If you’ve never thought about kitesurfing in Italy then you clearly haven’t heard about Lo Stagnone, Sicily. It is kite heaven! Imagine a huge, shallow lagoon with the flattest of the flat waters and steady winds all year round.
Most US kitesurfers aren’t familiar with this popular European destination and they’re missing out on some incredible riding.
Here are 9 Things you should know before booking your trip.
1. WHEN SHOULD I GO?
There is a long season here running from March- November. Between these months the area is thriving with people and the winds are consistent. You’ll need a light wetsuit in the beginning and end of the season, otherwise its board shorts and bikinis the rest of the time!
2. Where is it?
Lo Stagnone is located outside of one of Sicily’s largest cities, Marsala. You can be in the center of this beautiful city in just a 20-minute drive from the spot. The lagoon is situated among vineyards and pink salt Salinas. The location is truly stunning. Besides the kiting, there is so much to do in this part of Sicily. Explore some of the ancient ruins and rugged hills or even take a cable car up to the ancient town of Erice.
3. How to get there.
It’s quite simple to get to the Lo Stagnone. There are two airports close by. Trapani Airport is just 10 minutes from the spot. If you land here you can get a taxi to the spot for cheap. Palermo Airport is a little further approximately 1 hour, give or take. You can catch a bus or a train from here which is inexpensive, or organize a transfer for around 80euros if you don’t want to haul all your kite gear around public transport. On holidays we like our comforts, right?
Tip- I would highly recommend you rent a car during your stay. It will make these transfers stress free and you will have a lot more freedom on no wind days to explore the 10km of untouched beachfront.
4. What is the spot like?
One word. FLAT.
Lo Stagnone is the Meccah to flatwater kitesurfing. The lagoon is 2000 hectares of flat, shallow water perfect for any level be it freestyle or a complete beginner. It is so safe to learn the sport here. Beneath the surface is a muddy material that softens any crash. The fact you can stand up everywhere is a huge bonus for those learning to stay upwind! On another note, these soft crashes can be dangerous to those freestylers wanting to get ‘sendy’. Know your limits, remember you’re not invincible!
With different wind directions, the lagoon presents different spots with their own unique characteristics. You can take a ride behind the island and kite in a secluded ‘secret spot’. Or go a bit further to the wall of the pink salt salinas and experience mirror flat water. No matter how busy this spot gets, it’s so huge you can always find an area all to yourself.
5. What kites do I bring?
In Spring and Autumn pack your small sizes, 8-10 meters. The wind is, without a doubt stronger during these months. However, it is worth knowing that the wind can be a little light in the high season. Definitely pack your 12m for the months of June-September (even a bigger size too if you’re lucky to have it).
6. Where can I stay?
There are 2 hotels, Santa Maria Resort and Prokite Alby Rondina. Both are located right on the beachfront, 20 steps from the lagoon. We would recommend looking on Air B&B for accommodation. There are many nice places you can stay in close proximity for affordable prices.
7. Food Glorious Food
It’s Italy, you can’t NOT dream about the food. The restaurants nearby are full of authentic Italian goodness. Pizza, pasta and if you’re a seafood lover, this is your heaven. The seafood linguine is to die for! And of course the wine, made from the vineyards on your very doorstep. Got a sweet tooth? You have to try the local ice cream from Oasi Bar just 10/15 minutes drive from the spot. They serve the ice cream in a brioche bread bun instead of a cone. You will definitely be taking a bigger kite by the end of your trip to Sicily. Guarantee if you’re not on the water you’ll be stuffing your face!
The spot is kind of in the middle of nowhere so it’s not too close to any big bars or nightclubs. You have to go into the center of Marsala for those. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a buzzing nightlife around the lagoon. There’s always something happening from movie nights to BBQs. You just have to look for it! A highlight of the week is most definitely the Sunday parties at one of the kite school bars ‘La Vie Del Vento’. They have awesome local DJs that play every week. The party starts at sunset and goes all night. Don’t miss it if you’re around. Sunday Funday!
In the center of Marsala, there is a fish market that transforms into a cluster of bars on the weekend. It’s buzzing with a cool vibe, lots of live music and dancing. It’s just a shame someone will have to be the designated driver, depending on where you stay.
9. The Cons:
- The lagoon has a kind of seagrass that gives you a sting. Guys don’t get it as much as they tend to have a protective layer of hair on their legs but the girls will mostly wear long leggings in the water for protection. You can get yours from Platinum Sun!
- The spot is pretty secluded. If you want to go to the supermarket to stock up on water (or beer) you have to drive 10 minutes. If you come here without renting a car, you can be pretty stuck.
- There have been new rules implemented after a couple of unfortunate, tragic events in the lagoon. The coastguard has made it mandatory for all kiters to wear a helmet and life vest on the water. When you come here, you realize that nobody actually follows these rules, only instructors and students during lessons. There are rumors of coast guard showing up and fining people so it’s your call if you want to risk it for a biscuit.