Which Boat & Bike Holiday Is Right For You?

Craig Charley
A Boat & Bike holiday is a unique way to explore a country - or even more than one! - cycle through pretty countryside and historic cities during the day, then meet your boat to relax, dine and sleep at night.

This gives you more time for sightseeing by bike - without having to pack and unpack - and you'll still have different views every day!

We offer a superb choice of tours on barges, riverboats, three-masted schooners and even deluxe motor yachts. Cruise along the famous rivers of Europe & Asia, island-hop beautiful coastal regions or navigate impressive canal networks.

With so many different tours available, it can be difficult to know which Boat & Bike holiday is right for you, so we've put together a handy guide to help you narrow down your choice.

River Cruising…

Europe is home to some of the world's most beautiful rivers, and these tours allow you to see them from distinct perspectives. Enjoy the views as you pedal your bike gently along the riverside path, and also from the inviting comfort of your riverboat, whether it's from an armchair in the lounge or a sun lounger on the upper deck.

Danube river Bike & Barge cruise
The River Danube is one of Europe's most popular routes for a Boat & Bike holiday

Our fantastic collection of riverside cycling holidays features many of Europe's most famous rivers. Journey along the blue Danube, as you sail the famous “Danube Loop” and cycle through the wonderful countryside and cities of Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary on a four-country tour or go even further and visit six countries, adding Croatia and Serbia too.

Fans of Italy should opt to travel along the River Po from Mantua to Venice. Sailing into the Venice marina, close to the famous St Mark’s Square, will be a memory that lasts forever.

Saar River Boat Bike Tours
The Saar Loop in Germany

Lovers of red wine should head for the Rhône in France to cycle through the Provence and Camargue regions, visiting famous wine-making villages such as the famed Chateauneuf du Pape estate. Alternatively, cycle through the world’s most famous wine region on the Bordeaux Boat & Bike tour - you’ll find excellent food to match the finest local wines.

Those who prefer white wine should try the Moselle and Saar regions, with their ancient castles and vineyards on the gentle slopes leading to the river, or for something fizzier cycle through France’s Champagne region - with a guided tour and tasting included.

The Old Bridge in Heidelberg
The Old Bridge in Heidelberg

In Germany, you can spend up to three weeks exploring the Rhine on the same boat by combining three tours - Rotterdam to Cologne, Cologne to Mainz and Mainz to Strasbourg - or you can combine the Rhine with the Neckar for a week in historic Germany.

Lastly, why not spend a week by the Vltava & Elbe Rivers, including two nights moored close to the Charles Bridge in Prague?

Vltava and Elbe River Cycling Boat holiday
Vltava & Elbe riverboat & Charles Bridge in Prague

Island Hopping & Coastal Routes…

Love cycling but want some time for refreshing dips in the sea or to relax on deck in the sunshine? Our Coast and Island Routes offer a range of boats from standard to deluxe and provide plenty of scope for cycling, cruising and exploring.

With no waiting to embark or disembark from ferries, you can literally just jump off your boat and explore the beaches, islands, ports and fishing villages by bike or on foot.

For the sunniest skies and clearest water, Croatia is our destination of choice - but the towns and cities are part of the adventure too. Visit Brac with its white marble, Hvar with its cosmopolitan bars and restaurants, Dubrovnik with its impressive city walls, and Korcula with its fascinating ancient history, amongst other places.

Croatia Boat & Bike
Mljet Lake, Croatia

Of course, when you start at sea-level as you do in Croatia, there really is only one way to go, and that's up! On every climb you will be rewarded with magnificent views of the coastline and a sparkling sea, followed by some wonderful undulating terrain (or what the guides call 'Croatian flat'!) through quiet villages, before wonderful descents back to the comfort of your boat. If you love the sound of this style of holiday but don’t fancy the hills, why not look at hiring an e-bike for some extra ‘oomph’ when required, or look at our Istrian Coast and National Parks of Dalmatia tours which are graded easy to moderate.

Positano, Italy
Positano, Italy

In Italy, it’s a difficult choice between the Amalfi Coast and Sicily’s Islands - both tours take place on traditional Turkish caiques and provide plenty of time for sea swimming and stops in small coastal villages and towns to sample local delicacies.

New for 2020, head to Turkey’s Lycian Coast or Greece's Coasts and Gulfs for turquoise waters and rich history. Tours in both countries include visits to famous cultural sites as old as 4th Century BC. The cycling is a bit more challenging than our other tours, so we recommend visiting in spring or autumn for cooler temperatures.

The Panagiota
The Panagiota on the Gulf of Corinth - Athens to Corfu by Boat & Bike tour

Wildlife enthusiasts should head to Holland’s Northern Coast or the spectacular islands of Western Scotland (also new for 2020). Sail aboard charming tall ships and revel in peace as you cycle quiet coastal and island routes with stops for local beer in Holland or whisky in Scotland. Both tours also provide the opportunity to join the crew and have a go at rigging.

Canal exploring…

Canals are perfect for leisure cyclists. Cycling along scenic towpaths that wind gently between quaint towns, charming castles and outdoor cafes is an extremely pleasant way to discover a country.

Many cities in Holland have been built around canals - Utrecht, Dordrecht and Leiden to name a few, and of course Amsterdam, the "Venice of the North", with its well-known waterways, many of which are now UNESCO-protected.

Tulip Boat & Bike tour
Tulips in Holland

Nine of our Boat & Bike tours start in Amsterdam with its magnificent museums, but where you go from there is up to you!

Explore inland on the Green Heart of Holland, Cities & Countryside of Central Holland and Holland’s Hanseatic Route tours or experience the region as a family with the Family Tales & Castles tour - perfect for 7 to 11 year olds.

The iconic canals of Bruges
The iconic canals of Bruges

Alternatively, head towards the well-preserved city of Bruges, home to more bridges than Venice and Amsterdam combined! Bruges has a very attractive canal network that is picture-perfect to cycle or sail along.

Further afield...

Our Boat & Bike tours in Asia offer an exciting mix of coastal and river cycling.

You’ll spend the first three nights of the Thailand - Boat, Bike & Beach tour on board a luxurious colonial-style river cruiser on the River Kwai, cycling through gentle hills and countryside and visiting historical sites. Later in the tour there’s a boat transfer to Paradise Resort on Koh Yao Noi Island where the remainder of the tour provides plenty of opportunities to get back in the water, from swimming and snorkelling to kayaking.

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

There are two separate stays on boats included on the Vietnam by Bike & Boat tour, firstly exploring Ha Long, Bai Tu Long and Lan Ha Bays on an authentic, charming ‘junk’ before later cruising along the Mekong River on an impressive river cruiser - one of the largest in the region.

Find out more

Remember, these tours do sell out quickly, so book early to avoid disappointment, especially if you are after an upper deck cabin. For further information on any boat and bike tours, contact us to enquire or book on 01273 224066 or enquire online.

Tours featured in this post