Summer is just around the corner and there’s never a bad time to plan your next holiday. Everybody wants that dream getaway but there are so many options it’s sometimes hard to know where to start. With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of the best fishing holidays Europe has to offer.
We had a few boxes to tick when making this list. Each place had to be easy to get to and fun to explore. They had to have some of the best fishing in Europe, and there had to be plenty to do back on dry land. You could enjoy a great holiday in any of these towns even without going fishing. Get onto the water, and you’ll discover a holiday spot you could come back to year after year.
Dubrovnik is so scenic it’s hard to believe it actually exists. Famous as the setting of King’s Landing in Game of Thrones, the town is one dragon short of a fairytale. You could spend weeks wandering the winding streets of the old town or walking the city walls to take in the sea air and stunning sunsets.
Croatia has much more to offer than old walls and stone buildings. The country is loved for its stunning coastline and delicious fresh seafood (don’t miss the Dalmatian-style squid!). Dig into a fishy feast at a local restaurant or go out and catch some yourself.
There’s plenty to catch, that’s for sure. Fill up on tasty Dentex, Mullet, and Grouper or head to deep waters to wrestle Tuna, Swordfish, Mahi Mahi, and more. Dubrovnik is also a great launching point for a trip to the local islands, where locals have been honing their spearfishing skills for centuries. Whatever you do, you’re in for a feast at the end.
The only bad thing you can say about Stockholm is that it seems a little too perfect. Sweden’s capital city is a town of picture-perfect buildings, clean streets, and pretty waterfronts. Stockholm also has a strong art and cultural scene, with dozens of museums and galleries to visit. You feel more cultured just from spending a day there.
One thing you’ll notice while taking in the sights is the amount of people fishing. Even right outside the Royal Palace, it’s not uncommon to see anglers casting out lines and hauling in giant fish. There’s a good reason for this, Stockholm has some of the best Salmon fishing in Europe!
If the fishing is good in town, wait until you see the surrounding archipelago. Pristine nature starts as soon as the town stops, with untouched waters full of Salmon, Trout, Pike, Perch, Pike-Perch – you name it! Who knew the land of flat-pack had so much to offer?
Every year, plane-fulls of people head to the Costa Del Sol in search of sun, sea, sand, and sangria. Marbella is the most popular spot of them all, but it’s good for more than beach breaks and stag dos. It’s a real town with plenty going on if you know where to look.
Lounge in a shady square sipping local Alhambra beer and enjoying delicious tapas. Tuck into a tasty paella at a local restaurant, then sit and chat for two hours while you digest it all (a great Spanish tradition called sobremesa). Marbella is the perfect place to spend some time in the slow lane.
If you’re looking for a workout after all that relaxation, head down to Puerto Banus and jump aboard a charter boat. You’ll soon be battling some of the world’s top sport fish. Blue Marlin, Bluefin Tuna, Mahi Mahi, and more show up here in summer. Clearly, we’re not the only ones who like to holiday on the Costa Del Sol.
Slovenia is one of those hidden gems that flies under most people’s radar when it comes to planning a holiday. This is a country well worth exploring though. It’s small enough to really get your teeth into in one trip but still leave plenty to do on your next trip. That being said, you could spend a whole week just admiring the beauty of Lake Bled.
The town of Bled is less than an hour’s drive from Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana. Despite that, it feels like a different world or maybe a different century to most European holiday spots. Between Lake Bled’s island fortress, and the green slopes of the Julian Alps, the area seems almost too good to be true. And that’s before you even start on the angling.
We’ve written at length about why Slovenia is of the best fly fishing spots in Europe but we’ll sum it up briefly here: alpine, chalk stream, and freestone rivers full of four different Trouts, all within half an hour of each other. And it’s not just about the rivers. Lake Bled is home to Pike, Carp, and even Zander. All this, in one of the prettiest places in Europe.
Arriving in Herceg Novi feels like stepping into paradise. Board a boat from the airport in Tivat and sail through the dramatic straits of the Bay of Kotor. Step onto the dock to be greeted by warm sunshine, friendly people, and the smell of delicious fish wafting through the air. And that’s just the start.
Sailors from Herceg Novi have an ancient tradition of bringing home plants from their travels to decorate their family’s gardens. This has given the town an exotic “tropical paradise” vibe to match the laid-back attitude of the people that live there. People here spend their summers eating, drinking, swimming, and of course, fishing.
Most locals have a family boat that they take out to catch some dinner. Do the same on a local charter, and you could be feasting on Squid, Scorpionfish, Dentex, and John Dory – all delicious with a glass of Montenegrin white wine. Up for more of a challenge? Head to deeper waters for the chance of Swordfish and Bluefin Tuna. The fish grow as big as your ambitions here.
