Author: Eva Krul
Wondering where in the world your next kitesurfing holiday should be? Consider this kitesurfer’s guide a sign from the universe that you need to head to south-west Spain. We’ll highlight our personal favourites in the Huelva region - which is slowly but surely becoming more well-known and popular as a kitesurfing holiday destination (and we know why!).
Naturally, we’ll tell you all about the best kitesurfing spots, the most charming places to enjoy a healthy meal and we’ll suggest some small-scaled and/or eco-friendly accommodation options in the region of Huelva too.
Prepare to get very excited about kitesurfing in south-west Spain!
- Best Kitesurfing spots in the South-West of Spain
- Isla Canela: the local recommendation
- Isla Cristinas lagoon and harbour: our North-wind go-to
- Islantilla: kitesurfing and clubbing
- Best season for a kitesurfing holiday in this region of Spain
- Getting there and moving around + places to stay
- What (not) to bring to this kitesurfing holiday destination
- Good food - Good mood: our sustainable & local food choices
- 5 extra tips for kitesurfing in the South-West of Spain
Best Kitesurfing spots in the South-West of Spain
Kitesurfing in south-west Spain is accessible, fun and suitable for anyone who wants to enjoy pleasant temperatures, moderate winds and plenty of space on the water. And the best part? Within a range of just an hour drive, you’ll find several off-the-beaten-path kitesurfing spots, making kitesurfing in south-west Spain - or to be more specific - the Huelva region, definitely worthwhile!
Kitesurf spot #1
Isla Canela: the local recommendation
Isla Canela is the most famous kitesurfing spot in south-west Spain. Mainly because Playa de San Bruno appeals to so many kitesurfers: everyone can enjoy themselves here! Due to the lagoons that will form, especially during low-tide, the water is flat and shallow on large stretches. You can easily seek out a space to practice your next kitesurfing move and at the back on the sandbanks, beautiful waves are often created. In winter, these waves get a bit higher and more powerful.
The spot with its broad sandy beach doesn’t have any dangers or hazards. The only mild annoyance is the beach becoming crowded during mid-July until the end of August. This just means you might have trouble parking your car very close to the kitesurfing spot during these months.
About the wind
Kitesurfing in Isla Canela will offer good conditions, especially during the afternoon in spring and summer. A steady 12-18 knots SW blows from 3pm until the end of the afternoon during the best season which is roughly between April and October.
The other predominant wind is north which is not only famous for its strength (can be up to 30 knots) but mostly for it being unstable, gusty and offshore.
Kitesurf spot #2
Isla Cristina's lagoon and harbour: our North-wind go-to
Isla Cristina used to be this picturesque fishing village. It has now become a town with many places you can safely skip: lots of high-rise buildings and poorly maintained streets. Yet this town also has some nice hotels, cosy bars and gorgeous beaches. And the latter, of course, is important when planning your kitesurfing holiday to south-west Spain.
The best kitesurfing spot is called El Farito: a lagoon & harbor divided by a break-water (yeti). Park your car here if you go there at high tide or go to ride in the harbour. It's fair to say that this spot is actually mostly suitable for independent riders. How advanced you need to be depends on the conditions as this spot has a wide variety of conditions and possibilities with different wind directions.
While the northern winds are offshore on the other beaches in this part of the Huelva province of Spain, this kitesurfing spot truly is a gem. Riding butterflat waters in the strong morning winds from the north is the perfect way to start the day! During high-tide, the lagoon will fill up nicely to enjoy a ride between the sandspit (land tongue), the calm residential area near the lighthouse and tapas bar El Farito. Throughout low-tide, the lagoon will be too shallow and empty for the most part. But not to worry, you can still kitesurf on the other side, near the harbour. As there is also a shipping route along here - which is mainly used by fishing boats and water taxis or tour boats - this spot is strictly for advanced kitesurfers. The wind here is slanting onshore, but if you go out too far and cannot come back upwind, you end up on the pier. And you don't want that.
The fact that one can kitesurf here with any wind direction, the stunning backdrop of the beautiful green hills of Portugal in the distance, and being alone on the water (apart from a local kitesurfer or two) makes this one of the best kitesurfing spots in south-west Spain. Note that in July and August you cannot really ride on the lagoon after 10am due to it being the season for bathers and the associated crowds.
About the wind
Kitesurfing in Isla Cristina’s ‘El Farito’ will offer good conditions with many wind directions.
A steady 4-18 knot SW wind blows in the afternoon between April and October. An often stronger, northerly wind blows in the (early) morning which offers good conditions for wingfoiling, or big-air/freestyle kitesurfing.
Kitesurf spot #3
Islantilla: kitesurfing and clubbing
Spaniards fleeing the hot cities during the summer often opt for Islantilla. Many people living in Madrid and Seville have holiday homes in this coastal town which makes it very busy in summer and deserted in winter. The best time to visit is between April and October, with an absolute peak in August. The beach is full of sunbathers but on the water you will still find only a handful of kitesurfers here. Kitesurfing is allowed year-round here in front of the beach club Santa Pura. During summer, they host weekly club nights, live music and other opportunities to dance. Kitesurfers are welcome with their salty hair and sand between their toes for a cold after-session sunset drink or dance!
About the wind
Kitesurfing in Islantilla is only allowed in front of the beach club during summer. The rest of the year you can choose any beach access point to set up your gear and hit the flat yet choppy waters. Also here a steady 4-18 knot SW wind blows in the afternoon between April and October. Generally it’s a bit less strong than on the other spots mentioned above.
Best season for a kitesurfing holiday in the Huelva region of Spain
This kitesurfer’s guide highlights south-west Spain, a slightly unusual destination which is best to be explored during spring and summer. When we say unusual, we are really referring to the fact that this destination has not yet been overrun by kitesurfing tourists.
