Check out the Gijon surf scene, which has some urban beach breaks but also the famous spots of greater Asturias.
An introduction to Gijon surf
The thing about Gijon is that it almost faces east into the Bay of Biscay. That’s not a good recipe for reliable waves, most of which cruise W and NW through this corner of Europe on the same channels that fire up places like Biarritz and San Sebastian. But the locals make the most of the hand they’ve been dealt. They know the precise conditions that can get San Lorenzo Beach in the town itself working (clue: It’s hardly ever in summertime). And they’re not averse to cruising either west to catch the more exposed surf of Asturias, or east into the famous land of the Basque Country.
We’d say this: Gijon is a lovely town, full of grit and character. However, it’s not the place to base yourself on a full-on Spanish surf trip. There are waves to be had but they don’t come as easy as other regions in the north. On the flip side, travelers looking to dine on pintxos tapas and explore an travelling Asturian coastal town with just a touch of surfing on the side can’t go wrong.
Those comments aside, Gijon is perfect for getting out to the more fabled points and the beach breaks of the north shore. If you’ve got your own car and are willing to hit the highways (the earlier the better), you can score some sick sets; hollow, clean and challenging on their day.
This guide is just one part of our complete guide to surfing in Spain
Gijon surfing at a glance
- This is a fun city
- Urban beaches that work occasionally
- A gateway to the rest of Asturias
- Small swell window because it’s sheltered to the west
- Need a car to get to the best breaks
- Some pollution in the water
What’s in this guide to Gijon surf?
Where is Gijon?
Gijon – also called Xixón – is the biggest city in the Asturias province of Spain. You’ll find it right on the north coast of the country, hiding behind a big headland that juts out into the Bay of Biscay. It’s about 14 miles (28km) to the north of the provincial capital of Oviedo and roughly 98 miles from the next town along to the east: Santander, in Cantabria.
A guide to the Gijon surf spots
Gijon is placed in the middle of Asturias. That means it’s within reach of some of the very best surfing in Spain as a whole. However, the town suffers from a little inconsistency on the swell front due to its orientation, although some standout options are within 30 minutes driving…
Playa de la Ñora
Playa de la Ñora is a narrow beach flanked by high, classically-Asturian headlands to the east of the city. It’s a north-facing bay that can get some decent wrap-in sets when it’s high in winter. Rocks are the major hazard but waves can be steep A-frame peaks with lefts and rights up for grabs.
A few bays over to the east of Gijon (you’re talking something like 10-15 minutes in the car), Peñarrubia offers a fairy good left hander over reef. It need those winter swells to get working, so forget summer trips. Wave can be cruisy and pretty long, and there’s also a shorter right to go with it. Watch out for rocks and reef underfoot, along with bad water quality after storms.
San Lorenzo is the spot that puts the Gijon surf on the map. We’re not going to go and say it’s the best in the area. It’s actually nowhere near. The real pull is that it’s smack dab in the heart of the city and has a loyal local following (translate that to localism when it’s on).
The wave works best on a NW winter swell, because there’s pretty hefty shelter to the west by Gijon city an the harbors. When that gets going and a S wind joins the party, you can score some wobbly wedges that can give fun rides on a shortboard. At other times this one’s small and crumbly enough to accommodate the local Gijon surf schools. Generally: Better peaks towards the west of the bay.
The first break you’ll encounter if you leave Gijon going north is Xivares. It’s a nice right point that mimics a beach break with its relatively mellow sets on anything that’s under 6 foot. When it goes higher it’s a close out. Lower and you won’t find a trace of surf.
Xago is one of the premier spots of the whole of Asturias. Gijon surfers know it well, because it’s a mere 30 minutes’ drive to the west of town. What that trip does is effectively broaden the swell window and add exposure on the west swell channel. The result? There’s consistency here that beaches like San Lorenzo can only dream of!
The wave at Xago is a sandbar peak and there are a few of them. Very sensitive to any swell, so will work even in the summer on 2-4 foot if you have to get in the water. The rights are the best and can be big at 6foot with riding off the lip with a good offshore. Pretty fun for all levels.
Where to stay when surfing in Gijon
Gijon has some great hotels for surfers. Our pick below showcases the ones that are specifically aimed at those heading to the waves and another choice that puts you in boutique lodgings in the middle of the immersive city.
Gijon Surf Hostel
Gijon Surf Hostel has a fantastic location for surf travelers – it’s near the breaks on the east side of the town, which get a bit more swell than the urban beaches. It’s also darn fun, with a big garden, a swimming pool, and a vibe that means you’ll have new lineup buddies in no time at all. WE LOVE THIS ONE!!
The North SurfHouse is a fitness retreat near the eastern outskirts of Gijon. It’s a good pick if you’re looking to get back in shape – morning yoga sessions are the norm. There’s also an on-site fitness center.
