Traditionally Europe is not one of the world’s favorite kayaking destinations, but for those who take the time to explore the continent has much to offer paddlers. There are alpine lakes, ferocious North Sea coastlines, and the ancient Adriatic waters of near Greece. Long trips can take you all the way across the Mediterranean. Short trips can take you to the other side of an Italian lake. The lack of paddling sites hasn’t stopped the lure of paddlers though. They make the best of what’s there and the number of tour operators at every possible site is still growing to keep up with the high level of demand.
- Hornstrandir, Iceland
Iceland’s northwest fjords are as stunning as they are hard to pronounce. This is the most rugged part of the country and is home to whales, seals, and birds of prey that nest on the dramatic cliffsides. For the experienced kayaker only.
- Elba, Italy
If kayaking were around when Napoleon was exiled here, he would have surely escaped to the mainland much sooner. The 91 mile Mediterranean coastline is dotted with jagged coves, tiny bays, and the romance of an Italian vacation spot.
- Kekova, Turkey
Kayaking over the submerged ruins of an ancient city is far from ordinary. The ancient Lycian settlement, now an assortment of pillars, stairs, and walls, can be seen directly through the crystal clear water.
- Sardinia, Italy
The orange-pink granite Costa Smeralda is lined with the villas of the rich and famous while inshore passages are as calm as the water is blue.
Paddle form Inn to Inn along Crete’s calm rocky coastline. You’ll pass the Minoan palaces of Knossos and Phaistos, the Venetian fortresses at Frangocastello and Loutro, the historic monastery of Mons Preveli, the Samaria Gorge, and nude beaches before breaking for food and wine.
- Fjords, Norway
Reindeer, arctic fox, and polar bears are occasionally seen when passing through these wild, windswept fjords in northern Norway. Bring food and camping gear and you can literally spend weeks without seeing a soul, apart from the occasional small fishing village.
- Dubrovnik, Croatia
The Pearl of the Adriatic only gets better from the sea. Paddle around the Old City Walls or to green Elaphite islands. When you’re finished with those head out to the islands of Lokrum or Kolocep.
- East Coast, Greenland
Explore the seas of the high arctic surrounding this rarely visited chunk of land. You’ll cut between the inner fjords and beside towering icebergs.
- Orkney and Shetland islands, Scotland
The path of the Viking is well known in these wild seas geared toward expert paddlers. Multi day trips, often 10 days long, take you to UNESCO world heritage ruins, sea stacks, near to great bird life, and to mysterious sea lochs.
- Aegean Sea, Greece
The awesome azure blue waters and untouched beaches around the island of Milos are only part of what to expect. Mediterranean climates and leisurely lunches and dinners make the many paddling routes on hand more than worth it.