Ribamontán al Mar
Ribamontán al Mar, the "in" surfing destination
Surfers: grab your boards, because we're going to take you to some of the longest and most spectacular beaches in Cantabria, in northern Spain. More precisely, we'll be travelling to the beaches in the area known as Ribamontán al Mar. Cliffs, fine sand and a good wind are all guaranteed. Surfing has become so popular in this area that in 2012 it was declared the first surf reserve in Spain, and there's now a proliferation of surf schools, surf shops and surfer bars. But that's enough. Let's surf! And to make sure you don't miss anything, click on this link to find all the surfing areas and beaches in Somo, Loredo and Langre.
How did it all begin?
It's not surprising this area is so famous if you realise that in 1973 this was the place which saw the first workshop to produce surfboards in Spain (the surviving examples are genuine collector's items) and that in 1963 the Santander native Jesús Fiochi was the first Spanish surfer.
Which beaches can't you afford to miss?
The most famous are El Puntal, Los Tranquilos, Langre and Galizano, but above all the beaches of Loredo and Somo. All of them have ideal conditions for surfing and as they're facing north and open to the sea, the frequency of the waves is guaranteed. On the Cantabrian coast the average height of the waves in winter is about three metres, although they can often be as high as five. In summer the waves are lower–1.5 metres–, although the water is warmer. In other words, if you want to start surfing at any time of year, this is a great option and you'll find beaches that are ideal for beginners such as the one at Las Quebrantas. And if you're more experienced you can try surfing on the Santa Marina island, whose rocky reef makes it a mecca for big wave riders.
What's on throughout the year?
In July Loredo organises the Interschool Surf Festival. All the official schools in the area take part in this activity, and offer a programme of competitions and games on the beach. What's more, during the day there are raffles for surfboards and surf gear. August is the time of the Somo Surf Stock Fair, which features some of Cantabria's most important shops. Make the most to stock up on clothing, equipment, accessories, books… Also in summer you'll find Pequesurf, a one-week surf camp that takes place on the beach at Somo for children aged 6 to 14. Although these are the best-known events, the schedule of competitions, activities and courses (like the SUP week) is packed with dates practically all year round. What's more, you always have the option of visiting the Somo Surf Centre and seeing the exhibition on the history of surf in Cantabria.
But man (and woman) does not live by surf alone. As a good sportsman or woman we know you may also be interested in other activities like hiking (on a walk along the cliffs you'll see curious forms in the rock such as the "dragon's leg" in Langre), go on mountain bike routes, ride horses or enjoy other water sports like bodyboarding, stand-up paddle surfing, sailing or scuba-diving in the area near Santa Marina island. In summer you can also see the famous horse riding derby in Loredo which takes place on the beach at low tide.
And after surfing?
Now's the time to sample the delicious mixed fish grills typical of the area, take a walk to explore the artistic heritage of towns (don't miss the shrine of Nuestra Señora de Latas in Loredo and the parish church of Santa Eulalia in Suesa), see the remains of a boat stranded over 30 years ago, and take home some thing from the crafts workshops in Somo, "the home of pottery".
If you're thinking of an excursion from Ribamontán al Mar we recommend the city of Santander (less than 9 kilometres away), the Cabárceno Nature Park (a little over 20 kilometres), the El Castillo and Las Monedas caves (in Puente Viesgo, 36 kilometres) and Santillana del Mar (5 kilometres).
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