Bike and Barge Cruises

Experience Europe in a new way on a biking cruise on a hotel barge

Cycling Cruises give you the best of both worlds. You can relax and unwind on your luxury hotel barge after a day of cycling on towpaths or biking to picture-postcard villages. You’ll see some incredible sights with trips in Burgundy and the Loire Valley in France, and you can arrange to visit many other gorgeous destinations to suit your needs. If you are looking for cycling holidays with a difference, you have come to the right place. Book your boat and bike tour of Europe today.

What is a Bike and Barge Cruise?

Our Bike and Barge cruises, available on private charter bookings only, allow you to enjoy time to explore the region you’re visiting by bicycle with the assistance of a local knowledgeable guide throughout. On these special ‘theme cruise’ weeks, you can enjoy the highlights of our Classic Cruise with dedicated time for biking. These cruises enjoy the use of our hybrid barge bicycles each day, but you may choose to upgrade to e-bikes for an additional supplement at the time of booking.

If you don’t want to plan specific cycling days, you can simply enjoy our complimentary barge bikes along the towpath at your leisure on a Classic Cruise and hop off/on as the barge reaches a lock.

And, for Classic Cruise guests wanting the freedom to explore further afield, some of our barges offer Biking Plus itineraries which allow guests to venture further into the countryside thanks to the addition of pre-packed backpacks and pre-planned cycle routes. This will take your cycling cruise to the next level! Read more about ‘Biking Plus’.

Our Cycling Cruise Destinations

  • Picturesque villages and centuries-old history, 8-passenger L’Art de Vivre offers a journey back in time along the Canal du Nivernais
  • Navigating the beautiful sandy reaches of the River Cher in the Loire Valley, 6-passenger Nymphea cruises where many vessels can’t

At European Waterways, we aim to provide impeccable service throughout your stay. This is why all of our barges are designed as floating hotels, offering a deluxe stay as you explore the cycle paths of your chosen destination. From April to October, you can see the best of Europe and select the perfect destination, knowing that whichever hotel barge you choose, you will receive the highest-quality service.

The hotel barge L’Art de Vivre has a rich history and is the oldest barge in our fleet. She used to be a supply vessel to Allied troops during World War One but now cruises along one of the longest-established canals in France. With traditional decorations featuring original wood and brass, you’ll enjoy a classy barge boasting modern facilities and a gorgeous sun deck, ideal for soaking up the sun.

With a classic yacht décor, the Nymphea has a shallow draft, making it easy for her to traverse the shallow waters of the River Cher, making this the only motorised boat to cruise these waters. Warm interiors make you feel welcome, with air-conditioning and en suite bathrooms to enjoy. This beautiful hotel barge will even cruise through the arches below the Château de Chenonceau, which is the most photographed château in the Loire Valley.

Hotel Barges for Biking Cruises

L’Art de Vivre is a first-class, 8 passenger hotel barge that offers Biking Cruises in Burgundy between Auxerre and Chevroches from April to October

Nymphea 490

Nymphea is a first-class, 6 passenger hotel barge that offers Biking Cruises in the Loire Valley between Moulin de Nitray and Montrichard from June to September

Bike and Barge Cruise Highlights

Looking for the perfect holiday to combine sightseeing and cycling? Bike and barge cruises do just that. With our speciality cycling river cruises, you’ll experience some of France’s scenic waterways, and enjoy private daily excursions to lesser-known regional gems. We offer bike and barge tours in France, but you can arrange private tours of other areas if you so desire.

Burgundy and the Loire Valley make for some of the most picturesque destinations in France, with stunning scenery to enjoy and a range of cycle paths to explore. Ride alongside the gorgeous canals and rivers and see the French countryside in a whole new way.

  • The L’Art de Vivre biking cruise will take you through the narrow streets of Irancy, which is the last wine village to have been awarded its appellation-controlée. From here you’ll ride through vineyards and go cross-country on the ‘Grande Randonnée track 13’ to enjoy a stunning buffet lunch and barbecue on the grounds of a 17th Century watermill. Later on your cruise, you’ll reach the Bois d’Arcy and climb one of the most picturesque hills in Burgundy: Vézelay. The sights you’ll see are just one of the reasons people choose to enjoy a gentle pedal on a barge cruise in Burgundy.
  • Your bike and barge cruise on Nymphea will take you along the Loire cycle path along the River Cher to visit the Château de Valençay and its Renaissance gardens. You can sample wine as you cycle along the towpath and country lanes to the Domaine de la Grange. Rejoining the River Loire, you’ll get the chance to stop on a nearby island for a swim and a picnic for a truly unforgettable holiday.

Booking a barge cycling tour is easy. There is a small supplement to be paid on our bike and barge tours, which we then use to hire a specialist cycling tour guide. They are cycling experts and also experts on the areas you’ll visit, providing valuable local knowledge and tips. We offer a range of active barging holidays, and cyclists will love the combination of gentle cruising and cycling action of these holidays.

France is well-known for its excellent wines, so your cruise will take you to some of the most iconic vineyards and wineries in the country. You may visit Château de Chaumont with its renowned international Garden Festival or pay a visit to the Royal Chateau d’Amboise and the Clos Lucé, which was Leonardo da Vinci’s home.

Why Book a Bike and Barge Holiday?

A holiday doesn’t have to be spent relaxing the entire time. You want to explore and see the sights, which is where bike and barge cruises come in. You’ll uncover the rich history of the regions you cruise through, and sample some of the best food and drink in the world after cycling along scenic towpaths and lanes. It will make for a fun and unforgettable experience so book today.

What kind of bikes are available on your bike and barge cruises?

Our cruises carry hybrid bikes of excellent quality. They are designed to be ridden on all terrains and are well maintained by our team. Should you need any adjustments to your bike at any point, our crew will be able to help. Children’s cycles are also available. The great thing about the towpaths is that they are always flat and so are ideal for families looking at a barge holiday in France. Helmets are provided.

What are the advantages of choosing the biking plus option?

Our biking plus is designed for the more adventurous cyclist, however, the itinerary is arranged so that you won’t miss any of the organised excursions or much of the cruising, but you will have seen a little more of the people and places around you – and done yourself some good at the same time!

How much does a bike and barge cruise cost?

Our cruises Start from approximately $4,000 / 3,500€ / £3,000 per person per week and include:

  • Comfortable accommodation
  • Gourmet meals prepared by the on-board chef, fine wines and an open bar
  • Private daily escorted excursions
  • Local transfers
  • Bicycles and, on most hotel barges, an on-deck spa pool
  • Attentive service from an experienced crew


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