Madeira is a place with a real sense of drama. Black volcanic mountains. Lush green forests. Nothing but open ocean for hundreds of miles in every direction. The island was described by Roman sailors as “the land of the blest” and took on a legendary status in ancient culture. It still lives up to the hype.
Today’s Madeira has a lot to count its blessings for, but it’s no longer shrouded in myth. Funchal, the region’s capital, is an easy plane ride away from most major cities. It balances fun city life with easy access to stunning nature. And of course, this is Portugal, so you can expect great wine, too.
If there’s one thing in Madeira that still deserves legendary status, it’s the fishing. Madeira is a big game nirvana, with every major bluewater predator showing up just offshore. Blue and White Marlin, Swordfish, Spearfish, Bluefin and Bigeye Tuna, Mako, Mahi Mahi, not to mention a selection of huge Sharks – honestly, it would be easier to list the fish that don’t live here.
You may be surprised to find Scotland on our list of the best fishing holidays in Europe. Granted, it’s not a desert island dream, but “the Capital of the Highlands” has everything you need for the perfect summer holiday (with the possible exception of hot, sunny weather).
Inverness boasts a long and fascinating history, with several museums and countless stone buildings to tell the tale. The city is surrounded by stunning open countryside that’s just begging to be explored. Best of all, there are plenty of cosy pubs and tea rooms to hole up in when you get tired.
That’s all well and good, but what about the fishing? Dry fly fans will already know what’s coming next: The waters around Inverness are pretty much the birthplace of fly fishing. Take a drive down to the River Spey to try your spey cast on Salmon and Trout. Otherwise, head to Loch Ness to add Grayling, Pike, and other Loch Ness monsters to the list.
Can’t decide between beautiful beaches and huge mountains? Looking for stunning nature but don’t want to miss out on great nightlife? Sounds like Costa Adeje is the place for you. This jolly beach town on the southern shore of Tenerife offers all of this and more.
Hit the beach to soak up some rays and splash around in the clear blue sea. Go on a hike (or a cable car) to the top of El Teide, the highest mountain in Spain. Explore dramatic volcanic cliffs and remote beaches. Otherwise, just stroll through town to enjoy fresh seafood and honey rum – Tenerife’s signature drink.
If you think Costa Adeje is good now, just wait until you see what you can catch. The Canary Islands have some of Europe’s best big game action just a couple of miles from shore. Bluefin, Yellowfin, Bigeye, and Albacore Tuna all spend their summers here, as do Blue and White Marlin, Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, and much, much more.
You can’t talk about summer holiday spots without tipping your hat to Greece. The Greek islands are the original “wish you were here” destination, and Santorini is probably the best of the bunch. It ticks all the boxes for a postcard-perfect holiday: Warm seas and clear skies. White buildings with roofs every bit as blue as the ocean. Santorini is almost too good to be true.
There’s a lot more going on beneath the surface. Literally. The islands of Santorini and Thirasia are actually one big volcano, with an underwater crater in the centre. The volcano is dormant, but it does produce natural hot springs around Santorini. As if the Aegean Sea wasn’t warm enough already!
Santorini’s fishing tradition dates back thousands of years. You can still see old wooden fishing boats heading out in search of Seabass, Pandora, and Squid. In fact, you can even join these traditional fishing crews and learn how they work their waters. If you’re up for something more sporting, there are plenty of charter boats, too. Santorini may be historic, but it isn’t stuck in the past.
Last on our list, but certainly not least, is Lisbon. Portugal’s capital city has been a fishing and trading hub for over 3,000 years. It’s still one of Europe’s most important ports. Lisbon is also an all-round lovely place to visit, and many visitors never get round to leaving. It’s easy to see why.
Lisbon balances stunning architecture and ancient history with bustling bars and a huge cultural scene. Art galleries, museums, restaurants, wineries – there’s no limit to the amount you can do here. It’s also easily reachable from pretty much everywhere in the world, making it the ideal spot for a hassle-free holiday.
With such a long, seafaring history, you would expect great things of Lisbon’s fishing charters. You won’t be disappointed. Spend a morning reeling in Seabream, Seabass, Dentex, and more, or stay out longer to fight Tuna, Marlin, and Sharks. Still not impressed? Take a short drive inland to find Shad, Perch, Carp, Barbel, and Bass. Wherever you go, you’re in for great fishing!
And So Many More…
These are our choices for the best fishing holidays in Europe, but there are so many more options out there. Everyone likes something a little different so we tried to cater to every taste. Whether you’re a deep sea expert, a fly fishing fanatic, or just an interested amateur, you can’t go wrong with any of the towns on our list.
Have you fished in any of these places? Which spot would you most like to visit? Did we miss your favourite fishing holiday town? Tell us your thoughts or ask us your questions in the comments below. We always love to hear from you!