Zarautz Surf Village | The ultimate Spanish Surf Camp

Once you have experienced the surf culture, you will be hooked. Whether you’ve tried it in Bali, Australia, Portugal, France or Spain, surfing is something we highly recommend. There are many surfing spots around the world, but if you’re a first timer, we have a wonderful tip for you; Zarautz Surf Village.

A secluded beach at Zarautz

Zarautz Surf Village
Never taking them off again

Become part of the surfer community

Zarautz is located between the 2 Spanish cities Bilbao and San Sebastian. It’s surfing culture started a long time ago, and it’s one of the best European surf locations, with several surfing competitions held yearly. Zarautz beach is long stretched and very wide, so also very popular for sunbathing.

The Surf Village

The camping area is located on top of the hill, overlooking Zarautz coastline. Waking up with this view is priceless. At Zarautz Surf Village you have a few accommodation options; You can sleep in a tent, a camp-inn, a tipi dorm, a deluxe tipi, or you can bring your own camper van. Being the glampackers that we are, we opted for the deluxe tipi. You’ll find all different nationalities at the camp. From Belgium to Greek, they all seem to find out about this place.

Zarautz Surf Village

Tipt Zarautz Surf Village
Our amazing Deluxe Tipi

Basic or luxury; you can decide

When you book your stay at Zarautz Surf Village, breakfast (9 – 11) and dinner (7 – 9) are included and the food changes everyday. There is even a champagne breakfast if you’re up for it. Don’t miss out on the BBQ or burger night, as they are pretty good! Drinks at the bar are bought with a drink card, that you can purchase for €15,- and you’ll get a plastic cup that you need to keep until you depart. Thinking about the environment!

Chill or Party

The village is not so big, but very cozy. There is a chill out area with 2 hammocks, several cushions and a skate ramp. Beer pong is played at night, and there is always room for a themed evening with fun & games. Remember, it’s a camping area, so the noise has to stop at midnight. Not ready for bed yet? No worries, Zarautz has a few bars to enjoy yourself and San Sebastian is only a 25 minute taxi ride. 

The chill zone

Surfing & Yoga

Most people book at least one week at the camp, but we had only 3,5 days. For this reason we only managed to take one surf lesson and one yoga class. Surf lessons are held in the morning and is perfect for beginners. As the day passes, the waves become bigger, so the afternoon is better for the more advanced. There are 2 free yoga lessons included within a basic package, and the classes are great for stretching your body before you get ready to surf.

Surfing in Zarautz
Trying to look like pro’s. All wearing Protest Women

The Surroundings

Zarautz has a stunning scenery, with cliffs, green open hills and turquoise water. Take a morning off to walk around before heading to the beach where you can eat a healthy açai bowl at the Shelter Surf Bar. They also serve coffee, wraps, salads and a few pincho’s. Zarautz beach is quite long and you will find several café’s and eateries where you can have breakfast or lunch.  

Stunning backdrops. Wearing Protest Women. Fanny pack is from Eastpak

walking in Zarautz
Walking down to the beach

Endless hills in Zarautz. Backpack is from Eastpak

Salad from Shelter

San Sebastian

Because San Sebastian is very close by, we recommend you go here for half a day at least. It’s great for shopping, eating out, and it’s easy accesible by train which is about 20 minutes walk from Zarautz Surf Village. The train takes you to San Sebastian in only 30 minutes and costs around €2,50 per person. Ask the staff for details.

San Sebastian, Zarautz
San Sebastian

Zarautz Surf Village is open until the 3rd week of September and the new season starts in June 2019. Bookings are available from €259,- (drive-inn) which includes a full week camping and breakfast and activities. (Dinner can be bought extra for €95,- per person for a week). A Tipi Dorm: € 379 and the Tipi Deluxe is only available per week from: € 895

Tip: Bring a warm sweater and pants with you, as it can get quite chilly at night

Zarautz Surf Village
Calle Monte Talai Mendi, Zarautz
Website / Instagram



The Wanderlust of.. Pro Surfer Julia van Rooij

She recently competed in the World Championships Surfing held in Japan, and fights for a plastic free world. Time to catch up with Dutchie Julia van Rooij, who is in love with the ocean.

