Is Pickleball a Thing in Europe? Is It As Popular As In The US?

  • Date: May 16, 2023
  • Time to read: 4 min.

Pickleball is a relatively new sport that has gained immense popularity in North America over the years. It has become a staple in retirement communities, parks, and sporting clubs across the United States and Canada. However, when it comes to pickleball’s popularity in Europe and other continents, it’s not as clear-cut. With fewer pickleball players and enthusiasts outside of North America, one may wonder, “Is pickleball a thing in Europe?” In this blog, we’ll discuss the current state of pickleball in Europe and the challenges that lie ahead.

Is Pickleball Popular In Europe?

Pickleball has been slowly gaining ground in Europe since it was first introduced there in the early 2000s. Today, the sport is still in its early stages, but it is developing at a rapid pace. The European Pickleball Federation (EPBF) was formed in 2017 and has been instrumental in promoting the sport in the region. As of 2023, there are approximately 60 pickleball clubs spread across Europe. These clubs host regular tournaments and events, attracting hundreds of players from different countries.

Is Pickleball as Popular in Europe as it is in the US?

Europe is known for its love of sports, and many European countries have taken up pickleball. The game is rapidly gaining popularity in the UK, with more clubs being formed yearly. In Portugal, the sport has been introduced in Albufeira tennis and picket club, and in Spain, it is gaining traction with the ex-pat population. There are also many countries in Europe where the sport is gaining popularity, including France, the Netherlands, and Germany. These countries have organized tournaments and competitions where players can showcase their skills.

The popularity of pickleball can be attributed to its appeal to all age groups. The game’s rules are simple and easy to understand, making it an enjoyable pastime for those who are not necessarily experienced sports players. Unlike many other racket sports, where power and speed are the keys to success, pickleball relies on finesse, allowing players of all ages to participate. Additionally, the sport has a low impact on the body, making it an excellent choice for the elderly or those with joint problems.

Two main reasons why pickleball is not yet one of the most-played sports in Europe

1. Lack of awareness

One of the challenges that pickleball faces in Europe is the lack of awareness of the sport. Pickleball is still relatively unknown outside of North America, and many Europeans have yet to discover the game. However, with the EPBF’s efforts to promote the sport, this is likely to change in the coming years.

2. Cuourt availability

Another challenge that pickleball faces in Europe is the availability of courts. Since pickleball is still in its early stages, there are not many dedicated pickleball courts in Europe. However, many existing tennis and badminton courts can be repurposed for pickleball, which has been a popular solution. In addition, there are several indoor facilities that have added pickleball courts to their facilities, which has made the sport more accessible year-round.

Despite the challenges, the future of pickleball in Europe looks promising. As the sport continues to gain popularity, more and more players are getting involved. Additionally, the EPBF’s efforts to promote the sport and organize events across Europe have helped build a solid foundation for the sport’s continued growth.

5 Most prestigious pickleball tournaments in Europe

1. Prague Open Pickleball Championships

Held annually in the Czech Republic, this tournament is one of Europe’s most prestigious pickleball tournaments. It attracts hundreds of players from all over Europe and offers a wide range of divisions for players to compete in.

2. French Open Pickleball Championships

Held annually since 2018, the French Open Pickleball Championship is one of the largest pickleball tournaments in Europe. With four divisions catering to different skill levels, it’s a great opportunity for beginners and experienced players alike to show off their skills on an international stage.

3. Spanish Masters Pickleball Series

This series takes place every year in Madrid, Spain, and features some of the top European players competing against each other. The competition consists of three rounds that culminate with a final round between two finalists who will win cash prizes as well as trophies for their achievements.

4. Dutch International Pickleball Championships

Hosted by Naarden Sportpark near Amsterdam, this annual event has been running since 2014 and draws hundreds of participants from around Europe each year. Players can choose from men’s singles or doubles competitions as well as mixed doubles.

5. British National Championship

These championships are held annually in Leeds and feature over 250 players each year. It’s a great chance for players of all skill levels to show off their talents in an international setting. The tournament also offers cash prizes for the winners as well as trophies across different divisions.

Overall, pickleball is quickly gaining popularity in Europe and is likely to become one.


In conclusion, pickleball is slowly making its way into the hearts of Europeans. While it is still a relatively unknown sport outside of North America, the European Pickleball Federation’s efforts to promote the sport are paying off. With more courts being built and more players taking up the game, the future of pickleball in Europe looks bright. If you’re a pickleball player, you can rest easy knowing that you can enjoy the sport even when you’re on the European side of the Atlantic Ocean!

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