Rowing is not only a full body workout that increases your muscular and cardio endurance but also a great leisurely activity you can partake in to explore nature. With the world being 2/3 water, it can be a little overwhelming prioritizing which waterways to row down. From Switzerland to Austin, Texas, HFR compiled a list of some the best and most beautiful rowing destinations in the world!
Top Rowing Destinations In the World
Lake Lugano– Lake Lugano sits just between Switzerland and northern Italy. The lake features breathtaking views of the surrounding Alps mountains and cozy villages. It also sits between Lake Como and Lago Maggiore, two more very picturesque lakes to row to cement your experience on Lake Lugano. As you row down Lake Lugano, consider docking along the opposite coast of where you’re staying and embrace the differences in culture. Either way, you’ll be sure to meet other enthusiastic outdoorsmen and women.
Southeast Corner of Ireland– Ireland is home to four different rivers that give you the ultimate rowing experience. The rivers include the Three Sisters – the rivers Barrow, Nore and Suir, which combine toward the southeast of Ireland and empty into a common bay. Another river, Blackwater River, has great mountain views and lush scenery. Between the four waterways you will experience all that Ireland has to offer. Picturesque scenes of snug villages and farms, tamed and relaxed wildlife, and enthusiastically vibrant people with an exceptional knowledge of Irish culture and history. Ireland’s southeast corner ensures that you will get a vibrant and culture filled rowing experience.
Lago Di Como – Bellagio, Italy – Between Rome, Florence, Venice and Milan, it might seem ridiculous to here a small town called Bellagio may be the most beautiful city in Italy. Bellagio, located in Lombardy, sits on a peninsula surrounded by the beautiful waters of Lago Di Como. Lago Di Coma offers unparalleled views of charming villages, rolling hills, colorful architecture, vibrant gardens and even snow capped Alps in some directions. Known as the Bellagio short break, a portion of Lago Di Como offers short route to row down with nothing short of spectacular sights, adventure and relaxation.
Thames River– The Thames is a top rowing destination for many rowers. It is the heart of the British rowing community. While the Thames hosts the country’s most elaborate and prestigious regattas, ideal for competition, the Thames is an excellent river to row through for leisure as well. The Lonely Planet, the renowned guidebook company, recently listed rowing River Thames as one of the world’s great adventures, describing it “like sitting on a conveyor belt watching living history pass you by on both banks”. Featuring views of the Houses of Parliament, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Tower Bridge and many more architectural anchors of England, rowers will be astonished at all the sights that can be marveled at from your boat.
Maldives– If you’re looking for paradise, the Maldives is the place to do so. The Maldive Islands are located in the Indian Ocean and is composed of 26 island atolls. The Maldives, with its tropical weather and breathtaking beaches is home to some of the most beautiful stretches of coast in the world! Crystal clear beaches are ideal for hopping out and snorkeling during your row. World Rowing (FISA) has recently introduced rowing to the islands, bringing social and health benefits to the community and now the island is trying to make rowing one of their main attractions. Since rowing is relatively new to the Maldives, rowing here offers an opportunity to row in regions that many have never seen before.
Lake Wheeler, Raleigh NC – Lake Wheeler serves as a secondary water supply in Raleigh, but even more than that, is an excellent waterway to row through. A beautiful and scenic lake that was constructed in 1956, Lake Wheeler covers 650 acres and is the primary choice of retiring rowers with their excellent rowing facilities and very agreeable weather. In fact, the surrounding areas feature six rowing clubs where you can retreat to for recreation or competitive rowing.
Charles River, Boston MA – Charles River flows through the heart of Boston and offers serene sights of the New England nature. Roughly 80 miles long, Charles River flows under some of the oldest and most historic bridges in the city and is even home to the world’s largest rowing competition, the Head of Charles, which draws in crowds from all over the world!
Schuylkill River, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – The Schuylkill runs from the Appalachians through the city of Philadelphia. It is a 135 miles long and flows through the entire city. It has long been the Mecca of American rowing as well as several prestigious rowing events and organizations, including Penn State’s rowing team. Boathouse row, a historic site located along the river, offers one of the most scenic rowing courses in the world.
James River – Richmond, Virginia – Originating in the Appalachian Mountains, the James River flows across the entire state of Virginia and serves as the state’s largest river. Known for hosting summer camps, weekend and nature getaways, and home to many family outing events, the James River is a great place to bring your kids and family as they provide numerous introductory courses for all ages, as well as numerous events and competitions throughout the year. In fact, Richmond was voted the number one river town in America by Outside Magazine in 2012.
Lady Bird Lake – Austin, Texas – Austin is a growing rowing mecca. Lady Bird Lake holds an area of 486 acres and a surface elevation of 130 meters. Home to almost 1,000 rowers, Austin prides itself in their well maintained fleet boats and their programs for juniors, masters, scullers and sweep rowers, especially given that Lady Bird Lake hosts 7 regattas a year.
The Connecticut River near Hanover, NH has got to be on this list.