October 26, 2023 10 min read

Unveiling the Hidden Gems and Serene Waters for Paddle boarding Adventures

Man on a paddle board near concrete buildings

Paddle boarding, the art of gliding across the water's surface, has taken Europe by storm. With its diverse landscapes and stunning coastlines, Europe offers a plethora of paddle boarding destinations that cater to every adventurer's taste. Join us on a journey as we explore the best places to paddle board in Europe, where you can discover hidden gems, experience unique challenges, and immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of each location.

Our top places to paddleboard in Europe

Lake Bled, Slovenia

White building at an island in Lake Bled, Slovenia

Geographical Location: Nestled amidst the Julian Alps in Slovenia, Lake Bled is a picturesque emerald-colored lake surrounded by lush greenery. This enchanting destination can be reached by flying into Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport, which is approximately 35 kilometers away. From the airport, a scenic drive or a short train ride will lead you to the mesmerizing shores of Lake Bled.

Lake Bled offers a serene and calm environment, making it an ideal spot for paddle boarding. The crystal-clear water provides excellent visibility, allowing you to admire the underwater beauty as you paddle. Don't miss the opportunity to explore Bled Island, located in the middle of the lake, with its iconic church and breathtaking views. GILI Sports' 10'6 Komodo inflatable SUP board is a perfect companion for your Lake Bled adventure, offering stability and maneuverability as you glide across the tranquil waters.

Algarve, Portugal

People enjoying the beach of Algarve, Portugal

Geographical Location: Located on the southern coast of Portugal, the Algarve region boasts stunning cliffs, golden beaches, and clear turquoise waters. To access the Algarve, you can fly into Faro Airport, which serves as the main gateway to the region. From the airport, a short journey by car or bus will transport you to the vibrant paddle boarding spots along the coastline.

The Algarve offers diverse water conditions, catering to both beginners and experienced paddleboarders. Discover secluded coves with calm waters, perfect for leisurely paddling, or challenge yourself with thrilling waves on the more exposed beaches. Explore the magnificent sea caves, carved into the rocky cliffs, creating a magical atmosphere. GILI Sports' 10'6/11'6 Meno inflatable SUP boards are versatile options that allow you to adapt to the changing water conditions in the Algarve.

Stockholm Archipelago, Sweden

Stockholm Archipelago

Geographical Location: The Stockholm Archipelago is an enchanting cluster of over 30,000 islands and islets in Sweden's Baltic Sea. To explore this vast archipelago, you can fly into Stockholm Arlanda Airport, which is well-connected to international destinations. From Stockholm, a scenic ferry ride or a local boat will transport you to the islands, offering an opportunity to witness the breathtaking beauty of the archipelago.

Paddle boarding through the Stockholm Archipelago is a peaceful and immersive experience. The calm and sheltered waterways, surrounded by untouched nature, create an idyllic setting for exploration. As you paddle between islands, you'll encounter diverse wildlife and witness the unspoiled beauty of the Scandinavian landscape. GILI Sports' 12'6 Meno Touring inflatable SUP board is designed for longer journeys, providing stability and speed for your exploration of the Stockholm Archipelago.

Cinque Terre, Italy

Colorful houses on mountain beside the sea, Cinque Terre, Italy

Cinque Terre, Italy Geographical Location: Cinque Terre, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a collection of five vibrant coastal villages along the Italian Riviera. To reach Cinque Terre, you can fly into Pisa International Airport, located approximately 70 kilometers away. From Pisa, a scenic train ride or a drive along the Ligurian coastline will lead you to the picturesque villages where your paddle boarding adventure awaits.

Paddle boarding in Cinque Terre offers a unique blend of adventure and beauty. The rugged coastline, with its colorful houses perched on cliffs, creates a stunning backdrop as you navigate the azure waters. Explore hidden coves, paddle beneath ancient vineyards, and soak in the mesmerizing views of this Italian gem. GILI Sports' 12'/15' Manta Ray Multi-Person SUP board allows you to share the experience with friends or family, creating unforgettable memories in the stunning landscape of Cinque Terre.

Loch Lomond, Scotland

Green mountains beside Loch Lomond, Scotland

Geographical Location: Nestled amidst the stunning landscapes of the Scottish Highlands, Loch Lomond is the largest freshwater lake in Scotland. To reach Loch Lomond, you can fly to Glasgow Airport, which is approximately 25 kilometers away. From Glasgow, a scenic journey by car or a local bus will transport you to the shores of Loch Lomond.

Loch Lomond offers a unique paddle boarding experience with its rugged beauty and ever-changing weather conditions. As you paddle across the deep blue waters, surrounded by majestic mountains, you'll encounter an array of wildlife and immerse yourself in the rich history and legends associated with this Scottish treasure. GILI Sports' 8'/9' Cuda inflatable SUP board is perfect for young paddlers who wish to explore the wonders of Loch Lomond.

Stay tuned for the next part of this article, where we'll dive into two more extraordinary paddle boarding destinations in Europe: Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia and the Greek Islands in Greece.

Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Aerial view of Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Geographical Location: Plitvice Lakes National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in central Croatia. To visit this breathtaking park, you can fly into Zagreb International Airport, the closest major airport. From Zagreb, a scenic drive or a bus journey will take you to the entrance of Plitvice Lakes National Park.

As you step into Plitvice Lakes National Park, you'll be greeted by a series of mesmerizing cascading lakes, interconnected by stunning waterfalls and lush green forests. Paddle boarding in this natural wonderland allows you to immerse yourself in the park's pristine beauty. Glide along the turquoise waters, surrounded by the sounds of nature, and witness the incredible flora and fauna that thrive in this unique ecosystem. GILI Sports' 10’6 Tidal Wave hard/epoxy SUP board is an excellent choice for exploring the serene waters of Plitvice Lakes.

Greek Islands, Greece

White concrete building near the sea, Paros, Greek Island

Geographical Location: The Greek Islands, scattered across the Aegean and Ionian Seas, offer a paradise for paddle boarding enthusiasts. To access the Greek Islands, you can fly into major international airports such as Athens, Mykonos, or Santorini, depending on your desired island destination. From there, a short ferry ride or a domestic flight will transport you to the stunning Greek Islands.

Paddle boarding in the Greek Islands is a dream come true. The turquoise waters, warm climate, and breathtaking landscapes create an idyllic setting for exploration. Each island offers its unique charm, from the iconic white-washed buildings of Santorini to the lively atmosphere of Mykonos. Explore secluded bays, discover hidden caves, and soak in the rich history and culture of these Mediterranean jewels. GILI Sports' 10'6/11'6 Meno inflatable SUP boards are versatile companions for your Greek Island adventures, providing stability and maneuverability as you navigate the coastal wonders.

Paddle boarding Safety Tips

Paddle boarding is a thrilling and enjoyable activity, but it's essential to prioritize safety on the water. Here are some important safety tips to keep in mind:

  1. Wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) or a life jacket: Regardless of your swimming abilities, it's crucial to wear a PFD or a life jacket while paddle boarding. This ensures your safety and provides buoyancy in case of an accidental fall.
  2. Learn proper paddling techniques: Familiarize yourself with basic paddle strokes, such as the forward stroke, sweep stroke, and backstroke. Understanding these techniques will enhance your paddling efficiency and control over the board.
  3. Use a leash: Always attach a leash to your ankle or calf and secure it to your paddle board. This prevents your board from drifting away if you fall into the water and helps you stay connected to your board.
  4. Check weather and water conditions: Before heading out, check the weather forecast and water conditions. Avoid paddle boarding in strong winds, heavy rain, or rough waters that may pose risks to your safety.
  5. Stay within your limits: Assess your skill level honestly and choose paddle boarding locations and conditions that match your abilities. As you gain experience, gradually challenge yourself with more advanced environments.
  6. Be aware of your surroundings: Keep an eye on other watercraft, including boats, kayaks, and fellow paddleboarders. Be mindful of swimmers, wildlife, and potential hazards in the water. Maintain a safe distance and avoid crowded areas.

Remember, safety should always be your top priority while paddle boarding. By following these tips and using common sense, you can enjoy a safe and memorable experience on the water.

Local Paddle boarding Community and Events

Paddle boarders on Algarve, Portugal

One of the incredible aspects of paddle boarding is the vibrant community that exists around this water sport. Each of the featured destinations has its own unique paddle boarding community and events worth exploring:

  • Lake Bled, Slovenia: Connect with the local paddle boarding community through social media groups or by visiting local paddle boarding rental shops and schools. Keep an eye out for events like paddleboard yoga sessions or guided group excursions around the lake.
  • Algarve, Portugal: Joining local paddle boarding clubs or organizations is a great way to connect with fellow enthusiasts. Look for community events, such as paddle boarding races or coastal cleanups, which allow you to contribute positively to the local environment.
  • Stockholm Archipelago, Sweden: Explore the extensive network of paddle boarding clubs and schools in the Stockholm area. Join guided group tours to discover hidden gems within the archipelago or participate in friendly competitions that showcase the region's paddle boarding talent.

Engaging with the local paddle boarding community not only offers opportunities to make new friends but also provides valuable insights into the best paddle boarding spots, local regulations, and tips from experienced paddlers.

Sustainable Paddle boarding Practices

As paddleboarders, it's our responsibility to preserve the natural beauty of the environments we explore. Here are some sustainable paddle boarding practices to consider:

  1. Respect wildlife and marine life: Keep a safe distance from wildlife, such as birds, seals, or dolphins, to avoid disturbing their natural behavior. Avoid touching or feeding marine animals, as it can have negative impacts on their health and well-being.
  2. Minimize waste: Carry a reusable water bottle and snacks in eco-friendly containers. Properly dispose of any trash or litter you encounter, even if it's not yours. Consider participating in beach or waterway cleanups to contribute to the conservation of these pristine locations.
  3. Choose eco-friendly gear: When purchasing paddle boarding equipment, opt for eco-friendly and sustainable options whenever possible. Look for boards made from recycled or responsibly sourced materials, and choose eco-conscious accessories like biodegradable leashes and recycled SUP bags.
  4. Support local conservation efforts: Research and support local organizations that work towards preserving the natural habitats and waterways in the paddle boarding destinations you visit. Consider volunteering or donating to their initiatives to make a positive impact on the environment.

