The Luxury Hotel Barge Experience

Introduction by Unique Cruises Founder / Director Walter Nand

Imagine relaxing with a close group of family or friends while sipping champagne (or other beverage of your choice) and enjoying local gourmet delights prepared by your private onboard chef as the European landscape gently glides past.

This is the essence of a European Luxury Barge Holiday.

Photo Credit: Belmond

You will soon discover that a relaxed cruise on a luxury hotel barge is the perfect way to discover the very soul of Europe, exploring its wonderful countryside and historical treasures and meeting its many friendly, diverse people (in a Covid-19 safe manner).

Far removed from the hustle and bustle of city life, hotel barge voyages allow you to travel in luxury without the strains of packing and unpacking, whilst enjoying a balanced blend of daily excursions and fascinating cruising.

Luxury Barge Holidays are also fantastic if you are looking for a more energetic or robust holiday. Almost all barges carry bicycle onboard (e-bikes can also be arranged for an additional fee) and we are always near some great cycling pathways.

Photo Credit: Belmond

The barges travel at less than 5km’s per hour which is the average walking speed so anytime is a good time to hop off the barge and take a nice stroll through the local countryside where you may stumble across some local villagers playing a game of boules, or discover a vineyard with its vines laden with grapes. And the quaint villages and farms we discover as we cruise by become part of our adventure.

Our meeting point before the cruise is at a designated hotel at an easily accessible town or city where you will be greeted by a member of the crew and transported by private chauffeured minibus to your luxury hotel barge. Following a champagne welcome and the opportunity to meet the English-speaking crew and your fellow passengers, we will show you to your beautiful stateroom or suite, with its full en-suite facilities and elegant, traditional fittings.

Photo Credit: Belmond

We sometimes embark on a short cruise on the first evening, and immediately the fascinating, vivacious scenery of Europe’s lesser-known waterways begins to unfold before you. Then, perhaps after an aperitif, it’s time to savour a sumptuous, gourmet meal, complemented by fine wines and sparkling conversation.

Remember, just because your luxury hotel barge moves sedately from one peaceful mooring to the next, does not mean you need to. As stated earlier, most luxury hotel barges carry bicycles for towpath riding and other excursions ashore. Our, included, daily excursions to castles, palaces, wineries and historical places of significance ensure that no two days are the same.  

Photo Credit: Belmond

For more information about the regions, experiences and details of specific luxury barge hotels in Europe visit