The Best Insider Experiences on Our Barge Trips: Part 2

There’s no better way to immerse in local heritage, history and cuisine than by being able to enjoy authentic ‘off-the-beaten-track’ cultural excursions. Here at European Waterways, that’s exactly what our carefully designed barge trips in France, Scotland and many other places allow you to do. 

In Part 2 of our Best Insider Experiences we give you a glimpse into the upper echelons of French aristocracy on our barge trips in France, and an exclusive display of falconry on the banks of Loch Ness on our memorable Scottish cruises.

Enjoy an exclusive private tour of Chateau de la Motte aboard luxury hotel barge Rosa

A Thrilling Display of Falconry in Scotland

Our range of Scottish cruises provide an incredible way to explore the stunning landscape of the Highlands and also to alight from the vessel and visit the host of historical sites and cultural attractions that define the heritage of this ancient land. You’ll cruise through tranquil lochs, navigate the manmade engineering feat of the Caledonian Canal and immerse in the inspirational ambience of a land that’s indelibly steeped in its traditions. On board our first-class passenger barges you’ll eat and drink like royalty, as well as enjoy memorable and evocative experiences like being serenaded by a bagpiper from the banks of a loch and on-board sundowners accompanied by live jazz performances.

But one of the undeniable highlights of a Scottish cruise is a private and exclusive display of falconry and birds of prey at the outstanding Gothic Highlands Club, on the banks of iconic Loch Ness. This once-in-a-lifetime experience gets you up close and personal (very, very close, if you dare!) to a thrilling display of aerial acrobatics by vultures, owls, eagles, hawks and falcons in one of the most spectacularly beautiful places in the country. Alongside the chance to explore the impressive historic manor house, this is a memorable, magical and totally enthralling off the beaten track experience.

Falconry at the Highlands Club, Scotland, courtesy of Kathy Stodgel

Tea with a Countess in France

As on all our barge trips in France, guests who travel with us aboard Rosa, on our Gascony Classic Cruise, will enjoy an itinerary packed with historic and cultural detail and the chance to explore the wonderful authentic lifestyle of the region. Along with gastronomic delights, wine and cheese tastings and immersion in the sublime scenery, comes the opportunity for an exclusive private tour to a château to take tea with a Countess!

The beautifully restored eighteenth-century Neo-Renaissance Château de la Motte affords visitors a wonderful ‘insiders’ sneak-peek into the past. The Countess leads guests through the château’s interiors, which include an introduction to the family’s impeccable private couture collection. Afterwards you’ll be invited to take tea with her in the private apartments – who could refuse?

Other Hidden Gems and Experiences

When you travel on our barge trips in France, Italy, Scotland and a host of other exciting destinations – you’re guaranteed the most immersive and personalised experience possible. We work hard to craft our itineraries to not only show you iconic, well-known attractions but also take you off-the-beaten-track to see parts of the country many others don’t. It’s this bespoke, slow kind of travel that affords our guests the chance to really get to know a place like a local, rather than simply visit like a tourist.

Some other examples of exclusive excursions we offer on our itineraries are:

Visiting a working oyster farm on the edge of the Etang du Thau, the largest lagoon in the Languedoc, on our Canal du Midi barge trips in France.

  • A private tour of Peter Freebody’s Boatyard, in a tranquil setting on the edge of the River Thames, where you’ll be able to watch the skilled master craftsmen building and restoring traditional river craft.
  • Shore excursions with the on-board chefs to visit the local markets to shop for food.
  • On our Irish cruises aboard the Shannon Princess you can take a private tour of the infamous Leap Castle, Ireland’s ‘most haunted house’ for a chance to perhaps meet the resident ghosts…
  • In Alsace, an exclusive visit to the magical Musée Lalique and glassworks to marvel at the art of glass blowing.

Authentic, Immersive and Utterly Unforgettable

We can’t wait to see you in the upcoming season to show all the insider spots, off-the-beaten-track attractions and truly unforgettable local culture of our handpicked destinations.

To plan your escape along Europe’s charming waterways, please talk to a member of our team or order a copy of our brochure for a slice of armchair travel inspiration.

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