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City Kayaking: The World’s Best Destinations

Charming bridges, city skylines and scenic riverside views are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to exploring cities in your yak. Best of all, it’s easy to do across the globe. Join a tour to see the sights, rent or take your own portable kayak.

Here’s a taste of some of the world’s best city kayaking destinations. 

Table of Contents

Where to Go City Kayaking

Barcelona, Spain


With its atmospheric Gothic Quarter, bustling La Rambla and the eccentric architecture of Antoni Gaudí, city kayaking isn’t the first thing that comes to mind in Barcelona. However, you’re missing out if you don’t launch your yak here. Discover beautiful Mediterranean coastlines and hidden coves. Alternatively, kayak all the way to the Costa Brava’s dramatic cliffs and sparkling beaches. 

If you’re looking for a new sea kayak for ocean adventures, compare models like Wilderness Systems Tsunami and Ocean Kayak Malibu

Chicago, USA

city kayaking chicago

Paddling on the Chicago River is a novel way to see the incredible sights of the city, without the crowds. Enjoy panoramic views of downtown skyscrapers, along with sections of natural beauty with winding streams, herons and turtles to spot. 

When hunger and thirst strike, stop for a bite to eat and a beer on the Chicago Riverwalk. After you’ve thoroughly explored the river, the water-based fun keeps going on Lake Michigan. 

Prague, Czech Republic

 prague kayaking

City kayaking in Prague gives you a unique perspective of this historic gem. Paddle along the Vltava River for epic views of Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, the National Theatre, the Dancing House and the romantic spires of historical monuments that dot the city. 

You’ll find plenty of exciting stretches to explore near the Czech capital too. Explore the Sázava River and paddle through the fairytale town of Český Krumlov. Are you looking for whitewater to try out your new Driftsun Rover? You’ll find exhilarating rapids within a short drive of the city. 

Vancouver, Canada

city kayaking vancouver

Vancouver is heaven on earth for outdoor enthusiasts and city kayaking here doesn’t disappoint. Popular paddling spots include English Bay, for a mix of city and natural landscapes. 

Launch from Granville Island for sweeping skyline views of False Creek, while gliding on the serene surface. You’ll see waterfalls, rainforests and wildlife when you explore Indian Arm from Deep Cove. 

Trondheim, Norway

city kayaking trondheim

The Nidelven River winds its way through picturesque Trondheim, with spectacular photo opportunities around every bend. Rent a kayak, take your own or embark on a guided tour to see the medieval Nidaros Cathedral, Kristiansten Fortress and narrow channels lined with historic warehouses. 

With calm water and easy navigation, this is a great trip for beginners and families with children. Don’t forget to take a waterproof bag to safely stash your camera and valuables, like the MARCHWAY Floating Waterproof Dry Bag

Austin, USA

kayaking austin

Locals of Austin love to paddle on Lady Bird Lake on the backdrop of downtown’s gleaming buildings. Furthermore, you’ll find numerous easy access points, along with plenty of places to stop onshore such as Red Bud Isle and Festival Beach. 

Start your adventure on designated lake trails or follow your own path to spring-fed water at Deep Eddy Pool. If you’re a family of paddlers or love to bring your furry friend,  there are no motorised boats on the lake for safe city kayaking. 

Venice, Italy


You’ll join the famous gondolas when you kayak on the stunning canals and lagoons across Venice. Take a tour through the marshes to visit Torcello or Burano. Then, soak up intriguing history and culture from the water along narrow, peaceful stretches of postcard-pretty canals. 

When you paddle through the canals in this car-free land, you’ll glide beneath charming bridges and admire magnificent Venetian houses from a unique perspective. One thing to note is that Venice has regulations surrounding times and places for kayaking, so check with a local operator before launching your yak. 

Cork, Ireland


Often referred to as the ‘Venice of the North’, Cork is filled with tidal channels and river tributaries to navigate on a city kayaking adventure. The bridges are a highlight here, so don’t miss out on paddling under the Micheal Collins Bridge, Brian Boru and the Christy Ring Bridge. 

You might be surprised to hear that wildlife encounters are common here in the midst of urban sprawl, so keep your eyes open for seals, otters and herons along the way. Don’t miss out on a night kayaking tour, to see the neon lights that sparkle beneath bridges and across buildings. 

Can’t get enough of sightseeing by kayaking? Check out 7 Spectacular Sea Kayaking Spots. 








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