Still there are certain weeks you might want to avoid if you don’t like crowded places, but throughout the kitesurfing season, this truly is a great place for a tranquil kitesurfing holiday.
Peak kitesurfing season in the south-west of Spain
The kitesurfing schools start building-up from mid June which is remarkably strange because the SW afternoon (thermal) wind already starts blowing from April onwards.
Peak kitesurfing season, measured by the number of kitesurfers on the water and the possibilities to rent gear or to book courses, would roughly run from June until mid September. But if sharing a great kitesurfing spot only with a few locals excites you, consider going to the Huelva region during April or May!
Getting there, moving around & places to stay
It’s safe to say kitesurfing in south-west Spain might not be your most sustainable choice when it comes to transportation. Getting to this part of Spain, known as the Huelva region, can be done by train, but once you’re there, going to the kitesurfing spots is easiest by (rental) car.
Which flights to take
Hop on a plane from practically any UK or European airport with Faro (Portugal) as a final destination. Going on a kitesurfing holiday to south-west Spain is most easy from this airport, as it’s only a 30 to 50 minute drive to the main kitesurfing spots!
Alternatively, you could fly to Seville, which is approximately a 1.5 hour drive from Isla Cristina.
How to get to the kitesurfing spots
Most accommodation is not situated directly at the best kitesurf spots in this region of Spain; therefore a rental car is recommended. Parking at the beach is free of charge until mid June (and after that it’s still pretty affordable). To reduce the footprint of your kitesurfing holiday try to find a small/independent car-rental company run by locals.
If you don't want to rent a car and drive around to go kitesurfing in south-west Spain, opt for a train and a stay in Isla Canela!
Where to stay for kitesurfing in south-west Spain
You can find rooms on Airbnb easily. If you prefer a little bit more comfort, staying in a hotel is often the best choice. Casa del Abuelo in Isla Canela is situated just a stones throw from the beach. A perfect place for a group of friends or a family to stay during a kitesurfing holiday at one of the prime spots.
A more relaxed option, situated in the middle of the outskirts of La Redondela is the Kite Finca. This eco-friendly guesthouse offers rooms with shared facilities. It’s also possible to rent out the whole guesthouse area including the 4 rooms, bathroom, outdoor kitchenette and outdoor shower & swimming pool.
What (not) to bring to this kitesurfing holiday destination
The smaller kites can be left at home because the kitesurfing spots in south-west Spain are usually not super windy. Yet, the wind is stable and more moderate here in the Huelva region, which makes this a nice kitesurfing holiday destination for those looking for a more tranquil vibe.
Unfortunately, desertification also takes place here, resulting in this part of Spain being dry and very hot during the summer months. Cosy campfires or beach BBQs are forbidden during the driest months. Increasingly, people are being asked to use water sparingly. So when using the showers at the beach to rinse off after kitesurfing, do so briefly. Top tip: bring biodegradable soap with you so you don’t pollute the land or beach!
A lot of bars and cafes are smaller scale and prefer payment in cash so it might come in handy to have some Euros on you, when cards are not accepted!
Last but not least, the region of Huelva in the south-west of Spain is a warm kitesurfing holiday destination. Therefore a 3/2mm wetsuit (shorty or full suit) is sufficient. Don’t forget to pack plenty of biodegradable and sustainable sunscreen, because during the blue-skied sunny days on the water, it’s easy to get sunburned! Bringing a hat or cap is also advisable.
Good food - Good mood: our sustainable & local food choices
After spending many hours on the water it’s time to fuel up with some food in one of the many restaurants and bars the Huelva region in south-west Spain offers.
Isla Canela & Ayamonte
One of Ayamonte’s most popular joints is L.P.A. It's a touristy venue, but the dishes are good and having dinner here is an experience. Ask for the vegan menu; you won’t be disappointed!
El Paradise beach club in Isla Canela has some outstanding meals with fish. Also a popular place to go for a breakfast bowl.
Vía Trajano Burgers is the go-to for a big fat burger - vegan options available! The poke bowls here are good too.
Favoured by locals and tourists alike, Bar Lima Limon is popular throughout the year for its freshly baked pizzas. There are multiple vegetarian options and even a vegan option! An unexpected gem in this sleepy town, Bar Lima Limon has a hip vibe and having pizza here is a must. Nice to know: they have soy milk for your vegan cappuccino too!
Have a locally brewed beer and some nachos or main dish at Rubens beer garden.
Looking for a cheap breakfast (a tostada and spread) and good coffee? Visit bar Colibri.
Van Gogh is not the typical restaurant for this region due to its very western boho-chic vibe. Serving all-around-the-world-inspired meals such as vegan köfte and the best vegetarian ravioli!
5 extra tips for kitesurfing in south-west Spain
Go to Isla Canela during low-season which is from April/May until mid June. You’re not bound to any kitesurfing zone: you can ride anywhere you want! Also it’s not overly crowded on the beach and temperatures are nice and the afternoon wind is reliable: win, win, win!
Go to El Farito lagoon in Isla Christina during high-tide in April, May or June, with experienced riders to show you around and about. Practice new freestyle tricks in the middle part, which is deeper but still flat - definitely one of the best kitesurfing spots in the south-west of Spain to practice with a lot of space!
If you go to Islantilla, make sure to have a magnificent vegan/vegetarian dinner or lunch at Van Gogh restaurant too. Coming from the beach? Just remember to change your beachwear into something a bit more fancy.
Renting a car from Faro airport? Make sure to include crossing the border with Spain in your rental package or deal in order to avoid any unexpected costs afterwards!
Reduce your kitesurfing holiday footprint by choosing local, by using water sparingly and - for example, by using biodegradable soap while rinsing the sand & salt off of your body at the beach.