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14 Top Bucket-List SUP Boarding Destinations In Europe

SUP boarding is a wildly popular water sport that continues to gain new enthusiasts around the world. What was once a niche sport enjoyed by islanders and a select few watermen is now an activity you can easily enjoy in nearly any body of water in most countries. While you can enjoy SUP boarding almost anywhere, some places are particularly incredible. Europe in particular has some bucket-list-worthy SUP boarding destinations that every paddling enthusiast must know about.

To SUP board through some of Europe’s most beautiful cities, look no further than Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Cinque Terre in Italy, Helsinki in Finland, or the charming French city of Annecy. Some of the best European Islands worth exploring on a SUP board include Italy’s Sardinia, Croatia’s Hvar, Greece’s Corfu, and Spain’s Balearic Islands. Other incredible SUP spots in Europe include England’s Jurassic Coast and Turkey’s Marmaris Coast.

Europe might not be the largest continent in the world, but it is filled with varied beauty and some of the most iconic landmarks on Earth. It can be daunting and overwhelming trying to decide where you should take your next European SUP vacation. Lucky for you we have compiled a list of the best places to visit in Europe for SUP boarding right now. Keep reading to give your vacation planning some fresh inspiration.

14 Incredible SUP Boarding Destinations In Europe

1. Lake Annecy, France

The charming and once-sleepy southern French city of Annecy is having a moment for water sports lovers and social media influencers alike. The emerald canals that snake through this well-preserved French city are out of a fairytale and are perfect for a photo shoot. The real gem in this area, however, is Lake Annecy.

This lake is shared by France and Switzerland, but is easily accessible from downtown Annecy, making this town the perfect jumping-off point for a SUP adventure. Lake Annecy is very clean, and its waters are incredibly blue and inviting.

There are endless views of the snow-capped Alps and charming French and Swiss lakefront towns. This makes it a quintessential European destination for SUP lovers of all skill levels.

2. Cinque Terre, Italy

While the Amalfi Coast and Capri get a lot of attention as far as breathtaking Italian seaside escapes are concerned, Cinque Terre is arguably more desirable for anyone who loves nature, hiking, and watersports.

Translated as “Five Lands,” Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a collection of five stunning villages. You must take a train or hike through centuries-old wine terraces between the villages. On calm days you can take a SUP board out from various villages, or nearby la Spezia and see this enchanting Italian region from a new perspective. Plus, after all the incredible seafood and pasta this region is known for, you will need to burn some calories on a beautiful SUP ride.

3. Balearic Islands, Spain

When you think of iconic countries to SUP board in, Spain should be on pretty much every list. This country has diverse coastlines that border multiple bodies of water. There are also dozens of incredible islands to explore on a paddling vessel. If you have to pick just one place to visit in Spain for SUP boarding though, it should be the Balearic Islands.

Located off Spain’s eastern coast in the luxurious Mediterranean, the Balearic Islands are a choose-your-own-adventure type of archipelago. There is the popular party island of Ibiza, the (slightly) more subdued Mallorca, and mellow Menorca and Formentera.

Regardless of what island you choose, you will be treated to charming towns, great food, incredible architecture, and some jaw-dropping coastline that is best explored on a SUP board. When visiting these islands, try to avoid peak summer months if you want a more relaxed and affordable holiday.

4. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Not all of the best places to SUP board in Europe are idyllic Mediterranean islands. Amsterdam is a great example of this. Known as the Venice of the north, Amsterdam is an incredibly lovely city filled with beautiful architecture and city, which you can explore by paddling through its canals.

You can join a guided SUP tour to learn about the city while you paddle or rent a board from various spots in (or near) the city. This is a great way to see the city from a new perspective and a great way to avoid all the bike and foot traffic in the busy downtown.

Remember that while you can theoretically SUP board in the colder months, this is an activity best enjoyed between May and early September when the weather is warm.

5. Marmaris Coast, Turkey

Not all of the best paddling destinations in Europe are part of the Schengen, or even full members of the E.U. Turkey is a non-Schengen country, and while you can’t spend your Euros here freely, you can certainly find some of the best waters in all of Europe for SUP boarding.

The Marmaris Coast in Turkey is located in the sapphire and sometimes baby blue waters of the Aegean Sea. Some of the oldest civilizations existed along this coast. You can paddle over sunken ruins, and even enjoy an island-hopping SUP adventure. Best of all, these stunning Aegean islands are significantly cheaper than the nearby Greek Islands.

6. Loch Lomond, Scotland

If you have always wanted to explore the fabled Lochs in Scotland, then consider viewing them while SUP boarding. You can view the rolling hills and Scottish Highlands spirit while navigating these deep fresh waters on a SUP board.

Loch Lomond is arguably the most beautiful and accessible of Scotland’s Lochs. You can easily access this region from the charming city of Edinburgh. This makes it a great day trip on any Scottish Itinerary. It is fresh water and well-protected, making it a great activity for the whole family - evening beginners.