Hi Julia! Could you tell our readers a little bit more about yourself?
Whehooo! My name is Julia van Rooij, but my friends call me Juul or Guli. I was born in Groningen; a farmer province located in the North of the Netherlands. I surfed my first wave after the car broke down when I was 12. As soon as possible I exchanged the cows for waves after graduating from High School when I was 17. Nowadays I am still happily living in Scheveningen, trying to finish my studies and surf when there are waves rolling in.


I don’t think my fascination is specifically for surfing, but for being in the water.

Where does your fascination for surfing come from?
I don’t think my fascination is specifically for surfing, but for being in the water. It’s so relaxing to be able to float around, enjoy being weightless and have nothing to think about but the fishies that are swimming next to you. And then, the moment you see a perfect wave is coming through, you grab your board, get in the right position, paddle as hard as you can and then it’s all about you and that wave: to enjoy it as much as possible with nothing around you but nature – hopefully, haha. Surfing is obviously getting more popular which makes it a rare situation having the line up all to yourself these days, but hey, more reason to explore.

Julia surfing

I exchanged the cows for waves after graduating from High School when I was 17

You have recently competed in the world championships surfing in Japan. How did you experience this?
WHIEEEEUW! That was so sick! No words for this experience. I still get goosebumps while answering this question. Japan is such an amazing country with the kindest people! They’re so humble and helpful! We’ve managed to end up in the top 20 of the World, which is a pretty good result for a small country like us with shitty waves. I definitely want to go back to Japan one day.

Julia van Rooij

How often do you travel the world in search for the best waves?
Whenever my bank account allows me to go, haha

Haha, we can imagine! So what is your favorite surfing spot so far and why?
That is, uncrowded, Uluwatu, Bali. I enjoy that spot because you have to paddle out through a cave, which can be really exciting sometimes. The water is super clear, you have marine life saying hi, and there are so many lefthander options! From Racetracks to Temples; from barrels to racers. I really enjoy these type of waves.

Uluwatu Bali

Noted! Any bucketlist surfing spots we should know about?
My dream is to surf between huge rocks of ice one day. When people think about surfing, it’s always about warm destinations like Hawaii and surfing in bikini. But in reality you’ll be struggling with the 1309812 people out there. For me it’s all about finding a spot, being out there with more fish than people, and enjoying the silence.

Julia surfboard

It hurts when I paddle out, and literally feel all the plastic floating in the water.

You are also an activist for plastic free oceans, tell us more about this. 
I won’t consider myself as an activist but I try to share my experiences with pollution and the beauty of nature on the internet as much as possible. It hurts when I paddle out at a spot in the middle of nowhere, and literally feel all the plastic floating in the water. I once even picked a piece from a fishing net out of my hair after a session in Scheveningen, which was really shocking.  When you’re continuously confronted by this problem you become more motivated to raise awareness and prevent further pollution of our oceans. In short, this is why I collaborate with organisations and hope to inspire more people to start pledging for cleaner oceans.

collecting plastic
Collecting plastic

We know plastic is a huge problem we face everyday. Any tips for our readers to reduce their use of plastic?
I’ve got some basic ones, but please also check out the internet, there are sooo many ways to help a little!

  • Use your own reusable bottle like a Dopper, Mizu, KleanKanteen or whatever style suits you.
  • Make it a habit to always bring your own reusable shopping bag while shopping or doing groceries.
  • Double check the label of your ‘scrub’ beauty products: those scrubs are often made out of microplastics that will end up in your sink and eventually in the ocean. You can also just buy your products at Lush or Rituals, they don’t work with microplastics.
  • Check the label of your clothing. It’s often made out of polyester. While washing, small pieces of this polyester will come loose and end up in the sewage. A better option is to put it in the freezer or just let them catch some air for a while.
  • Reuse or resell your clothing. Go find some hidden gems in vintage stores. The longer your clothing lasts, the less you have to buy and the better for your wallet!
  • Get out and buy your veggies at the market! It’s fresher, has a better taste and it’s not wrapped in plastic.

