One of the main draws of visiting the Mediterranean during summer is hitting the sublime beaches, basking in the sun, experiencing the delicious food and intriguing culture, and trying out a few water sports while you’re there.
While there are many exciting water-based sports being undertaken on Europe’s Atlantic coast, the conditions are not always as friendly as you’d hope. Therefore, the chance to hit the Mediterranean to chill out on the sandy beaches (not on cold, pebbly ones) and to get sporty in the warm emerald waters is enthusiastically anticipated even before landing at the airport.
There are many different water sports that you can try when visiting the Mediterranean. Each beach and island is different, with the list of available activities varying from one destination to the other. Here are a few of the water sports that you can try out while holidaying in the Mediterranean:
Kitesurfing is growing more popular each year. On beaches with windy conditions, this is the perfect water sport that combines elements of surfing with the excitement of harnessing the power of the wind to pick up speed and perform neat tricks meters into the air.
The board is small enough to make you feel comfortable when standing on it. The bar that you hold onto to keep the kite above you is easy to grip even when your hands are wet and sandy. The kite is specifically designed to catch plenty of wind on gusty days to allow you to get pulled along at impressive speeds that sometimes rival water-skiing behind a powerboat.
Best places to try kitesurfing in the Mediterranean:
Kitesurfing is one of the water sports you should definitely experience in Gozo, the sister island of Malta. Kitesurfing in Italy is a must-try in your lifetime, while the Greek islands offer excellent kitesurfing conditions all year round.
Going windsurfing requires a fair amount of upper body strength to be successful at it. This thrilling water sport combines the use of a sail much like what you’d see on a sailboat, with a side handle to hold onto it, which is attached to a modified surfboard below to create the complete windsurfing apparatus.
Windsurfing is best performed when there is enough wind for the single sail to catch and harness it to pick up speed over the water. When the water conditions are too choppy, it does make it harder to stay on the board or to travel in a straight line. So, with this water sport, the weather and water conditions govern whether you can go out that day or not. Sometimes, the best conditions are found during autumn or even winter, so make sure you have a thick wetsuit to allow you to take full advantage of any given conditions.
Best places to try windsurfing in the Mediterranean:
Flyboarding is more of an extreme water sport because it sends you up to 12 meters (40 feet) into the air while standing on a platform at the end of a water hose. Flyboarding is operated by special teams that have experience with this new water sport. Quite often, the equipment is attached to a speedboat, jet ski or other watercraft that can generate the power and speed necessary to create the elevation.
If you like living on the edge and trying out something new, then find an operator of this sport to not miss out. Want bragging rights when you get home from your holiday? Then flyboarding is your golden ticket.
Best flyboarding destinations in the Mediterranean:
Since flyboarding does not really require any special conditions except for warm water and a lovely panoramic view, you can try it just about anywhere in the Mediterranean.
If you’re looking for the best scuba diving experience, then you need interesting coral reefs, shipwrecks, and underwater caves, which abound in the Mediterranean. PADI operators are the ones to hunt down to find teams of people that go on diving trips in this area.
You’ll need to be PADI certified before you venture into the Med’s diving sites. Otherwise, you will have to take a PADI training course at a center that offers courses to tourists. Also, for anyone who was previously certified but hasn’t gone scuba diving in some years, taking a brush-up course isn’t a bad idea either. If you want to maximize your diving time, then you can always qualify as a scuba diver in your home country and travel after that.
Best scuba diving destinations in the Mediterranean:
The second largest island in the Mediterranean, Sardinia is a haven for scuba divers. Its most popular diving site is Grotta del Nereo, the largest underwater cave in the Mediterranean. The Maltese archipelago (Malta, Gozo, and Comino) has plenty of stunning dive sites to offer, and so do Greece, Cyprus, Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, France’s Cote d’Azur, Spain’s Costa Brava, Turkey, and Egypt.
Canoeing & kayaking
As a less strenuous water sport, going kayaking or canoeing allows plenty of time on calmer waters. There’s no reliability on overly expensive equipment either. You’d still do well to bring a wetsuit with you, but tour operators provide what you need to get out on the water.
The good thing about kayaking or canoeing is that there’s no need to qualify first and you do not really require experience. It’s not so much about being good on the water as just enjoying the experience as something you don’t normally get to do every day.
Best canoe & kayak destinations in the Mediterranean:
The Adriatic Sea is considered by sea kayakers to be one of the best canoe and kayak destinations in the world. The stunning ancient harbors and picturesque coastlines of Croatia and Montenegro attract kayakers from far and wide. The Greek islands, Sardinia, Turkey, and Morocco’s Mediterranean coast should not be missed either.
Stand up paddle boarding
Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is an alternative to surfing that doesn’t rely on good waves to make it enjoyable. Paddle boarding is easy to pick up quickly but finding your balance does require some patience at first. Therefore, it’s easier to learn in calm waters to avoid repeatedly falling off the SUP. You’ll find that paddle boarding is a mix of the paddling of kayaking and the balance needed with open-water surfing.
Best paddle boarding destinations in the Mediterranean:
Paddle boarding in Italy should definitely be on your bucket list if you are looking for a relaxing water sport, friendly atmosphere, and bewildering landscape. Croatia, Greece, Montenegro, Turkey, and the Mediterranean coasts of France and Spain are popular destinations when it comes to SUP holidays.
There’s no better way to experience the Mediterranean and soak up its chilled out vibes than on an active holiday. Go on a surf camp in Europe and work towards getting better at your favorite water sport!