Canals in Europe: Cruising Through Picturesque Landscapes

Cruising is often misunderstood to be something expensive that you must spend a ton of money to do. This is not true. Cruising can be affordable if you explore options provided by canal cruise barges. Europe has canals all over, providing an option for those who may desire to cruise on a budget. While a London to Paris train may be cheaper than a cruise, the latter option provides a more memorable activity. Check out some notable canals you can cruise through in Europe.

Canal du Midi

France has some of the most exciting canals in Europe, so it is only typical to start from the country. Of all French canals, Canal du Midi is a top choice for many cruise lovers. The reason for this is not hard to understand. The canal runs from the Mediterranean Sea to the River Garonne to the Atlantic Ocean. This position makes it a perfect waterway to enjoy picturesque time across the French coasts.

Since most cruises are organized in groups, you will likely have a guide who will provide narrations as you pass notable spots. These include beautiful villages and towns in addition to picturesque landscapes all around. You will also pass a long stretch of woods that will relax you as you feel nature all around you.

Caledonian Canal

When in the United Kingdom, many tourists focus a lot on England. However, a London to Liverpool train will not provide the same experience as cruising through nature in Scotland. Get on a cruise barge to explore Scottish beauty through the Caledonian Canal. This memorable tour will take you through the Great Glen between Inverness and Fort William. This cruise can take up to a week, during which you can enjoy various activities.

Things to enjoy on your cruise include a panoramic view of the Scottish Glens and the relaxing aura of the water. You may also visit notable spots like Culloden Moor, the scene of the last battle on British soil and Clava Cairns, a prehistoric burial site. In addition, your tour package may include visiting places with cultural impact, like Cawdor Castle and Gardens, where Shakespeare’s Scottish Play was set.

Canal de la Marne au Rhin

Another French canal you will enjoy cruising is the Canal de la Marne au Rhin. It connects River Marne in Vitry-le-Francois and River Rhine in Strasbourg. Therefore, it is often used for transportation between the areas around the two rivers. Most barges you will meet along the way, though, are for cruises and are occupied by tourists with the same purpose as you.

Cruising across the Canal de la Marne au Rhin is fascinating if you love French wine. The route allows you to pass through some vineyards and sample some Alsatian wines like Riesling. You will also get the opportunity to learn about the history of the canal’s connecting areas. These areas are home to lovely houses you can easily imagine in a fairytale.

Giudecca Canal

Italy is renowned for its waterways and canals. They are used for transportation in many parts of the country, including Venice. While the Grand Canal is the most famous in the city, the Giudecca Canal is popular among tourists. It coasts from the Dorsodura district in the North to Giudecca Island in the South of the city. It also meets the Grand Canal in the South-East and drains into the San Marco. Its path allows tourists cruising to enjoy a picturesque view of Southern Venice.

Cruising through Giudecca Canal will take you past some of the most important monuments in the city. These include the Chiesa del Redentore, the Punta della Dogana, and the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute. The cruise will also bring you close to popular tourist attractions like the Doge’s Palace, the Ducal Palace, and the Piazzetta Vigo. Just be prepared to experience some traffic from the usually-busy canal.


Canals used to serve majorly transportation purposes in the old days. However, they are now filled with cruise barges ferrying tourists interested in admiring the beauty of the landscapes around them. They offer their passengers everything from delicious meals to local wines and fun games. The most appealing attribute of these cruises is that they are affordable for people who cannot afford cruises on major rivers.


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