A simple mention of the northern Spanish town of Mundaka will cause most surfers eyes to light up. Indeed, the small Basque fishing village of Mundaka is a European surfing mecca. Located on the Bay of Biscay, Mundaka gets some of the largest waves in all of Europe.
The best surf season lasts from September-February. Expect to find anywhere from 50-100 experienced surfers clamoring for waves during this period. Mundaka hosts several surf festivals/competitions throughout the year, most notably the Billabong Pro competition each December.
Getting There: The town is accessible by regional train and is located in a string of other quaint Basque towns including Guernika (of Picasso fame), Derio, Basauri and Barakaldo. It is about 25 miles from the city of Bilbao (the nearest large city). There are also several buses a day that go from both Bilbao and Bermeo to Mudaka. Due to the limited parking spots in the city, it is advised not to drive a rental car into Mundaka.
Where to Stay: There are many inexpensive lodging options in Mundaka for surfers on a budget. The Portuondo campground (00 34 94 687 67 00 www.campingportuondo.com) is located near the cemetery on your way in to town. There are three modestly-priced hotels in town: Hotel Mundaka (00 34 94 687 67 00), Hotel El Puerto (00 34 94 687 67 25), Hotel Atalaya (00 34 94 687 68 88). There are also a variety of pensiones in nearby Guernika.
Where to Eat: There are some great local eateries in Mundaka. If it’s packed with locals, you can’t go wrong. Each afternoon between 3-7, most eateries serve pintxos (the Basque region’s version of tapas). Enjoy a calimotxo (red wine and Coke—trust me, it’s good) or pica (light beer with lemon soda) and sample your way through the tempting array of small plates on the bar. Pintxos are served on the honor system—when you leave the bar, simply pay for as many as you’ve eaten.
Surf Shop: You can rent boards, wetsuits and buy wax and gear at the Mundaka Surf Shop (00 34 94 687 67 21). The owner, Craig Sage, is an Australian ex-pat who’s full of stories and tips.