Top 10 Barging and Sailing Destinations


Ever considered a self-driving boat holiday? Canal boat holidays in Europe are hugely popular and it’s not difficult to see why. 

1. Croatia 

As a destination that is perfect for a canal boat holiday Croatia’s position in the Mediterranean has seen its archipelago under the rule of Illyrians, Venetians, Romans, Greeks and Slavs. Its rich history lies in the region’s culture, architecture and natural beauty which makes it popular with tourists today. 

Be dazzled by the vibrant Dubrovnik Riviera and its many fortified towns, explore the natural beauty of the Dalmatian coastline taking you to remote islands, sprawling vineyards and excellent nature trails. 

2. Burano 

Explore this lesser-known gem along the Venetian Lagoon and discover the old art of lace making, classic Italian seafood and beautiful waterways set amidst colourful rows of houses.

Many delight in exploring this quiet fishing town lined with an array of brightly coloured houses and budget-friendly restaurants. Perfect for a canal boat holiday.


3. Canal Du Midi 

The famous Canal du Midi is one of France’s most scenic waterways. This cruising region’s most famous attraction is the fortified castle which lies on a hilltop over the city of Carcassonne.

This beautiful fairy-tale scene has served as the inspiration for many artists and storytellers over the centuries. The Canal du Midi also forms part of the famous Languedoc region which is renowned for its excellent wine farms.  

4. Burgundy 

The Franche-Comté regionof Burgundy is home to the world’s most exclusive French wines. The Franche-Comté is the perfect destination for food and wine lovers of note!

The cuisine in Burgundy is classically French and visitors will delight in its offerings and visits to its scenic wine farms. 


5. Venice

One of Italy’s mostvisited cities never fails to impress those who travel here. 

While many opt for the classic gondola ride through the city and its main attractions along the waterways, local holidaymakers rent their own canal boat that doubles as their accommodation and transportation to explore the city and region. 

Discover the famous piazzas, excellent Venetian seafood risottos and indulge in the best variety of Italian gelatos!  

6. Greece

Explore the land of the legendary gods and goddesses of ancient Europe. Greece is one of the best summer destinations in Europe with many beautiful beaches spread across its islands and mainland. 

Discover the wonder of the ancient ruins found across its archipelago, amazing seafood, vibrant nightlife and old towns.  


7. The Netherlands

The Netherlands offers two amazing barging opportunies along its intricate canals. The South of Holland is the most popular region to explore with all the major cities and attractions lying on its waterways that lead through the capital of Amsterdam to the tulip gardens of Lisse.

Holland’s northern region offers a true look into Old Dutch life and customs in the countryside. 

8. The Loire Valley

The beautiful Loire Valley was once coveted by the French sovereignty who built beautiful summer chateaus in the region.

Fertile green fields sprawl out from the waterways of the region providing nourishment to the many wine farms nearby. 

Enjoy cycling along the canals, go wine tasting in Sancerre and visit picturesque medieval towns in the countryside 


9. The Seychelles

The Seychelles is home to over 40 beautiful islands set in the Indian Ocean off Africa’s east coast. This popular holiday destination offers the ultimate castaway’s dream, with some islands so remote that they are only accessible by water.

Hike the islands’ nature reserve trails, explore the granite boulder beaches, meet the famous giant tortoises and discover the life-rich turquoise waters. The all-yearround hot weather also makes this a destination easy to plan for. 

10. Thailand

Discover the Land of Smiles and its many exotic islands on a boat holiday. The country’s most popular area is the Krabi province, home to numerous beaches each offering something special for travellers of all tastes.

Whether you are into beach parties, water sport or simply looking to escape the crowds, Thailand has it all while offering a wide variety of cuisine and plenty of awe-inspiring attractions that are perfect for the boat holiday seeker. 


The Essentials 

How to get there  

  • France: From Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, take the train or taxi to one of the major train stations in Paris to towns in Burgundy, the Languedoc region and the Loire.  
  • HollandArrive at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam and take the train to Abcoude about 8km away from Vinkeveen to start exploring Holland by canal boat. 
  • ItalyThe nearest airport to Venice and Burano is Marco Polo Airport. Should you want to explore the entire region or lagoon, the best plan would be to take a train to Treviso station to arrive at the town of Casale. 
  • SeychellesThere are daily flights from South Africa to the Seychelles.  
  • GreeceThe main airport is El Venizelos in the capital of Athens. 
  • CroatiaThe main airport is Pleso in Zagreb.  
  • ThailandThe closest airport to Krabi is Phuket International Airport.  


Non-EU citizens require a Schengen visa for France, Holland, Italy, Greece and Croatia. SA citizens do not require a visa for the Seychelles or Thailand.  


  • France: You can explore the region on the waterways by renting a self-drive canal boat.  
  • Holland, ItalyYou can explore the region on the waterways by renting a canal boat. 
  • Seychelles, Greece, Croatia and ThailandThe best option is by yacht charter. Choose between skippered, bareboat and flotilla charters. 

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