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Water sports

Water sports enthusiasts will find opportunities to sail, paddle, float, dive, motor, ski, fish, surf and canyon on, under, or over fresh or salt water throughout Europe. Does that leave much out? Scores of companies run tours, rent equipment and give lessons for just about every water sport under the sun.


Water sports lovers will never want to come home from a trip to the shores of the Adriatic, where Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, and Montenegro offer a variety thrills and chills on fresh and salt water. Glide under sail amidst myriad islands or brave the white water of the mountains in a kayak, and try some traditional canoeing while you’re at it. 

There’s nothing like high-altitude rivers roaring with melted snow, or deep mountain lakes mirroring dramatic peaks and alpine forests for breathtaking water sports. The Alps tick every box for scenery, excitement, and excellent facilities to help you take make the most of the water-borne elements of your holiday in Europe. 

The rugged Atlantic Coastline offers you thrilling sailing and sea kayaking on the waves, with the chance to observe bountiful sea life and amazingly romantic views from offshore. You can also go inland and enjoy quieter times on lakes, rivers, and canals…and warm up the way the locals do, whether its in a natural hot spring, a pub, or a cosy seaside bistro.

The Balkan Peninsula rages with wild beauty in the Julian Alps, the Pindus range, and the Carpathian Mountains, along its craggy Adriatic coast, among hundreds of Aegean islands and along inviting Black Sea beaches. Sail the same seas as ancient mariners, shoot the rapids in barely discovered streams, or lose yourself (just figuratively, please) in the maze of the Danube Delta for water experiences you’ll find nowhere else.

Water sports in the Black Sea region notable include paddling around the Danube Delta in Romania, home to unsurpassed numbers of birds, fun in the sun at Bulgarian resorts, and the world’s fastest-flowing river, not to mention diving in some Europe’s bluest-of-blue waters in Turkey.

It’s not all about tea and crumpets – at least not until you finish a day of canyoning, sailing, surfing, or diving in Britain and Ireland. There’s loads to discover, from quiet canals with pastoral views to adrenaline-filled descents down the rapids. Don’t forget to check out bog snorkeling!

The Iberian Peninsula offers you everything in water sports from rushing white water adventure in the Pyrenees to kite sailing off the crystalline white sand beaches of Portugal and fantastic diving in the Atlantic and Mediterranean

So you’re curious about the islands of Europe? Your choices are almost innumerable! From Iceland to Cyprus, Finland to Portugal, Scotland to Malta, whatever you seek in the way of scenery, climate, and craft, you can find. Europeans are wild for water sports and will be happy to help you “get your feet wet” and enjoy a great active holiday on the water.

The Mediterranean Sea and water sports in Europe are almost synonymous, along with great nightlife and irresistible cuisine. But back to the water: sailing, diving, water-skiing, and every possible permutation of sea air, thrills, and sun all at once are yours to enjoy on the edge of this understandably famous and bewitching sea.

Despite its feisty reputation, the North Sea region offers not only opportunities to test your mettle against wind and wave, but also relaxing paddling in protected archipelagos and waterways where the human traffic is limited but the wildlife runs rampant.

The Pyrenees region is the place to go for super-thrilling rides in the rapids amidst stunning mountain scenery unlike that elsewhere in Europe. For a calmer visit, take a barge along some of the scenic canals in the lowlands at the base of these beautiful mountains.

Fresh water sports are legion in the countries along the Rhine. Its tributaries and the lakes it feeds are perfect for rafting, kayaking, sailing, and a bit of fishing here and there. It’s also a phenomenal river for good old cruising.

Scandinavian countries all have a close association and long history on the water…remember the Vikings? Here you’ll have pristine waterscapes in which to kayak, canoe, and sail, enjoying fabulous views of fjords and beaches. Don’t forget that invigorating sauna and swim at the end of your active day

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