Europe boasts a rich history, beautiful architecture, and some of the most significant landmarks in the world—and so does its vast coastline.
The best sailing destinations in Europe are the coasts and rivers of the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Finland, Germany, Greece, Cyprus, and Portugal. St. Petersburg, Russia, and Amsterdam, Holland, are also great places to explore
In this article, we’ll go over some of the best sailing destinations in Europe and the top attractions they have to offer. We’ll also go over the local sailboat and marina facilities in these locations, along with what to expect when you travel there.
We sourced the information used in this article from European travel guides. We also considered the testimony of sailors who frequently travel around the coastlines and inland waterways of the region.
Ten Best European Countries to Sail To
There are 27 separate countries in the European Union, and many of them have at least one prominent coastal city or coastline area. Here, we put together the top 10 sailing destinations in Europe, both inside and out of the European Union.
1. The United Kingdom
The UK is one of the most storied and beautiful countries in the world—and it’s also responsible for many of the sailing innovations we take for granted today.
Over its history, the island nation developed advanced shipbuilding techniques and naval tactics and went on to dominate the world by sea for centuries. Today, the nation remains one of the most historic and interesting locations for anyone with a passion for boats.
One of the greatest sailing destinations in the UK is London. This English city is the most populous in the nation and home to some of its most historically significant
sites. You can sail right up the Thames river through the heart of the city and dock with a view of the historic cruiser HMS Belfast.
There’s plenty to do in London once you’re off the dock and even more to see throughout the rest of the country. One of the most interesting marine excursions is through England’s many canals, which cut through the countryside that once served as the lifeblood of the nation.
France is another top destination for European sailing, and it also hosts one of the most favored mooring spots in the sailing community. The breathtaking French coastline is just part of the story, as you can spend days or weeks exploring the country’s vast network of channels and rivers.
Paris is, of course, a favorite destination for tourists—maritime or otherwise. But there’s much more to see in the area, and there’s sure to be something for everyone.
A notable example is Omaha Beach, where the Allies began one of the most vicious battles of World War Two. The scars of war remain in the form of massive shell craters and busted-up concrete bunkers, which still dot the landscape as if the battle happened yesterday.
But if war isn’t quite your speed, there’s another French coastal destination that might suit you well. It’s the isle of Corsica, and it’s the gorgeous birthplace of famed French leader Napoleon. The isle sports crystal-clear water, beaches, and ancient architecture.
Who can think of a sailing vacation in Europe and not picture Italy? The country, located on the Mediterranean Sea, is one of the most beautiful sailing destinations in Europe. The food, the music—it’s all there and ready for you to immerse yourself into.Much of Italy hasn’t changed much in centuries. Of course, that also includes Venice. The waterlogged city of Venice is the most famous canal city in the world, and it has remained largely untouched for years.And though you can’t technically take your boat through the canals, you can hire a local to row you through for an authentic experience. And if Venice isn’t your speed, try the breathtaking Amalfi coast and its picturesque buildings. Monaco is another beautiful city to visit, and it has plentiful modern marina space.