Surfing isn’t only about the waves and being at one with the Ocean. It’s also about culture and enjoying the place and people around you, which makes the atmosphere of the surfing town you chose to spend your vacation in just as important as the quality and suitability of the waves, as these 10 towns and cities around the world should demonstrate.

Biarritz, France

Biarritz France e1345983670328 10 Best Surfing Towns in the World

Considered as the birthplace of European surfing, it has a nice combination of French high culture and SoCal surf culture. The town center beach is often too crowded sending you to La Côtes des Basques, Anglet, and Guethary, surrounding the city. Watching the local rugby team, Biarritz Olympique, isn’t a bad idea as well.

Bundoran, Ireland

Bundoran Ireland e1345983096574 10 Best Surfing Towns in the World

Ireland is known as Europe’s cold-water Indonesia; This ancient village catches just about any swell that steamrolls through the North Atlantic and onto a smattering of beaches and reefs that suit different levels of surfers, and the pubs scene there more than makes up for the clod weather.

Byron Bay, Australia

Byron Bay Australia e1345983493658 10 Best Surfing Towns in the World

Byron Bay has a little bit of something from everyone – Famalies, upscale, downscale, hippies, surfers, backpackers. The town’s main wave, the Pass, is a classic right-hand point break that accommodates all levels of surfers, though it can get crowded on good swells. Broken Head has great beach breaks and is for the more advanced crowd.

Encinitas, California

Encinitas California e1345982813373 10 Best Surfing Towns in the World

If there’s one surf town to be in when you visit Southern California, it’s Encinitas. It’s about skaters, surfers and snowboarders. The surf is pretty varied, supporting a wide range of surfers, from beginners on its central sandbars to more advanced surfers at its north and south ends.

Florianópolis, Brazil

Florianópolis Brazil e1345983338406 10 Best Surfing Towns in the World

Brazil’s island capital of surfing is known as Floripa to the locals, with 42 different beaches, from the novice-friendly Barra Da Lagoa to the heavier Joaquina Beach, where they sometimes hold professional surfing competitions. The partying there is probably even better than the surfing.

Hanalei, Kanai, Hawai’i

Hanalei Kauai Hawaii e1345982023737 10 Best Surfing Towns in the World

A small town that sits on the North Shore of Kauai, one of the least developed and most beautiful islands in the Hawaiian chain. Wave spot? Hanalei Pier for beginners and expert only reef breaks.

Muizenberg, South Africa

Muizenberg South Africa e1345984112164 10 Best Surfing Towns in the World

Probably the best place in the world to begin the habit of surfing with a place like Kalk Bay just nearby for the more advanced reef surfers, with Danger Reef also a place worth checking out if you’re too bored with the “easy” surf. There are Sharks, but there are also people who spot them.

Shonan, Japan

Shonan Japan e1345983909357 10 Best Surfing Towns in the World

Japan’s west coast is home to hundreds of miles of dark-sand beaches, and its craggy coastline hides reefs, points, and river mouths for all level of surfers. It turned into a popular surfing spot from a sleepy fishing village in the mid 1950′s when the Japanese author Shintaro Ishihara publishedSeason of the Sun, about a group of Japanese teenagers living in rich hedonism on the sands of Shonan.

Taghazout, Morocco

Taghazout Morocco e1345982523375 10 Best Surfing Towns in the World

A small fishing village that became a popular tourist spot for mostly French and Spanish surfers, loving the ancient vibe in what still feels like a frontier town on the edge of the desert. The waves are almost always long-period ground swells—which means great shape and plenty of power—and the winds consistently blow offshore.

Tofino, British Columbia

Tofino British Columbia e1345982261963 10 Best Surfing Towns in the World

Quite a surprising name to see on the because it’s Vancouver Island and not California. Tofino offers more than just surfing spots; It attracts surfers, nature lovers, campers, whale watchers, fishermen, or anyone just looking to be close to nature. Most of the beaches around the town are beginner-friendly.