Waterways tourism

Waterways are a key focal point for travelers, whether it is just a way to get from A to B or to take in the scenery along a river or around a lake or to enjoy activities such as boating and sailing.

In order for a waterway to be navigable, it must meet several criteria:

it must be deep enough to accommodate vessels loading to the design draft;
it must be wide enough to allow passage of the vessels with the design width or beam;
it must be free of obstacles to navigation such as waterfalls and rapids, or offer a way around them (such as canal locks or boat lifts);
its current must be mild enough to allow vessels to make headway upstream without undue difficulty;
the wave height (on lakes) must not exceed the value for which the class of vessel is designed.

Vessels using waterways vary from small animal-drawn barges to immense ocean tankers and ocean liners, such as cruise ships.

Inland waterways can be a good theme to base a holiday around. For example visiting castles in the Loire Valley, the Rhine valley or taking a cruise to interesting cites on the Danube or boating along the Erie Canal. They also define routes for popular hiking and cycling trails.

Lakes, as well as often offering beautiful scenery, provide opportunities for sailing and other water sports.

The seas offer possibilities for the more adventurous sailors and for diving and surfing or to relax on a cruise ship. While the coastline can be the focal point for coastal hiking trails or other beach activities.

Packing for a cruise
Tips for cycle trips
Hiking#Prepare, Packing for a week of hiking

Rivers and Canals of Europe

Göta kanal
Göta kanal in Sweden used to be the country’s most important transportation route. It is still popular with leisure boats.

Kiel canal
The Kiel canal in northern Germany is one of the world’s busiest waterways.

Loire Valley
The Loire Valley, between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes, is listed World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. The Loire, the longest and the last wild river in France, goes through 2 French regions and is one of the main tourist destinations in France. Three villages are listed as “most beautiful villages of France”.

The two great rivers of the Rhine and Danube, which have influenced many events throughout history and the development of many cities, are connected via a canal between the Daube and the Main River, a major tributary of the Rhine. This makes it possible to travel by boat or cruise ship between the North Sea and the Black Sea. The route also provides an ideal landscape for hiking and cycling trails.

Hiking trails : Rheinsteig, Rheinburgenweg, Rheinhöhenweg, Rheintaler Höhenweg, Donausteig, Sultans Trail.
Cycling trails: EV15 The Rhine Cycle Route, The Danube Cycleway

UK Canals
Hiring a narrow boat and travelling part of the extensive canals of England, Scotland and Wales is a great way to see the British country side and discover hidden gems in the towns and cities.

Rivers and Canals of North America
The New York State Canal System
Over 500 miles of waterways, the Hudson river and the Erie Canal allowing you to travel from New York City to the Great Lakes .

Mississippi River
North South connection with canals connecting the Mississippi River with the Great Lakes as well as the Missouri and Ohio Rivers.

Floating the Missouri River

Platte River Valley
Canoeing the San Marcos River
Rideau Canal

Rivers and Canals of South America
Along the Paraguay River

Rivers and Canals of Africa
Nile Middle Egypt
Felucca cruise on the Nile
Suez route, including the Suez Canal and the Red Sea
Rivers and Canals of Asia
Along the Yellow River
Along the Yangtze River
Along the Salween River
Yarlong River National Park

Lakes of Europe
Lake Balaton
Lake Constance (Bodensee)
Saimaa (Saimen)
Lakes of North America
Great Lakes
Lake Tahoe

The open seas and coastlines

Atlantic Ocean
British coast
Islands of the Arctic Ocean
Islands of the Atlantic Ocean
Islands of the Caribbean
North Sea
Wales Coast Path

Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea ferries
Boating on the Baltic Sea
Cruising the Baltic Sea

Indian Ocean
Islands of the Indian Ocean
Persian Gulf
Arabian Sea (Asia)

Mediterranean Sea
Ferries in the Mediterranean
Aegean Sea
Black Sea

Pacific Ocean
Sea of Japan (East Asia)
South China Sea (Asia)