Two thirds of the world’s surface is water, so it’s no surprise that the human race has found ways to maximise excitement from the H2O around us. Whether it’s out at sea, deep beneath the waves, or on rivers and lakes, water sports give us a chance to connect with nature, get some exercise and sharpen our skills.
While there are plenty of options for water sports breaks around the UK, many enthusiasts prefer to go further afield, taking full advantage of better weather or new perspectives on life. In this guide, we’ll pick out some of the best holiday destinations for water sports in the world, covering a range of different locations and activities.
Our picks of the best holiday destinations for water sports
Some parts of the world are naturally better for certain water sports than others, and so in this guide, we’ve come up with the broadest cross-section possible. This selection of seven countries collectively covers all the bases of great water sports holidays:
It might not stand out as the first place you’d think of for water sports, but the natural majesty of the French landscape has plenty to offer – as well as being right on your doorstep. River rapids, lake swims, cave canyoning and waterfall sightseeing give you plenty of opportunity for an exciting and varied trip, whether you head east towards the Alps, south-west to the Pyrenees, or explore the Massif Central in the middle. Canoeists and kayakers in particular will find France full of adventure.
Greece enjoys some of the clearest sea waters anywhere in Europe, and there are lots of ways to enjoy them. You can try kayaking and hop from one bay to the next, or go swimming in the crystal-clear waters. And if you want to explore the world under the surface, then there’s plenty of opportunity for scuba diving and snorkelling. For a more relaxed water sports holiday that doesn’t break the bank, then thanks to the wide range of affordable flight and accommodation options, Greece is a stand-out option.
The sparkling Indian Ocean waters of the Maldives attract scuba divers from around the world, who flock to the islands to explore the coral reefs beneath. There are several different diving centres spread around the islands, supporting tourists of all abilities who want to get under the waves. But there’s plenty more to enjoy from the Maldives, too: the healthy sea breeze means there’s plenty of opportunity for surfing and windsurfing, while jet-skiing is also a popular pursuit in the area.
Similar to Greece, Turkey also offers the peace and tranquillity of the eastern Mediterranean, and some beautifully clear seas to enjoy. Our pick of the Turkish resorts for a water sports holiday is Kas, where there are ample options for swimming and snorkelling, and also the opportunity to go for a gentle paddle in a kayak. The consistently warm weather in Turkey is also a major selling point: the sea generally stays warm from spring right the way through to autumn, helping you save money on a trip by avoiding the peak school holiday times.
Canada is probably one of the most famous countries in the world for nature and adventure-related activities, and it certainly has plenty to offer from a water sports perspective. We recommend heading out west and basing yourself in the Vancouver area, where you can go kayaking on the river or out into the North Pacific Ocean. Head further inland and there are white water rafting locations aplenty, but you can take things a little slower if you want: the quality of the fishing in Canada can rival anywhere else on the planet.
Every surfer should try and get themselves Down Under at least once in their lifetime, if only to tick Bondi Beach in Sydney off their bucket list. But surfing in Australia isn’t just about Bondi: we suggest a trip past Melbourne to Bells Beach, which hosts the Rip Curl Pro Surf and Music Festival. Either way, you’ll get to enjoy a laid-back vibe and some of the best beaches in the world to catch a wave. It might be a long journey to get there, but it’ll be well worth it.
For a scuba diving and surfing destination that’s a little bit off the beaten track, then Indonesia should be your first port of call. Your go-to island is Sumba, and if you visit Nihiwatu’s Boathouse, then you’ll be spoiled for choice of activities: snorkelling, diving, paddleboarding, diving and even spear fishing. You’ll also get the chance to experience Occy’s Left, one of the most coveted surfing waves in the world (if you’re lucky, as surfer numbers are limited from day to day).
Get water sports insurance with SportsCover Direct
Whichever water sport you prefer, and wherever in the world you’re planning on travelling to, taking in good-quality insurance cover is absolutely essential. And at SportsCover Direct, we’ve been insuring water sports enthusiasts like you for more than a quarter of a century.
Our cover means you won’t be left out of pocket if you incur emergency medical expenses or require repatriation in the event of an accident. We can also protect you against any cancellation or curtailment of activities, or if your equipment and luggage gets lost, damaged or stolen. That way, you can enjoy your holiday and hit the water with confidence and peace of mind.