Colder weather, ferocious wind chill and shorter days mean winter can be a bummer for water sports aficionados in Europe. Fortunately, wind and swells increase meaning the best winter windsurfing in Europe for wind, waves and warmth is less of a gloomy prospect.
Picture the scene. You’re cowering behind your van in the car park with a monumental case of ‘hot aches’ – which is quite possibly the most painful experiences any self-respecting windsurfer will endure. But you’ve just pulled off a new trick, surfed your biggest wave or just had a good time with your mates.
Was the pain worth it? Of course! Which is why for those with a positive outlook, the best winter windsurfing in Europe is hard to beat. So pick and choose your days wisely and you will be rewarded with some excellent conditions.
In terms of where to head, we feel there are three factors to consider: wind, waves and warmth. Not everywhere offers all three, but below you’ll find the top winter windsurf spots in Europe for these three factors.
Since the Millennium Ireland has gained the reputation as a world-renowned destination for hardcore H2O action. Endless Facebook updates from the region’s big wave surfing elite have only compounded this claim.
Windsurfing has also been on the agenda, with Brandon Bay on the Dingle Peninsular getting the lion’s share of publicity. Host to a number of world class competitions including the PWA World Tour it provides some of the best winter windsurfing in Europe for wind and waves but certainly not warmth.
The fact remains though that the whole of Ireland’s western coastline is ripe for your windsurfing pickings through the winter. From Magheroarty in the north west, to the secret nooks and crannies around Kinsale in Cork there are some cracking spots.
And it is not just about waves, you’ll find protected flat water and plenty of chop in in the right places in Ireland. And don’t forget to round off your day’s shenanigans with a well-earned jar of the black stuff. Get yourself over to Ireland when the weathers right and you will score!
Another Celtic land that’s offering some of the best winter windsurfing in Europe is Scotland. The west and north coastline are blessed with great wind and waves throughout the winter. And if the sun should shine it is one of the most beautiful places on the planet.
The jewel in Scotland’s crown is undoubtedly the Western Isle of Tiree in the Outer Hebrides where the PWA world tour has visited. Tiree is fabled amongst windies as being a spot where you can score all types of conditions in the same day.
Due the small circumference of the island and the fact it lies directly in the path of the hallowed winter low pressure systems it gets more than it’s fair share of wind and waves. The added bonus is it’s UK’s sunniest area (fact!) should only help encourage a visit.
Tiree can be a mission to access but trust the hype; it will most definitely be worth it. In fact it’s the reason why so many wave sailing competitions have been held there over the years.
If you really are sick to the back teeth of the cold then you could try warmer climes. So it is perhaps unsurprising that some of the Best winter windsurfing in Europe are further south.
Tarifa, located down on the south-facing Spanish coastline opposite Gibraltar, has been a winter windsurfing hideaway for aeons. With daytime air temperatures in the mid-20s, choosing to spend your winter windsurfing holiday in Tarifa will help evaporate all those memories of dull, grey skies back home.
The wind in Tarifa delivers all year round, so heading there there in the ‘off-season’ shouldn’t be cause for concern. In fact, winter is the best time of year for cheap flight and accommodation. As an added bonus winter is the best time of year if you want to score any type of wave action.
If you feel like venturing even further afield then there’s always the staple of the Canary Islands. Without doubt one of the best winter windsurfing in Europe for wind, waves and warmth, the canaries subtropical climate is a huge improvement on northern Europe but only a four hour flight away.
Fuerteventura is the pick of this volcanic archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean. Although with reliable trade winds and regular Atlantic swells there is good windsurfing to be had on any of the islands from Lanzarote to Tenerife and Gran Canaria to La Gomera.
Being relatively small islands, there are a multitude of different launch locations that can be chosen depending on the wind. Furthermore, most of the islands offer both wave and flat water conditions.
With daytime temperatures in the mid to high 20s, it’s no wonder many ‘normal’ holidaymakers head to the canaries for their winter sun fix. This also means there is plenty of low cost accommodation, great amenities and package holidays to keep the costs down.
If you fancy something a bit different, and are happy to do a little exploring, then Sardinia in the Mediterranean could be worth a shout. Being a region of Italy, you will not just some of the best winter windsurfing in Europe for wind, waves and warmth, but authentic Italian culture too.
Lying in the Tyrrhenian Sea, Sardinia is in a prime location for strong breeze. During winter the north of the island gets battered by the ferocious Maestrale and Scirocco winds.
Also the amount of swell that the island gets through the dark months is surprising for the Med. And is why Sardinia is sometimes referred to as the ‘Hawaii of the Med’.
Robby Naish famously commented that the Porto Pollo area was the best windsurfing spot he’d ever been to. During winter it’s possible to have this all to yourself – a stark contrast to the busy summer months.
Porto Pollo is where you will find great intermediate conditions. But venture off the beaten track and who knows what you may discover – did anybody say world class wave sailing?
Wherever you head in Europe for your winter windsurfing holiday, you’re likely get better wind than in the summer months. Most destinations also have bigger swells and more chance of wave sailing conditions. Finally, if you head south you can also find a spot of warmth even in the coldest months of winter.
Be sure to check out our windsurfing discounts as you could save a fortune on your next trip.