Imagine arriving at an empty beach with white sand and crystal clear water when it’s blowing 20 plus knots and there is absolutely no one in the water. Sounds like a distant dream? Welcome to Sardinia.
Famous for its strong winds amongst sailors since centuries, Sardinia is an Italian island amidst the Mediterranean Sea, which boasts nearly 2,000 kilometres of coastline and is a true mecca for kitesurfers and windsurfers of any level.
Sardinia has over 160 kite spots scattered around the island, each offering a unique riding experience. From butter flat water in sheltered bays to glassy overhead waves on remote beaches, Sardinia really has it all.
There are four main winds active in Sardinia that blow with varied intensity depending on the time of year. One of the best things about kiting in Sardinia is that no matter what the wind direction is, you’ll always find a spot where that particular wind works. What’s more, in the summer the thermals kick in and as long as it’s sunny, this means there is wind - lots of wind.
One important thing to mention is that during the summer season from 1 May until 30 September, it is forbidden to kite in beaches across Sardinia, except in those that have a dedicated kite zone. Keep this in mind when coming to kite in Sardinia during the summer, to respect the local laws and avoid fees.
Since there is so much to cover in terms of kitesurfing in Sardinia, I am breaking up my overall review of the island into four parts, one dedicated to each geographical coastline, starting with the northern shore.
Porto Conte (Mugoni beach)
Porto Conte lies about 15 kilometres north of the picturesque town of Alghero in the northwest of Sardinia and is a beautiful natural park comprising of sandy beaches, steep cliffs and hiking trails. Mugoni, the kite beach in Porto Conte, has a dedicated kite zone within which kiting is allowed all year round.
Mugoni beach lies amidst a sheltered bay so the water is flat to choppy. The spot works with N, NW and SW wind, however it’s the north wind which delivers the best thermals in the summer.
What makes this spot unique is that it lies amidst a beautiful park with nothing but nature around. Mugoni is a secluded spot with no kitesurfing infrastructure around other than the zone. Most likely you’ll be alone on the water, if not with one or two locals from Alghero.
Tip: The beach is quite narrow meaning you need to be comfortable with launching your kite from the water. Wear shoes as there are lots of sea urchins on the ground.
Platamona is a short drive away from Porto Torres, a major harbour city on the northwest coast of Sardinia. Platamona is a touristic seaside location that gets very busy during summer. It is also the place where locals from Sassari, the other bigger town nearby, spend their weekends on the beach. As you can imagine, kiters are not very welcome amongst hundreds of sunbathers and hence the beach doesn’t have an official kite zone. In the off-season however you can kite anywhere you like on this incredibly long and wide sand beach.
When the wind blows, conditions are amazing in Platamona (N, NE, W and NW wind works here), with nice little waves coming in on the beach. Off-season the beaches are almost completely empty across Sardinia, even if it’s still 26 degrees in September and October, which means you can enjoy amazing kitesurfing on incredible beaches without anyone hassling you.
Further along the coast to the east lies Valledoria, a small town at the centre of the Gulf of Asinara. Here, the Coghinas River meets the Gulf of Asinara, creating a favourable location for kitesurfing. The spot is located directly at the mouth of the river, meaning on one side you have a butter flat, shallow lagoon ideal for beginners while on the other side, you have open ocean riding with wind swell.
There is a kite and windsurf centre located at the spot which offers lessons and gear rental. While kiting is allowed in the lagoon, there is no dedicated kite zone for the open ocean part. However, that side of the beach is usually not frequented by sunbathers hence people still kite there in the summer. Valledoria works with NW, W and SW wind.
Badesi is one of my favourite beaches to kitesurf on Sardinia’s North coast. The beach is super long with white sand and plenty of space. The best part is that there is an official kite zone at the eastern end of the beach (to the right) where you can kite anytime you fancy. There’s also a kite school there (only set up during summer though). Towards the left end of the beach you’ll find cafes, restaurants and places where you can have a post-kite beer.
Best wind for Badesi during summer is NE, which picks up lots of speed through the thermal effect. The forecast can say 12 knots and when you head to the beach it’s actually blowing an incredible 20 knots! Apart from NE, you can also kite in NW, W (which usually create big waves).
Badesi is also good for surfing when conditions are right (be careful, very strong current) and on flat days you’ll see people on SUPs.
Moving further to the East along the coast lies Vignola Mare which delivers great conditions when the NE, E, and SE winds blow. There is an IKO centre within a dedicated kite zone at the centre of the beach, as well as a VDWS windsurfing centre.
Like with all kite zones in Sardinia, you need to enter the water from a narrow corridor marked by buoys. Coming back in, also stay within the buoys as otherwise the lifeguards will shout at you for coming too close to the swimmers (and rightly so).
Marina delle Rose & Rena Majore
Marina delle Rose and Rena Majore are two spots very close to each other, not far from Vignola, and are both amazing wave riding spots, if conditions allow.
The wave at Marina delle Rose gets quite big but its face is short and very fast. The shore-break can be huge and it’s not a place recommended for beginners, even on lighter days, as you’ll find rocks around both sides of the bay which require at least intermediate skills to being able to navigate there. Marina delle Rose works with SW, W and NW wind.
Rena Majore is probably one of north Sardinia’s most beautiful beaches: White sand, crystal clear water, surrounded by unspoilt nature. It’s also the first spot in that corner of northern Sardinia to receive waves, before all the others, and is thus frequented by surfers. You can kite in Rena Majore when the SW or W wind blows, which creates onshore conditions. Be careful as there is a strong current.
Both Marina delle Rose and Rena Majore are not officially kite areas so during the summer season you’re at risk getting a hefty fee if spotted kiting. Off-season however they are pure joy.
If you’ve ever heard about kitesurfing in Sardinia, then you’ve probably heard about Porto Pollo. Porto Pollo is Sardinia’s most famous and established kite spot, and hence also its most crowded.
As there is so much information available on Porto Pollo, I don’t want to go too much into detail about describing the spot, however a review of the Sardinian North coast wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Porto Pollo.
Located directly at the Strait of Bonifacio – the strait that separates Sardinia from Corsica – Porto Pollo sits amidst one of the windiest areas in Italy. The beach is divided into two large bays, the left of which is reserved for kiteboarders while the right side is for windsurfing only.
For those wanting to learn to kite, Porto Pollo is the go-to place on Sardinia’s north coast. The spot is completely safe, there are lots of kite schools with IKO-certified instructors and you can find relaxed beach bars and all necessary facilities for a convenient stay. But be prepared, it’s very crowded.
Kitesurfing on Sardinia’s north coast – the verdict
Kitesurfing on Sardinia’s north coast means you’re spoilt for choice with amazing spots, each of them unique and most of them never crowded. Unlike other European kite regions such as the Greek islands for example, Sardinia doesn’t benefit from one major predominant wind, but instead is exposed to different winds that blow with varied intensity depending on the time of year. To fully enjoy all beaches and catch the best wind and waves, plan to travel around April/May or September/October.
Italian Wind Lexicon (Rosa dei venti)
The following winds can be found in the Mediterranean Sea: