winter months. A cracking wetsuit.

Wetsuits (women):

  • [SUMMER – April to September] Billabong 302 Synergy 3/2mm Chest Zip Wetsuit (2021) – Blue Seas | The latest Synergy from Billabong has really impressed the European team at The Surf Atlas. The interior has a fleece lining that keeps super toasty but the neoprene is lighter than usual to give you more freedom on those longer sessions. It’s a solid go-to suit for all levels heading to Spain if you ask us. How bout’ that colour too!?
  • [WINTER – October to March] C-Skins 4/3mm Surflite Wetsuit | A 4/3 should see you through all but the coldest days on the Spanish coast. We love this C-Skins model because there’s been a big focus to cut down seams, while the Xtend neoprene offers an extra touch of flex, which is important on the Basque and Asturian breaks where paddling and positioning is key.

SUNSCREEN: Suntribe All Natural Zinc Sunscreen | Do not even think about surfing in Spain without sunscreen. This is one of Europe’s most UV-rich corners. Great for the tan, but surfers shouldn’t risk it. Our block of choice is now the Suntribe because it’s got that all-importnat zinc infusion but is 100% natural and ocean safe.

WATER BOTTLE: 18 Oz Hydro Flask | Now our water flask of choice, the Hydro range does better at keeping our aqua warm than any other brand we’ve tried. Also, all the other surfers are using em!

WAX: Quick Humps Mr Zogs Sex Wax Basecoat and Cool Water Topcoat Surfboard Wax | Re-wax before you get to Spain with this combo pack of tropical (for the base) and cool-water wax (for the top coat). It covers everywhere in Spain.

Where to stay when surfing in Asturias

Whether you’re chasing the perfect lefts of the Rodiles surf or just want to check out some of the more deserted surf north Spain has to offer, be sure to take a look at these surf camps and stays. We put them down as the standout options in the region of Asturias.

Gijon Surf Hostel ($)

Surf-hotel-top-pick

The surf of El Rinconín Beach is just a few steps out front of this fun surf camp in Asturias. It’s very much the sort of chilled surf hostel spot. Everyone meets everyone. You surf together, cook together, drink together. Budget prices and an experience you’ll never forget. What more could you want?

Perfect for Sea Lovers ($$$)

Best for: Privacy and luxury and views

Perfect for Sea Lovers is a private villa rental with capacity for groups of eight surfers. It’s a grand pad with arguably the best views the Bay of Biscay anywhere on the Asturias coastline. The garden gazes down across the lashing waves, and it’s only a short drive to Salinas for the beach breaks. There’s also a sauna on site and board rentals available.

El Pez Escorpion ($-$$)

Best for: Proximity to Salinas Beach

El Pez Escorpion is a downright cool hostel/poshtel. It’s only got two dorms and a communal area, but that breeds a nice family vibe. The famous beach breaks of Salinas are a few steps away. Interiors are colorful, vibrant and fun. They also do trail running and other outdoorsy adventures throughout the region.

When to surf in Asturias

Asturias surf is generally pretty consistent and it’s only really the summer that has flat days. Other seasons do have their own little nuances, though:

Asturias seasons

Summer (June-August)

Because a lot of the Asturias surf spots don’t get the full whack of the westerly swells, summer can be a bit of a problem. It’s never completely flat for ages. You just don’t get the same consistency that you would at other times of the year. For that reason we say May-August is better for beginners who are looking for small waves and a holiday that’s more about exploring the beautiful region with a bit of surfing on the side, not a full-on surf trip!

  • Wear: 2mm. Some locals will hit the rash vest

Winter (December-March)

Winter sees the 4/3 wetsuits come out and the temperatures drop. What won’t drop is the swell counter. In fact, the surf north Spain has up its sleeve can get positively big around December time, with overheads the order of the day. Asturias is a little different because it has more protected spots than most, so you should still find lots of spots working well and not blown out. For us, it’s the second best time to visit.

  • Wear: 4/3 and pack those boots, gloves and hood please!

Autumn (September-November)

Holiday crowds, although never that big in Asturias, die down considerably when August turns to September. You’ll find fewer groms and learners in the sea at popular starter spots like Salinas. You also get the first kick of a more powerful Atlantic swell, while NE onshore winds that are common in the summer months will go away for good sometime around October. Or, at least, they should. The result is arguably the best season for surfing in Asturias, with decent consistency and smaller line ups.

  • Wear: 3/2 or 4/3

Spring (April & May)

Spring is a good transition month for advanced and advnace-intermediate surfers. The epic rivermouth at the Rodiles surf spot finds some great days in the spring time, with NW swells and a dip before the onset of NE onshores. Beginners might want to stick to beaches like Frejulfe, Salinas or Xago, but check those forecasts and ask in the local surf schools about the right tide. Crowds aren’t too much of an issue, but do increase as you approach the end of May.

  • Wear: 3/2 or 4/3 at the start of the season

Be sure to check out our gear guides:

Surf shops in Asturias

Asturias has nowhere near the same amount of surf shops as Basque Country or regions on the French surf coast. Most people come with their own gear. You don’t have to though, as there’s a growing contingent of really good shapers and shops…

Tables Surf Shop

Tables Surf Shop has been one of the go-to surf shops in Gijon since 1979. Today, it’s still got its loyal following of locals and offers some great stock. The shortboard rack could just be the best in the region. You’ve also got neff watches, Oakley sunnies, and loads of surf fashion from global brands. Location: Right on the beach in Gijon city.

Doggystyle Surfboards

Support local shapers by heading to Doggystyle Surfboards. The owner, Rafa, creates unique boards and can advice on any modifications and shapes. Unique boards with great service. Also, the location in Oviedo means it’s an easy pitstop on your way to the breaks.

Things to do when you’re not surfing in Asturias

Adventurers will find loads to like in Asturias. From soaring mountains to historic towns, there’s plenty for when the surf isn’t working…

Picos de Europa

Picos de Europa

My god these mountains are something special. Jagged pinnacles that would look right at home in the Alps pierce the Spanish skies on the border between Asturias and Cantabria. Take a break from the waves and wander their endless trails. There are also some pretty spectacular mountain cabins to stay at!

Oviedo

Oviedo

A quick drop-in visit to the regional capital of Asturias promises oodles of history and culture. It’s got a cracking spot in the middle of the lush green mountains, along with photogenic medieval churches like the Cathedral of San Salvador and the San Isidoro El Real Church.

How to get to Asturias

  • Fly: Asturias Airport is in the city of Oviedo. It’s the main gateway to the region and is served by Air Europa, low-cost Vueling and Iberian domestic routes. The nearest place with direct budget connections from the UK is Bilbao.
  • Drive: Head for Oviedo (the region’s capital on the AP-66 from Leon if you’re coming in from Madrid. If you’re traveling over from France and the Basque Country, take the main A-8 coast road – it gets pretty spectacular at some points in Asturias.
  • Train: The amazing Feve railway – a narrow-gauge – links to the region’s capital of Oviedo and even as far as Galicia. It’s possible to switch from that to RENFE connections to Asturias surf towns like Gijon.

We might use affiliate links in this post. Basically, you click em’ and we get a little something from your booking or purchase. They help us keep offering more and more in-depth surf guides to awesome places all around the globe. So, thanks for that!

This is just one part of our guide to surfing in Spain, which has way more info on all the other major surf destinations and regions in the country

You may also like

Leave a Comment