Europe is often an overlooked destination for fishing holidays. Many people are jet-setting worldwide to destinations like South America or New Zealand, and only thinking about Europe for sightseeing holidays or when their wife wants to go fashion shopping.
What if we told you that Europe is one of the best fishing destinations you could find?
Well, that’s exactly what we’re telling you. No matter what your style is, you’re likely to find it in Europe. From spearfishing to fly fishing and sea fishing to coarse fishing, Europe has it all.
We’ve gone ahead and compiled a list of our favorite fishing spots in Europe to help you choose your next fishing adventure.
Norway has not only the longest coastline in Europe but the longest coastline in the world. No wonder it is one of the top destinations on our list. If sea fishing is your thing, this country won’t disappoint.
Situated in western Europe with a coastline spanning 51,748 miles (58,133 kilometers), from the Skagerrak to the north sea, the Norweigan sea, and all the way to the Barents sea.
The coast is littered with fjords, islands, and bays making it one of the most beautiful destinations on our list.
The seas along the coast are bountiful, offering up some of the best fishing for Cod, Halibut, Mackeral, Haddock, Plaice, and Pollock, to name a few.
The prime fishing is in the summer, but that doesn’t mean that you are out of luck if you wanted to couple your journey with a northern lights holiday as winter can be just as good.
Every year Svolvær hosts the World Cod Fishing Championships in March, timed perfectly with the arrival of thousands of migrating cod.
While cod might be abundant on Norway’s coastline, it’s not alone.
Halibut is a highly sought-after fish in these waters, and they are plentiful. Whether you choose to line fish or spearfish, you’re sure to catch your limit.
With favorable regulations, an abundance of fish, and breathtaking scenery, Norway should be on your next fishing destination list.
A small Baltic country bordering Russia and south of Finland, Estonia is not a country you hear of very often.
Why did it make our list?
To answer that, we have to let you in on a secret; it’s one of the world’s best fly fishing destinations.
Estonia is a beautiful country with a population density of only 81 people per square mile. It’s full of wildlife that roams through its forests and peatlands, amidst all that is its clean rivers full of monster brown trout.
After you land at Tallinn airport, you don’t have to travel far to reach your destination, as Estonia is not a big country by any means.
The rivers are also small and nestled away in quiet forests or bogs, sometimes needing a hike to reach. Once you get there, you will be rewarded with unparalleled brown trout fishing.
Estonia’s brown trout can get quite big, being fed by an abundance of flies from the bogs and marshlands.
The season starts in May, reaching its prime during the Mayfly hatch when even the biggest of the trout feed from the surface. The season closes in September.
The rivers at the center of Estonia are spring-fed and crystal clear, making the trout shy. This will test your fly fishing skills but succeed, and you will be pleasantly rewarded.
The Brown trout are wild and strong and put up a very worthy fight.
If you are having too much fun and don’t feel like doing the long hike back out, don’t worry.
Estonia has a law known as everyman’s right. This law allows you to hike, camp, and pick berries in nature. So feel free to pack in your tent and camp by the river for the duration of your fishing trip.
Ireland is a popular tourist destination, but not many people think of it when it comes to fishing. We find this strange considering it’s an island in the Atlantic full of rivers and lakes. What more could you ask for?
With over 12,000 lakes and 3,000 rivers, Ireland is a prime fishing destination. Whatever your fishing style is, you’re likely to find it here.
On the west side of Ireland, you will find some of the best salmon fishing in the world. Strong runs of Atlantic salmon start every spring and run until late summer.
The river Moy is a hot spot for salmon anglers and usually offers up plenty of grilse and springers. Many of the lakes dotted on the west coast, such as the Corrib of Lough Con, produce great takes of both salmon and trout.
However, if salmon is not what you’re after, Ireland is also a prime destination for coarse fishers. With many canals to add to the rivers and loughs, the possibilities are endless.
You will find a wide variety of coarse fish such as bream, tench, carp, perch, rudd, and roach.
Whatsmore with Ireland being an island in the Atlantic, it’s a haven for sea fishing. A huge variety of fish are on offer from the water around the coast of Ireland.
Fishing from the shore, the coast, or deep-sea fishing, you will catch everything from cod, mackerel, conger eel, and shark, amongst many other species.
Do you like big sea fish in big numbers? If so, take a look a what Portugal has to offer.
Just below France and to the west of Spain is where you will find this wonderful country.
With possibilities to fish some of the best freshwater and saltwater Europe has to offer, you are sure to find your angling needs satisfied here.
Portugal has a plethora of small rivers and lakes, flowing with clean, clear water and full of various fish species.
If you bring your fly rod here, you are in for a thrilling experience. The rivers amidst the forests of northern Portugal are home to some of the strongest brown trout you will encounter.
However, let’s not stop there. Rainbow trout also run the rivers in great numbers. If you’re after something a little more challenging, you can take a chance on a salmon or steelhead.
The best time to visit Portugal for freshwater fishing is from May to late summer when most species are available to fish.
Not only does Portugal offer up all that excitement in its fresh waters, but I dare say it’s seas might be better.
If you choose to go reef fishing, your bounty will consist of mackerel, sea bass, sea bream, and grouper, to name a few.
But if you choose to go big game fishing, things start to get interesting.
Due to Portugal’s favorable position on the continental shelf, you will find some of the world’s most incredible big game fishing.
Blue marlin arrives in June and is possible to catch off the Algarve coast or around the Azores or Madeira. With an average size above 500 lbs and the possibility for granders, we think it’s worth checking out.
Also on the list is white marlin, bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, blue shark, hammerhead shark, and swordfish. This list is by no means exhaustive as Portugal offers many other species for big game fishing.
Right next door to Portugal, you will find our last but not least country to make our list. Spain makes our list for a whole different kind of fishing.
In the north and northeastern part of Spain lies a river, 580 miles (930 kilometers) long, flowing into the Mediterranean sea. In this river are some of the most amazing wels catfish, reaching weights over 200 lbs.
The majority of the fishing is from the banks; however, it is also possible to fish from a boat. The boat fishing is in the Ebro Delta’s lower reaches; here, the fish aren’t quite as big, with the average being around 100 lbs.
Not only is this river full of humungous catfish, but it is also known for its giant carp, weighing up to 40lbs. Add to that babel and zander.
If you’re targeting the giant catfish, the best time to go is May through September.
This times perfectly with a summer holiday in beautiful sunny Spain, so what reason do you have not to go?
That concludes our list of some of the best fishing destinations in Europe. As you can see, some of these spots are world-class fishing destinations. We hope this list helps you choose your next fishing adventure.