If you just want one great idea for a weekend break: try a canal boat cruise in spring

At Locaboat we don’t wait until summer to enjoy all the fun of a boating holiday! Spring is all about nature awakening, gentle sunshine and long evenings on the terrace. There’s nothing better than spending time on a boat to take advantage of all this renewal – and even better when it’s at a special price. Here are our top three favourite destinations for a getaway cruise in Spring.


For rebels, the untamed charm of the Camargue

Take the Canal du Rhône à Sète, starting from the Lattes base, and head for the marina at Gallician. If you follow the Discovery Centre trail, just a 10-minute walk will take you into the heart of the Scamandre Nature Reserve, where you can enjoy spotting many species of birds you might not have seen before, such as herons, glossy ibis, bearded tits etc. Time to get back on board? How about making a detour via La Laupio, a shop where you can buy some carefully-chosen local products to take back with you. From now on you’ll follow the Little Rhône as far as Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. The sound of the herds galloping in the distance will guide you to the horse-riding excursions organised by Chez Elise. This is the real thing: your hair blowing in the wind as you ride in total freedom. It’s all included in the price!


For the curious, the dizzying heights of the Lot Valley

Our base in Cahors is the starting point for your cruise along the green and meandering River Lot. To the west, rising to 172 metres, is the imposing Pont Valentré, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a marvel of medieval architecture. It’s also the perfect spot for taking the holiday photo from the platform of one of the pedestrian access towers. Further east you’ll pass through the peaceful Lot Valley, a paradise for orchids, with more than 40 different varieties out of the hundred or so that have been recorded in France. The cruising routes in the Lot Valley will take you to Saint-Cirq Lapopie, a jewel of the middle ages, perched high on its rock and voted France’s most beautiful village. Don’t miss the chance to climb above the village and eat on the terrace of ‘Le Gourmet Quercynois’ restaurant, which is housed in a 12th century building.

For artists, the passion for canals in Holland

Holland is best seen from the waterways, especially in Spring, and is a dream destination for first time visitors. A stopover in Lisse allows you to walk to Keukenhof in half an hour. This is one of the most beautiful gardens in the world, a real gem that displays seven million bulbs and 800 varieties of tulips. After this flower-filled interlude, head south east and you’ll soon reach Amsterdam, Queen of the Canals. On a canal cruise, the city’s architecture takes on a different aspect, so that things you’ve seen before seem brand new. A bonus is that museums such as the Rijksmuseum and the Anne Franck House are just a quick walk from the quay. Want to try something new? Leave your boat and climb aboard the ‘Pannenkoeken Boot’ to take on the challenge of eating the most pancakes in an hour and a quarter — on a canal boat, naturally!


For lovers, pure romance on the Venice Lagoon

Everyone knows that springtime is for lovers and there’s no better place for a romantic cruise than the Venice Lagoon. Arriving by boat in St Mark’s Square is definitely one of the highlights, as you gaze in awe at the splendid Basilica, the Campanile or the Doge’s Palace. During your stopover, enjoy the typical Venetian atmosphere, the singsong accents of the locals and have a hot chocolate on the terrace of the most famous Venetian café, the Caffè Florian, to the sound of violins. In Venice, you can explore history and heritage while soaking up the authentic local atmosphere. North of the Chioggia base, visit the picturesque fishing village of Pellestrina, with its many-coloured cottages, built on a kind of natural dyke. This provides the perfect opportunity for a quiet, romantic stroll before returning to your boat.


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