An Insider's Guide to Choosing Your Perfect Bike & Boat Holiday

Our guide on a bike & sail trip in Greece shares directions for the day
Our guide on a bike & sail trip in Greece shares directions for the day

Choosing your perfect Bike & Boat holiday in Europe

Top 5 things to think about

Bike & Boat trips are one of our most popular types of active holidays because they allow travellers to delve deeper into some of the most picturesque landscapes, cities, villages and cultural sites of Europe. Consider the added benefits of covering a great deal of distance while only unpacking once, waking up to a different view each morning, and meeting like-minded travellers and it’s easy to see why these holidays are the talk of the town. 
Because there’s no one-size-fits-all active holiday for everyone, we’ve narrowed down the Top 5 things to think about when choosing your perfect Bike & Boat holiday, so you can do Europe your way.
  1. Guided vs Self Guided

The UTracks Bike & Boat holidays can either be guided, self guided or a combination. While all options have an on-board guide to provide local knowledge, the choice of whether you want to cycle in a group with a guide or navigate yourself and cycle at your own pace, will depend on the trip. For example, on our Amsterdam to Bruges Deluxe trip you can navigate yourself or join the group, on our Provence Bike and Boat trip you enjoy the advantages of group guided cycling, and our Rhine Valley Barge & Bike trip for example is only available as a self guided cycle.
  1. Boating 101: a beginner's guide

We are proud to offer the largest range of Bike & Boat holidays in Europe, with boats ranging from basic barges able to accommodate 15-20 passengers to luxury yachts and ships that can comfortably accommodate up to 135. Barges are grouped in categories, from A+ to D. The photos below will give you some insight into the different levels of comfort that the most common categories entail. Of course, personal taste also comes into play – some of you may prefer the smaller barges that are generally family-owned and run and oozing character while others may opt for the more luxurious vessels. 
MS Princess cruising in Berlin bike and barge holidays are a fabulous way to explore rural France, Holland and Belgium |  <i>Efti Poulos</i> The Category D barge Amsterdam on the Holland Family Barge & Bike
Pictured above left is the Category A barge MS Princess used on the Berlin Bike & Barge, in the middle is the Category B+ barge La Belle Fleur used in France and Germany and on the Dutch Tulips by Bike and Boat trip, and on the right you see the Category D Amsterdam ship that you can board on the Holland Family Barge & Bike holiday.
Yachts also have different categories according to their level of comfort. Compare the Princeza Diana (pictured below-left), which is a ‘Deluxe Class’ Croatian the Panagiota (pictured below centre & right), which is a ‘Comfort Class’ Greek yacht.
Princeza Diana Greek Islands - Panagiota saloon |  <i>Efti Poulos</i> Panagiota at sea2
  1. Understanding the Grading System

Your level of fitness will have a big impact on the type of Boat & Bike holiday you choose. All of our active holidays have been graded from 1 (introductory) to 5 (challenging). These gradings take into account:
  • the distance cycled each day in kms,
  • topography and steepness of ascents and descents, and
  • impact of weather conditions.
  1. To (B)e-Bike Or Not To (B)e-BikeKE

Over the last decade, e-bike use has grown dramatically, especially in Europe. The pedalling ‘boost’ e-bikes offer makes cycling easier for users, which means that people of different fitness levels can cycle together and cyclists can tackle routes that they previously would have considered too difficult, and cover longer distances. In short, we’re big fans! This video shows how e-bikes opened up a whole new world of cycling holidays for one of our travellers. [embed][/embed]
  1. Where To?

Now for the fun part! If you’re a history buff you may be drawn to the ancient cities of Italy and Greece, if you’re an art or music lover you may want to include Austria on your itinerary, if wine is your vice you may find yourself being drawn to France, or if you have a green thumb a trip to Holland in Spring is no doubt on your bucket list. Because we offer the largest range of Bike & Boat active holidays in Europe, we’re guaranteed to have the perfect cycling holiday for you that incorporates all of your passions. Take a look at some of our most popular countries for Bike & Boat trips for some inspiration:
  • Bike & Barge in France: cycle through the vineyards of the Loire Valley, Burgundy or Bordeaux
  • Bike & Barge in Holland: follow the canals through the Dutch countryside and be welcomed by thousands of tulips, daffodils and hyacinths in Spring
  • Bike & Barge in Belgium: discover the beautiful landscapes and charming towns of Belgium by bike
  • Bike & Barge along the Danube: wind your way past Austria’s enchanting monasteries and castles, explore Germany’s fairytale landscapes and breweries and discover the majestic city of Budapest in Hungary
  • Cycle & Sail in Greece: sail between the South Aegean or Ionian islands and cycle to picture-perfect beaches and ancient ruins
  • Cycle & Sail in Croatia: explore the islands in Kvarner Bay or Northern or Southern Dalmatia and discover the charm of the fabled Adriatic and its peoples
If you need help being matched with the Bike & Boat holiday of your dreams, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our travel experts nearest to you.
Caprice sun deck
Bike and Barge, Cycle and Sail, Cycling Holidays, Family Holidays, Guided, Self Guided

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