A bit like remembering to apply sunscreen properly and wearing swimwear to dinner, water sports are something that most of us only ever manage to do on holiday. That’s even more reason to travel to a destination where adrenalin-fuelled aquatic adventures are guaranteed! *
Friesland, The Netherlands
Kitesurfing on the island of Terschelling, Friesland
The Dutch coastal province of Friesland has so many canals, lakes and waterways that it’s practically more liquid than land. With surfing at Makkum, kitesurfing at Workum, and the longest chain of inland lakes in Europe (perfect for bodyboarding), water sports enthusiasts are spoilt for choice. Rest up at the grand-yet-cosy De Bank Hotel, which has sea views and its own water sports facilities.
The Spreewald canal in Brandenburg
The water trails winding through Brandenburg include 84 canoe trails and 23 kayak trails, providing ample opportunities for visitors to take to the water as well as representing a unique way to explore this part of Germany. If you prefer life in the city, there are plenty of rowing and sailing tours through the region’s big cities like Berlin, too. However, visitors who head to the Brandenburg nature reserves will be rewarded with serene waterways and properties devoted to water sports, such as the traditional Spreewald Pension Am Spreeschlößchen.
Surfing at Blue Bay in Taiwan
As one of the most popular beaches on the south coast of Taiwan, Nanwan is awash with water sport facilities. The beach is also known as ‘South Bay’ or ‘Blue Bay’, and the best surfing conditions tend to be on the right side of the bay. The left side, meanwhile, is perfect for windsurfing, kayaking, snorkeling and jet skiing. Visitors staying between April and July will be there during the milkfish season, when the locals can be seen using traditional Taiwanese fishing methods. Stay just a 10-minute walk from the beach at the Haku Beach Days Inn.
New Braunfels, USA
Tubing on the Comal River, New Braunfels
The town of New Braunfels in Texas is home to the world’s shortest river to be located entirely within a city – the Comal River. As the town derives most of its income from tourism, water sport facilities are a top priority, especially tubing. Visitors can rent an inner tube for only a few dollars and then float down the river, followed by a trip to the USA’s most popular aquatic amusement centre – Schlitterbahn Water Park. Stay nearby at the family-friendly Hill Country Cottage.
Some boats that are definitely not suitable for water sports
The Montargil dam was built to irrigate the Sorraia Valley, but it quickly attracted water sport enthusiasts from all over Portugal and beyond. Today, it’s possible to rent bodyboards, kayaks and jet-skis from the various clubs and hotels that have sprung up around the dam. The best time to visit is between June and September, although the early months of the year are a wonderful time to go wildlife spotting as the dam has also become a nature reserve.
** The data scientists at Booking.com looked at the destinations highly endorsed for ‘paddleboarding’, ‘kitesurfing’, ‘canoeing’ and ‘scuba diving’ by travellers.