When you’re on the road, what’s the song we can find on your playlist?
Boulevard des Airs – Emenne-moi

Any cool new projects in 2019?
I have so many projects in mind but I have to focus on finishing my studies first. After I get my degree, I want to learn how to sail and go to Antarctica.

Pretty big plans Julia! And last but not least, what kind of traveler do you consider yourself to be?
A traveller who tries to avoid mass tourism, carrying as little stuff as possible but goes home with as many souvenirs as possible, haha

To find out more about Julia, check out her website or follow her on Instagram.



Check all our Interviews here!

How to Plan Your Perfect Surf Trip

It’s time to get active! If you want to get the most out of your beach holiday, surfing is the thing for you. The benefits are endless, it’s not only a fun thing to do but also boosts your confidence, let’s you appreciate nature even more, comes with a great culture and is the perfect stress release. On top of that it’s a full body workout. Getting a beach body on the beach, how beneficial is that? After all, the great outdoors is the best fitness center you can have and the waves will soon be your favourite fitness instructor. Enthusiastic but no idea were to start? Let me help you.

Picking a destination
There are thousands of perfect spots to surf, from beginner locations till waves that can reach the height of a house. One of the most famous places to go in Europe is Biarritz. I personally really like the coast of Portugal, for example Ericeira or Valadares. You can let your inner surfer all over the world. Maxico, Bali, South Africa, Hawaii.. literally everywhere. So depending on your holiday wishes, timing and days, pick a location and google will guide you to the best coast spots. Tip: When exploring a destination, keep an eye out for the locals. You can learn a lot about the place by observing people. Where do they surf, where do they eat, what do they wear. All those little things will help you getting the most out of your holiday.

how to plan the perfect surftrip

Choosing The Right Accommodation
Especially if you’re a beginner and don’t have your own surf gear I recommend going to a surf guesthouse or hostel. They will provide you with transport to the nearby beach, the correct equipment, lessons and great company. Although it’s a hostel or guesthouse, that doesn’t mean you have to share a dorm. There are plenty of luxurious accommodations out there where you can have your own room or even bungalow. Concerning my favourite spots in Europe, I recommend Surf Yoga in Eiriceira and Salt Days Lodge in Valadares.

The Preparation
Whether you live near the beach, in the middle of the city or in a country where the water is always frozen: there is always a possibility to practice. Of course the best preperation is on the water, let’s make that clear. But there are multiple other options. If you’re not already blessed with a surfer body and top notch physical condition, it’s probably a good thing to dust off that gym membership. I asked my personal trainer ( to create some surf-minded exercises and honestly, afterwards was the first time I ever surfed for 4 hours a day and didn’t have any muscle strain. Focus on your physical condition and strengthen your arms, shoulders and back muscles. Also balance exercises, for example with a Bosu Trainer, will help you come forward as a natural talent.

What to Pack
I’m not diving into what surf gear you need, there are so many possibilities and it really depends on your own preferences, experience and places you go to. If you’re in doubt, your surf accommodation is happy to give you advice about the must needs for their locations. But besides your surf gear, there are some extra gadgets that can come in handy:

  1. Sunscreen. And I really mean good sunscreen and not the oil-kind-of-I’m-tanning-type cause you going to be half tomato half human. A firm waterproof type will do, but there is a chance it will irritate you eyes when you’re trying to rub the salt water out. I swear by the zink sticks, especially if you burn as fast as I do. Most of the time you only need to use it on your hands, head and feet.
  2. Comfy clothing. Besides your beach towel it’s recommended to take some comfortable clothing with you. If you’re taking multiple courses a day, you’re probably going to change locations. Although I know you would love to wear that cute bohemian beach-outfit, you’re going to want a soft t-shirt/sweater when you’re whole body is sticky from the salt water.
  3. For the long hair hero’s: hair ties! You don’t want to have your hair stick to your face like seaweed all the time. A surf cap is also a possibility.
  4. Don’t forget to take loads of water and some food with you to the beach, you going to thank yourself later.

