- Established in 1974 and operating cruises since the early 1980s, European Waterways is the largest privately owned barging company in Europe and has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with our clients.
- We offer the widest choice of destinations of any hotel barge company, 9 countries across Europe. Cruising areas range from the Midi in Southern France to the Scottish Highlands and from Ireland in the West to Venice in the East.
- We have a superb fleet of 17 luxury vessels available for up to 20 passengers with cabin sizes varying from cozy and compact to ultra-deluxe staterooms comparable to top hotel rooms.
- On board all of them you will glide serenely along waterways that pass through magnificent countryside; be taken on fascinating local excursions; indulge in delicious meals, fine wines and comfortable accommodation – whilst all the time being pampered by your attentive crew.
- Our crews are trained to provide the highest levels of service whilst making you feel totally at home. Our staff & authorized travel agents will equally guide you effortlessly through the process of booking the holiday of a lifetime.
- Be it dinner at a lock-house or stately home, wine tasting with the owner of a boutique winery, private tours of castles & châteaux, or visits to artisan food & craft markets; our Insider Experiences developed over 35 years will leave you with a true flavour of the region.
EXCLUSIVE LUXE VOYAGER VIP BENEFITS & BEST PRICE
We negotiate rates & benefits for our clients directly with the hotels’ senior management. Our rates match or in many cases are lower than the best online rate for the property. Our clients also enjoy a suite of extra VIP privileges and recognition while staying at a partner hotel.
- Complimentary room upgrade on arrival.
- Daily complimentary buffet breakfast for two.
- Up to $100 dining or spa credit per stay, and or in-house dining / spa discounts.
- Welcome amenities (wine/chocolates/fruit) and card from the GM.
- Complimentary private airport transfers.
- Complimentary roll-away bed if required.
- Early check-in and late check-out.
- Complimentary Wi-Fi.
- Enhanced recognition through VIP status at all touch points in the guest experience.
A complete or partial suite of VIP benefits will be offered, subject to the property T&C, including availability, category of room & length of stay.
Take to the skies in a hot-air balloon and glide over the rich and varied patchwork landscapes. Enjoy a bird’s-eye perspective of fairytale châteaux and picturesque vineyards as you discover this serene mode of travel.
Enjoy a visit to the bustling covered market of Narbonne. Marvel the historic architecture of this charming city whilst you are escorted by your on-board chef through the stalls. Mingle with the locals as you help choose your dinner ingredients from the enticing array of produce on offer.
Explore this family run Champagne house in Ludes with an exclusive tasting of their vintage champagnes and hosted by Laurence Ployez in the peaceful garden. Take the opportunity to visit the cellars of the house which were used to hide members of the Royal Air Force during World War II.
Set off on a forest adventure to uncover the black jewel of Burgundy. Accompanied by an expert harvester and highly trained dog, you’ll hunt under trees for the elusive Truffle de Bourgogne. Afterwards, enjoy a degustation of this most aromatic prize.
Refine your skills on the water, or simply discover a new hobby. With a variety of water sports available for all ages and abilities, the cable-ski park in Condrieu allows everyone to have great fun without necessarily having great skill. From water-skiing to wakeboarding, it’s a chance to test your expertise on the water.
Welcome to our exclusive collection of hotel barge cruises. For over 35 years, we have specialised in creating luxury barge holidays on some of the most beautiful waterways in Europe. Far removed from the hustle and bustle of city life, these voyages allow you to travel in luxury without the strains of packing and unpacking, whilst enjoying a balanced blend of daily excursions and fascinating cruising. Our vessels gently introduce you to some of Europe’s finest scenery, fascinating history and local culture. Every European Waterways six-night barge cruise includes all gourmet meals, regional wines, an open bar, local transfers and the use of on board facilities such as bicycles to explore the towpaths, a sundeck to laze on, or a spa pool to relax in. We also offer daily escorted excursions “off the beaten track” to wineries, castles, markets or to see craftsmen at work.
Discover the fascinating world of barging, through the vineyards of Burgundy, on the shady Canal du Midi in Southern France, the historic Po Valley in Italy, or the River Shannon in rustic Ireland. Navigate the Royal River Thames, through the stunningly rugged landscapes of Scotland, picturesque Alsace & Lorraine, or the colourful tulip fields of Holland. There are so many delightful watercourses to be discovered – canals like the Briare, Nivernais, Burgundy and Canal du Midi in France, the Caledonian Canal in Scotland and the Bianco Canal in Italy; majestic rivers such as the Cher, Moselle, Shannon and Thames; and the more open waters of Loch Ness, the Etang de Thau and the Venetian Lagoon. We can arrange a wide selection of themed charter cruises which will appeal to all types of interest groups, large or small, including golf, walking and wine appreciation themed cruises.