SUITE 1907 GIJON
SUITE 1907 GIJON is a stunning aparthotel that’s sat real close to the waves of San Lorenzo Beach. We like it as a base to really immerse yourself in the history and culture of Gijon while doing a little surfing on the side. The whole place is very rich in heritage, with exposed stone walls running throughout.
Step-by-step guide to planning your Gijon surf trip right now
Step one: Book flights to the Gijon surf…Lately, we like Omio for searching flights. It’s a nice interface and has lots of airline options. We also use Skyscanner because that sometimes offers deals that even beat going direct to the carrier!
Step two: Book your surf camp Book Surf Camps is the numero uno online booking platform for fully-fledged surf-stay packages on the internet right now. Then there’s Booking.com. That has consistently unbeatable rates for hotels and a nifty map feature that lets you check EXACTLY how close your hotel is to a surf break.
Step three: Get insuranceThis is kinda’ important. Not just for surf trips but for any trips. SafetyWing is great for nomad travelers. They offer rolling contracts that cover amateur surfing.
Step four (optional): Rent a car If you’re surf camping then you might not need wheels. If you’re not then we’ll just say this: We’ve never been on a surf trip that wasn’t improved by having our own car. Use RentalCars – they’re the best.
Step five: Enjoy!
When to surf in Gijon
Gijon might not have the most reliable surf season in Spain. However, knowing the way the swell works, can help you plan your trip for when it’s at it’s very best…
Flat days are the bane of the summertime surf season in Gijon. Yes, there are days when there’s something ridable, and the good local surf schools will know when and where to squeeze the most out of em’. However, prepare yourself for long droughts. Or, get a car and be ready to drive the Asturian coast in search of spots that are working.
Winter is the time when the NW and W swell channels start rumbling in the Bay of Biscay. Out in the Basque Country and Galicia, that means some real hefty sets. In this part of Asturias, it can tame the swells a little. It’s still the best time for Gijon surf, no questions. The good news is that beginners and intermediates will have more chance of finding something to their liking, although the dominance of reefs and points here counteract that argument a little.
Wear: 4/3, boots and hood for windy days
Autumn can either be mild or wild in Asturias. One day the god of the ocean will throw out nice 6-foot+ sets and that will crank up the volume in the sheltered bays around eastern Gijon. Other times it will be flatter than a Spanish flatbread. A surf trip at this time is a risk for those reasons, but we’d recommend bagging a rental car and cruising west to Xago to make the most of it.
Wear: 4/3 and booties
There’s still some punch in the NW storms come April, but things have usually tempered considerably by mid May. That marks the spring as a real transition period for the Gijon surf, with mixed weeks of 5-foot swells and absolute nada. We’ve been here around this time and were actually pretty lucky. Water’s still cold though.
Wear: 4/3 or 3/2 into May. Boots if you’re hitting the reefs
Surf shops in Gijon
Forgotten the wax? Not brought the board along? Don’t worry, Gijon has a few great surf shops up its sleeve.
Tables Surf Shop
Tables Surf Shop has been going since 1979. That makes it one of the original Gijon surf shops and one of the first surf shops in the whole of Asturias. They have a cracking range of longboards and shortboards and egg-nose rides, along with surf fashion, sunglasses, flip flops – you name it. Great guys and a must visit. Look for them right on the beachfront.
VITA surfboards are definitely one to watch. They’re a young and creative team of Spanish surfers who are channeling the latest tech and using it revolutionize the way we shape boards. They’ve come up with some pretty cool things and would be our go-to choice if you’re getting a custom done in Asturias.
Eating and drinking in Gijon
Gijon – na, the whole of northern Spain – is a true joy for foodies. You’ll be able to fill up on Iberian mezze and cold cerveza when you’re finished with a day of surfing the point breaks. Here are some spots we wouldn’t miss!
- Primero Café – Pulling into Primero Café on our way to the beach was one of the highlights of a morning surf trip to San Lorenzo. Speciality brews and lovely beans. A top cuppa’!
- Taquería Las Calacas – We’re not sure if we’re mad, but we’re in no doubt that Mexican food is just so damn tasty after a day in the salt water. This awesome establishment in old Gijon fed us many a day. Authentic cooking in place you might not expect it!
- Karan – Karan is all about social eating and some of the best artisan burgers around. Fun and filling.
- The Balance – A super-cool tapas and cocktail bar with a boho vibe, the Balance specialised in slick highballs and crafted drinks. Great place to start when you can still taste what’s in it!
- Cervecería bar La Mina – Down-to-earth Cervecería bar La Mina is a rollicking nightlife spot for a post-surf beer. They play rock and roll and have cheap beers. What more could you want?
If you’re in-the-know when it comes to Gijon surf and think we’ve missed something in this ultimate guide, be sure to get in touch and let us know. We’re always adding to and updating this guide to make it the very best out there!