Switzerland is famous for its skiing, hiking, and more extreme sports like bungee jumping and hang gliding. When planning your outdoor adventures in Switzerland, don’t overlook watersports. It’s nowhere near an ocean, but the country is blessed with huge lakes.
The lakes in Switzerland are all unique— from Lake Zurich’s sunny city beaches to lakes with a more touristy feel like Lake Brienz with its stunning deep azure color and surrounding mountain peaks.
Switzerland’s largest lakes can accommodate almost any watersport an ocean can. Here we focus on kiteboarding, a sort of cross between wakeboarding, surfing, and sailing. It’s similar to kitesurfing but uses a skateboard with wheels to whizz across the beach for ground clearance. Both employ a large steerable kite to catch the wind and pull you across the surface of the water and even jump as high as sixty feet in the air.
Let’s explore the best lakes for kiteboarding in Switzerland.
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Best Spots For Kiteboarding in Switzerland
Situated in the Upper Engadine Valley of the canton of Grisons, Lake Silvaplana is the birthplace of kiteboarding. Its connection to Lake Champfèr makes it one of the largest in Grisons. Its altitude of 1800 meters above sea level and reduced air density call for a bigger kite than the one you need at the seaside.
Kiters come to Lake Silvaplana for the famous Malorja thermal wind that begins blowing in the early afternoons. It’s one of the windiest places in Switzerland, and the wind blows 80 percent of the time from June to September and 50 percent of the time from October to May. In late summer, the wind starts kicking around 11 am and peaks to around 20-25 knots from 3 to 5 pm before dropping around 6 or 7 pm.
The scenery around Lake Silvaplana is incredible, and you’ll want to go hiking or biking as well. You’ll find lakeside campgrounds for campervans and tents, and everything from hot showers to bars and restaurants.
Lake Zurich is Switzerland’s fifth-largest lake. The lively city of Zurich is situated at the northeast end of the banana-shaped lake. The lake offers plenty of recreation by the lake and on its choppy waters. Swimming, boat rides, paddleboarding, and lakeside promenades are popular during the summer months for locals and tourists alike.
You can certainly try kiteboarding at Lake Zurich. Check the weather forecast for Kilchberg / Lake Zurich and watch for winds of around 10 knots (22 km/h or 12 mph.) Go on a sunny day when the water isn’t too cold. It will be brisk in early summer. The water is crystal clear and clean like all of Switzerland’s lakes and rivers.
You can play anywhere along the lake unless posted signs say otherwise. Vendors along the lakeside have watersports equipment available for rent.
Lake Neuchâtel is a scenic lake situated at the southern foot of the Jura mountains. The lake is 38 kilometers long and 8 kilometers wide making it the largest lake that is entirely within Switzerland’s borders. Lake Neuchâtel is included in boat cruises with the other Jura lakes of Biel and Murten.
The Neuchâtel township, the region’s largest town lies on the lake’s northwestern shore. It’s a medieval town with buildings of yellow Jurassic limestone, so you’ll want to include a tour of the town on your trip to Lake Neuchâtel.
Watersports at Lake Neuchâtel sailing, surfing, and rowing. For kiteboarding, you’ll want to check the wind forecast for Lac De Neuchatel / Refuge. Sports equipment rentals are available onsite.
Located just north of the Swiss Alps, Lake Brienz and nearby Lake Thun are found between Interlaken amid the spectacular scenery of the Bernese Oberland. In fact, the word “Interlaken” means between two lakes. The area is wildly popular with tourists with lots of outdoor adventures both in and out of the water.
The lake is approximately 14 kilometers long, 2.8 kilometers wide, and has a maximum depth of 260 meters. Watersports at Lake Brienz include white water rafting, wakeboarding, kitesurfing, and kiteboarding. In summer, the water temperature is around 17 to 21 degrees C (71-75 F.) Check the wind forecast for Brienz Louwenen for kiteboarding.
Interlaken, known as the gateway to the Jungfrau region is the perfect base for your time at Lake Brienz. From here, it’s easy to reach the lake and other villages in the area such as Iseltwald and Bönigen. You can travel by lake steamer to various places along the lakeshore.
Lake Geneva is one of the largest lakes in Europe and the largest in Switzerland. Shared by Switzerland and France, the lake is 73 kilometers long, 14 kilometers wide, and has a maximum depth of 310 meters. The views facing the French Alps are breathtaking.
An idyllic setting with a stunning view of the French Alps, Lake Geneva is popular for a variety of watersports including kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, kite surfing, and kiteboarding. Kiteboarding is best when the winds are coming from the northeast. Check the wind forecast for Lake Geneva/Vista del Lago.
Watersports equipment can be rented at Tropical Corner or Plague du Reposoir.
Safety Tips for Kiteboarding in Switzerland
1. Never go kiteboarding alone.
2. Don’t go out further than you can swim back.
3. Check the weather conditions before you go, and don’t go out in rough weather.
4. Make sure you use the correct kite size.
5. Check frequently for any issues with the equipment.
6. Let someone know when to expect you back.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Kiteboarding Popular in Switzerland?
Picturesque lakes and other exciting things to do around them make kiteboarding popular in Switzerland.
How Much Does Kiteboarding in Switzerland Cost?
The cost of kiteboarding equipment is between USD 1,500 and 2,500. This includes the kite, pump, lines, harness, safety vest, control bar, and board. Two-day kiteboarding lessons cost around USD 500. In Switzerland, you must also have liability insurance.