10 Top Kayaking Destinations in Europe

kayaking in the sea

Kayaking is an increasingly popular sport where participants can choose the type of waters they want to sail on.  This can include the calmer waters of a river to the more challenging depths and waves of the sea, surf and white water courses.

Though it advisable that beginners take instruction, there are plenty of locations around Europe that will cater for anyone who wants to learn – here are some of the top destinations.

kayaking in the sea


There are many opportunities for kayaking in Scotland. With its inlands and lochs, the western isles such as Islay and Jura Kayakers can follow set trails and stop off at the many remote beaches for lunch.


The Lofoten Islands in particular offer a mountainous archipelago with deep blue seas where kayaking can be found alongside other activities such as mountaineering and climbing.


The granite sculptures and countless islands define the north east near Palau and La Maddalena. Ideal for short, relaxing trips, or for the more adventurous, it is even possible to kayak across the Bonifaccio Straits to Corsica.


Santorini boasts a collapsed volcanic caldera which comes highly recommended and there are number of organised island-hopping kayaking expeditions for beginners and more experienced kayakers alike.


Sea kayaking can include trips that begin or finish at the Dubrovnik Old City Walls or the green Elaphite Islands; most suited, perhaps, to those who have a little sea experience.


The Dordogne River is noted for its appeal to kayakers, largely because of the diversity in how the river flows. Emanating at the Massif Central and running through Bordeaux and Bergerac culminating at Royan and the Atlantic Ocean, the river becomes white water rapids, descends through a mountain range and reaches several dams just before Bergerac.


There are many organised kayaking tours in the Douro River Valley in northern Portugal; from Oporto to Bruco and Barca D’Alva to Pinhao, this particular excursion is ideal for anyone who wants a real taste of rural Portuguese life; combining history, culture and good wine and food along the way.


For a kayaking holiday that really embraces the culture of its locations then Turkey is a great place to visit. Kayak over Kekova, the submerged ruins of ancient Lycian settlements that can be seen through the clear blue waters of the Mediterranean.


Sea Kayaking doesn’t get more beautiful than the scenic surroundings of Tuscany. Paddling from beach to beach on the famed island of Elba will not only introduce kayakers to some great terrains, but combined with some of the best food and wine along the way, there are several holidays all in one.


Iceland’s western shore land is a mixture of 400 metre high sea cliffs, white sand beaches, low rocky bluffs and black sand beaches. Though only a short distance from the Arctic Circle, the coast, ports and fjords along the island remain ice-free year round, giving way instead to some unforgiving terrains and the breathtaking sights of humpback whales.

Naturally, there can be many dangers attached to watersports so even the most experienced should remember to wear a life jacket and helmet. Renting kayaks is relatively inexpensive and the paddles are available in different sizes depending on the nature of the water you are likely to be sailing on. You should also remember to insure your phone to ensure that your personal belongings don’t get damaged.

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