By practicing sustainable paddle boarding, we can ensure that these beautiful locations remain pristine for future generations of paddleboarders to enjoy. Let's be stewards of the environment and leave nothing behind but our footprints on the shore.

Obtaining Visas for European Countries

Passport and visas for Europe

When planning a paddle boarding adventure in Europe, it's essential to understand the visa requirements for the countries you intend to visit. Visa regulations can vary depending on your nationality and the specific country you plan to explore. Here are some general guidelines to consider:

  1. Schengen Area:

    • The Schengen Area is a group of 26 European countries that have abolished passport control at their mutual borders. These countries include popular paddle boarding destinations such as Slovenia, Italy, and Portugal.
    • Citizens of many countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, and many European countries, can enter the Schengen Area for tourism purposes without a visa and stay for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
    • Ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your intended departure date from the Schengen Area.
  2. Non-Schengen European Countries:

    • Some European countries, such as Croatia and the United Kingdom, are not part of the Schengen Area and have their own visa regulations.
    • Croatia, for example, allows visa-free entry for citizens of certain countries for up to 90 days within a 180-day period, similar to the Schengen Area rules.
    • The United Kingdom has separate visa requirements, and travelers may need to apply for a visa in advance depending on their nationality and the duration of their stay.
  3. Visa-Free Agreements and Exemptions:

    • It's important to research visa-free agreements or exemptions specific to your nationality and the countries you plan to visit.
    • Some countries may have special visa arrangements for short-term tourism, business trips, or specific purposes.
    • Check the official websites of the embassies or consulates of the countries you plan to visit for the most up-to-date visa information.
  4. Visa Application Process:

    • If you need to apply for a visa, familiarize yourself with the specific requirements and application procedures for each country.
    • Contact the nearest embassy or consulate of the country you wish to visit to obtain detailed information about visa application forms, supporting documents, and processing times.
    • Allow sufficient time for the visa application process, as it may take several weeks or even months.

Remember that visa regulations can change, so it's essential to stay updated with the latest information. Check the official government websites of the countries you plan to visit or consult with professional travel advisors or visa service providers for accurate and personalized guidance.

Obtaining the necessary visas will ensure a smooth and hassle-free paddle boarding journey as you explore the stunning waterways and picturesque landscapes of Europe.


Europe is a playground for paddle boarding enthusiasts, offering a diverse range of locations that cater to every adventurer's desires. Whether you seek the tranquil beauty of Lake Bled, the rugged coastlines of Cinque Terre, or the enchanting archipelagos of Sweden and Greece, each destination holds its unique charm and challenges.

Remember to choose the appropriate GILI Sports inflatable or hard SUP board that suits the conditions of each location. With GILI Sports' reliable and high-quality paddleboards, you can embark on your paddle boarding journey with confidence.

So, grab your paddle board, explore the hidden gems of Europe, and let the serene waters guide you to unforgettable experiences in these breathtaking destinations. Whether you're a novice or an experienced paddleboarder, Europe's best paddle boarding spots await your discovery.


🏆 What are the best times of the year to visit these paddle boarding locations?
  • Lake Bled, Slovenia: June to September.
  • Algarve, Portugal: May to September.
  • Stockholm Archipelago, Sweden: June to August.
  • Cinque Terre, Italy: May to September.
  • Loch Lomond, Scotland: Summer months (June to August).

👍 Are there any safety tips or guidelines for paddle boarding in Europe?
  • Wear a PFD or life jacket at all times.
  • Familiarize yourself with local regulations and weather conditions.
  • Check tides and currents before paddling.
  • Monitor the weather forecast and adjust plans accordingly.
  • Consider paddling with a buddy or informing someone of your plans.

🏝️ Can beginners try paddle boarding in these destinations?

Yes, beginners can try paddle boarding in these destinations. There are suitable conditions and rental options available. Consider lessons or guidance from local paddle boarding schools.

❓ Are there paddle boarding communities or guided tours available in these locations?

Yes, paddle boarding communities and guided tours are available in these locations. Joining a tour provides local insights and the opportunity to connect with fellow paddleboarders.

📦 What are some other popular water activities or attractions in these regions?
  • Lake Bled, Slovenia: Swimming, boat rides, Vintgar Gorge.
  • Algarve, Portugal: Surfing, snorkeling, boat tours.
  • Stockholm Archipelago, Sweden: Sailing, kayaking, fishing.
  • Cinque Terre, Italy: Swimming, snorkeling, cliff jumping.
  • Loch Lomond, Scotland: Fishing, boating, hiking.
  • Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia: Hiking, waterfall views.
  • Greek Islands, Greece: Snorkeling, scuba diving, boat excursions.
Jay Regan
Jay Regan

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