Kitesurfing European style is not some newfangled way of riding, it’s about experiencing the continent and enjoying some epic kitesurfing. But with 66,000 kms of coastline to explore, dotted with many great cities, what are the best kite spots in Europe?
Kitesurfing European style
Before we get into the best kite spots in Europe here are a few reasons why you should be kitesurfing European style:
- If, like two thirds of our readers, you are based in Europe it means cutting out the expense of long haul flights
- Europe is very easy to get around by air, road or rail. Road trip anyone?
- Culture: Paris, Berlin, Rome, London etc may be culture capitals but almost any destination in Europe has more culture then you can shake your kite bar at.
- Food: From English fish and chips to Greek souvlaki and French fine dining to Spanish tapas, the variety and quality is outstanding.
- Drink: Europeans have been brewing wine and beer for a couple of millennia so are pretty good at it.
- Party: You are never far from a party if you are looking for one.
Best kite spots in Europe
This started out as a top 10 but I couldn’t narrow it down – even sticking to the 20 best kite spots in Europe was tough! As with any ‘best of’ or ‘top 10’ this is just my opinion, if I have missed anywhere awesome please let me know in the comments.
So if you fancy kitesurfing European style, any of the spots below would be well worth a visit. The list starts in the European kite capital Tarifa, and works clockwise around Europe country by country.
With nearly 300 days of wind and sun each year, it’s not surprising that Tarifa has become Europe’s kitesurfing capital. With big winds forming in the natural funnel of the Straits of Gibraltar, conditions are consistently good.
The beaches at Conil, El Plamar and Canos de Meca are top spots but they can get busy during high season (July and August) so avoid coming then if you can help it. On the Playa dos Mares beach there’s a separate section for schools, so be careful here.
The Western Poniente wind arrives side-onshore and can bring small to medium sized waves depending on the time of year – ideal for beginners and advanced riders. A natural place to start any best kite spots in Europe list – check out our kite school recommendations in Tarifa.
El Medano, Tenerife
OK so the Canary Islands are off the coast of Africa, but they’re included in this list as they’re part of Spain. Plus they are easy to reach, offer cheap holidays, have great climate and lots of wind offering some of the best kite spots in Europe.
El Medano is just a few minutes drive from the main airport in Tenerife. The bay is suitable for most levels of rider, but for beginners low tide is more suitable. At times there can be a decent shore break here, and often there are small waves and plenty of chop to play in.
There’s year-round cross shore – onshore winds. Winds are strongest and most reliable in the summer, but good all year round thanks to a north-east trade wind and thermal effects. The wind tends to build throughout the day and remain strong until sunset.
The water temperature only drops below 20˚C in February and March so you can get away with shorts and a vest most of the year. Average daily high temperatures are above 20˚C all year so it is the warmest climate in ‘Europe’.
Flag Beach, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands
Another spot in the canaries…. Much of Fuerteventura is pretty good for kitesurfing, but Flag Beach to the north is where you’ll find the big wind. Located on the outskirts of Corralejo, there are great kitesurfing conditions on a 6-7km sandy beach with predominantly cross-shore winds.
Flag Beach is suitable for all levels with both protected flat water and waves available in most tides and winds. Much like El Medano, in high season the water is warm enough to leave your wetsuit at home. Reliable trade winds mean you can kitesurf all year round in Fuerteventura, but conditions are best in the summer.
Established in 1988 and offering kitesurfing lessons in English, German, Italian, Spanish and French since 1999, Flag Beach Watersports Centre is the kite school of choice in Fuerteventura. Using three 6 metre 90hp boats they teach where conditions are best for downwind kitesurfing.
Just down the road, Sotavento is well worth a visit. The main beach is a long and has a wide lagoon that’s ideal for beginners with waves and chop further out that will suit more advanced riders. Fuerteventura is undoubtedly one of the best kite spots in Europe, but there are plenty of other good kitesurfing destinations in the Canary Islands.
Praia do Guincho, Portugal
World renowned Guincho is just half an hour outside of Lisbon, the country’s capital. So it can get a little busy here. Conditions are generally only for advanced kitesurfers, with big swells coming in off the Atlantic.
The further you head out, the stronger the winds get, with big rocks lurking under the water – so you do need to be careful. The beach is exposed to the NW swell, with waves generally between one to two metres. Mid-low to high tide is best as at high tide the beach break is a bit strong so it can be tough to get going.
The water is cold all year round so you’ll need a wetsuit. Be sure to visit nearby Lisbon for the food and culture to truly experience kitesurfing European style.
