Spots reviews

Colico is one of the best spots of Como Lake to do windsurfing with the Breva (afternoon thermal breeze), but also to enjoy the occasional San Vincenzo, a strong wind that you have after low pressure passage. Very pleasant the main spot beach (the so called Pratone), and logistics on the ground, with several possibilities of renting equipment, and windsurfing school.

 

Windsurf spot reviews: Colico (Como Lake)

The spot is located at the northern end of Como Lake, in the Lecco district (that is, the east coast). It's easy to reach with the S.S. 36 national road; coming from the south, you have to take the exit "Colico center/Piona". From Milan, if there's is no traffic, it takes on average more than one hour by car. It is immediately reachable from the lower Valtellina and Valchiavenna, and also from the Grisons (Switzerland). The spot is also popular with foreign windsurfers (Swiss, and Germans, especially, but also Dutch, and some English). If you want, you can also reach Colico by train, with direct trains with destination Sondrio/Tirano, which stop at Colico (and the train station is a few hundred meters from the main spot). The exit points in Colico are three: the Pratone (which is the most popular), the Lido, and the pond of Piona (see also Domaso spot review for the latter). 

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As far for the "Pratone" concerns, the spot is very nice. The beach consists of a large lawn that slopes gently toward the lake, with several trees that offer a bit of shade. In correspondence of the shore of the lake there are some pebbles. Behind the Lawn, north of the Inganna stream (which divides the beach), there is a bar/restaurant/pizzeria "l'Ontano", good for refreshment, which also manages the municipal Camper (autocaravan) area. Outside of the bar, there are also public toilets (others are inside the pizzeria). Near the bar (see map at end of article), there is also a windsurf school, with rental possibilities.

 

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The beach offers lots of space, enjoyable for families too, in a wonderful landscape. Behind the Restaurant/Bar (see map), there is the nearest public parking to the spot. Another parking is available along the access road to the spot (see map again). Other car parks are available in the area around the kids playground, near the train station. If you are unable to park close to the spot, you can discharge your equipment close to the beach, and then you go to park your car further away, or it is good if you have a trolley for transporting the equipment.
South of Inganna Stream, there is the other part of the beach, always covered with grass, and traditionally occupied by kiters, where you can also find another nice bar (the Mood Lounge Bar), with a beachvolley court, as well as the Seven Park Hotel (a 4-stars and very scenic hotel).

 

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In the water, the spot is safe. 100 meters downwind of the spot, the lake ends, and there is a reed bed to collect the shipwrecked riders, offering shallow water (ideal for learning the waterstart). The spot works with the Breva, a thermal wind from the south, which here comes in better (more spreaded), when it is slightly oriented from South West, while it is more gusty, if coming from South/South East, because hampered by the promontory of Piona, and the foothills of Mount Legnone, to the south of the spot. The average intensity of the wind, in the good days, is between 15 and 20 knots. 

The spot also works with a wind from the north due to low pressure, called San Vincenzo (arriving from the North West, exactly). Here, it comes in onshore, and may even be strong (25-30 knots), with flat water conditions, and thus partially suitable also for the less experienced riders.

 

 

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With the Breva wind (it begins to blow significantly after 13:00), there is a funny wave/chop (less than 1 meter), especially when the wind, in the late afternoon rotates a bit from the West, and it becomes neat, short and steep. You can surf it riding away to Gera (especially near Adda River mouth), and you can jump it when you return to Colico. The wave formation in this spot is helped by shallow waters that characterize the end of the north lake, following the deep water of the center of the lake, from which the wind and the wave come from.

If only the lahe water was cleaner, especially near the shore, and there was a bit more parking, the spot would be a perfect one. Unfortunately, the Inganna Stream discharges to the lake the Colico waste water treatment plant effluent. It would be desirable if the discharge was delivered to the lake, in a more remote area, far from a beach like this, widely popular among bathers and watersports lovers.

The spot, with light Breva in the early morning (around 10-13), is perfect for beginners, since you have a wide shallow and flat waters area, with almost sandy bottom. Finally, note that the spot on summer weekends, in water, is very crowded, without a clear distinction between kitesurfing and  windsurfing area. The crossings are frequent, and sometimes risky, and, unfortunately, incidents often do not miss, with consequent discussions

 

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Other Colico spots are the so called "Lido" (see map), to the south, which, with Breva, is more protected from the wind, at least in the stretch close to the beach (so you must, therefore, go out a bit to get a wind good to plane). Instead, it excellently works with the San Vincenzo (completely onshore here). The lakebed here is mostly sandy and not deep for a long stretch. Again, there is a grass beach with several trees, a bar/restaurant (Lido di Colico), with a small campsite with the same name, just close to the Bar, and parkings around. In this area, you have also a sports center (tennis and soccer).

 

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Finally, in Colico, you can also start your session at Piona Pond, a sheltered bay of Como Lake, from which you reach the entrance of the bay, where the Breva reinforces in an astonishing way, ensuring also 5 knots more than in the other areas around the lake.

You exit at the pebbles Beach (at the West end of the bay, just beyond the little harbour), at the end of the dirty road that runs parallel to the shoreline, and begins at the end of Laghetto street (see map). With a lot of patience, you very slowly go upwind until you reach the entrance of the bay. You park at the end of Laghetto street (near the beach), at the area adjacent to the Kiosco, a small refreshment point, which is located along the beach (west side, more or less in front of Piona, small harbour).

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Obviously, it is difficult to get out of here with small boards (though, ate the bay entrance the wind would allow their use), having to navigate at the beginning in an area with very little air. This is a favorite spot by freestylers, as it ensures a fair wind (even more on the gusts), to give the acceleration necessary to perform the typical maneuvers of this discipline, in conditions of rather flat water. You can finde good wind, as well as at the entrance of the Piona lake, also just outside, toward the lake center, both North and immediately to the south. The alternative is to reach the entrance of Piona Pond from Domaso, a solution which I, personally, prefer. The Piona pond is almost wild, yet spectacular, and can be reached from the center of Colico, also with a pleasant bike ride.

 

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Finally, we note that Colico is one of the most vital villags of the lake, with a beautiful square (Piazza Garibaldi), and a walk along the lake, with several bars, restaurants and pizzerias. Personally, I would recommend the Wine bar Portovino (you can also have a meal there).

Hang loose. Fabio

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A video taken at Pratone spot 

 

 

A video taken at Pratone spot with the Go Pro 

  

 

 

 

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