KITESURFING LAKE GARDA
“Lake Garda is such a unique place to ride; huge mountains on all sides and wind every day, plus amazing people and good food.”
YOURI ZOON, SLINGSHOT AND BRUNOTTI PRO RIDER, 2011 & 2012 PKRA WORLD CHAMPION
Located in nothern Italy, Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy at a whopping 51 kilometres long and 17 wide, so there’s acres of space! The west side of the lake is windier and the lake’s ‘Mecca of Kitesurf’, Campione del Garda, sits in the north-west corner. The Formula Kite World Championships were held there in 2019, for good reason; thanks to the imposing cliff overlooking the town of Campione, there’s a powerful funnel effect for the wind. It’s visually stunning and incredible for foiling as you can voyage for miles up- and downwind.
Kiting between these dramatic mountains in the morning and afternoon thermals is a unique experience. If you’re learning, lessons are very safe and all done from a boat, so you have all the space you could possibly need.
The key to this place is stable wind, two reliable thermal wind directions and loads of space. Limone at the north end of the lake has the best spot for the flattest water in the morning and the strongest winds in the afternoon. You can only access it by boat so the spot stays quiet even in high season. You may find that the lake is flat calm in the afternoon, but that this spot still has a nice, stable breeze.
An important factor to note is that all watersports participants are required to wear a life jacket on Lake Garda. If you take a boat ride from one of the schools in Limone then board rental is usually included free of charge, so no need to bring your own and gives you the opportunity to try something new – perhaps a raceboard, hyrdrofoils, strapless surfboard or twin-tip.
WIND, WEATHER AND WATER
The funnel effect that narrows to the north guarantees a venturi effect at the spot of Limone, usually creating at least 15 knots of wind in the afternoon. The thermal winds also kick in with the high pressure (good weather). The Peler blows from the north in the mornings around eight to 11 knots, so is great for foiling. The Ora blows from the south in the afternoons around 15 – 20 knots. Even in low pressure weather systems, Garda offers enough wind to kitesurf safely. April, May, September and October are the best months, often blowing 25+ knots, but you’ll find some wind on 75% of days for the remaining months. A day with no wind at all is rare. Garda Kitesurf only operate and kitesurf themselves from April to October due to the colder temperatures in winter.
Bring a long wetsuit for March, April and October, a shorty through summer and then just boardies in July and August. April and October temperatures can vary from 15 – 25ºC / 59 – 77ºF and in the summer they max at around 38ºC / 100ºF, although there’s occasionally a chill in the evening. Water temperatures range from 12ºC / 50ºF degrees in March to 22ºC / 78ºF in summer.
GARDA KITESURF teach all levels from April to October using a 3:1 ratio, with private lessons also available. All lessons are run from safety boats using the latest North Kiteboarding equipment. Rentals are available, too. Languages: English, German, Italian and Spanish.
WIND RIDERS teach all levels from April to October using Headzone helmets and video coaching for advanced clinics. Max ratio 3:1 but private lessons are available. Using North equipment, all lessons are run from boats. New rental gear includes foilboards, raceboards, skimboards and wake-skates.
Languages spoken by staff: English, German, Italian, Dutch and French.
+39 348 897 5467
From luxury lake-side hotels to B&Bs and serene campsites next to the kite spots, there's a lot to choose from. The kite hotel Villa Romantica has a sauna with lake view for a perfect ‘after kite’ chill out (especially in the colder months). In the summer the beachbar makes the best Italian aperitifs.
The Campione del Garda village is a great place to recharge your batteries while getting some serious water-time. To reach the village, drive through a tunnel from the ‘Gardesana’ road, which is widely regarded as one of the most scenic in the world.
Underneath an imposing mountain and, completely separated from the rest of the world, lies a large community of like-minded kiters and sailors, from all backgrounds. There’s a small market, two restaurants and several bars. Garda Kitesurf have partnered with Univela, a big hotel that’s almost on the water - offering standard and shared rooms at a good rate. The kite spot is just 200 metres from the hotel.
Hiring a car is a good idea, but airport shuttles are easy to organise. It’s not necessary to hire a car if you only want to stay in Campione - but travelling around Lake Garda to visit other locations is worthwhile. The nearest town, Limone sul Garda, is seven kilometres away. Activities include diving, sailing, hiking, climbing and mountain biking. There’s visual culture everywhere. Malcesine, on the eastern side of the lake, is very picturesque, with a medieval castle.
Find classic operas and Romeo and Juliet’s balcony in Verona 90 minutes away. There’s also everything from wakeboarding, mountain biking, hiking, paragliding, beach volleyball and theme parks to shopping, castles, modern art museums and traditional villages to visit.
Limone isn’t a party town, but it has lively beach beach bars and is very social, so don’t worry about travelling alone. The closest ‘large’ town is Riva, ten kilometres north.
Hire a car, use the ferry or bus to visit bigger towns. North of Limone you’ll find all the sporty young people (watersports riders, hikers, climbers and mountainbikers) and to the south is a much quieter vibe and excellent food. Lots of towns worth visiting all around the lake and Milan, Verona and Venice are further afield (2.5 hours on average). There is also catamaran and dinghy sailing or SUP (even at night with special sup lights).
Euro(€)-£1=€1.3/US$1=€0.8 A10%tipisn’t compulsory, but is expected at restaurants.
FOOD AND DRINK
Limone isn’t an all-night party town, but it is lively early evening at the beach bars. The scene is very social, so don’t worry about travelling alone. The closest ‘large’ town is Riva, ten kilometres north.
Milan/Bergamo (BGY) is an hour and 40 minutes drive and you can hire cars from Sixt or Hertz for around €20 per day. Verona/Brescia (VBS) is a little closer. Getting to Limone by bus will take twice the time.
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