Barge Cruising through Europe
This truly is how discerning travellers cruise. Since the dawn of passenger cruising in the mid-19th century, this relaxing pastime has evolved into a highly pleasurable experience. Today’s barge cruises are the culmination of a rich history of leisure boating. At Entire Travel Group, we give you the opportunity to truly unwind aboard unique barges as you drift along European waterways sipping aromatic wines, savouring delicious cuisine, and docking to immerse yourself in rich cultural experiences. Choose from a wide range of 6-night cruises based on your interests, group size, regional itinerary, and budget, and let yourself be properly looked after by an attentive and knowledgeable crew. From accommodation, transfers, excursions, food and wine, everything is included and organised for you; all you need to do is relax and admire the surrounding scenery.
Why embark on a barge cruising holiday?
Start your journey in comfort directly from the hotel with a transfer. We can arrange your pre and post cruise accommodation, and we will make sure your transfer is organised. A member of the crew will pick you up at your hotel and drive/ train you to the barge. The transfers are planned for you to have enough space for your luggage and be the beginning of your journey.
When you arrive on-board you will be welcomed by the crew. This is an opportunity for them to introduce themselves and have all your requirements prepared for the week. They will make sure you are comfortable and explain how your week will un-fold on the canals. Enjoy the welcome cocktail, start relaxing and fully enjoy the barge cruise experience.
Life on board a barge cruise is slowpaced and relaxing. Barges cater from 2 to 24 people, making it an intimate experience where your crew can personally look after you. Comprised of a captain, a chef, a tour guide and host or hostess, the highly professional English-speaking crews take their jobs very seriously. They are attentive to guest needs and will happily share their rich, local knowledge.
All barges have different ratings, but one important point they all have in common is their high standards. Every winter, vessels are fully painted and varnished to be perfectly accommodating. Some of them are family-owned with a cosy atmosphere, some are ultimate luxury with all the amenities you can imagine. Barges range in size from 2 cabins up to 10 cabins for larger group charters.
You will enjoy the amenities on-board such as bicycles to cycle along the canals to small villages; the library on-board to relax on the sundeck with a good book; the heated swimming pool on some of the barges, a cocktail to enjoy an aperitif and the ensuite cabins where you will be comfortable.
Every cruise itinerary includes exciting daily excursions. Visit local places of interest such as castles, villages, markets, wineries, or hidden gems off the beaten track. Outings can often be tailored to your wishes – particularly if you have chartered the whole barge – and are usually led by your tour guide crew member.
Wake up every morning to fresh bread, pastries, and fruit, brought on board by your crew. Meals are typically gastronomic adventures prepared by your very own chef with locally sourced ingredients. Many barges in our range have excellent selections of wines for you to savour every meal.
All drinks are included, and the bar is open 24/7 for soft and alcoholic drinks. If you are a wine or whiskey aficionado, there are even cruises that will be focusing on some great tasting experiences. For most of our barges let us know prior if you prefer red, white, rose, spirits or juices and we will make sure everything on-board caters to your preferences.
How appealing is waking up to a different view from your sundeck every morning? The variety you will get to experience is a highlight of your barge cruise. Cruise along pretty waterways otherwise inaccessible to larger vessels and really unwind as your barge trundles at a perfectly relaxing pace. It truly is the ideal scenario to sit back and admire the inspiring landscapes of Europe.
Featured Barge Cruising
The beautiful Anjodi cruises along the Canal du Midi, a 330-year-old canal with UNESCO World Heritage status. Your cruise includes private wine tasting and tour of Carcassone.
Enchante is an elegant, two-level luxury hotel barge that cruises along the Canal du Midi from Trebes to Salleles d'Aude. She was built in 1958 as a trading barge and converted as a hotel barge in 2009.
Hotel Barge Rosa takes you on a breathtaking odyssey along the calmer canals of southwest France. This premier class cruise includes tour and wine tasting in Saint Emilion and visit to the impressive Château de Duras.
Experience the light and airy features of the 12-passenger barge L'Impressionniste as you cruise the stunning landscapes of Burgundy. Your cruising holiday includes castle visits and wine tastings in the cellars of renowned Burgundy Domaines.
La Belle Epoque was built in Netherlands in 1930 carrying timber from Burgundy to Paris. She was renovated and converted to a luxury hotel barge in 1995. She now cruises from Veneray-les-Laumes to Tanlay through the lovely Burgundy Canal.
Treat yourself to a wonderful experience on board Athos, a first-class hotel barge cruising through the Canal du Midi. Savour delicious wines and gourmet dishes prepared by an expert chef. Venture to the spectacular towns and villages of Carcassonne, Minerve, Capestang, Narbonne, Portiragnes, and Marseillan.