For kitesurfing lessons and guiding at Guincho Beach we recommend SB Kiteboarding. They also offer lessons in Cascais and Costa Caparica near Lisbon, Lagoa de Óbidos, Peniche and Praia Areia Branca in the east plus Lagos and Alvor in the Algarve: www.sbkiteboarding.com
Leucate on the Cote D’Azur (French Riviera) is a renowned kitesurfing destination that hosts the Mondial Du Vent competition each year in April. Best time of year to kite is either March and April or July to October.
Beginners will love the beach area, where light cross-shore winds provide perfect conditions for learning. More advanced riders will find plenty to get excited about offshore when the Tramontana wind gets up. It’s a superb destination for freestyle kitesurfers.
The wind here blows for around 300 days per year, but be warned that it’s a popular spot and can get a little busy in high season. Also watch out for the oyster beds in the lagoon area.
The Atlantic coast of France is dotted with some excellent kiting spots but perhaps the best amongst them is Lacanau. Situated just west of Bordeaux with one of the top beach breaks in the country, this is easily one of the best kite spots in Europe.
It is suitable for all ability levels as there are a big choice of conditions from the beach. With warmer air and water in the summer months you may be able to get away without a wetsuit (just – it’s still better to bring one with you though).
Hayling Island, UK
A popular spot with UK riders, the sea front here offers good conditions for intermediate and advanced riders. It’s flexible, with always somewhere to ride – no matter the wind direction.
There are a few competitions and festivals held at Hayling Island each year including the National Watersports Festival each September. Also of note is the Virgin Kitesurfing Armada in June, which to date has broken five Guinness World Records.
Of course, it’s Great Britain so expect water temperatures to be cold all year round. Perhaps not the most glamorous destination, but easily one of the best kite spots in Europe with good camping and a great vibe.
Gower Peninsula, UK
Broughton Bay is on the northwest tip of the Gower Peninsula in southern Wales. It’s a mainly sandy beach with spits and shallow tidal lagoons that shift with the tides. Conditions are best when the wind is blowing from the north, northwest and west – and low tide is the best part of the day.
The fast flowing waters of the estuary create some chop but it can just as likely be flat. For wave riding, the best conditions are when the winds are northwest and there’s a swell.
It’s the UK, so don’t expect warm water at any time of year. But despite the cold, a definite on any list of best kite spots in Europe.
Brandon Bay, Ireland
This huge bay is battered by the swells coming in off the Atlantic. So, if there’s a storm brewing or the winds are getting up, the water tends to get busy with kites.
There’s a big range of conditions here, suitable for most levels of rider. You can get big three metre waves or glass flat water. The highest ever kitesurfing jump in Ireland (15.8 metres) happened here. Which should give you some idea of the conditions. Cold water – so bring a thick suit.
La Panne, Belgium
This beach spot on the Belgian coast is a great all round destination that suits all ability levels. Depending on conditions, you can ride wave, freestyle or speed here, with winds blowing throughout the day. It’s also relatively quiet, with few kiters and windsurfers, which makes a nice change from some of the other destinations on this list.
The bottom is sandy and apart from a bit of seaweed and a small current, there isn’t too much to worry about. The wind comes predominantly cross-shore from the west and the season runs from June to October.
St Peter Ording, Germany
One of the most popular spots in Germany, conditions here are perfect when the offshore winds meet a west swell. It’s suitable for all levels of rider but it’s the Baltic Sea of Northern Friesland so don’t expect tropical water. A thick wetsuit is needed.
This spa resort town is also a stopping point on the Kitesurf World Cup Tour. With generally choppy water with waves of between one to two metres, it can be challenging. But there are some more sheltered waters for beginners too. Best time to kitesurf here is between March and July.
Ringkobing Fjord, Denmark
There’s a choice of great kiting spots at Ringkobing fjord. Kloster, Sorte Bakker and Skaven Strand all offer consistent winds, flat and relatively quiet waters make it one of the best kite spots in Europe.
Strong winds blow in from the west coming in off the North Sea and are pretty consistent throughout the year. The huge fjord area gives you plenty of space but the water is always cold, so you’ll need a thick suit if you fancy kitesurfing European style here.
Habo Ljung, Sweden
Like most of the best kite spots in Sweden Habo Ljung is located in the southern part of the country. Depending on the tide there’s shallow water here for up to four hundred metres out. There are also a couple of sand banks keeping things calm and flat – so it’s great for tricks.
It’s a top spot for beginners but nearer the beach it can get a little busy in high season. Southwest or northwest are the best winds to kite, with straight onshore westerly winds working too. There’s camping and a café right there so facilities are not bad. This far north you’ll be wanting a thick wetsuit.
Gokova Bay, Turkey
Now heading back to Southern Europe. Turkey is included as it straddles the border between Europe and Asia and in european terms is easy to get to. Gokova gets very reliable summer winds and with a large flat water estuary provides some superb kitesurfing conditions.
