In the search for the best surf spot, Italy rarely comes out as an obvious choice. However, surfing in Italy is surprisingly popular, tourists who spend time at the beach throughout the summer months would never believe these placid Mediterranean beaches could also harbor waves big enough to ride.
Once the summer season comes to an end and tourists leave the beaches empty, surfers finally have the chance to get the condition they’ve been waiting for. They track the weather, waiting for low-pressure weather systems from the Atlantic or Western Mediterranean, paired with strong winds blowing towards the shore that create a swell along the Italian coastline. A swell can come almost any season other than summer, so the key is to be flexible and prepared. Get the car ready for a long road trip in search of the perfect Italian wave.
Varazze is a comune in the Province of Savona in the Italian region of Liguria and is best known for being one of the rare places in the world where you can surf at night. Surf conditions are best with western, southwestern and southern swell direction and can produce fast and hollow waves of over 10ft.
Capo Mannu, Sardinia
Thanks to Sardinia’s privileged location in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, the island receives swells from most directions and can count a great number of surfable waves. Capo Mannu is certainly the most famous spot in the region as it offers several options to surf in any wind and swell conditions. Beware of local surfers though, they might not be always very open to tourists.
Levanto is a comune in the province of La Spezia in the Italian region Liguria, known for being the most consistent surf spot in Italy in terms of delivering big waves of up to 12ft in good conditions. It has some great bonus points for having a friendly atmosphere, and spectacular landscape to admire from the ocean. The only downside is the crowd that sometimes flocks to these beautiful beaches.
Santa Maria di Leuca, Puglia
Santa Maria di Leuca, is a part of the commune of Castrignano del Capo in southern Italy, just 1-hour drive from Lecce. This beautiful surfing gem is known by locals only. In good weather conditions (swell from the south), the perfect left-hand wave breaks into crystal clear water making it really worth the trip. The nearby campsites and tourist village make the beach easily accessible and the ideal surf trip location.
Banzai (Santa Marinella), Lazio
To access this prime surf mecca with 8ft+ waves, drive north from Rome onto the Highway A12 Roma-Civitavecchia for approx. 50km, exit at Santa Marinella-Santa Severa and head 1,5km north through Aurelia Street and you can’t miss the beach to your left. Locals here can be quite strict so be respectful and do as they do to enjoy the waves to the max. The key with this surf spot is to wear booties, if not you’ll need tweezers to remove sea urchin spines from your feet, ouch!