Gary Sinclair, watersports activity manager for Neilson holidays shares the ten best places in the world, from the UK to the Caribbean, to visit for an active coastal adventure:
1. Lake Garda, Italy
Sailing on a mountain lake, Torbole, Lake Garda
A stunning location to sail in. Lake Garda boasts great consistent winds, with plenty of options to get lessons and hire dinghies”. The mountain scenery is simply epic, it’s a very special place for beginners to learn the basics of dinghy sailing.
2. The Solent, U.K
Osbourne House, Isle of Wight is in the background
“A stretch of water between Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, The Solent is peppered with a many great sailing clubs and places to sail from. With the Isle of Wight acting as a windbreak, this area generally gets calmer waters and is great for beginners up to advanced sailors. Another area with incredible scenery, including some great rugged coastline and then throw in bags of history and you can see why it’s one of the best sailing locations in UK.” Aerial view of racing yachts on the Solent during Cowes Week.
3. Venice Canals
Group of active tourists on SUP boards on Grand Canal in Venice
Whilst gondolas rule the waterways of Venice, stand up paddle boarding is taking off too and offers a unique new way to discover the sites of this Italian city.Stand up paddle boarding is a bit of cooler way to see Venice and avoid the crowds. Tours are available to book with local operators such as SUP Venice.
4. Maui, Hawaii
Windsurfer at Ho’okipa Beach in Maui
Some say Maui is the windsurfing capital of the world. Pro windsurfers are based here and with some bays getting strong winds and huge waves it’s always great for spectators too. Stand, watch and admire the professionals in action from the safety of the beach. Stunning scenery and temperatures around 26 Celsius for most of the year make Maui a huge draw for many windsurfers.
5. Lefkada, Greece
Windsurfers at the village of Vassiliki
This is a European windsurfing mecca. Stunning location with mountains either side of the bay. It can get very windy in the afternoon when the famous wind “Eric” arrives. The conditions make it easy to launch and land from, plus there are flat, warm waters and no tides. The Vassiliki Neilson beachclub is based here and you can quite often see 100+ windsurfers out on the water on a windy afternoon.
6. Bonaire, Caribbean
Sorobon beach on Bonaire island
A Caribbean island close to Venezuela, Bonaire has been the latest great spot to head to for windsurfers. It first hit the headlines when teenagers with amazing freestyling skills hit the scene and started cleaning up at all the pro events. Think white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and lots of options for beginners through to advanced windsurfers to sail from.
7. Burgh Island, U.K
A paddle boarder enjoys the sunset at Burgh Island
At this beautiful place in the south of Devon you can circumnavigate the island in either direction in just over an hour on a stand up paddle board. There are lots of nooks and crannies to explore, as well as stunning scenery and history landmarks. Options to rent equipment available at Bigbury Beach
8. Lacanau, France
Lacanau beach at dusk, Gironde, France
This place has a great holiday vibe, and is popular with surfers, but it’s also brilliantly set-up for waterskiers too with drivers and boats available to hire to give you a tow.
9. Poole Harbour, UK
Kitesurfing and Windsurfing at Sandbanks, Poole, Dorse
Poole is the one of the largest natural harbours in the world, and it is very popular for windsurfing. It’s the perfect place to learn with flat waters and the seabed shelves gently so you can still stand up if you fall in. You can windsurf in most wind directions and there are lots of options on renting equipment and getting lessons.
10. Loch Lomond, Scotland
Loch Lomond, Scotland as the sun rises.
The U.K. is blessed with many great sailing locations either inland or on the coast (however, you do have to put up with the UK weather on occasions!) Loch Lomond has great sailing conditions with stunning scenery and an active sailing club. Plus, you also don’t have to worry about the tides with it being inland.
Image credits: Matej Kastelic, John Baran, Robery Harding, Vanessa Devolder, Don White, Constantinos Iliopoulos, David Barkely, Mike McEnnerney, John James & Andrew Lloyd.