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Ten reasons to try a bike and boat tour

Ten reasons to try a bike and boat tour

We have plenty of coastal walking and cycling holidays but for those who want to travel on, swim in and be rocked to sleep by the waves, our bike and boat tours may tick a lot of boxes. Think of these trips as a dynamic duo of adventures, with a wide variety of wanderlust waterholes available. Here are ten reasons to try a bike and boat tour and places where you can do so, whether it’s to the Adriatic islands or the Netherlands, Venice or Paris. All perfect places to just go with the flow. 

1. The happy hormone

Some people refer to the joy that being near water brings as blue therapy. Whatever you want to call it, research has shown that being around water can increase serotonin levels, in other words, the happy hormones. And we find that waking up on water, disembarking and cycling to delve deeper, then settling on deck for sunset is heavy on the happy side of life. 

The MS Swiss Crown is the beauty that guides you through six countries of the Danube’s course.

2. Cruising without the bruising

If you like the idea of travelling by water, but don’t fancy unsustainable giant cruise liners, with thousands of passengers, then a bike and boat adventure is for you. The riverboats. barges and small cruise boats on our holidays host between 50 and 150 passengers, and although they don’t have swimming pools, casinos and climbing walls, they also don’t have tonnes of diesel being pumped into the air while in port. What they do have is a great supply of bikes, outward-facing cabins and plenty of peace and quiet. 

3. Cruising through Croatia

Pedal your way to paradise on our Croatia bike and boat holidays, where you cycle around remote island trails by day, and embark your aqua-accommodation for nights under the Adriatic’s stars. Highlights of these trips include the almost ethereal Kornati National Park archipelago, the Dalmatian archipelagic gems of Mljet, Brac and Hvar or the historic island towns of the Kvarner Gulf. We also have the option to use e-bikes on all of these holidays. In addition, unlike the giant cruise liners that dominate the likes of Dubrovnik or Split, our captains navigate their way to quiet bays rather than massive marinas. With plenty of stops for swimming in secluded places. 

4. Waltzing down the Danube 

Strauss nailed it when he called his famous composition the Blue Danube Waltz, or An der schönen blauen Donau, as this is one massive, beautiful, blue space. It will feel as if you are dancing on air on our bike and boat holidays along the Danube, whether you are taking on the Ultimate Danube bike and boat holiday, between Passau in Germany and Belgrade in Serbia, following the iconic river through six countries, or if you are just taking on one of its sections. On these holidays there is a chance to visit some of Europe’s most historic and handsome capitals, including Vienna, Budapest, Bratislava and Belgrade. You can also explore the Danube even further on our Danube Delta bike and boat holiday and cycle with a wildlife guide through the wetlands of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve, protected for its reed islands, lagoons, birdlife and rare flora. 

Travelling down the Danube by bike and boat is a breeze.

5. Get on board for full board

If you like the idea of independent travel, but are also partial to a bit of pampering with on-board cuisine, many of our bike and boat holidays offer a full board service, especially the ones that take you through the Netherlands and Belgium, and also the River Danube bike and boat holidays. They provide a packed lunch if you are cycling that day or, if you decide to swap pedals for deck shoes and just watch the world go by, you can lunch on board. There are also the joys of a Captain’s Dinner in some cases, or a gala dinner for your last night on board. 

6. In Bruges, on a boat

It doesn’t get much cooler than breezing into Bruges on a boat, or a bike for that matter. This two week tour starts in Paris and finishes in Bruges, with you cycling the last leg through the countryside of Western Flanders to reach Bruges. One of Europe’s most striking medieval cities, famous for its UNESCO World Heritage status, museums and chocolate, as well as for the cult movie, of course, this is a show-stopping way to be in Bruges. As is the boat trip from Amsterdam to Bruges. In addition, you get to cycle some good long-distance trails, challenging yourself mentally and physically but with a chance to chill on board, with no other responsibilities at the end of the day. Or indeed skip a day of cycling for sailing instead. It’s a holiday after all. 

7. Floating the idea with the family

If you are looking for a family adventure with a difference, our bike and boat holidays tick lots of boxes. If you love to cycle long distances, but the young people in your life might only want to join for some of the way, then they can hang out on deck. In cities like Amsterdam or Berlin, you can dip into some history or culture and then, when that gets boring, just hop back on board (where no one gets bored). And who doesn’t like a cabin? They are just made for adventures. Especially on holidays where you get to moor up and mosey off on your bike regularly, so there’s no risk of cabin fever. 

A bike and boat holiday in North Holland is on board a boat aptly called Serena. Moor right up beside the cycle path and go.

8. No packing or unpacking

Our self-guided walking and cycling holidays take you on some wonderful journeys, following trails from one hotel to another, or heading off into the wilds, hut to hut, with your luggage transferred for you. This does, however, mean that you have to pack and unpack and, on our bike and boat holidays, all you have to do is sail, cycle and sleep. Then repeat. You also don’t need to worry about locking and unlocking your bikes, or finding somewhere safe to store them, as they are tucked up safely on the ship each night. Under the watchful eye of your captain and crew. 

9. Cast off in Venice

As if Venice isn’t impressive enough, there are times when it gets very crowded and you might like to simply jump ship. Actually you can jump onto a ship instead, and not one of the controversial cruise liners that you see hovering over the great city. Escape the crowds on our bike and boat holiday that takes you from Venice to Mantua on board traditional barges with maximum 40 passengers, following waterways and cycling trails along the River Po. Highlights include sailing from St Mark’s Square to Murano Island, famous for its historic glass factory, and cycling in and around the wetlands of the Po Delta.

10. A balance of socialising and solo travelling

Independent travel is at the heart of what we cater for at The Natural Adventure, but some travellers want to mix it up a bit. Bike and boat holidays are perfect for that, as you can get to know people from a wide array of countries on board, but then have plenty of time to cycle off on your own too. These holidays offer a perfect balance of mingling and mindfulness, calm and camaraderie and nearly all of them are open to solo travellers

Ten reasons to try a bike and boat tour
Bike and boat holidays in Croatia are far from plain sailing. They are some of the prettiest you will find.


From the moment we boarded our riverboat in beautiful Passau, were greeted by the crew and saw the accommodations, we knew we had a very special experience in store. We loved the boat, our room (upper level) with its sliding glass door above the Danube, the crew, the food, the cruise director who gave exquisitely detailed info sessions every day…this trip was very well organised from start to finish. I wish we could do it again!” – B Jane, USA on our Danube by bike and boat, Passau to Budapest.