From Kingfishers and Cuckoos in Burgundy to Otters and Eagles in the Scottish Highlands, immerse yourself in the natural world aboard a luxury hotel barge cruise!
Nature & Wildlife on Europe's Inland Waterways
In Burgundy, blackthorn and wild cherries are blossoming and flowers such as wild orchids, lilies and yellow irises are bursting into bloom. Insects such as dragonflies flit among the rushes and the aptly named water boatmen appear to row themselves across the surface with their long, oar-like hind legs. If you’re a birdwatcher, you can delight in kingfishers, motionless herons and swallows darting above the water. The towpaths echo to the call of the cuckoo and the ebullient evening chorus of bullfrogs and cicadas. As night falls the melodic song of the nightingale completes the natural theater that is Burgundy in the spring.
L’Art de Vivre is the ideal vessel for discovering Burgundy, where guests might catch glimpses of perch and pike in the water or water voles along the canal banks. Mallards, swans and moorhens can be spotted nesting in the rushes or taking their first swims with newly hatched young, while Charolais cattle and maybe an occasional wild boar will come down to drink, and with the gourmet food and wine that is served on deck, it is a true feast for all the senses!
In Scotland, the 12-passenger Spirit of Scotland and 8-passenger Scottish Highlander will treat guests to a wide variety of wildlife as they cruise the Caledonian Canal and traverse a chain of inland lakes, or “lochs”. While “Nessie” is often too shy to show herself in Loch Ness, guests may be lucky enough to see the occasional otter perched cheekily on the rudder and birds of prey in the skies above. For stretches, the canal is bordered by forests where red squirrels still thrive and, in spring, a carpet of bluebells adorns the floor. On the hillsides above the waterway, April brings the flowering of the gorse in a sea of yellow. For those wanting a closer look, they can get “up close and personal” with exclusive birds of prey demonstrations, featuring the aerial acrobatics of falcons, hawks, eagles and owls.
And for those who like their climate to be a tad more temperate there are always the majestic flamingos of the Po Delta in Italy, or the magnificent wild horses of the Camargue and the Bagnas Nature Reserve on the gloriously sunny Canal du Midi. Whichever cruise you choose, you can be assured of total immersion in everything that these historic destinations have to offer.