Packing for your first surf trip can be a thing

Your First Waves
You surf instructor will tell you everything you need to know to be a top surfer in no-time. How to paddle, when to stand and most important; how to jump up without making a massive nosedive. But maybe even more important are the surf etiquettes. Waves can have a lot of power and you don’t want to be guilty of hitting another surfer with your board. Good thing you can already read about the surf etiquettes before your trip, so you will be physically and mentally prepared. You can find a complete list of the rules here.

how to plan your surftrip

Checked all the boxes? It’s time to practice, practice and practice. Remember to stay positive, surfing can look easy but not everybody is born with a natural talent to jump on a floating board (me neither). It took me 3 holidays and 90 always-drown-I’m-done-with-it moments to finally master the basics. And actually, that’s the beauty of it. It’s such a amazing reward if you manage to catch just that perfect wave after some exhausting minutes of paddling.

Every time you go surfing, every wave you surf, you will get a little more addicted, and you’ll book your next surf trip. Head up, smile on your face and ride those waves!



*Eva is one of our guest bloggers from Amsterdam. She’s a city girl who only leaves her heels at home when wearing a backpack. Living by the urge to be where she’s not, to explore, experience, fall and get up. You can follow her on Instagram.

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The perfect surftrip if you’re on a budget

Salty hair, sun-kissed skin and a killer body. Gosh, how we envy those amazing surfer girls. So when O’Neill Europe invited us to go on a 3 day surftrip in the South of France, you can imagine the smiles on our faces. With little time to prepare ourselves for a bikini fit body, we jumped on an airplane to Bordeaux. From there we drove about 2 hours south before arriving in a surfer town called Labenne.

Board ’n Breakfast

We stayed in a bed & breakfast called Board ’n Breakfast (hence the name). If you’re planning a surftrip of your own, this might be the perfect place for you to stay.
Board ’n Breakfast started 6 years ago and is run by a Belgium couple, Anton and Ine. They discovered Labenne in their quest for the best surf spots around the world and decided this would be the best place to settle down. You can book a room for as little as 27 euro’s per night including breakfast with croissants, baguettes and homemade jam. During high season you can only book a minimum stay of 7 days but trust us, you will like it. There are several houses you can choose from depending on how many people.

All the houses include a kitchen and bathroom. The super friendly Anton and Ine cook dinner twice a week that includes an amazing BBQ with various salads, homemade veggie burgers, marinated beef and an Indonesian meal with an impressive story. For the Indonesian dinner you pay €2,50 extra per person and this goes to a good cause which stimulates education in India. The B&B includes a swimming pool, tiki bar, garden and plenty of stuff to play with (which includes their friendly dog mawi). But it’s the personal touch of Anton and Ine that really made us fall in love with this place. 

Board n Breakfast
Enjoying BBQ’s and Yoga at Board ’n Breakfast. 

O’Neill had something good in store for us, they got 2 of the best Dutch female surfers to teach us how to surf! Dominga Valdes (3 times national champion) and Julia van Rooij (Pro Surfer) had 3 days to make us look good at sea which wasn’t an easy task! On day 1 we drove to the nearest beach with our boards and wetsuits which you can rent at BnB. (Labenne Océan is only a 2 min drive) After a short introduction and the history of O’Neill, we walked towards the waves.
Ok, we’ve both surfed once or twice before but this looked anything but charming. (The salty hair-do looked a bit different than we expected!) After drinking about 3 liters of seawater we finally managed to stand on our boards for more than 5 seconds. Surfing is exhausting but once you manage to stand up, you get a feeling of satisfaction we can only recommend. Yes, a new addiction was born that day.

surf trip Labenne
Dominga and Julia teaching us the basics Photo by Jelle Mul

Surf Trip with O'Neill
Low tide. Photo by @JelleMul

actioncam shot surf trip
Cycling to the beach

ONeill surftrip
Wearing O’Neill Active Wear and Sweaters

ONeill surftrip wander-lust
Double exposure by @jellemul

Things to do
Not far from Labenne there are other nearby beaches where you can surf. You have Capbreton, Seignosse, and surfers town Hossegor is only 30 minutes away. Labenne is easy accessible and a nice drive if you’re heading over by car. No matter if you are a beginner, pro or just want some fun on a board, this surftrip is perfect for everyone.

