Gold Trusted Service Award
Gold Trusted Service Award
Awarded by Feefo, which independently collects reviews from our customers, the award recognizes businesses that consistently deliver a world-class customer experience.
badge rosette
Boating expertise since 1969
With over 50 years of experience and expertise, we're passionate about providing unbeatable vacations on the water.
Boussole
18 amazing destinations
Our extensive network of bases across 9 countries means you can enjoy a return-trip or choose from a wide selection of one-way routes.
Bateau
World’s largest fleet
We have more river and canal boats available than any other operator, available to hire between April and October. Our wide range of boats sleeps between 2-12 people.
Bouée
No boat license required
That's right! You can rent and captain your own boat for a short break (3 nights minimum), a week or longer. We'll show you everything you need to know before you set off.
  • Gold Trusted Service Award
    Gold Trusted Service Award
    Awarded by Feefo, which independently collects reviews from our customers, the award recognizes businesses that consistently deliver a world-class customer experience.
  • badge rosette
    Boating expertise since 1969
    With over 50 years of experience and expertise, we're passionate about providing unbeatable vacations on the water.
  • Boussole
    18 amazing destinations
    Our extensive network of bases across 9 countries means you can enjoy a return-trip or choose from a wide selection of one-way routes.
  • Bateau
    World’s largest fleet
    We have more river and canal boats available than any other operator, available to hire between April and October. Our wide range of boats sleeps between 2-12 people.
  • Bouée
    No boat license required
    That's right! You can rent and captain your own boat for a short break (3 nights minimum), a week or longer. We'll show you everything you need to know before you set off.
  • Gold Trusted Service Award
    Gold Trusted Service Award
    Awarded by Feefo, which independently collects reviews from our customers, the award recognizes businesses that consistently deliver a world-class customer experience.
  • badge rosette
    Boating expertise since 1969
    With over 50 years of experience and expertise, we're passionate about providing unbeatable vacations on the water.
  • Boussole
    18 amazing destinations
    Our extensive network of bases across 9 countries means you can enjoy a return-trip or choose from a wide selection of one-way routes.
  • Bateau
    World’s largest fleet
    We have more river and canal boats available than any other operator, available to hire between April and October. Our wide range of boats sleeps between 2-12 people.
  • Bouée
    No boat license required
    That's right! You can rent and captain your own boat for a short break (3 nights minimum), a week or longer. We'll show you everything you need to know before you set off.

Discovering Europe's hidden gems: Boating holidays through 8 historical marvels

Who doesn’t dream of an adventure-filled European holiday with the most stunning destinations rich in history unfolding before your eyes? There’s just something about hidden gems in Europe that compels you to explore this beautiful region at least once in your life. So how do you start planning your holiday? Where do you kick off? Where to go next? It might seem overwhelming, but don't worry—we're here to help. 

Take the path off the beaten track with a boating holiday. Unlike the traditional European trot, a boating holiday has you cruising through underrated European destinations, offering you a front-row seat to the natural beauty and medieval towns in Europe. 

Le Boat's extensive bases are strategically located across Europe, so you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting your starting point. Each route is a gateway to Europe’s hidden treasures, promising an intimate experience with the continent's rich past and breathtaking landscapes. 

With extraordinary travel experiences on the horizon, here are our top 8 must-see historical marvels in Europe.

Minerve

1. France's Canal du Midi  

Hidden Gem: Minerve Village 

Minerve, a medieval village in Canal du Midi, is rich in Cathar history and has a peaceful vacation experience. Its dramatic setting and historical significance make it a must-visit if you’re looking for serenity and a deep connection with Europe's past. 

Iconic Destination: Carcassonne 

The fairy-tale city of Carcassonne, a UNESCO world heritage site, fascinates with its historical depth, offering insights into the architecture and medieval towns in Europe.

2. Italy - Venice and the Venetian Lagoon 

Hidden Gem: Torcello Island 

Ever heard of Torcello Island? It's like stepping into a quieter, more mystical Venice. With its ancient basilica and whispering canals, Torcello has a calming energy. Imagine cruising there from either of our bases, where the Venetian past echoes around every corner. 

Iconic Destination: St. Mark's Square, Venice 

Then there's the heart of Venice – St. Mark's Square. It’s not just a square; it's a grand stage of Venetian history and architecture. Here, every stone tells a story, showcasing the very essence of Venice.

