San Vicente de la Barquera – surfing, cows and sunsets
My heart was beating like crazy when I saw the sign: „SAN VICENTE DE LA BARQUERA“… I had the feeling that this was MY PLACE. Two months earlier I had put my surfboard on the roof of my small Opel Kadett in order to start my first real roadtrip, which led along the beautiful, vast coast of France and found its end in the fascinating and diverse Spanish coastal area. My last quick visit in the smallish Spanish Town was quite blurry, but I knew that this time I would be able to stay long enough to lose my heart somewhere in the dunes and the ocean. Right upon arrival it spread its magic, leaving me knowing that I would come back here many, many times. We arrived in the evening when the sun just started to setting and the whole sky turned in a mysterious red….
San Vicente de la Barquera kept all it promised: I surfed the best waves, met super friendly Spanish people and saw the most romantic sunsets in a long time. For me the city combined an Italian-mediterranean ambiance, with white sandy dunes like in the Netherlands and long, green, winding roads like in England. On top it had perfect waves and enough possibilities to indulge in delicious Spanish seafood dishes, traditional pastries and many yummy drinks. I wished that holiday would never end…
Light and shadows above the beach
The main beach ‘Playa de Meron’
Harbor at high tide
Harbor at low tide
Surfing in San Vicente:
Compared to the aggressive and fast waves in France, Spain proofed to be the perfect place to improve my surfing skills, not only because the locals were so friendly and didn’t mind to share a wave, but also because the waves were more a lot predictable. The beach of San Vicente “Playa de Meron” can produce excellent, fast and hollow waves at all states of tides. Special as well is the rocky harbor entrance with a lighthouse. The beach runs west until it joins a rocky cliff, which shelters the beach from a westerly wind. I found that the waves along the beach had quite different conditions and preferred the clean waves close to the harbor. There are a couple of surfschools and renting out a board costs about 10Euro/day.
Surfing at Playa El Meron
Surf impressions from Spain, more on that here: Surfing Europe: Impressions from the GoPro
My favourite place to have a few drinks at was the little bar and restaurant “Dias del surf” (Av Francisco Giner de los Rios 12), which has an excellent view over the harbor and is situated just a couple of minutes away from the main beach. They specialise in all kinds of different GIN-Drinks and I happened to have an absolutely delicious milkshake there. Another nice place to hang out and have some snacks or drinks is Hula Bar (Barrio de la Playa) or a small little surf-cafe on top of a hill in Oyambre. The city itself is not exactly what you call a partytown, but you can always find some bars to hang out.
Barkeeper Dani at Dias del Surf
Got have a van? PERFECT, because San Vicente de la Barquera and Oyambre (the next village) have some of the best parking spots ever! Sea view included. Just drive along the country road from San Vicente to Oyambre and you will easily find a couple of free parking spots. If you don’t have a car you can also pitch your tent or mobile home in one of the two camping sites “El Rosal” or “Camping Oyambre“. From my personal experience I found that the staff of Camping Oyambre was much friendlier and more helpful, but if you want to be close to San Vicente and its bars, restaurants and nightlife you’re better off opting for “El Rosal”.