Why our staff love Bike & Boat trips

The barge on our Burgundy Bike & Barge | Jaclyn Lofts
The barge on our Burgundy Bike & Barge | Jaclyn Lofts
Every year our staff take to the field to experience a range of our active holidays across Europe so we are guaranteed to have experts on-hand to explain our unique style of travel and help you plan your perfect trip. Last year six of us travelled on a boat-based cycle trip. Sales & Reservations Consultant Allie went on the 4-day Tulip Tour through Holland with her mum. Cycling along canals, passing fields with gorgeous old windmills, visiting cheese factories and, of course, visiting the world’s largest tulip auction, Aalsmeer and the Keukenhof Gardens are all part of this compact cycle experience. “I was with my mum for her 70th birthday, neither of us are avid cyclists so we appreciated the dedicated cycle paths, which were also very flat. My mum chose an e-bike which meant that she was whizzing ahead of the group with the guide. This trip helped get my mum out of her comfort zone. The 'Jelmar' category A comfort barge had a cosy atmosphere which facilitated a lot of group bonding over local beers and was lovely to return to every evening. The trip enlightened me to the magic of cycling in Europe and since returning I’ve bought a bike and am looking forward to my next bike and boat adventure in Croatia this June.” Keukenhof Gardens Tulip TourVisiting the Keukenhof Gardens in Spring on the Holland Tulip Tour Sue, our PR Manager, went on a The Danube by Bike and Boat where she fell in love with e-bikes. “While this is not a challenging cycle route at all, we were keen to try the e-bikes and see what all the fuss is about. We absolutely loved them. They allowed us to cover a lot of ground (at least 50 km a day) and still have plenty of time to stop for long lunches, do some wine tasting, explore villages and take the suggested alternative routes (which often involved cycling up hills to castles, palaces and ruins). We loved that the trip was self guided but based on a comfortable barge.” Her highlights included:
  • The alternative cycle route up to Clam Castle and back down through the hills to Grein to sample ice-cream
  • Anything she consumed with apricot in it (dumplings, jam, liquor)
  • The town of Melk with its magnificent Abbey and gardens
  • The Danube Loop
  • The chocolate and liqueurs made by the monks at Abbey Engelhartszell.
  • Sitting on the top deck watching the sun come up as we glided along the Danube on the final day of our trip
Danube Bike PathPhoto pit stop with fellow Self-Guided cyclists on Danube Bike Path Reservations Supervisor Efti is our resident ‘Boat Expert’ – it’s even in her email signature! She had definitely earned the title, having been on four Bike & Boat trips since starting with UTracks in 2012. Her last trip was the Bordeaux Bike & Barge aboard a Category A+ barge. She loved waking up to a new view each morning and, of course, the ample wine tasting opportunities. Her biggest surprises were her spacious cabin and the flexibility her and her fellow cyclists had to choose their own route and decide how much they wanted to cycle each day. “St Emilion, which we visit halfway through one of the cycle days, blew me away with its historical beauty, despite all I’d heard about it being on the tourist trail. Of course there were many tourists, but for a good reason – the wine shops, cloisters and views over the surrounding vineyards are really special." Bordeaux Bike & BargeStopping at one of many vineyards on the Bordeaux Bike & Barge trip Sales Manager Jaclyn went on the Kvarner Bay Bike & Boat Deluxe trip. She says, “If Mont Blanc is our must do walk, I think a Croatia Cycle & Sail is our must do ride – it’s a perfect active holiday.” One of her favourite days was when they visited Rab Island: “After a walking tour led by our guide, we were taken to a great lookout point before a short cooking demonstration of the local cake and a tasting of Rab cheese. I loved Rab town, it’s picturesque and romantic and we decided to spend the evening off the boat, taking a long walk through the winding streets, up an old church tower for views and having dinner in a restaurant by ourselves.” Jaclyn on Kvarner Bay Bike & Boat DeluxeStopping for a photo and to admire the crystal clear waters on the Kvarner Bay Bike & Boat Deluxe tour Reservations Consultant Hilary did the Amsterdam to Bruges - Comfort with her husband and three teenage boys. It was her first experience on a barge and now she’s a convert. “The daily active sightseeing along extremely safe cycle ways meant that my husband and I could cycle and chat together while our boys usually raced ahead to an agreed point which the guide would suggest along the way. Our guide was truly amazing and would often chat with the boys about interesting facts. Canals, windmills, Gouda cheese and herring tastings, as well as our jokes and conversations with the other international travellers on board, are the fabulous memories and images that come to mind. We all really enjoyed the luxury of not having to pack and unpack each day. This is definitely a great way to travel with your family.” Cycling along canal Amsterfam to BrugesCycling along a canal in the Flemish countryside on a family-friendly holiday Dana travelled on our Veneto Bike & Boat trip from Venice to Mantua in June. Her highlights included:
  • The local guide, who was really informative and gave historical and social insights into Venice. Did you know that only around 50,000 citizens live in Venice now that most of the centre is ‘for tourists’?
  • All of the delicious local food (pesto pasta, prawn and zucchini risotto and guinea fowl to name a few favourite dishes) and an onboard challenge to make bigoli pasta using the traditional torchio machine
  • Heading into town most evenings after a long day’s cycling to have a drink with the other cyclists and guides before dinner
“There was a heatwave when I went, which made it challenging, but we survived by having regular bar and gelato stops each day. The terrain is flat and mostly on bike paths so apart from the heat it was relatively easy. I found it relaxing and quite therapeutic. I wasn’t a cyclist before doing the trip, but I feel more confident now and have even started cycling to work!” Veneto Bike & BargeGroup shot of cyclists on Veneto Bike & Barge tour To speak to an expert about our range of Bike & Barge or Cycle & Sail trips, contact us today.
Bike and Barge, Cycle and Sail, Cycling, Cycling Holidays, Guided, Review, Self Guided

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