Other nearby attractions are:

  • A large water park (only open during summer)
  • A cosy, pretty zoo / farmhouse
  • Wine tastings
  • A monkey park
  • Tree top adventure courses
  • Horseback riding through the woods and on the beaches
  • Biking and mountainbiking
  • Relaxing (we also count this as an extremely important activity!)

Plenty of stuff to do but let’s be honest, once go surfing you probably won’t do anything else! 😉

Sarah on the ONeil Surftrip
Sarah getting her surf on

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The Ultimate Australian Surf Roadtrip!

“There’s nothing that a good day of surf won’t cure” Willie Morris once said… And that’s why a surfer always lives in search of the perfect wave. 

I planned an Australian Surf Roadtrip (or surf roadie, how they call it here) along the East coast and discovered the sweetest spots! Wanna do the same!? These are my favourite spots to catch a wave, enjoy good food and experience those surfer vibes!

Hidden Australian Gems? Read about 12 lesser known spots in Australia.

Thinkin’ bout the waves

1. Crescent Head (NSW)

Surrounded by stunning nature…After a long ride (5 hrs) all the way from Byron we finally arrived in longboard heaven! My friend and I weren’t the smartest, as we flew from Sydney to Ballina to join the Byron Bay BLUESFEST(!), whereafter we started our camper van journey back to NSW to find some waves in Crescent Head. Normally I would suggest you to start driving up North from Sydney in order to pass Crescent Head first and then continue your way up to Noosa.

What else do you need besides your bikinis, a surfable board, wax, sunscreen?

Anyhow, most challenging here was probably our campsite in the middle of Hat Head National Park being totally back to basic without any lights at night and with barely any facilities, but hey?! Our plans for the rest of the day? Nothing really! As there’s not much more than the beach and two coffee spots Green Room Café & Two Tails Wagging that I totally fell in love with. We charged our energy levels (+ phones!) and read the oldest surf magazines ever! Life’s good….

Surfboards at Crescent Head

Mandy's van on her surftrip
A van is the best transport for an Australian surf roadtrip

2. Lennox Head (NSW)

At the Southern end of Seven Miles Beach…Upcoming but still quite unknown by tourists. This cute little coastal village offers just about everything you need to relax, unwind and perfect for an Australian surf roadtrip! From Byron to Lennox its only a 20 min drive through breathtaking scenery. It’s a perfect spot to park your van at night, save money on expensive campsites in Byron and enjoy peaceful environments with the Australian locals.

3. Byron Bay (NSW)

Byron how did you put that spell on me!? I could absolutely write a book about you, but unfortunately I only have a couple more hours before I need to hand in this blogpost. It’s one of my favorite places on earth, I kept coming back and then always stayed longer than planned. Despite all of the shark warnings and my own fear, I never stopped surfing these clean and beautiful waters. From The Pass, which is so super crowded, to Wategos and The Wreck at is so much fun! I need to mention Black Dog Surfing here for sure as they have always been supporting me with surfboard hire deals and great kindness!

Whites beach byron
Whites beach byron

Besides surfing we went on adventures…My friend and Byron Bay local Jessie Ehrenburg (check out her beach tipi’s here showed me a secret route to get to amazing white sandy beaches such as “Whites Beach” hidden away from the crowds. For great foodies and coffee we couldn’t stop hanging out at the Bayleaf Café downtown or FOLK a little out of town. After amazing sunsets we mostly finished off our day with a Pacific Ale (Byron brewed beer) and a local band at either The Great Northern or Railway Friendly Bar. Good times guaranteed!

Bayleaf Byron Bay
Great coffee at Bayleaf

4. Coolangatta/Burleigh Heads (Gold Coast)

One of the Gold Coast’s favorite surf destinations must be Coolangatta. Other than the overrated Surfer’s Paradise, Coolangatta offers super chill vibes and great waves! The superbank (a 2km long sandbank) can be ridden all the way from Snapper Rocks towards Kirra Beach making it one of the longest waves in the world. Personally I loved surfing the Greenmount Point with its long stretched beach good for beginner surf (still some strong rips), but I also had great experiences at Kirra. A good hangout is the Quicksilver Boardriders store with a café, board hire and a barber shop right across the beach on Marine Parade. If you drive further down the coast you’ll end up in Burleigh Heads which is another coastal village with nice beaches, sweet surf, hiking trails and a lovely café called Burleigh Social with delicious juices and nutritious after surf foodies!

Gold coast surf roadtrip

5. Mooloolaba/Caloundra (Sunshine Coast)

How travel creates friends and friends create networks! (I wanna wipe away a little tear right now knowing that my friend is literally on the other side of the world and I miss her lots!) On the road, she introduced me to a lovely Australian couple that hosted us for a few nights down the Sunshine Coast. It wouldn’t have been Aussies if there weren’t any surfboards in the house, and gosh how new and fresh they were! Thus, man of the house took us into the waters of Caloundra at 6am and it was tough but absolutely thrilling! Best & beautiful beaches are: Currimundi, Dicky, Kings and Moffat.


6. Noosa (Sunshine Coast)

Blessed with a beautiful array of nature, clear blue water and pristine beaches….we arrived at our final destination: Noosa! Behind all the beauty, Noosa has a prestige sort of flair with upper class tourism in which I find myself almost uncomfortable when walking out of the surf without make up and frizzy hair, thus I wouldn’t call it a chill surf town but once you walk up to the National Park and find these amazing hidden beaches you know that it’s all worth it! I remember that I sat on my longboard at Tea Trees (a right hand point break) while the sun was setting over the water No words even describe that magical moment and it made me realize again how lucky I was for being there! Another gem that we found was Belmondos Organic Market with Clandestino Coffee Roasters, a crazy cool roastery that is a must on your Noosa To-Do list!

Coffee Roasters Noosa
Clandestino Coffee Roasters

As moments fade away and memories last for ever, great friendships were made and an unforgettable journey states in our hearts. As road trips are the foundation of a surf culture, this has been a voyage of discovery that I can only pass on to you! Unfortunately ours lasted as little as 2,5 weeks but if only it could take a bit longer… Till next time!

Inspired? Watch the short film: North to Noosa here.



*Mandy is one of our guest travel bloggers that has lived in Australia for 1,5 years, she is now back in Amsterdam planning her next adventure! 


This woman draws the most amazing art on surfboards

She was born in Indonesia but she grew up in The Netherlands. I met her a few years ago through a Dutch blog I used to write for called Moderne Hippies. I’m talking about Chanti Mai.This woman is special for several reasons. She is a yoga teacher, a masseuse and a cancer survivor.  Yes, she was diagnosed in 2013 and has been fighting this terrible disease for a few years. Thankfully, she is now cancer free.

But I don’t want to focus on the cancer. Because Chanti makes the most amazing mandala art drawings on surfboards! 

Surfboard art by Chanti Mai
Photo Credit: Caroline Løvehjerte

It all started when the cancer made her feel low on energy so she didn’t have the strength to surf. Something she always loved to do. She wanted to do something to keep herself entertained so she started drawing again, something she had done in the past. She didn’t think it would go somewhere until a friend told her she should start taking this “mandala drawing” seriously. She got asked to draw her first art piece on a surfboard and more kept on following. She has developed her own style so people immediately recognize her surfboards!

Mandala art on Surfboards
Photo Credit: Marie-Therese Reretsifp

Chanti Mai at work
Chanti at work

Surfboard art by Chanti Mai

You can follow Chanti on Facebook or read her blogs on Moderne Hippies. (Dutch only). For Massages, Yoga classes and Mandala Art, you can visit her website.
Would you like a personalized mandala drawing from Chanti? You can get 10{8b669be72a7f340f9ef2d6d852585cd40ddf0e79ccf763f3ea93c1234c3d888b} off your order if you use the word “wanderlust”!