Inspired by the sport of surfing, Stand Up Paddle Boarding, or SUP is becoming a worldwide phenomenon. In fact, 9.6 million people participated in SUP outings in 2012. People from all over the world participate in the sport, which requires you to stand on a longboard and paddle through the water.
Known for its pristine beaches, paddlers love Spain. The most popular spots for SUP adventures are around the Spanish islands, particularly Mallorca, Majorca, and Menorca. These islands have rugged coastlines and breathtaking caves to explore on your board.
For travelers who prefer a more urban experience, Sevilla is a popular option. Paddle up the Guadalquivir River and take in the sights.
Frequently ranked a top SUP destination in Europe, Greece is home to 6,000 islands, 8,000 miles of coastline, 27 rivers, and 63 lakes.
Adventurous paddlers will explore the Greek islands with just their boards, tents and provisions. If you’re the type who likes to travel off the beaten path, this traveling mode will allow you to avoid all of the usual tourist spots.
Greece also hosts SUP competitions, including the Corinth Canal Paddle Crossing. Paddlers can also participate in open sea races, 3km flat water technical races and relay races in Crete.
Italy offers an abundance of SUP opportunities, most of which are in the northern region of the country. The island of Sardinia also offers a few opportunities for SUP.
With beautiful lakes, beaches and rivers, Italy is a favorite destination among paddlers. One popular spot is the Cinque Terre National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Venice is, of course, another famous destination for paddlers, as you can paddle right alongside the gondolas.
Amsterdam’s network of canals makes it a prime destination for SUP trips. The city’s 150 canals offer 50 miles of water to explore from your board.
In addition to Amsterdam, the Netherlands offer plenty of other SUP opportunities, including IJsselmeer, The Amstel River, and Utrecht.
Utrecht can be a challenge in the summer because of the influx of boats, but it offers spectacular views of the city.
IJsselmeer is the largest lake in Western Europe. Because of its large size, it’s possible to paddle without ever seeing another soul.
5. Czech Republic
With miles of rivers, canals, and lakes, the Czech Republic is a wonderful place to explore on your SUP adventure.
The Vltava River offers stunning views of Prague and its famous sites, including the Charles Bridge and National Theatre.
You may even see giant paddleboards while you’re on the river in Prague. This team-building sport requires everyone to cooperate and synchronize their movements to reach their destination. Check with a local event organizer if you’d like to participate in a giant paddleboard event.
These are just five of the many great destinations for SUP in Europe. You’ll find that most countries and cities have SUP rentals so you can enjoy this sport wherever your adventure takes you.