Active on Holiday Blog What is a Bike and Boat cycling holiday?

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What is a Bike and Boat holiday?

Our team has a wealth of experience in cycling holidays and has been handling cycling holiday enquiries for many years. Bike and Boat cycling holidays are growing in popularity with cabins selling out quickly on many sailings.

This guide on Bike and Boat cycling holidays covers what to expect and how the holidays work if you are unfamiliar with the concept of combining cycling and river cruising.

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What is a bike and boat cycling holiday?

A Bike and Boat cycling holiday combines the delights of a river cruise with the thrill of a cycling adventure. This unique experience blends cycling excursions with leisurely sailings, allowing ample time each day to explore nearby towns and villages. Cycling activities occur during the day, featuring a blend of self-guided routes and informal rides guided by an expert.

Routes vary in length, offering extensive cycling opportunities throughout the day before returning to the boat for evening relaxation and meals. These routes often lean towards easier terrain, with convenient access to flat, riverside cycle paths.


The key advantage of a bike and boat cycling holiday lies in the convenience of not having to unpack daily, while ensuring a week-long journey filled with exploration.

Throughout the night, the boat sails along a predetermined itinerary, docking conveniently at central points in cities like Vienna and Budapest, enhancing the excitement of the tour. This holiday type is an excellent way to explore multiple European cities, catering especially to visitors from beyond Europe.

Evenings present opportunities to mingle with fellow cyclists on board and make the most of communal facilities. All tours include evening meals and offer a selection of cabins for accommodation. This unique holiday style combines adventure, comfort, and cultural immersion for an unforgettable experience.

What are the best Bike and Boat cycling holidays?

Bike and Boat cycling holidays adhere to a structured format with predetermined itineraries and scheduled stops. The choice among these tours often hinges on the preferred destinations. For those new to bike and boat river cruising, the Danube River stands out as a top pick. This route offers access to renowned European capitals like Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest, along with visits to esteemed wine regions like Austria's Wachau, all within a single cycling tour.

Netherlands and Belgium emerge as favoured destinations due to their flat terrains, complemented by excellent cycling infrastructure and opportunities to explore enchanting towns, tulip fields, and iconic windmills en route.


Some bike and boat tours venture into more distinctive locales, such as the Oder-Havel Canal in eastern Germany leading to the Baltic Sea, providing time for visits to cities like Berlin or Stralsund, serving as either the starting or concluding point of the tour. Additionally, there are cruises originating in Prague and journeying along the Elbe, allowing stopovers at picturesque cities such as Melnik and Litomerice.

It's crucial to note that bike and boat cycling holidays aren't solely about river cruises or cycling excursions; they're crafted to showcase the best of a region by bike while granting guests the convenience of cruising along Europe's renowned waterways. These holidays provide an amalgamation of cycling adventures and cruising comfort, offering a unique perspective on the regions they traverse.

Who are the best bike and boat tour companies?

Multiple companies provide bike and boat cruises across Europe, but our partnership with SE Tours allows us to offer exceptional Bike and Boat holidays. SE Tours, headquartered in Bremerhaven, Germany, conducts cruises across Europe, specialising in bike and boat journeys along prominent routes like the Rhine, Danube, and in the Netherlands.

Booking a Bike and Boat holiday is straightforward. Begin by reviewing the sailing dates available for each tour. Typically, these tours set sail on Saturdays, with additional departure options on Fridays. Once you've identified the dates that suit your plans, inform us, and we'll secure your preferred cabin based on availability. Furthermore, we'll assist in organizing travel arrangements to the starting point of the cruise, ensuring a hassle-free and enjoyable experience for you.

Are bike and boat cycling holidays just for seniors?

Certainly! Bike and boat holidays, given their unique blend of cycling and river cruising, typically attract a demographic of individuals aged 55 and above. However, it's important to note that age isn't a defining factor. Everyone aboard these cruises shares the common goal of relishing the combination of cycling and sailing adventures while exploring new destinations.

The diversity on these boats is reflected in the mix of nationalities among passengers. In recent years, there has been a growing trend of English-speaking customers discovering and embracing this distinctive holiday experience.

In regions like Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands, characterised by expansive and navigable waterways, bike and boat holidays are exceptionally popular among European guests. Cabins on sought-after sailings, particularly along the Danube, tend to sell out swiftly due to the high demand for these captivating journeys.

The allure of discovering charming locales while indulging in both cycling and cruising makes these tours highly sought-after among travellers across various age groups and nationalities.

How do you pack for a bike and boat trip?

Preparing for a bike and boat holiday is a breeze because you won't face the hassle of daily packing and unpacking. This freedom allows you to wear different outfits in the evenings and switch up your cycling attire each day without worrying about rummaging through your suitcase.

It's advisable to pack comfortable, casual cycling clothes, and it's essential to bring along your helmet as they're not provided.

In contrast to a land-only cycling holiday, where you'd typically need to pack and unpack around six times, a bike and boat holiday offers the convenience of staying in your designated cabin for the entire cruise duration, requiring just one unpacking session.

There's no specific dress code on board, granting you the flexibility to dress comfortably. Transitioning from your cycling gear to evening attire for meals or nighttime activities adds to the overall enjoyment and experience of the journey. So, while there's no formal dress code, having the opportunity to change and freshen up after a day of cycling is part of the enjoyable routine on board.