With 850 kilometres of fine white sand Portugal’s coast has something for everyone - and that’s before we’ve even touched on the islands. In the north, where the sea is rougher than in the south, the most popular water sports are open water fishing, surfing and bodyboarding. Have a go at these in Ofir, Póvoa de Varzim, Leça da Palmeira and Espinho.
The Azores’ nine islands are perfect for anyone who loves water sports and the open air. You’ll definitely want to go swimming, either in the warm sea or the volcanically formed swimming pools inland. Boat trips, surfing, windsurfing and body boarding game fishing and superb scuba diving are other options for fun in, on, or under the Atlantic.
Spain has 25 sea resorts where you can try all kinds of active days on the water, all year round. They’re sprinkled along the coasts of Andalusia and Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands, and the coasts of Galicia, Asturias, Murcia and the Region of Valencia.
Experience the excitement of sailing, try your hand at windsurfing, leap in the air on a water bike, have a go at waterskiing, thrill to the adrenaline rush from parasailing, or immerse yourself in the depths of the sea. Sea kayaking, banana boats, snorkelling, cruise trips and deep-sea fishing are among the other water activities available at Spain's Marine Resorts. There are also courses available and direct supervision by specialised instructors.
Listen to the roar of the waves in your ears or the hush of the barge as it passes you by, and you'll know why Ireland is a water-lover's haven. Local and international surfers take to the waves around the island along a coastline that's big on thrills with exhilarating swells and pristine beaches. Meanwhile, windsurfers adore the steady winds and countless safe, clean beaches that make Ireland a number one destination. For scuba divers there are thousands of miles of coastline to explore;
water-skiers and wake boarders will also find great facilities around the country. Canoeists will thrive on the passion the Irish have for canoeing, and you’ll be spoiled for choice with white-water, downhill, slalom, surfing and sprint canoeing. For something truly local: Each July the Park hosts the Northern Ireland Bog Snorkelling Championships and visitors are welcome to come along and try out this unique sport.
Some places in Iceland, where swirling glacial rivers race over rugged terrain on their way seaward, the scenery looks custom-built for river rafting. Thre’s a choice of routes with different levels of challenge - for newcomers who want to experience the basic thrill and more difficult rides for the really wild at heart. Kayaking just off the Icelandic coast is an unforgettable experience; lucky kayakers might also get a close-up glimpse of a seal or rare birdlife.
Thanks to an abundance of hot water, swimming is probably the most popular activity in Iceland. Almost every town and village has a swimming pool, usually outdoors, which is filled with hot water to a comfortable temperature and kept open year round. Many people enjoy swimming lengths in the pools, but most go to sit in the circular “hot pots” and have a good chat with their friends.