The Ultimate Guide to Surfing in Italy

by Asia Kaczmarczyk

Surfing in Italy is an adventure on the Med, with waves up the Sardinian west coast and all around the Ligurian Sea just waiting to be found and tamed.

An introduction to surfing in Italy

Surfing in Italy

Surfing in Italy might not be what comes to mind when you think of a Euro wave trip. The Algarve, Hossegor, the Basque Country – there are oodles on the menu that have a right to claim themselves among the finest destinations on the planet. But it’s hard to ignore the fact that Italy is hemmed in by seas on three sides. It has over 7,500km of coastline, multiple islands, and even lakes in the mountains with the potential to kick up waves.

A disclaimer: This isn’t going to be thunderous A-frames a la Portugal. What Italy can offer is a true Mediterranean adventure, visions of gorgeous coastlines hemmed in by mountains, long, post-surf lunches of seafood and pizza, and – of course – great wine. The spots themselves are few and far between but come punctuated with undiscovered surf territory where only the locals will be able to show you the points.

Standouts here include the wild west coast of Sardinia and the upcoming spots on the bay of Liguria, which have wedgy harbor breaks that can exude some serious quality. They all work best in winter, so bring along the rubber.

We might use affiliate links in this post. Basically, you click em’ and we get a little something from your booking or purchase. They help us keep offering more and more in-depth surf guides to awesome places all around the globe. So, thanks for that!

This guide is a part of our larger ultimate guide to surfing in Europe

Surfing in Italy at a glance

The good:

  • Surfing in one of Europe’s most stunning – and tasty! – countries.
  • Some quality breaks in Sardinia

The bad:

  • Relies on windswell
  • Never very big
  • Lack of quality spots

What will I find in this guide to surfing in Italy?

The top surf spots in Italy

Sardinia

The second-largest island in the Mediterranean is perhaps the best-situated part of Italy when it comes to surfing. The whole west coast here (especially an area known as the Green Coast) is riddled with points and even barrels on the big days. It’s well-trodden territory for dedicated Italian rippers but there are still loads to be found.

Read our complete guide to surfing in Sardinia

Sicily

Sicily has some of the best exposure to the Mediterranean swell channels of anywhere in Italy. Windswell westerlies combine with rare groundswells from the south and east to offer surf spots at all angles. The presence of rocky reefs underwater also means the isle can handle some size. Mainly, though, the star is the Isola delle Femmine on the north coast, which is perfect for beginners and intermediates during the wilder winter months. There are also three pretty accomplished surf schools working here.

Check out our complete guide to surfing in Sicily

Varazze

Varazze has one fantastic break up its sleeve: An A-frame peak that many have said surfs like a SoCal point. We’d stop short of waxing lyrical too much because we’re still relying on Mediterranean A-frame swells here. However, there’s certainly something to be said about this one hosting the single finest quality wave in the country.

Check out our complete guide to Varazze surf

Tuscany

The region of Tuscany, most often associated with Chianti wines and rolling hills, is actually one of the most fertile surf territories in Italy. The reason? A long, wiggling coastline with rocks and sands aplenty, running for almost 140 miles north from the Lazio border to the dramatic shores of the Apuan Alps. There are plenty of waves here, though they are often small and best for learners.

Check out our complete guide to surfing in Tuscany

Levanto

Beginner surfers looking for somewhere to hit in the north of Italy should brush over the challenging and oversubscribed breaks of Varazze and make for Levanto. The town sparkles like a tiara below the lush Monterosso mountains and has about four or five breaks on its beach that are all good for learners. The real joy is the consistency of it all, because wind swells come in here from west, south, and north at different times of the year, although the summer is usually too flat for anything.

Check out our complete guide to Levanto surf

Top places to stay if you’re going surfing in Italy

There aren’t many dedicated surf camps in Italy. However, the hotels below will get you close enough to some of the best waves you can find in the country.

Is Arenas Camping Village

Surf-hotel-top-pick

You WILL NOT be disappointed with one of the deluxe Is Arenas Camping Village has tepee tents and glamping options in the woods just behind the beach at S’archittu. You can grab your board and be on the sands way quicker than if you opted for a fancy villa in the hills. Okay, so it’s not luxury, but it is close to nature and close to the waves.

Camping La Pineta

Summer visits to the west-Tuscan coast don’t have to cost a bomb. Pick the small cabanas of Camping La Pineta for when the sirocco gets up and powers the breaks of this famous region. The stays are simple but cheap, with access to small kitchenettes and a communal pool.

Villa Laura

Villa Laura is a two-bedroom villa that can host up to seven people (five adults and two kids) at any one time. It has breathtaking views of the western shoreline of Sardinia, with a crumpled rock stack rising just in front of the pool. For surfers, access to the beaches that get firing in the winter swells is pretty fantastic, especially for Buggerru and Portopino.

When to surf in Italy?

Surfing in Italy_1

The main time to surf in Italy is unquestionably the winter months. Strong wind swells tend to get a-rolling around September time, but don’t really hit their stride until December and January, which is prime on the west coast of Sardinia and for the more hidden spots on the eastern side of Sicily (for us, the two most important surf destinations here). When it comes to the mainland spots of Varazze, Liguria, and Tuscany, the key here is either a (very) rare summer sirocco punch or a strong mistral from France. The latter gives the most reliable waves on all the breaks there and is at its best in February and March.

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We might use affiliate links in this post. Basically, you click em’ and we get a little something from your booking or purchase. They help us keep offering more and more in-depth surf guides to awesome places all around the globe. So, thanks for that!

This guide to surfing in Italy is just one part of our guide to surfing in Europe!