By Marie Nieves
Venice, Jace Grandinetti, Unsplash
The more unusual your travel is, the more authentic experience you’ll have, so break away from your ordinary ways, and discover the charms of the meandering European canals that will take you through most enchanting landscapes. Imagine slowly flowing down a river, passing through the very hearts of Europe’s most beautiful cities or savoring a glass of fine wine while observing the flickering reflection of moonlight in the water. This sounds like any traveler’s dream, and a barge cruise is where it becomes a reality. Cruising along most magnificent manmade canals allows you to admire breathtaking scenery, taste the finest of European cuisine and get to know its diverse culture in a relaxing ambiance.
The Rustic Beauty of England
While meandering along England’s longest river Thames, you will have an opportunity to explore English picturesque countryside of charming villages and the elegance of English royalty. Henry VIII’s Court Palace in Hampton will draw in all antique lovers, tennis aficionados will be able to enjoy this sport in style at the private Lensbury Club, fans of the royal family can take a glimpse at their lifestyle at the Windsor Castle, while children can have their day of fun in Legoland. If you’ve always wanted to explore England’s diverse culture and its elegant old style, there’s no better way to do it than by following the flows of its iconic river.
London, Arkadiusz Radek, Unsplash
France for Inspiration
As one of the oldest canals in Europe, Canal du Midi is among the top choices for a barge cruise. The beauty of the scenic landscape will inspire any artist or art lover, while the unique atmosphere of medieval towns will take you back in time. If you’re a wine aficionado, you won’t be able to resist the charms of the Champagne region and its vineyards – beware, no wine will ever taste the same.
Francophiles can learn about French history in Picardy or Loire Valley, or admire the country’s unique architecture in Alsace. Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of Paris from another perspective and cruise along the Seine River.
Paris, Jace Grandinetti, Unsplash
Life is Beautiful in Italy
Being one of the birthplaces of the Western culture, Italy is home to many historic attractions and World Heritage sites. A barge cruise is the perfect way to explore the sinking city of Venice and beauties of the Venetian lagoon. Opera lovers will have a unique opportunity to enjoy Puccini’s Madam Butterfly at the Arena di Verona and many tours of the opera houses. Of course, a journey to Italy wouldn’t be complete without wine tasting in charming cities of Mazzorbo, Chioggia and Adria – after all, Italian wines are among the finest.
Venice, Jace Grandinetti, Unsplash
The Medieval Charms of Belgium
As a country of mixed influences, Belgium is rich in culture and history. Satisfy your thirst for knowledge and visit battlefield sites, memorials and museums, or spark your artistic side by visiting Ruben’s home in Antwerp. Explore the medieval city of Ghent by taking a break from cruising and joining a walking tour. If you’re travelling with your loved one, the romantic atmosphere of Bruges will be perfect for an intimate dinner under the stars.
Belgium, roya ann miller, Unsplash
The Colors of Holland
Instead of admiring the idyllic landscape of colourful tulips and lovely windmills only in pictures, explore the unique Dutch atmosphere by cruising along the Amstel River. The country is one of the most popular destinations for canal cruises due to the authentic experience it offers. The village of Zaanse Schans will delight any architecture aficionado with its houses constructed in Dutch style in the 18 th and 19 th centuries. You can have a taste of Dutch cheese at a local cheese farm in Gouda, or discover the unique character of the city of Leiden.
Amsterdam, Jace Grandinetti, Unsplash
Barge cruising is an authentic way to explore the finest European attractions in style. The charms and romance of the European rivers will enchant you the moment you set off on your cruise.
About the author
Marie Nieves is a lifestyle blogger who loves unusual trips, gadgets and creative ideas. On her travels she likes to read poetry and prose and to surf the Internet. Her favourite writer is Tracy Chevalier and she always carries one of her books in her bag. Most of her free time at home she spends walking her Labrador Retriever named Max. She is an avid lover of photography who loves to talk about her experiences. You can find Marie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.