Cruising The World

Travel in style with these canal cruises from Le Boat

Published in the May 2019 Issue May 2019 Feature Kaylee Brogan

As the largest operator of self-driving boating vacations, Le Boat has spent decades building itineraries and choosing destinations that give every traveler an exciting, new experience. The Canadian and European tour options are the perfect opportunity to see everything you want to at your own pace through the beautiful historic waterways instead of highways. And you can bring along family, friends, or whoever you’d like, because Le Boat’s luxury cruiser rental rates are per boat, not per person.

All Le Boat cruisers come with a fully-equipped kitchen. There’s also an onboard barbecue to make your sundeck dining experience even better. You can shop the local food markets and cook yourself some authentic European cuisine, and then pair the meal with a delicious bottle of wine. Your experience is going to be great whether you’re on or off the boat.

With a fleet of over 930 cruisers and more than 42 models to choose from, it will be easy for you to choose a rental to fit your budget and party size. With a comfortable and luxurious method of travel, all that’s left to do is pick your destination.

France

If you are looking to explore wine vineyards and see historic French castles, France is the destination for you. France has a vast network of canals, which is why there are so many France Tours to choose from. Tour a vineyard, visit the Musée des Beaux-Arts for some history, or see the Place Stanislas, Nancy, and admire the stunning architecture. With so many tour options to choose from in France alone, you’ll find something perfect for your party.

Another option in France is The Canal du Midi, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and is one of Le Boat’s most popular cruising grounds. Surveyed by Leonardo da Vinci in 1516, the route has incredible history in every twist and turn. In 1667, they had to figure out how to lift these heavy boats over the high points at Naurouze, so they built reservoirs and dams that you can witness on your vacation.

You’ll see several neoclassical elements in many structures along the Canal du Midi, including massive buildings with free-standing columns. The canal became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996 because it is considered “one of the most remarkable feats of civil engineering in modern times.” Your time cruising through The Canal du Midi will be an experience like no other.

Canada

If you aren’t interested in heading to Europe, you can cruise the Rideau Canal in Canada, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in Ontario, Canada, the Rideau Canal was listed as a UNESCO site in June 2007 for being the oldest continuously-operated canal system in North America. The waterway was actually built in 1812 for military purposes, but if you travel this alluring passage now, you'll be able to unwind and take in the nature around you while also witnessing a huge part of Canadian history.

Belgium

If you’re a beginning boater, Belgium may be your perfect vacation destination. The canals are very easy to navigate, and cruising these waterways will allow you to witness all of the stunning nature. But Belgium also has so much history for you to see— windmills, meadows, marshes, sandy beaches, castles and other Gothic architectural grandeur will fill your experience there. Visit the Museum of the Bakery in Veurne, or Ypres and Diksmuide, which feature Belgium’s World War I history. Head ashore to examine Italian Renaissance art or view the Berlin Wall. The art and history Belgium has to offer will completely take your breath away.

You can also try the Belgium cuisine, and you won’t be disappointed. Seafood is always a great option, but also be sure to get your fix of Belgium chocolates. See how they’re made, or just eat what you can get your hands on, it’s up to you.

Germany

One stunning option is the Mecklenburg, Brandenburg, and Berlin cruise through the canals of Germany. You can see the Spreewald Forest and surround yourself with the abundant green nature. With a number of both wetlands and meadows, you’ll see some really fantastic wildlife. With eagles flying through, cranes standing in the water, and otters swimming by, you’ll feel like you’re hiking through a zoo!

You can also spend your time seeing some amazing German castles, like the Castle Mirow, or the Sanssouci Palace. The German-Gothic architecture will blow you away! And when you’re done, you can stroll through the bier markts, go into a cafe and ask what local beers they have on tap. You won’t want to miss out on anything Germany has to offer.

Scotland

The green mountains, the craggy cliff sides, and the sparkling lochs make Scotland an incredible destination for your Le Boat canal cruise. The famous Caledonian Canal in Scotland is set against the magnificent hillsides and mountain ranges of the Scottish Highlands, between Inverness, down to Fort William. As you follow the canal, you can visit hilltop castles or sample some Scottish whiskey at a distillery tour. If you keep an eye out, you might spot the Loch Ness monster!

Once you go ashore, you can get some golfing in. The sport originated in Scotland during the Middle Ages, so there are plenty of courses for you to play. The Castle Stuart Golf Links, Loch Ness Golf Course and the Inverness Golf Club are in Inverness, and the Fort Augustus Golf Club is on the canal.

Italy

Since you’re already a boat lover, why not visit the city on the water itself? Venice, Italy, is covered in colorful houses, painted so brightly by the fishermen who needed to identify which home was theirs after a long time away at sea. You can ride down the romantic canals of Venice, head to the beach for a day at Lignano Sabbiadoro, and stop and enjoy an Italian coffee or authentic Italian meal at a charming café or restaurant.   

If you want to bring some Italian cuisine home with you, book a cooking lesson and learn to make homemade pasta. Go shopping at the local markets and then enjoy your own Italian cooking onboard your private cruiser— and don’t forget the bottle of Prosecco!

Netherlands

If you decide to head to the Netherlands, just know that you can travel virtually anywhere by boat. As you cruise, you’ll slowly transition from city life to country life, with windmills and tulips filling the space. And speaking of tulips, you won’t want to miss Amsterdam’s tulip festival. Throughout the month of April, they showcase rare tulips in participating locations, such as the Hermitage Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, Hortus Botanicus, Museum Van Loon and most other public spaces and local gardens.  The goal is to have a tulip for every citizen of Amsterdam which is around 700,000 flowers! Imagine a sea of color surrounding you as you travel through on your Le Boat cruiser.

Ireland

If you are looking for fishing, golfing, and charming Irish pubs, the Le Boat cruise of the Shannon River is the vacation for you. The Lower Lough Erne is known for its brown trout fishing, and Ireland has six world-class golf courses that you can play, like the Slieve Russell Hotel in Ballyconnell. Then you can head to a pub for an Irish brew.

Ireland is also covered in stunning medieval churches. The monastery of Clonmacnoise was founded in 544 AD, and the Portumna Castle, which survived a massive fire in 1826, shows the stunning 17th-Century architecture that Ireland has to offer.

For more information, check out Le Boat's website.

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