Discover the 10 Best Fishing Holidays in Europe

Mar 12, 2021 | 8 minute read Comments
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Reading Time: 8 minutes

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.

A small sailboat floating in clear shallow sea with white houses behind.

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, Croatia

A view of Dubrovnik old town taken from the sea. Dubrovnik is a classic European fishing holiday destination

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.

Stockholm, Sweden

A view of the old centre of Stockholm, Sweden. Stockholm is a classic city break destination and also one of the best places for fishing holidays in Europe.

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?

Marbella, Spain

A beach in Marbella, Spain, with palm trees on the left, a walkway on the right, and a mountain in the distance.

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.

Bled, Slovenia

An aerial view of Lake Bled in Slovenia, with a church on an island in the middle and mountains in the distance.

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.

Herceg Novi, Montenegro

Buildings and palm trees in Herceg Novi, Montenegro, a pretty fishing and holiday town

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.

Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

A view over Funchal, Madeira, with sea on the left.

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.

Inverness, Scotland

A view over the River Ness to Inverness, Scotland.

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.

Costa Adeje, Tenerife, Spain

a beach in Costa Adeje, Tenerife, one of the best places for fishing holidays Europe has to offer.

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.

Santorini, Greece

Old white buildings with blue roofs on Santorini, Greece. There is a small fishing boat in the sea on the left.

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.

Lisbon, Portugal

Old buildings in Lisbon, Portugal, taken from the sea with a boat in the bottom left of the photo.

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…

A view out over a shallow bay, with small fishing boats floating in the clear sea and islands in the distance.

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!

Comments (16)
  • james Shepherdson

    Dec 3, 2022

    Hi Albert,
    Great article, me and my mates are looking to do a few days of camping and sea fishing anywhere in Europe this summer where the flights are affordable. We’d like the fishing to be mostly spinning from the rocks as we cant afford a more than one or two charters and I’m struggling to find any lure fishing specific info. Faroe islands, Dubrovnik and Peniche Portugal are guesses made based on deep water but any help on their suitablility/other locations would be appreciated.
    Cheers!

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      Lisa

      Dec 5, 2022

      Hi James,

      Lisa here. Faroe Islands, Dubrovnik, and Portugal are amazing spots to wet a line. I’d add Montenegro as a slightly more affordable option, along with various Greek islands.

      Take a look at the offer for Montenegro here.

      Let me know if you’d like to chat with someone from our team. They can help you book a budget-friendly charter for you and your mates, regardless of the destination.

      Lisa

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  • Antonios Forlidas

    Mar 29, 2021

    Dear all,
    I am a greek citizen living in Belgium and I have my boat 5,30 meters in Greece with belgian flag. Am I allowed to do recreational fish ?
    Is there any European Union link describing the rules ?
    Thanks in advance

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      Albert

      Mar 29, 2021

      Hi Antionios,

      I’ll be completely honest, I have no idea what the regulations are for foreign private boats fishing recreationally since Brexit. Your best bet is probably to get in touch with the Coastguard directly.

      Sorry I can’t be of more help. Please do let us know how you get on – I’m sure it would be really helpful for other boaters.

      All the best!

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  • John Woloson

    Jun 1, 2020

    Do you know if any of the river cruises begin or end in any of these fishing hot spots? We’d like to do a river cruise for our 50th birthdays, but would also like to wrap one end of the cruise around a fishing trip. Thanks for your help!

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      Albert

      Jun 2, 2020

      Hi John,

      That sounds like a fantastic trip!

      I must admit that I don’t really know much about river cruises. However, I’m sure you could take a cruise along the Caledonian Canal, past Ben Nevis and through the lochs, ending in Inverness.

      If you’re not set on rivers, I know that Dubrovnik is also a popular stop on sea cruises along the Adriatic.

      I hope that helps. Let me know if you do visit any of these towns and happy birthday to the pair of you!

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  • Phyllis Fredericksen

    Mar 6, 2020

    I’m planning a trip with my grandson, who wants to fish for the Wells Catfish. Would appreciate ideas if where to start. Thanks.

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      Albert

      Mar 6, 2020

      Hi Phyllis,

      Your grandson is in for a treat!

      You can catch Wels in large rivers throughout much of Europe. However, I’d say that the Ebro River in northern Spain is the place you want to go. It’s a classic Catfish spot with some true giants.

      Due to the sheer size of the fish, I’d strongly recommend fishing with an experienced guide. These guys offer single-day and multi-day packages and are based in the Catalonian stretch of the river, near some of the very best spots for giant Wels.

      I hope that helps. Let me know if you need any more advice and good luck on the monster hunt!

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  • William

    Feb 25, 2020

    Hi there,

    I’m looking to drive from the UK to somewhere in Europe. Spain / Italy etc. We have some course rods and are looking for some nice shore fishing (rivers/Lakes or sea). Preferably no fly fishing.

    Where could you recommend when driving from the UK?

    Thanks

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      Albert

      Feb 26, 2020

      Hi William,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      The obvious choice is France. It’s really close and has tonnes of good spots for coarse fishing, especially for Carp. Check out this article for more info.

      Otherwise, northern Portugal and Spain are both great options.You can catch Carp, Barbel, and Perch all year round, and some ponds are even stocked with Largemouth Bass if you want something a little different.

      I hope that helps. Be sure to let us know how you get on!

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      Will

      Mar 2, 2020

      Hi Albert,

      Thanks for the response. All sounds promising for the lakes and rivers.

      What about any sea fishing about ? From the rocks etc?

      Cheers

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      Albert

      Mar 3, 2020

      Hi Will,

      Again, it really depends on where you want to go. There are a lot of good spots out there!

      The Basque Country (both the French part and the Spanish part) has plenty of rocky coast where you can catch Sole, Bass, Bream, and even Turbot.

      If you’re after something a little warmer, the coastlines of Slovenia and Croatia are staggeringly beautiful and mostly rocky. Just watch out for Weever Fish (known locally as “Morski Pauk”, or Sea Spider), which sometimes show up while fishing from jetties harbour walls.

      However, the best shore fishing in Europe has to be in Norway. The craggy fjords get deep so quickly that you can catch Cod, Pollock, and even Halibut from shore!

      I hope that helps. Let me know if you have something specific in mind.

      Tight lines!

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  • Michael

    Feb 15, 2020

    Hi Albert
    Our son is studying abroad in Prague and we are visiting in April
    Please recommend fishing destinations in Europe.
    Regards
    Mike

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      Albert

      Feb 17, 2020

      Hi Michael,

      Thanks for getting in touch. Are you thinking of fishing in Czechia specifically, or are you planning on travelling while you’re in Europe?

      If you’re looking for the best of the best, I’d obviously recommend anywhere in this article. You take a look at our 2020 list of Europe’s best fishing spots for more amazing options.

      If you’re thinking of fishing closer to Prague, Czechia has some great Trout and Grayling, as well as Carp, Pike, and way more. Here are a few ideas of where to fish around the country. I’m not sure how fishing permits and regulations work there, though, so you might be best off getting in touch with a local guide company.

      I hope this helps. Be sure to let us know how you get on!

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  • Lanny

    Apr 9, 2019

    These are great but where is the destination in the first pic!!??

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      Albert

      Apr 10, 2019

      Hi Lanny,

      Thanks for getting in touch. I’m glad you enjoyed the article.

      The first photo is actually from Cala Figuera, on the Spanish island of Mallorca.

      If you’re interested in visiting, here is a captain operating out of the town.

      I hope this helps.

      Tight lines!

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