Rheinsberg

3. Germany – Mecklenburg and Brandenburg 

Hidden Gem: Rheinsberg Castle 

Rheinsberg Castle has been dubbed as the sculpting muse by modern-day artists in Germany. Right by the water, it once inspired poets and composers like Novalis. Imagine wandering through its gardens, where German Romanticism blooms all around.  

Iconic Destination: Sanssouci Palace, Potsdam 

Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam is not just a palace; it's Frederick the Great's summer dream in stone and verdure. This place isn’t about simplicity; it’s about experiencing the opulence that once defined royal summer retreats.

4. Ireland's mystical Shannon - Erne  

Hidden Gem: Clonmacnoise Monastery 

Clonmacnoise is a journey back into Ireland's spiritual past. Right next to the serene Shannon River, its ruins have a peaceful ambiance where you can moor your boat and step into a place once inhabited by monks. It's a place that invites contemplation and connection with Ireland's ancient soul, making it a must-visit if you’re looking for a deeper understanding of the country's rich religious heritage.  

Iconic Destination: Bunratty Castle 

Step into the life of 15th-century Ireland with a visit to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. This tower house has a vivid glimpse into Irish history and culture. The folk park surrounding the castle places you in the everyday life of historic Ireland, making it an essential stop for anyone looking to experience the country's heritage firsthand. 

Urqhart Castle on the Caledonian Canal, Scotland

5. Scotland's Loch Ness and Caledonian Canal 

Hidden Gem: Falls of Foyers 

Cruise to the Falls of Foyers, where water flows into Loch Ness through the stunning Scottish Highlands. Not only is this scenic hike extremely calming but it also gives you a chance to soak up the breathtaking beauty of the area, all accessible via a short cruise from the Caledonian Canal

Iconic Destination: Urquhart Castle 

Urquhart Castle, perched on the banks of Loch Ness, is a testament to Scotland's rich history. The ruins of this once formidable fortress offer panoramic views of the lake and the Highlands. This once formidable fortress, also a prime spot for Nessie sightings, captivates history and nature lovers alike. 

6. England – Thames picture-perfect canals 

Hidden Gem: Sonning-on-Thames 

Sonning-on-Thames is the quintessence of English countryside charm. Mooring your boat and wandering its tranquil banks provides an intimate glimpse into the serene village life, making it an unmissable experience for those looking to unwind and take in the stunning views. 

Iconic Destination: Windsor Castle 

Windsor Castle stands as a symbol of royal and architectural history in England. As the world's oldest and largest inhabited castle, it offers visitors a unique look into the British monarchy's home, filled with art, opulence, and history. 

Ámsterdam, Países Bajos

7. Netherland’s historic traditions 

Hidden Gem: Zaanse Schans 

Zaanse Schans transports you to a bygone era with its iconic windmills and traditional Dutch crafts. This open-air museum is a vibrant celebration of the Netherlands' heritage, offering hands-on experiences like cheese-making workshops and a chance to explore the inner workings of historic windmills.

Iconic Destination: Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam 

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is a treasure of Dutch history and art. Housing thousands of artifacts and masterpieces, it provides a comprehensive overview of the Netherlands' rich cultural landscape, from Rembrandt's paintings to intricate Delftware.

8. Belgium's scenic waterways 

Hidden Gem: Hallerbos Forest, Halle 

The Hallerbos Forest transforms into a mesmerizing sea of blue during the bluebell season, creating a surreal landscape that seems lifted from a fairy tale. This natural spectacle is a Belgium dream come true for nature lovers and photographers alike, offering a unique and tranquil escape amidst the vibrant purple hues of blooming bluebells. 

Iconic Destination: Grand Place, Brussels 

Brussels' Grand Place is a masterpiece of baroque architecture, renowned worldwide for its aesthetic and historical significance. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is surrounded by the majestic guild halls, the imposing Town Hall, and the King's House. The square is not just a feast for the eyes; it's also the heart of Brussels' cultural life, hosting numerous events and gatherings that bring the city's rich heritage to life.

Discovering Europe's hidden gems 

Choosing Le Boat for your European adventure means opting for freedom, comfort, and the chance to craft your own story. So, why wait? The waterways of Europe are calling, we don’t require a license or prior boating experience. We have comprehensive training on boat operations and cruising smoothly; we also assist in planning a customized itinerary that can include the best destination spots, scenic routes, and charming local stops.

 

Recommended destinations:  

Canal du Midi

Brittany  

Alsace- Lorraine 

Book your European adventure!

Ready to explore Europe? Book your boating holiday today.