A gentle cruise on a hotel barge is the perfect way to discover the very soul of Europe, exploring its wonderful countryside and historical treasures and meeting its many friendly, diverse people. Far removed from the hustle and bustle of city life, hotel barge voyages allow you to travel in luxury without the strains of packing and unpacking, whilst enjoying a balanced blend of daily excursions and fascinating cruising.
Our meeting point is a designated hotel at an easily accessible town or city where you will be greeted by a member of the crew and transported by private chauffeured minibus to your luxury hotel barge. Following a champagne welcome and the opportunity to meet the English-speaking crew and your fellow passengers, we will show you to your beautiful stateroom or suite, with its full en-suite facilities and elegant, traditional fittings.
We sometimes embark on a short cruise on the first evening, and immediately the fascinating, vivacious scenery of Europe’s lesser known waterways begins to unfold before you. Then, perhaps after an aperitif, it’s time to savour a sumptuous, gourmet meal, complemented by fine wines and sparkling conversation.
Our hotel barges are an essay in contemporary and traditional luxury, designed with comfort and elegance in mind. Every vessel in the fleet benefits from an annual refurbishment to ensure that everything is at the highest possible standard for the approaching cruising season. Whichever hotel barge you choose to cruise on, you can be assured that a lot of thought and care has gone into combining traditional features like hardwood panelling, antique furniture and décor, with expected creature comforts such as air-conditioning and central heating.
While you will enjoy a superb level of comfort aboard any vessel in our fleet, each barge is very much an individual, with décor, furnishings and artwork specifically chosen to complement its unique history. For example, you’ll find Spirit of Scotland kitted out in the finest tartan upholstery, reminiscent of a regal, highland hotel, whereas Renaissance with her wooden beams and open plan airy saloon is akin to a classic French manor house. We offer accommodation to suit all tastes, from cosy staterooms, rich in character, to spacious cabin suites, elegantly decorated.
Our English speaking crews, mainly British or French, pride themselves on their attention to detail and level of personal service. Their skill lies in anticipating your every need, that way you can relax and enjoy the scenery, safe in the knowledge that your champagne cocktail is on its way. One of our experienced crew, and in many cases the Captain, will always escort you on excursions and act as a guide.
Each hotel barge cruise is for 6 nights and includes:
- Comfortable accommodation in air-conditioned, en suite staterooms or suites
- Gourmet meals prepared by the on-board chef, fine wines and an open bar
- Daily escorted excursions in an air-conditioned minibus to places of interest and private wine tastings
- Local transfers e.g. to and from Paris
- Bicycles and, on most hotel barges, an on-deck spa pool
- Attentive service from an experienced crew – Captain, chef, tour-guide, and hosts/hostesses
Slip along the tree-lined Canal du Midi from Carcassonne to Béziers aboard intimate Belmond Alouette. Wake in luxury each day. Meander mysterious medieval fortresses. Drop by sun-drenched vineyards to sample the vintages. At bustling markets, pick out fresh ingredients for dinner alongside your private chef. If you’re looking for cosy intimacy and complete relaxation, this is the river cruise for you. Enjoy the finest of barge cruises aboard Belmond Alouette. Unwind in intimate cabins, where soft lighting, warm pastel tones and airy marble bathrooms set the scene for a restful stay. Cool off with an afternoon siesta, or stretch out with a classic cocktail as you watch the sun set through your picture windows. Perfect for a lazy South of France summer or for a romantic holiday, cosy Belmond Alouette has just two cabins. One twin and one double—each with an en suite shower room—provide sumptuous sanctuaries on board.
Wind the waters of Burgundy’s picturesque wine-making region, from Dijon to St-Léger, on this luxury barge. Uncover the secrets of historic chateaux hidden amid the leafy landscape. Lose yourself in elegant cities soaked in sunshine. Taste the spirit of Burgundy in its deep, complex wines. A dip in our on-deck pool is the perfect way to prepare for adventures ahead. After a full day, cosy cabins and sumptuous feasts tempt you back on board. Aboard Belmond Amaryllis you’ll look forward to settling in for the night. Grand cabins of muted palettes, fine fabrics and floral accents promote rest and relaxation. En suites are spacious and gleaming. By day, large picture windows ensure you stay connected to the beautiful Burgundy scenes drifting by. Generous king or twin beds make for a restful night’s sleep. En suites boast overhead showers or baths and dual vanities. Large windows give way to spacious decks. Unwind in the air-conditioned cool while the sun-dappled countryside passes by.