7. Jurassic Coast, England

England might have a reputation for being cold and dreary, but in the summer this British isle comes alive, and there is a lot of incredible coastline to explore. The Jurassic Coast is one of the most beautiful coastlines in all of England.

Experiencing the Jurassic Coast from a SUP board or other paddling vessel allows you to see the true majesty of this area. Best of all, the Jurassic coast is just a few hours southwest of London. Therefore you can come here for the day, or a long weekend while visiting England on a longer trip.

8. Helsinki, Finland

Another northern European city that is worth visiting for SUP boarding opportunities is Helsinki, Finland. Helsinki is known for its Nordic culture, sleek and innovative design, as well as modern art and architecture. It also happens to be an incredible European SUP destination in the summer months.

Helsinki is located on the edge of the Baltic Sea, and many islands are located not far from the city center. This makes it an incredible city for paddling. You can easily rent a SUP board here, and there are endless paddling routes you can enjoy, depending on your skill level and how much adventure you seek.

9. Hvar, Croatia

Croatia and the famous Dalmatian Coast have some of the most incredible and inviting waters for SUP boarders and kayakers alike. Cities like Split and Dubrovnik provide some great paddling opportunities, but for the best paddling, head to Hvar.

Hvar is a large island off the coast of mainland Croatia and can be reached by a one-hour ferry from Split. You can paddle around the fun and vibrant city of Hvar and enjoy its harbor and stunning beaches. You can also head to smaller towns like Stari Grad and the enchanting village of Jelsa for some authentic Croatian charm.

10. The Algarve, Portugal

Portugal is another European country with a varied coastline. It is home to the world’s biggest waves, but there are also some safe and stunning places where SUP boarding is ideal. The Algarve is without a doubt the most well-known and iconic strip of the Portuguese coastline.

The Algarve is a one-of-a-kind stretch of coastline, featuring towering cliffs, tranquil bays, and lagoons filled with birds and other wildlife viewing opportunities. Some areas have strong waves, which are great for SUP surfers. There are also relaxed coves and hidden bays that are great for more casual SUP boarding.

11. Sardinia, Italy

Italy is home to so many incredible paddling destinations that there needs to be at least two destinations on any SUP vacation bucket list. While there are tons of islands and coastal cities worth enjoying on a SUP board, Sardinia is an up-and-coming European paddling destination worth looking into.

Much of Sardinia’s coast is worth exploring, but the Gulf of Orosei is a truly incredible place that a visiting SUP lover is bound to fall in love with. This body of water has beautiful limestone cliffs that tower high above, as well as hidden caves. The water is an inviting turquoise, and it is great for cooling off in the summer months.

12. Corfu, Greece

Greece has no shortage of world-famous islands. From Mykonos to Santorini, people from around the world come to see this country’s other-worldly Aegean islands. Many of these islands lend themselves to SUP boarding, but Corfu is perhaps the best of all these islands for SUP lovers.

Corfu is one of the largest Greek islands. It has a rich and layered history, and Corfu town has cobblestone streets and lots of charm. The island is also home to some of the best beaches, and pristine waters in all of Greece.

To make this a SUP vacation you won’t forget, avoid the peak summer months. Corfu has great weather in the late spring and early fall. These foreign waters are less crowded, and the accommodations are much cheaper.

13. Lake Bled, Slovenia

Slovenia might not be at the top of everyone’s European travel list, but if you are a paddler then you should place it near the top. Slovenia is home to some of the most incredible rivers in the entire world. While its rivers might be the reason many paddlers come to Slovenia, Lake Bled is the best body of water for SUP lovers of all ages.

Lake Bled is one of the most picturesque lakes in Europe. It has a small island with a towering castle, and in the distance, you see nothing but lush green mountains. The lake itself is clean and crystal-clear blue. This makes it a great lake to SUP board, and perfect for cooling off in the Slovenian summer heat.

14. Stockholm Archipelago, Sweden

The Nordic countries might make you think of the Northern Lights and snow, but they are also some of the best countries for paddling. Stockholm is a world-class city, and it is an archipelago of more than 30,000 islands.

The main city has 14 islands, but beyond the city center, you can enjoy endless different island-hopping SUP adventures. This makes it an ideal city to visit and enjoy casual afternoon paddles or well-planned multi-day SUP adventures.
The best time to enjoy these SUP adventures is the summer, into early fall. This is when the days are long, the weather is pleasant, and the waters are less frigid.

Wrapping Up The Top SUP Boarding Destinations In Europe

Not only is Europe home to some of the best SUP boarding on the planet, but its growing popularity has made it easier than ever to rent SUP gear and take guided paddling tours in the most iconic destinations.

For a truly bucket-list-worthy SUP experience, visit one of Europe's most picturesque islands like Hvar, Sardinia, the Balearic Islands, or even the vast Stockholm Archipelago. If you want to enjoy some ancient European culture while SUP boarding, visit Cinque Terre, Corfu, or the Marmaris Coast. Regardless of what country in Europe you visit next, you won’t have to go too far before you stumble upon an incredible location for SUP boarding.

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