There is no better way to discover Europe than on a kayak or canoe. From peaceful waters, lovely lakes to wild whitewater, there is something great for every kayaker! But, a wrong choice of destination can spoil every bit of your trip. That is why I have taken the time to highlight the 10 best-kayaking destinations in Europe that will give you an experience of a lifetime.
Top 10 Kayaking destinations in Europe
The Ardeche Gorge in southern France stretches for about 30 km and gives you a kayaking experience like no other in Europe. Regardless of your kayaking skills, the class I to III waters are comfortable to paddle through. Plus, the waters are warm during summer, making it a perfect place if you want to kayak with your family.
There is also a huge natural stone bridge, infamous Pont D’Arc, which you can pass under for amazing scenery. Consider taking lunch and a swim in scenic spots.
In spring, the waters flow faster, and if you wish to enjoy some adrenaline rush, this is a perfect time. You can take the challenge down 60 km descent that crosses dams.
Soca Valley, Slovenia
Soca Valley is one of the top kayaking destinations in the world. The Alpine river stretches to a whopping 140 km through Western Slovenia and Northern Italy. Here, you get a chance to experience a range of rapid grades, making it best for beginners and experienced kayakers.
If you are a hard-core kayaker, you can paddle down the rough rapids (class IV and V) as the river has an 1100 m elevation past Triglav, the highest peak of Slovenia. So, take a day or multi-day tour for some bit of bite experience and enjoy paddling on stunning emerald waters with scenic views.
Southern Spain has the best kayak sport in the country. Here you get a chance to explore many nature parks. In Almería, you can join a kayak tour in a transparent kayak.
The kayak trip in Almería is one of the best ways to discover the seabed with bundles of Posidonia Oceanica under you. This transparent kayak experience departs from Playa San José towards the volcanic environment of the Natural Park of Cabo de Gata-Nijar. Plus, when you want some relaxed paddling with your dog, you can bring your pet along on the kayak. The kayak site is easily accessible, gives you perfect views and favorable kayaking conditions.
Enjoy the beauty of the coastline of Portugal through kayaking around its wonderful cliffs and wining for a relaxed experience. You do not have to bring your kayaking equipment as the destination has many to hire or even better, take a guided kayak tour in Sesimbra. The hills and ocean architecture present amazing scenery as you paddle through the calm waters.
Adriatic coast, Croatia
The Adriatic coast in Croatia would give you the best kayaking experience in Europe. The blue waters, islands, and covers present an extremely comfortable environment to kayak on. In fact, it is hard to pinpoint one place in Croatia as the whole Adriatic coast is one of the best paddling places in Europe.
You can try river and sea kayaking plus other water activities. But, for a peaceful paddling experience, kayak on Zrmanja River as it has crystalline-like calm waters. And, for an adventurous experience, explore the Mreznica River.
Albufeira is another great kayaking destination in Europe. Here you will have a light kayaking experience while enjoying the beautiful view of its surrounding. For instance, there is amazing natural rocks and cave formation on the South coast of Portugal. You do not have to carry your kayak as there are rental services and great guided kayak tours in Albufeira.
Once you are done kayaking, you can also explore the hidden and scenic caves on the coastline of the Algarve. And, get an amazing experience of Aljezur inland to appreciate the uniqueness of the destination.
Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland
Have a lifetime kayaking experience at Wild Atlantic Way, which runs from far north of Ireland to the southern coast. The entire rugged west coast is best for paddling and presents a stunningly beautiful view as you glide down the waters. As you kayak, you will get to explore the power of this beautiful destination, i.e. the caves, carved cliffs, and coves.
The beauty doesn’t end there. With the clean and crystal clear waters, you might end up paddling with basking dolphins, sharks, seals, and sea otters. Once done in the waters, you can explore UNESCO sites, crazy geological formations, national parks, and wildlife sanctuaries within the area.
Loch Ness’ Coast to Coast’, Scotland
Take the coast-to-coast paddling challenge at Loch Ness, Scotland, and spot Loch Ness Monster as you glide through the waters. The place is an amazing destination, as there is a chance to kayak through Caledonian Canal, the greatest waterway globally. The channel links Inverness in the east with Fort Willian in the southwest of Scotland.
Note that you will need a five-day trip if you intend to cover the route. It stretches to about 60 miles and passes through the Great Glen geological fault, including four lochs. These limitless stunning sceneries make the destination worth a visit.
Sognefjord stretches 204 km inland from the southwest coast of Norway, making it the second-longest fjord in the world. Imagine kayaking in such a destination! The natural beauty of the Sognefjord and the rich vintage heritage you can explore on a kayak makes the adventure worth it.
Though you can take a day trip to this destination, a multi-day tour gives you the most amazing experience. Consider taking along your camping equipment as there are beautiful places to pitch your tent.
The list of best-kayaking destinations in Europe cannot end without the mention of Switzerland. Switzerland is one of the world’s beautiful tourist destinations that boost unique scenery, mountains, and amazing landscapes. And, one best way to explore its beauty is kayaking through its crystal blue lakes surrounded by lush nature.
You can also paddle on rivers passing through the valleys of the beautiful country ranges and mountains. There is a kayaking spot in every region. Among the lakes you can explore include; Lugano, Geneva, Lucerne, and Brienz.
Key Insights & Takeaways
Europe is one the renowned tourist destination in the world. And, one best way to explore is through kayaking. Put the destinations I have mentioned in your bucket list, tick one by one, and attest to the beauty of each one of them!
Author’s Bio: As an avid outdoorsman, Ally has spent much of his free time backpacking through South America and other parts of the world. He loves sharing what he’s seen with others by blogging about it on a regular basis! His goal is to get more people in the mindset of protecting our planet; which we all need if we want this beautiful earth around us long enough for future generations to enjoy its beauty too.