best european destinations for water holidays

best european destinations for water holidays

man with yacht

Boating holidays have been seeing a remarkable surge in popularity across the UK. ABC Leisure Group reports a 40% increase in sales from the previous year, reflecting a growing trend of individuals seeking unique experiences on the country's extensive canal network.

As first-timer Adrian Ellis navigated the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal, he discovered the nerve-wracking yet enchanting aspects of trying to navigate canal locks. But while adventuring through rivers and canals is a one-of-a-kind experience, some travellers may be more suited to certain experiences than others. Fortunately, the UK and Europe have a range of destinations that can be enjoyed through a variety of watercraft. In exploring European destinations, three distinct choices stand out, each offering a unique mode of water travel.

Narrowboats in France

France is renowned for its navigable rivers and canals, offering a delightful experience for narrowboat enthusiasts. You can look at the French offerings of major hire companies like LeBoat. This is a specialist with vast hire fleets that allow travellers to explore the picturesque French countryside at their own pace, from deep south to the borders with Germany and Holland

Besides its variety of waterways and breadth of the waterways, France stands out for its user-friendly network, particularly its electrically operated locks. This feature eliminates the challenges faced by first-timers, providing a smooth and enjoyable journey through the French waterways.

Chartered yachts in Italy

The Mediterranean is an incredibly popular destination for all travellers who enjoy the small luxuries of warm weather and turquoise waters. While the region has much to offer visitors on land, exploring the coasts of Italy by sea can be a particularly unique experience. Travellers can up the ante by chartering yachts such as the Heavenly Daze, available through charter company and exploring the Italian Riviera by sea.

Chartered yachts allow passengers to enjoy all the luxuries of sea travel while having exclusive use of the vessels for a period of time. While yachting used to be the exclusive domain of the super-rich, there are a range of options now available for travellers who don't mind paying a little extra for luxury. Popular yachting destinations in Italy include the Amalfi Coast, Capri, the Aeolian Islands, and more.

Ocean cruises in Greece

Greece boasts a myriad of islands, each with its unique charm and cultural significance. An ocean cruise allows travellers to effortlessly explore multiple islands in a single journey, making the most of the limited travel time. On A Journey to the Cinematic Aegean Sea by Explora Cruises, you can simply embark at Athens on an eight-day journey towards mythical Mykonos, Skopelos’ sacred slopes, and even Thessaloniki. This provides a comprehensive tour of Greece's incredible sights, with no need for extra bookings for accommodation or transport.

It helps that luxury cruise lines provide various amenities to ensure a relaxing experience while at sea. In fact, Explora is well-known not only for its itineraries but also for its oceanfront suites and generous outdoor decks, which allow travellers to embrace the allure of Greece's islands while enjoying the comforts of a well-appointed cruise ship.

Choosing your water holiday

Each water holiday offers a distinct experience, so consider personal travel preferences when making your choice of adventure. Narrowboats can offer a leisurely and intimate experience for small, close-knit groups or couples, whereas chartered yachts can provide versatility for larger groups desiring a mix of adventure and relaxation. Meanwhile, ocean cruises, with their structured itineraries, cater to individuals looking for a hassle-free journey in a diverse and social setting.

Of course, your choice is also highly dependent on your destination. Luxury travel consultancy Vgari Lifestyle suggests exploring Europe’s lesser-known gems to steer clear of the summertime crowds. However, these places can have more limited choices of water travel. For instance, the waters of the Côte d'Azur in France are dominated by yachts, whereas charter boats leave every morning at Senja in Norway. Opting for these water holidays can provide a unique European experience you never knew was possible.

To get started planning your holiday, check out our other articles on CanalsOnline Magazine. As the popularity of boating holidays continues to soar, exploring Europe's waterways promises an unforgettable and personalised adventure for every traveller.

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About Melissa Keeling

To say I have a passion for travel is an understatement! I love the excitement of planning a new trip and deciding what to experience whilst in a new location. Some of my favourite memories are from when I've been on holiday. My many trips overseas allow me to combine my love of photography and learning about new cultures.