The season really kicks off in July and runs through to the end of September when the winds start to die down again. It’s the Meltemi that blows here, funnelling through the deep valley – usually starting at around 11am and blowing throughout the day.
The bay is about three kilometres wide and mostly pretty shallow, so it’s suitable for most ability levels. No obstacles and clean water make it safe too. It’s warm enough to not need a wetsuit in summer. Check out our guide to kitesurfing in Turkey.
The traditional Cypriot village of Pissouri offers reliable winds for much of the year. Easily making it on to the best kite spots in Europe if you fancy a bit of kitesurfing European style.
The kitesurfing season runs from May through to September with July and August being the busiest months, but only because it is warmer. There’s a steady southwest wind blowing between 16 and 20 knots for five to six days a week all year round.
Generally the water is choppy, but in the more protected bay area, it’s sheltered from the wind and swell making it more suited to beginners. Advanced kiters can head out past the wind line for some much stronger stuff and big air.
Located on the island of Rhodes, Prasonisi is home to very reliable winds and a good combination of flat water and small waves in close proximity. It’s not a holiday resort, so you won’t have to share the water with swimming tourists, but that does mean there are fewer facilities here.
The season starts in May and runs through the summer to October. Water temperatures are warm and with two bay areas to choose from, the riding varied. In our opinion one of the best kite spots in Europe.
Marmari is located just a few miles from the resort town of Kos but it’s a very different vibe out here. The Meltemi blows onshore from the north, slightly from the right. The best time to kite is between June and September (although the season stretches from May to October).
Winds are lighter in the morning but build throughout the day, with stronger conditions in the afternoon more suited to advanced riders. The mostly onshore winds also make it possible to ride all the way along the beach, with fun to be had on some small waves.
Pounda on Paros is another stop on the world kitesurfing tour – and for good reason too. A sandy beach with no obstacles and shallow waters means it’s perfect for both beginners and experienced riders.
Winds are consistent with an average of four to five windy days a week, ranging from 12 to 35 knots. The summer is high season, with conditions best from May through to September when the thermal winds get up. Waters are warm so you can ride in just shorts and a vest.
Lake Garda, Italy
It’s not all about the coast when it comes to kitesurfing European style. Strong winds blow throughout the year at Lake Garda in Italy. In the morning the Peler wind blows onshore, and in the afternoon the Ora blows from the south until sunset.
There are plenty of kiting spots to choose from along the lake. Some of the most popular include Malcesine on the eastern side, Campagnola with its rocky beach, and Navene with its dedicated kitesurfing beach. Although conditions are good, there are restrictions about exactly when and where you can kitesurf – so find out before you hit the water.
Porto Pollo, Sardinia
Something of a hidden gem but one of the best kite spots in Europe. Due to the crystal clear turquoise water you may be ‘Kitesurfing European style’, but it’ll feel like you’re in the Caribbean. Porto Pollo is a small bay on the north coast of Sardinia, with a dedicated kitesurfing area.
Several winds blow here throughout the year – Tramontana, Poniente and Scirocco amongst them – meaning the season is long. It runs from April right through to October. They funnel down from Corsica creating some big waves away from the calmer beach area.
In the summer you can kite in shorts and a vest, but suits are required the rest of the year – find out more about kitesurfing in Sardinia here.
Lake Silvaplana, Switzerland
Last but certainly not least is Lake Silvaplana. Set in the heart of the Engadine Valley of Grisons in Switzerland, this is the closest kitesurfing has to an origin. It was in this beautiful location in 1987, that Swiss paraglider Andrea Kuhn made a huge leap forward in pioneering the sport.
Along with his friend, Dieter Strasilla, they used inflatable kites with surfboards and snowboards – creating an essential part of the modern sport of kitesurfing. Ever since it has drawn kitesurfers from around the world.
It was no coincidence that they chose Lake Silvaplana. The stunning mountain backdrop, clean air and town of St Moritz are all quite a draw. But the legendary Maloja wind, that arrives just before midday and blows at 10 to 20 knots until sunset is the icing on this kitesurfing cake.
Check out the Kulm Hotel St Moritz for a luxurious trip to this iconic kitesurfing destination. Their three-night half-board kitesurfing packages includes lessons and gear with the world’s oldest kite school, transfers to the kite lessons, use of the spa, golf course and tennis courts. They even throw in massage… Find out more here: www.kulm.com.
Certainly a beautiful place to finish our best kite spots in Europe list. It also seems apt that we started in Tarifa – Europe’s undisputed wind capital – went full circle around Europe and finished where kitesurfing began.
Do you agree with our 20 best kite spots in Europe? If not leave a comment. If this article has inspired you to head off kitesurfing European style, then check out our kitesurfing discounts in Europe.