select - Sea Kayak Adventures
Written by Brian Johnston
Some coastal landscapes deserve to be admired from the sea. From tropical to distinctly chilly climes, here are some outstanding places to pick up a paddle and enjoy the great outdoors by sea kayak.
Aegean Islands, Greece
The Aegean Sea is the perfect place for scenic sea kayaking: a landscape made up of Crusader castles, Greek ruins, cubic villages, and beaches sandwiched between mountains and sparkling sea. Its scattered, weather-beaten islands are parched brown, topped by windmills with lazily turning sails and blue-domed chapels. Perhaps Santorini offers the most majestic paddle of all. Its famous half-moon main island and scattering of offspring are all that remain of a huge and ancient volcanic explosion. Skim across the now sunken-caldera and see hot springs, rearing sea cliffs, and whitewashed villages far above. Beautiful.
Distance: 2,973 km
Flight Time: 5 hours, 5 minutes
Frequency: 3 flights a day
Phi Phi Island, Thailand
Few places could provide more pleasant kayaking than Phi Phi in southern Thailand, renowned for its majestic limestone cliffs, limpid waters, and balmy tropical climate. Float through Tonsai Bay, pull up your kayak on golden sands, and flop under the coconut trees, then move on to deserted bays where monkeys chatter and the water is a kaleidoscope of fish in violent pink, neon green, and Nemo orange.
Distance: 5,322 km
Flight Time: 10 hrs, 5 mins
Stockholm is framed by the sea and grew rich on maritime trade: no better place to appreciate from water level. This city of turrets and spires, scattered over numerous islands knitted together by bridges, appears almost to float on the harbour. Head across Lake Mälaren to the royal residence of Drottningholm, a lovely paddle along willow-lined canals into the countryside, accompanied by dancing dragonflies. The baroque palace sits pretty in yellow, surrounded by landscaped gardens perfect for a sunny afternoon’s leg-stretch before you clamber back into your craft.
Distance: 4,585 km
Flight Time: 6 hours, 50 minutes
Red barns, white church steeples, lobster shacks, fine dining, chic seaside resorts and little fishing villages, verdant mountains, and lighthouse-studded coastline: Maine is a paddler’s paradise. Last stop before Canada is Bar Harbor, a once-grand Victorian resort still sporting old-fashioned stores and meandering streets. A staggering coastal kayak in Acadia National Park reveals mountains, islands, and jagged bays where the surf booms. Kayakers can even do treks over several days, staying at coastal inns along the way.
New York, USA
Distance: 10,792 km
Flight Time: 14 hours, 10 minutes