Known for its rich culture, beautiful countryside, and stunning beaches, the best places for water sports in Europe delight thousands of people around the globe. With its diverse geography, Europe is also a dynamic place to go for family holidays full of adventure. In this article, we look at European countries with the best locations for snorkelling to kite boarding, and ideal surf conditions. For any sports enthusiast, be it wind or something like a water ski, many destinations serve your desires.
Your ability to go hard or just kick back and enjoy the journey will be fed at any of these and many more destinations. Europe is the real heart of sports activities. With cities steeped in history, a range of beach activities, and a beautiful countryside, a visit promises an enchanted holiday. So, where should you go to explore the seas and rivers in unique regions?
Water Sports in Europe: 5 Places to Consider
Enjoy Tarifa in Spain
The first place in our search for the best European locations is Tarifa, Spain, home to the best beaches. Tarifa is a beautiful sun-drenched beach town on the Strait of Gibraltar. This area is known throughout Spain for its wind. That means besides the beautiful golden sunlit beaches and turquoise sea, Tarifa is a leading European destination for wind and kite surfing, paddle boarding, boat trips, and adrenaline-fuelled water-skiing. For any sport, Tarifa delivers in bucket loads.
Many windsurfers say Tarifa is a Top 5 global surfing destination. Where there is a lot of wind, there are also a lot of high waves, so regular board surfing is also a common water sport observed here, although perhaps less famous than the surfing in Hawaii or Australia. As with most great windsurfing locations, some seasons do 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 over the Strait, with silhouetted Morocco in the backdrop.
Water sports in Madeira, Portugal
Madeira is one of Portugal’s Atlantic archipelagos with copious amounts of beautiful beaches. For those who prefer the less extreme sports, Madeira has everything to offer. This coastal city has been popular with enthusiasts because of its world-class surfing. Other water attractions include boat rides, fishing, para-gliding, snorkelling in the beautiful bright blue sea, a short ride on the banana boat and jumping on a jet ski. Experience the beauty of Madeira’s nature and travel by canoeing along its coastline, or relax and enjoy life and treasures on Madeira’s beaches and try to glimpse their fun-loving dolphins. Whether you opt for relaxing fishing trips or want to learn to Surf, Madeira offers full and half-day activities, and pleasure night-time jaunts like a sunset cruise.
Dolomites, Northern Italy
Get ready for fun in the sun. Hang-gliders and parasailing fans love the Dolomites mountain range in Northern Italy, but it also offers the best white-water rafting in Europe for those who enjoy getting wet. This area is popular among hang gliders during the summer when wildflowers bloom and the stunning blue skies open. The impetuous waters of the torrential Noce River, which ascends from the Ortles glacier are not for the faint-hearted. However, many open water areas with more docile water suit those who want to enjoy a more mellow single kayak or canoe journey. Anyone who chooses the Dolomites for water activities won’t be disappointed.
Places in the Canary Islands
The Canary Islands, Spain are another thriving water sports destination since the 1960s and is ideal for activities like jet ski rentals. The islands have worked hard to discourage their less than perfect reputation on the list of beach destinations to entice more adventurous visitors. The seven islands, from west to east are Hierro, La Palma, Gomera, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, and Lanzarote. This destination is a premier place to travel any time of a year and known throughout Europe and not just for their fantastic beach area. The temperature remains stable at an average 22C year-round, and all the islands enjoy 3,000 hours of perfect sunlight every year (think long days and short nights).
One of the island’s main allures is open waters thanks to strong Atlantic winds. So any hardcore surfer should grab their surfboard and be prepared for a delightful experience. Water sports enthusiasts favour the Canaries because of the above and below panoramas to be enjoyed for, sailing, kitesurfing, jet skis, body boarding, scuba diving and snorkelling, that is unmatched anywhere else in Europe. The climate is perfect for any water activity. Although you won’t find many killer waves, surfers can still catch a ride throughout the islands because high land masses don’t slow the ocean winds. Also grab your scuba or snorkel gear, for abundant underwater wildlife as you move throughout the island chain’s many reefs.
Water Sports in Turkey : Europe’s Hidden Gem
What if I told you it is easy for the whole family to do it all in Turkey? As Europe’s gateway to Asia and the Middle East, and surrounded by the Black Sea, the Mediterranean, and the Aegean and Marmara Seas, the water sports industry is booming and is excellent for a summer holiday. Diverse offerings like the Turkish Riviera on the Mediterranean offers a coastline with spectacular scenery framed by the gorgeous beaches perfect for leisurely swimming, sailing, water-skiing, jet skiing, fishing, and diving.
One popular seaside resort, Marmaris, is bordered by pine-clad mountains, but its sandy beaches and turquoise sea will tempt any water sports lover. Marmaris along the Turkish Riviera in southwest Marmara also offers wind-driven sports. Surfers aren’t ignored as the mountain generated winds produce excellent warm water swells. Kiteboarding is also big business in nearby Gokava, the latest Turkish destination to attract fame. While further along the Mediterranean coastline, Fethiye is the place to go for deep-sea fishing via boat rental.
Turkey also attracts particular attention from swimmers for its clearwater and diving centres in the Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea. A great variety of sea life, coral reefs, shipwrecks and an abundance of underwater splendours welcomes divers at destinations like Kas in the Antalya province, Cesme in Izmir province and Fethiye in the Mugla province. Schools provide the wetsuit and gear and, can also help you pass your PADI qualification.
Many other Aegean and Mediterranean coastal areas other than Marmaris offer excellent winds for surfing, body surfing or kite boarding. The cities like Bursa, Izmir, Mugla and Adana are some coastal provinces admired for their robust winds, surprising first-time visitors, and flyboarding is the latest craze. For the best places for water sports in Europe, consider Turkey.
Also of interest
Adventure Sports in Turkey: Put aside the kayak tours and fishing charters, to look at these other adventure sports both at sea and on land. Adventure tourism is big business, as they expand and promote themselves on the global arena. From snowboarding to the areas for skiers, here are the sports they excel in.
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