Smoothing high-temperature superconductor (HTS) surfaces, especially HTS thin-film surfaces, is crucial for HTS thin-film device processing. In this letter, we describe a method to planarize the surface of a YBa2Cu3O7−δ HTS film down to a smoothness with a standard deviation of 1 nm or better. The method includes first smoothing the HTS surface by ion cluster beam bombardment, followed by annealing in oxygen ambient to regrow the damaged surface layer. Additional YBCO layers can be grown epitaxially on the treated surface, even without removing the top surface layer, which contained some residual damage after annealing. This method can be integrated into HTS circuit fabrication as a key step of planarization. © 1998 American Institute of Physics.