Belmond Fleur de Lys
From historic Dijon to pastoral Vandenesse-en-Auxois, discover the region’s top castles and wineries in style. Not many barges boast four-poster beds, a stately lounge and a grand piano. Belmond Fleur de Lys is unique and full of character. Drift to captivating chateaux, charming port towns and sun-drenched vineyards. Along the way, discover the magic of Burgundy vintages and—with your private onboard chef—French cooking at its finest. Step into a spacious chamber where every last detail has been taken care of. From plush beds to oak-panelled ceilings, the interior’s soft aesthetic perfectly mimics the ambience of life on the waterways. Two cabins can be configured as twins or doubles––perfect for families or groups embarking on French barge trips. Step inside to oversized picture windows, four poster beds, sumptuous bedding and spacious en suites. Cool off or warm up with adjustable air-conditioning and heating. We’ve thought of everything.
Cruising the majestic Rhône from Tain to Arles, take in the charms of Provence aboard Belmond Napoléon. Recline on the largest barge in our fleet, as peaceful meadows drift by and weeping willows dip into the water. Around-the-clock indulgence awaits. Sip cocktails under the stars and feast on local delicacies. Tour the postcard-perfect hillsides of Provence, then quench your thirst surrounded by world-class vines. Welcome aboard our flagship canal boat. Packed with every possible amenity for a superior sleep, cabins are designed for optimal space and serenity on the French waterways. Pen the day’s delights at your sun-dappled writing desk, or dream the day away on your plush double bed. Pamper and prep in the elegant en-suite before cocktails on deck. Our spacious twin or king cabins feature their own indulgent en-suite bathroom, large scenic window and controlled heating. All six cabins can be reconfigured to your needs––the perfect choice for groups or families.
Explore vintage vineyards and pretty riverside towns as you glide along from Chalons-en-Champagne to Epernay. Tour the best of the Marne Valley on the largest lock barge in our fleet. Take a seat on the polished teak deck and slip into a more tranquil pace. Or unlock your inner connoisseur under the guidance of our well-versed crew. A variety of unique curiosities and experiences await off-board to enchant your whole party. After a day of adventure, close the door on your own private sanctuary for the perfect night’s sleep. Exquisite embroidered fabrics and fine antique furniture define our French river cruise’s style. Wake to birdsong and the gentle sounds of the river. Open curtains to tree-speckled vistas, calm waters and blue skies. Designed with tranquility in mind, each cabin ensures a supremely relaxing cruise. Sit back under oak-panelled ceilings on plush furnishings, or pen the day’s highlights from your writing desk. An oversized picture window coaxes sun-dappled daydreams.
Discover a landscape brimming with flavour and heritage on a luxurious cruise from Dijon to Saint-Léger. Launching in 2018, Belmond Lilas invites you to step into a world of understated indulgence. Soft furnishings and rustic timbers echo the surrounding landscape of Burgundy. Take a dip in the outdoor pool, or savour divine local delicacies on deck. Each sensational adventure explores the region’s finest vineyards and legendary chateaux. Blending rustic timbers and handcrafted details with a vibrant colour palette, Belmond Lilas’ soothing ambience is felt inside and out. Following a day of organic wine tastings, exploring medieval ruins or simply relaxing in the on-deck pool, four spacious cabins provide the perfect sanctuary to revive. Experience one of the country’s finest small luxury cruises. After a day spent under local vines or biking beside the waterways, there’s no finer haven to return to. Four generous en-suite cabins feature inviting king or twin beds, a writing desk and a large picture window.
The classic traditions of French and International cuisine are an unforgettable highlight of your cruise. The onboard chefs are experienced, highly-trained culinary artists, whose gastronomic creations are often rated higher by our discerning clients than those they have sampled in top restaurants. To give you a true taste of the region you are cruising through, your chef will create mouth watering menus using the finest ingredients from local markets and specialist suppliers.
