Europe by boat
European active specialist opens bookings for 2020 on more than 80 per cent of its popular ‘bike and boat’ programme
Decision taken following remarkable increase in interest for boat-based trips for 2019, which saw many summer departures selling out before the end of 2018
Seven of the best trips you can book already for next year, including abrand new boat-based option along the dramatic Tuscan coastline
With boat-based itineraries consistently ranking among its most popular trips year after year – many departures, especially for the peak summer season, are fully booked months in advance – European active holiday specialist UTracks has already opened bookings for the 2020 season on more than 80 per cent of its bike and boat programme.
It is the first time that UTracks opens reservations a year in advance. The decision will give travellers more choice and flexibility and was taken following a phenomenal increase in interest for boat-based trips for summer 2019, which saw many departures, especially in popular Mediterranean countries such as Croatia and Greece, selling out well before the end of spring 2018.
Kate Baker, General Manager for UTracks, said:
“Our boat and barge-based holidays are very popular as they give travellers the opportunity to cover more distance and ‘see more’. They reach spots others can’t by employing smaller vessels that can navigate shallow bays and narrow waterways, while using bikes makes exploring easier and allows travellers to delve deeper into a destination.
The general rule of thumb for bike-and-boat holidays is to book as early as possible as availability is limited, particularly if you are after a certain cabin type. While it is hard to pinpoint which tours will book up and when, there are trips and destinations that traditionally sell out sooner than others, such as the Mediterranean, the Danube and travelling from Amsterdam to Bruges.
Although departures in the heart of European summer and during the school holidays tend to fill up quicker than in the shoulder season, it is worth doing some homework on certain regions. For example, the tulips are on display in Holland between March and May, while June to August is the best time to see lavender fields in Provence.”
If you are already planning ahead for 2020, below are seven boat-based trips bookable now with UTracks:
ITALY | Tuscany Bike and Sail NEW FOR 2020
A new journey on a resplendent tall ship to discover the islands of Elba and Giglio and the dramatic Tuscany coastline, with daily cycles to explore quintessential Italian sights and enjoy a slice of ‘dolce vita’. As you ride your bicycle between ports, encounter cypress trees, vineyards and olive trees spreading across the rolling hills that characterise the typical Tuscan landscape; picturesque medieval towns with small cobbled streets and colourful houses; and beautiful sandy beaches and remote bays that beckon for a swim in the glistening Mediterranean blue waters.
· Tuscany Bike and Sail with UTracks (8 days) departs August-September in 2020
GREECE | Greek Islands Family Adventure
Off the west coast of Greece lie the idyllic Ionian Islands: the waters here are mirror-like and some of the clearest you will ever see, creating the perfect setting for a sailing, walking and cycling adventure. From elegant Corfu and on board a two-masted wooden motor yacht, this family friendly cruise visits the islands of Lefkada, Cephalonia and Ithaca (the alleged home of Odysseus), as well as Meganisi and Paxos, where time seems to have stood still. Exploring by kayak, bike and on foot there is also plenty of time set aside for swimming and relaxing on the beach.
· Greek Islands Family Adventure with UTracks (8 days) departs July-August in 2020
CROATIA | Croatia Bike & Sail
Southern Dalmatia encompasses a stunning chain of Croatia’s islands and this stimulating cycling trip captures the highlights with an ideal balance of activity, culture and relaxation. Joining in Split and in the company of a cycling guide, explore UNESCO-protected landscapes, swim in the azure waters of Korcula, visit the lavender island of Hvar, cycle through Brac (famous for its radiant marble), discover the natural beauty of the Mljet National Park and soak up the ambiance of traditional seaside towns.
· Croatia Bike & Sail with UTracks (8 days) departs April-October in 2020
THE DANUBE | Danube to the Iron Gates Bike and Boat
A two-week boat-based trip that lets you experience at your own pace life along one of Europe’s most important rivers and the surrounding peaceful countryside. On your way to the mighty canyon of the Iron Gates National Park on the Romanian border, one of the country’s top natural attractions and protected by RAMSAR as a wetland of international importance, you will marvel at imposing fortifications that sit high above the river and take in four capital cities: elegant Vienna, picturesque Bratislava, majestic Budapest, and revived Belgrade.
· Danube to the Iron Gates Bike and Boat with UTracks (15 days) departs April-September in 2020
FRANCE | Provence Bike and Boat
From Avignon, enjoy easy cycling on flat plains as you head to the spectacular limestone foothills of the Alpilles, through a revolving landscape and on to the Mediterranean coast. Explore quaint villages brimming with art studios and cultural relics, marvel at the well preserved Pont du Gard and after each day’s cycle relax on board the barge while enjoying the views on the bank of the Rhône. The Camargue, where wild horses roam and expansive sandy beaches of the Mediterranean are explored enroute to the medieval seaside town of Aigues-Mortes.
· Provence Bike and Boat with UTracks (8 days) departs April-October in 2020
HOLLAND | Tulip Tour Deluxe
Based on board a deluxe river barge, this short break combines the highlights of springtime in Holland with visits to classic Dutch sights: find yourself surrounded by thousands of tulips (as well as daffodils and hyacinths) of various colours, shapes and scents at the world famous gardens of Keukenhof; cycle through blooming bulb fields to reach the open-air museum of Zaanse Schans, which features several windmills and craftsmen’s workshops; and discover the world’s biggest Flower Auction in Aalsmeer – 20 million flowers are sold every day! This trip is already filling fast with some departures already full.
· Tulip Tour Deluxe with UTracks (5 days) departs March-April in 2020
SCOTLAND | Scotland by Bike and Boat
Off the west coast of mainland Scotland, the archipelago of Inner Hebrides is known for its spectacular landscapes, which remain still largely untouched by mass tourism. Starting and finishing in Oban, explore the island of Mull and the Morvern Peninsula as you travel by bike and boat, before making your way to the Caledonian Canal to discover the Highlands and marvel at the wild scenery of Scotland. Look out for dolphins and whales from your two-masted sailing boat – and keep an eye out for eagles, red deer and otters when you get on your bike!
· Scotland by bike and boat with UTracks (8 days) departs June-August in 2020
For more information and bookings please visit www.UTracks.com or call 1300 303 368.
Quoted prices are inclusive of boat based accommodation, most meals, equipment rental, experienced guides and comprehensive maps and directions for self guided trips and more. Flights from Australia are not included but can be booked on request.