Best spots for water-sports in Europe

Europe is best known for its rich culture, beautiful country sides, and stunning beaches. But, with its diverse geography, Europe is also a dynamic place to go if you love water sports. We will look at some European countries that have the best locations for water sports, from snorkelling to kite boarding. 

Tarifa, Spain
Tarifa Spain

The first place in our search for the best European water sports locations is Tarifa, Spain. Tarifa is a beautiful sundrenched beach town on the Strait of Gibraltar. This area is known throughout Spain for its wind. That means that in addition to the beautiful golden sunlit beaches and turquoise waters, Tarifa is a leading European destination for wind and kite surfing.

Many wind surfers will tell you that Tarifa is a Top 5 surfing destination globally.  

Where there is a lot of wind, there are also typically a lot of great waves, so regular board surfing is also a common water sport observed here, although perhaps a bit less famous than the surfing in Hawaii or Australia. As with most great wind and surfing locations, some seasons are certainly better than others, but Tarifa can be enjoyed anytime throughout the year. The bonus reward to coming to this beautiful beach town is the amazing sunsets to be had over the Strait, with silhouetted Morocco in the back drop.

Madeira, Portugal
Madeira Portugal

Madeira, Portugal is one of Portugal’s Atlantic archipelagoes. For those who prefer the less extreme side of water sports Madeira has everything to offer.

This coastal city has been increasingly popular with water sports enthusiasts due to its world class surfing. Other water attractions are the city’s fishing, paragliding, and snorkelling in the beautiful bright blue waters. Experience the beauty of Madeira’s nature and travel by canoeing along its coast line.

Or, relax and enjoy what nature and treasures are offered on Madeira’s beaches and try to catch a glimpse of their fun loving dolphins.

Dolomites, Northern Italy
Dolomites Northern Italy

The Dolomites mountain range in Northern Italy is loved by hang-gliders and parasailing fans, but it also offers some of the best white water rafting in Europe. This area is popular among hang gliders during the summer when the wild flowers are in bloom and the stunning blue skies open up. The impetuous waters of the torrential Noce River, which ascends from the Ortles glacier are not for the faint-hearted. However, there are many areas with more docile water flow for those who want to enjoy a more mellow kayak or canoe journey. 

Canary Islands, Spain
Canary Islands Spain

Canary Islands, Spain are another water sport destination that’s been popular since the 1960’s. The islands have worked hard to discard their “beach bum” reputation and entice more adventurous visitors. 

The seven islands, from west to east are: Hierro, La Palma, Gomera, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, and Lanzarote. This watery destination is a premier place to travel any time of year and known throughout Europe and not just for their amazing beaches. The temperature remains stable at an average 22C year round and all the islands enjoy 3,000 hours of perfect sunlight every year (think really long days and really short nights). 

One of the island’s main allures is obviously water sports thanks to the strong Atlantic winds that blast across the Atlantic. The Canaries are favoured by many water sport enthusiasts because of the above and below panoramas to be enjoyed for, sailing, surfing, scuba diving and snorkelling, that is truly unequalled anywhere else in Europe. The climate and waters are perfect for any water activity. Although you won’t find many “killer” waves, surfers can still catch a ride throughout the islands because the ocean winds aren’t slowed by high land masses. Rich underwater wildlife can be enjoyed via snorkel or scuba as you move throughout the island chain’s many reefs.

Watersports in Turkey
Watersports in Turkey

If I told you that Turkey would definitely be on the list of great water sports destinations in Europe, you might think I was being funny. But, the gateway to Europe, Asia and the Middle East is surrounded by the Black Sea, the Mediterranean, as well as the Aegean and Marmara Seas. Turkey is the truly heart of European water sports. With cities steeped in history, beaches, and beautiful countryside, a visit to Turkey promises an enchanted vacation. 

Turkey invites its visitors to explore the seas alongside magnificently unique regions. Diverse offerings such as the Turkish Riviera on the Mediterranean offer a coastline that has spectacular scenery that framed by the gorgeous beaches perfect for swimming, sailing, fishing, and diving. 

One of Turkey’s most popular seaside resorts, Marmaris, is flawlessly bordered by pine-clad mountains, but its white sand covered beaches, turquoise waters will tempt any water sports lover. Marmaris is located along the Turkish Riviera in southwest Marmara also offers wind-driven water sports that can be enjoyed off its windy coast. Surfers aren’t ignored as the mountain generated winds produce excellent warm water swells.  

Surfing in TurkeyDiving in TurkeyKiteboarding in Turkey

Turkey also attracts particular attention for its diving centres in the Mediterranean and Aegean Sea with a great variety of fish species, coral reefs, shipwrecks and an abundance of underwater splendours anticipating the welcome of diving lovers at diving destinations such as Kas; in Antalya province, Cesme in Izmir province and Bodrum in addition to Fethiye in Mugla province,  

Many coastal areas other than Marmaris are by the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas and offer excellent winds that create waves for surfing, body surfing or kite boarding. The cities around Turkey like Bursa, Izmir, Mugla and Adana are some of the coastal provinces admired for their robust winds, surprising first time visitors. 

If you are a water sports enthusiast, be it wind or pure water sports, you can see that there are many destinations throughout Europe that await your desires.  Your ability to go hard or just kick back and enjoy the journey will be equally fed at any of these and many more European water destinations.


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