Make a splash: Europe’s best destinations for watersports
With a heatwave sweeping across Europe, it’s a great time to book a last minute break and try and beat the heat. There’s no better way to cool down than getting in the water, so take a look at our best destinations for water sports that are easily accessible from the Hook of Holland.
Surf in Sylt, Germany
Sylt is the home of German surfing, not only because it is the place where surfing began in the country, but also due to the huge stretches of beach, there is ample space. Both local surfers and visitors rate the swells highly, and there is a great community feel to the beaches. Summer is the best time for surfing in Sylt due to the chilly North Sea, so there’s no better time to go than now!
This year, Surf Moment has opened a surf camp on Sylt, with optional courses for complete beginners to intermediate level surfers who want to learn more about surfing theory.
Windsurf in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands
Just an hour from the Hook of Holland by car, the beaches at Wijk aan Zee are a great spot for those with short holidays who want to maximise their time away. The beaches are in close proximity to Amsterdam or Utrecht, both of which make a great base for any holiday in the Netherlands.
The beaches are perfect for beginners due to their width, and the pier protects the harbour, which removes a lot of the current. The pier also ensures that the waves are small and clean – another advantage for those who are trying windsurfing at sea for the first time! There is plenty of space out on the water, which means there is room for novices to learn the basics. The spot is also a favourite with experienced windsurfers, who come to take part in the Aloha Windsurf Classic competition.
Kitesurf in De Panne, Belgium
De Panne is a great beach for any water sports, but it’s kite surfing that rules the waves. It’s great for beginners, who can practice on the beach before they hit the water – the beach at De Panne is big, so there’s ample space to try it out! Novices can grab a kite surfing lesson at Side Shores Surfers.
The beach itself can get fairly busy, but the waves tend to be quite quiet, and a designated surf zone keeps swimmers and kite-surfers safe. The current can be quite strong, so more experienced kite-surfers should keep an eye out for beginners.
Sail along the Ijsselmeer, Netherlands
Ijsselmeer, or Lake Ijssel, is the perfect location for a family sailing holiday. A large freshwater reservoir, sailors can board traditional Dutch barges and sail from port to port, taking in quaint harbour towns as they go. Sailing is a great activity for families or larger groups to all do together, and many companies offer boats that come staffed and with catering options. From a boat, explorers can soak up sunshine on the deck, or moor up and head to a beach for a swim when it gets too hot.
Holland Sail has a range of sailing trips available across different routes for different groups. The unique nature of Ijsselmeer means that at low tide, it allows the ship to sit on the sea floor and guests can get off and explore the mudflats, an amazing experience for everyone! Kids will also enjoy helping the skipper with ropes, or playing pirates at the front of the ship.
Travelling with Stena Line means you can pack up the car and bring all your own kit with you. The limited baggage restrictions mean that seasoned surfers, windsurfers and kite-surfers can bring their equipment onto the ship.
To book a ferry crossing, visit www.stenaline.co.uk/ferry-to-holland, call Stena Line on 08447 70 70 70