<p><b>Why You Should Go: </b>Simply put, Hossegor is the best of <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/france-guide/" target="_blank">France</a>, the U.S. East Coast, and <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/united-states/california-guide/" target="_blank">California</a>—all in one place.</p> <p><b>The Town: </b>Forty minutes north of the fancier, more famous Biarritz, Hossegor is the heartland of European surfing in terms of waves and industry. With sand dunes snug against its coastal road, this dreamy town has a lake behind the hopping town center, miles of bike trails, and a picturesque harbor.</p> <p>“As far as beach breaks go, there isn’t much on the continent that compares,” says Nicolas Leroy, European Media Manager for the <a href="http://www.worldsurfleague.com/" target="_blank">World Surf League</a>. “The variety of beaches and the frequency of swell and offshore winds makes it epic—from one-foot for longboarding to the eight-to-20-foot faces at La Graviere.”</p> <p><b>When: </b>Summer’s best for a lively holiday with smaller conditions, while fall boasts better waves and fewer crowds.</p> <p><b>Learn: </b><a href="https://www.chipironsurfschool.com/" target="_blank">Chipiron</a> is owned by a husband-wife team and has water-safety certified instructors.</p> <p><b>Eat: </b>Hossegor is packed with culinary pleasures, from <a href="https://www.facebook.com/touringcafe2/" target="_blank">Le Touring</a>, where meat on a hot stone is a specialty, to <a href="https://www.facebook.com/CJSushis/" target="_blank">CJ Sushi</a>, where its owners are behind the counter, and <a href="http://www.lemangotree.com" target="_blank">Le Mango Tree</a>, with smoothie bowls as delicious as they are exquisite.</p> <p><b>Stay: </b>A special hideaway is the three-year-old <a href="http://www.lakeloft.fr" target="_blank">Lake Loft</a>, a rustic house restyled in a modern chic style by architect Luc Germain.</p> <p><b>Play: </b>Hit the local farmers market in Capbreton after your morning surf, try Basque ball games <i>pala</i> and <i>cesta punta</i>, and enjoy a snack<i> </i>on the beach.</p> <p><b>Local Tip: </b>“Park in the dune somewhere north of Seignosse, bring a cooler and cold beers, head out a couple hours before sunset for a surf and enjoy,” says Leroy.</p>

Hossegor, France

Why You Should Go: Simply put, Hossegor is the best of France, the U.S. East Coast, and California—all in one place.

The Town: Forty minutes north of the fancier, more famous Biarritz, Hossegor is the heartland of European surfing in terms of waves and industry. With sand dunes snug against its coastal road, this dreamy town has a lake behind the hopping town center, miles of bike trails, and a picturesque harbor.

“As far as beach breaks go, there isn’t much on the continent that compares,” says Nicolas Leroy, European Media Manager for the World Surf League. “The variety of beaches and the frequency of swell and offshore winds makes it epic—from one-foot for longboarding to the eight-to-20-foot faces at La Graviere.”

When: Summer’s best for a lively holiday with smaller conditions, while fall boasts better waves and fewer crowds.

Learn: Chipiron is owned by a husband-wife team and has water-safety certified instructors.

Eat: Hossegor is packed with culinary pleasures, from Le Touring, where meat on a hot stone is a specialty, to CJ Sushi, where its owners are behind the counter, and Le Mango Tree, with smoothie bowls as delicious as they are exquisite.

Stay: A special hideaway is the three-year-old Lake Loft, a rustic house restyled in a modern chic style by architect Luc Germain.

Play: Hit the local farmers market in Capbreton after your morning surf, try Basque ball games pala and cesta punta, and enjoy a snack on the beach.

Local Tip: “Park in the dune somewhere north of Seignosse, bring a cooler and cold beers, head out a couple hours before sunset for a surf and enjoy,” says Leroy.

Photograph by Reuters/Alamy

World's 20 Best Surf Towns

A great surf town is the sum of its parts. These 20 towns run the gamut, from a mecca for the surf-obsessed to a spot where surfing's in its infancy. With waves awaiting, an adventurous spirit, and a little guidance, you can’t go wrong.

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