Discover the charm and beauty of Upper Loire and Western Burgundy as you cruise along Canal de Briare and the Loire River aboard Renaissance. Both regions are stepped in history, culture and picturesque scenery that will surely charm first-time and returning visitors.
L’Art de Vivre is a first class, 8-passenger hotel barge that cruises the beautiful Canal du Nivernais which meanders along River Yonne, through the largely undiscovered region near the Morvan Hills, passing charming sleepy villages, tranquil pastoral scenery, and lush vineyards.
Themed Barge Cruises
Family themed cruises are available on most of the barges in our range. Whether for a special family celebration or simply a chance to enjoy quality time, a barge cruise is the perfect opportunity whatever your age. Tuck into a delightful dinner all together or partake in group activities that both adults and young ones can enjoy.
If you are looking to travel as a group with family, friends or colleagues and if you require more cabins than a single barge offers, Entire Travel Group can arrange tandem cruises for you. This is where two barges will follow the same itinerary, allowing more passengers to cruise in company. A group cruise is also a good option for two families keen to explore together but have their own personal space if wanted.
Are you a lover of fine food? Do you get a kick out of eating fresh ingredients and supporting local producers? If so, our gastronomy cruises are the answer. Itineraries on these cruises will focus specifically on the gastronomy of the region you are exploring. Typical highlights of a gastronomy cruise include a visit to a cheesemaker, a truffle farm and plenty of food markets to sample local delicacies.
Europe as a continent is well-known for producing some of the oldest and finest wines in the world. Theme your barge cruise around your love of wine and visit well-known estates for wine tasting and sometimes lunch. Predictably perhaps, many of these cruises are available across France in the country’s rich wine growing regions: Burgundy, Alsace, Champagne, Bordeaux and Languedoc-Roussillon. The experience can also be organised for a cruise in Italy.
At Entire Travel Group, we offer whisky trail cruises on board the authentic Scottish Highlander. Discover how Scotland’s primary export is produced as you visit established distilleries around the country. Typical excursions include Benromach Distillery, a family-run business for over 100 years, the Glen Ord Distillery, Tomatin Distillery and Dalwhinnie Distillery. A thrilling experience for whisky fans.
Most of the barges in our range have bicycles on board for passengers to use during their voyage. A cycling cruise however focuses on the activity in an organised way. Your guide will take you on a tour around your chosen region on a daily basis. For avid and casual alike, a cycling route may take you along the tree-lined towpaths along the Canal du Midi for example. Cycling itineraries can be customised to suit your group’s wishes.
Discover the rustic charm of England, the lush scenery of Ireland or the pretty medieval towns of France with a walking cruise. A number of the barges in our selection offer this opportunity. In Burgundy, enjoy walks past fields of Charolais cattle, picturesque hilltop villages and vineyards. Walk around Richmond Park in England, Virginia Water lake and the beautiful grounds of Windsor Castle. Wherever you choose to cruise, your guide promises to take you to the best spots.
If you are a golf enthusiast you will probably know that France, England, Ireland and Scotland feature some of the best golf courses in the world. Add scenic waterways and a unique hotel barge into the mix and you will have yourself an incredibly special and memorable golfing holiday. As well as playing your favourite sport, you get to relax on board your floating hotel with all the perks of a barge cruise such as delicious meals and flavoursome wines.
Italy is considered by many as the birthplace of opera dating back to the 1600s. The La Bella Vita offers an itinerary for opera lovers. Before your cruise begins, your guide will take you to Verona to visit its fascinating sites and that evening enjoy a performance in the authentic setting of Verona’s Roman amphitheatre. Embark on your cruising journey in Venice after a thorough visit to the main monuments and sites. Other cruise highlights include a guided tour of an opera house, a tour of Chioggia and its markets, tour of Adria, Ferrara and the city of Mantua.
Read what we've written
France is such a beautiful country with different regions having their own specific flavours and heritage. There is no shortage of what can be explored and discovered in the country. And this is exactly why anyone who has the chance should take a barge cruise in France; to explore and taste the offerings of different regions.
Two canals bisect Burgundy: Canal de Bourgogne, which allows a north-south access through France, and Canal du Nivernais linking the Seine and the Loire, two of France’s greatest rivers. Delving into Burgundy through these waterways aboard a charming hotel barge will bring you to the most incredible sights Burgundy has to offer. Here are six of them.
Planning a holiday can be a challenging experience, especially if you are anything like us and seek a perfect and, above-all, memorable getaway. If you are reading this then you are at the very least contemplating a cruise. But we know that a dozen other questions are going through your mind. Where to spend your time off, how much to budget for, what type of cruise to go for, who and how many will be going.