Whichever region you choose to cruise, you can be sure of a wonderful gastronomic experience. Your chef will have access to the best local ingredients, fresh from the surrounding fields and markets. In Burgundy you may be served the tenderest fillet of Charolais beef, while on one of our Midi barges the chef may prepare a seafood platter of the freshest shellfish. In Scotland, locally sourced game and wild salmon are always a feature of the menu. To enhance the dining experience, your chef will describe the culinary creations that he/she has prepared. Your hostess will also outline the characteristics of every wine that has been selected to marry perfectly with the food.
Many of our cruises are through some of the best wine- growing regions of France, such as Burgundy, Bordeaux, Languedoc-Roussillon, Champagne and Alsace. During your cruise you will enjoy a wide selection of wines, all served with great care. We have developed strong relationships with many renowned vineyards over more than 30 years, seeing a new generation of viticulturers combining modern techniques with age-old processes. And for those of you aboard our hotel barges in Scotland and Ireland which are too far north for “the grape”, there will be distillery tours and private tastings to savour the wonderful whiskies of the Celtic world.
From the full-bodied Côte de Nuits and Vosne Romanée vintages of Burgundy to the Minervois, Corbieres and Côtes de Roussillon wines of Southern France; from the crisp, dry white wines of Sancerre and Chablis to the distinctive Reislings of the Alsace and Moselle regions, and of course, Champagne. There are visits to some of the most renowned domaines of the Côte de Nuits, Chablis and Sancerre regions, as well as to smaller family-run vineyards such as the 14th century Château de Perdiguier in the Midi and Villa Widmann-Borletti in the Po Valley in Italy.
To enhance the immersive gastronomic experience, your host for each lunchtime or evening meal will take the time to outline the characteristics of each accompanying wine before serving it with care. It may be a smooth Santenay or premier Cru from Burgundy, a dry Sancerre or an aromatic Riesling from Alsace, each wine is carefully selected to compliment the exquisite cuisine served aboard .
During your cruise you will also have the opportunity to sample some of the finest cheeses that Europe has to offer, just as with the wine, your knowledgeable host will take the time to describe the history and tasting notes of each cheese before serving it alongside a specially chosen vintage, food for thought as well as the tastebuds!
Awake to the aroma of brewing coffee. Then enjoy a continental breakfast of fresh fruit, cold meats, crusty French bread, hot buttery croissants and pastries freshly-baked and collected from the local patisserie this morning accompanied by delicious conserves, or perhaps a cooked breakfast.
Luncheon may be a buffet, of imaginative salads, pâtés, quiches, meat or fish platters, or perhaps a delicious homemade soup and entrée, accompanied by a choice of local cheeses and wines – often served al fresco on the sunlit deck overlooking the countryside.
Dinner by Candlelight
On your hotel barge moored beneath the stars, dinner is a gastronomic adventure and the finale to your day’s journey of relaxation and discovery. You may be served Chèvre Chaud en Portefeuille, or Marinated Langoustines, followed by Filet d’Agneau au Basilic, Truite à la Chablisienne, or Magret de Canard au Vinaigre de Framboise – all complemented by fine wines.
Then a selection of creamy and firm cheeses such as Chaource, Époisses or Morbier, before a delicious dessert, perhaps Ile Flottante, Crème Brulée à la Vanille avec Tuiles aux amandes, Tarte Tatin avec Caramel au Beurre Salé or Fondant au Chocolat. And afterwards, of course, relax with coffee and liqueurs in the company of your fellow passengers.
Each day, as your hotel barge moves sedately from one peaceful mooring to the next, you can just wander along the towpath, or get on or off at one of the pretty locks. You may stumble across some local villagers playing a game of boules, or discover a vineyard, its vines laden with grapes.
The hotel barges all carry bicycles for towpath riding and other excursions ashore, and the little villages and farms we discover as we cruise by become part of the adventure. Alternatively, just absorb the ever-changing scenery from a comfortable lounger or deck-chair on the sun deck.
Then, after a day of cruising and sightseeing, your hotel barge moors up for the night and there is plenty of time for a cocktail before dinner, or perhaps to enjoy a relaxing soak in the spa pool.
In Burgundy, the Loire Valley and England, hot-air ballooning is an exciting option. Ballooning generally takes place in the early hours just after dawn or before sunset, when the air is still and the light is perfect for drifting gently along and gazing down at the beautiful countryside below.
If you wish to get away from it all, then a well-stocked library or an abundance of on board games are available across all hotel barges. Or, if you want to check in and let your friends and family know how much you’re enjoying yourself, Wi-Fi comes as standard. Oh, and the bar is always open, so feel free to request a drink from a crew member, or fix yourself one as you please.