When booking a holiday, we usually think about beaches, all-inclusive, and long-haul flights, but we never really consider getting to our destinations by boat. That's why DFDS have collated 10 European marinas you must visit. So, whether you’re after a picturesque backdrop, gorgeous clear waters, authentic local cuisine, or even that spot of nightlife, check out our list of the best European marinas before you book your trip.
1. Lefkas Marina - Greece
According to the Greek Marina Association, Lefkas marina is probably one of the most modern marinas within the Mediterranean Sea and has been operating since 2002. Lefkas is a lesser-known island of Greece, off the coast of Preveza and to the west of the mainland country. Even though it's under the radar compared to your other Greek islands, Lefkas has so much to offer in terms of culture, with one of its main hidden gems being Egremni Beach. One traveller stated that the beach is “not accessible by car, but it's so worth it to take a boat or the seven Island cruise there! The water is STUNNING". According to Sailing Today, Lefkas Marina is a great spot to travel around western Greece and is supposed to be one of the calmest spots in the Ionian islands.
2. Punat, Croatia
Punat marina is in the south part of the island, Krk, located within a sheltered bay. With olive oil tasting, ziplining, and chances to hire out boats on the marina, Punat is on the beautiful western Croatian coast. Taxi boats are a great way to see the island, with one TripAdvisor traveller saying: “a boat trip has exceeded all my expectations! We went swimming/visited the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen, tried homemade olive oil, watched fish swimming near the water's surface, and had a fantastic drive back to the shore at sunset". The water here is stunning, and make sure you snap some gorgeous sunsets here.
3. Aker Brygge, Oslo
Aker Brygge is a neighbourhood and marina located in central Oslo. With its scenic backdrops, stunning museums, and many eateries, this beautiful marina boasts beautiful walking spots and gorgeous sunsets as the night draws in across the city. One TripAdvisor reviewer described the Aker Brygge marina as a “vibrant pedestrian area of the city, facing the yacht harbour full of cafes. A stroll here is a must, and if you want to soak in the Nordic way, you may even try the floating water saunas here". The local culture includes the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art and the Nobel Peace Center.
4. Amsterdam Marina, The Netherlands
Amsterdam Marina is close to its inner city, it also has Rotterdam Marina, Regatta Centre Medemblik, Marina Stellendam, and Marina Schokkerstrand as its sister ports nearby. One review on Google stated that the marina is “one of the nicer large marinas in Amsterdam”, with another praising its “stylishly beautiful” outlook. The perfect marina if you’re looking to relax.
5. Port Vauban Marina - France
Located between Monaco and St Tropez, Port Vauban Marina boasts the most beautiful views. One traveller described the views from the marina as “out of the world” and described it as an "amazing spot to sit and enjoy the sea breeze”. Another reviewer also claimed that Port Vauban Marina is “one of the best marinas in France”. The French Riviera is known for its picturesque backdrops, so visiting here is a must.
6. Gdansk Marina, Poland
Gdansk Marina is located at the east end of Dluga Street. With its beautiful boats, this colourful marina boasts top-rated reviews such as being described as “beautiful”, and a “super clean harbour area with nice restaurants and shops on the sidewalk”. One Google review pointed out you can get a two-hour free stay, with another giving a five-star review by writing, “undoubtedly a tourist attraction, but nice to see the different boats in this place”.
7. Greetsieler Hafen, Germany
Described as a “1938 historic small port”, Greetsieler Hafen sits on the west coast of Germany and is home to a small fishing port. One TripAdvisor review stated “on a glorious sunny day, it's the weather for having ice cream and sitting on the benches along the harbour walk. The boats are fascinating, and they display all their nets for us to admire. There are lots of cafes and lots of shopping”. With its relaxed and peaceful environment, you can be sure to leave here relaxed and recharged.
8. Empuriabrava Marina, Spain
Situated on the eastern side of the Spanish coast, the Empuriabrava is one of the largest marinas in Europe. The Catalonian residential area is stunning, with travellers describing the Empuriabrava Marina as an "ideal location for exploring the Cadaques and Dali country". One traveller wrote: “This is great value and well equipped with contemporary apartments overlooking the marina, it's also close to many restaurants only a short walk away”.
9. Marina Izola, Slovenia
Home to water events at the Austria Cup, the Marina Izola is a beautiful Marina located on the coast of Slovenia, just a few miles next door to its neighbouring Italy. One reviewer states it's "close enough to Trieste, Venice, Rijeka and therefore it is a great starting point for cruises along the Adriatic coast". Marina Izola has 27 restaurants and 22 attractions from trail biking, beaches, and churches to private sailing and walking tours.
10. Marina di Portofino, Italy
Known for being an Italian fishing village, Marina di Portofino is a stunning and picturesque marina, located in north-western Italy, between the Ligurian coast and the Gulf of Tigullio. A traveller described the marina as “luxurious”, with “colourful buildings, rich forests, and turquoise waters. A place to sit and enjoy the view”, whilst another traveller recommended the castle by saying "If you arrive in Portofino, you need to visit the castle, from the top of the mountain the view is amazing".