Getting a different perspective is always a pleasure when we travel. Sometimes, it can be as easy as switching from land to sea. Seen from a harbour or river, the city skyline and surroundings can seem very different. If you’re keen to take to the water, here are Mundana’s picks for the best boat trips to take in Europe.
The Aeolian Islands, Italy
Overshadowed by Etna, the volcanic Aeolian Islands are off the radar for many. Despite this, an evening boat trip to see Stromboli send its natural fireworks into the night sky. Boats depart from Tropea on the mainland and spend long enough on Stromboli for visitors to explore the historic centre of San Lorenzo; others begin and end at Milazzo on the island of Sicily. Regardless of which you choose, the dramatic sight of the Sciara del Fuoco (fire slide) will be one that you will remember for a lifetime.
The Rhine and Moselle, Germany
Germany’s two major rivers, the Rhine and the Moselle, are ideal for exploring by boat. Pleasure cruisers potter up and downstream, calling in at picturesque villages such as Cochem and Bernkastel-Kues along the way. Short excursions and longer jaunts are both rewarding. You’ll spot hilltop castles, row upon row of grapevines in the many vineyards and plenty of half-timbered homes painted in pretty pastel shades. Take a tour as the leaves are turning to see the landscape at its most spectacularly colourful.
The Balearics boast many beautiful coves and some of the most tranquil can be found on the island of Menorca. Boat trips depart from the resort of Cala en Bosc on the south coast, calling in at some of the most gorgeous bays. Hop between Cala Turqueta, Cala Macarella, Cala Mitjana, Cala Trebalúger and Cala Galdana, admiring the tree-lined shoreline, wave-battered sea caves and clear turquoise waters. Most trips will include a stop, ideal for taking a stroll along the beach or swimming in the warm shallows.
As with Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Bruges canals riddle the city. While strolling through the cobbled streets that run alongside is a pleasure, some of the city’s most breathtaking architecture can only be seen from the water. Fortunately, there are plenty of boat trips that ferry passengers at a leisurely pace along its tree-lined canals. You’ll pass under bridges, beside Flemish gabled homes and glimpse the spires of medieval churches. Keep a close eye out and you might also see a family of swans glide by.
Iceland is one of the world’s best locations for whale watching. The northern town of Húsavík is its whale watching capital. Robust oak-hulled boats and nippy Zodiacs depart from the sheltered central harbour. They make their way out of Skjálfandi Bay into open water. There’ll be plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife including pods of dolphins and myriad seabirds. But the star attraction are the humpback and minke whales that breach beside the boat, their tail fins flipping as they dive once more into the deep.
The River Thames snakes through the UK capital. Many of its most famous buildings, including the Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Houses of Parliament, can be seen from the water. Boats shuttle back and forth along the river. Most cover the stretch from Westminster to Docklands. Opt for a sedate dinner cruise or an exhilarating high speed RIB