Had enough of vacationing on dry land? This summer, choose an aqua adventure.
By Nina Koo-Seen-Lin
Summer is finally here, which means it’s time to slather on the sun cream, chase after the ice cream van and don the sunglasses, all in an attempt to combat the heat. But one of the best (and most fun) ways to keep cool is to take some time off and enjoy the life aquatic.
Holidays on the water are no longer restricted to the beach. These days, there’s a trend to find alternative water trips. From narrow-boat hotels and B&Bs (Boat & Breakfasts) to island hopping via seaplanes and ancient coastal dips, there are plenty of options. The seas, rivers and lakes are your oyster.
Canal boat tour in the UK
Images of the children’s TV show ‘Rosie and Jim’ might spring to mind when we think of narrow-boats. But now is the perfect time to holiday on one. The inland waterways around the UK are better than they’ve ever been, and with over two thousand miles of canals to choose from there’s plenty of choice to suit you.
Pick: Away4awhile is a company that specializes in hotelboat cruises around the UK. They offer mid-week, weekend and week-long breaks that embark from various places, including Birmingham, Worcester, Stratford upon Avon, Warwick and Banbury.
For more information, telephone 0845 644 5144 or visit www.away4awhile.co.uk
A fjord excursion in Norway
No trip to Norway would be complete without a glimpse of the magnificent fjords. Norway is famous for these scenic water inlets and many are renowned for their accessibility. A range of activities is available, from hiking and glacier walking to fishing and swimming, making this an outdoor enthusiast’s dream destination.
Pick: Norway in a Nutshell provides comprehensive routes around Norway’s spectacular scenery, both on land and sea. The tour starts with a picturesque train ride from Oslo to Bergen which whizzes past glaciers, deep forests and lakes. In the village of Flåm on Sognefjord, you can take a 90-minute boat tour to see Norway’s longest and deepest fjord.
For more information, telephone +47 815 68 222 or visit www.norwaynutshell.com
Houseboat holiday home in Amsterdam
Floating holiday homes that have a permanent mooring have become increasingly popular over the years as they’re often cheaper than staying in a hotel. There’s a romantic element that also appeals, especially to couples. Europe in particular has a number of beautiful places to take a break on a houseboat.
Pick: De Dageraad is a houseboat located near the former harbour of Amsterdam. It consists of two luxury ensuite bedrooms and a guest kitchen. A delicious breakfast is served by owners Sylvie and Theo every morning, and rental bikes are provided to ride around the canal ring and other sights of the city.
A cool cruise around Croatia
Cruises are no longer a holiday choice just for retired couples. More and more people are beginning to see that setting sail on a luxury liner is one of the best and most comfortable ways of discovering a new part of the world. Cruises around Europe are particularly good value for money as everything can be purchased in one packet. It’s a good option for families or those who want to feel pampered.
Pick: Saga’s Dalmation Island Explorer cruise starts in the ancient walled city of Dubrovnik and sails to the islands of Brac and Korcula.
For more information, telephone 0800 056 6099 or visit www.saga.co.uk/holidays
Island hopping by seaplane in Scotland
An eagle-eye view of the land and sea is one of the most extraordinary sights to experience. These aircraft have floats or skis instead of wheels and are designed to land on and take off from water. Don’t think of seaplanes as mere vessels of transportation. They provide some breathtaking views from lift off to landing.
Pick: Loch Lomond Seaplanes is the UK’s only commercial seaplane tour service. Routes include the ‘West Coast Explorer’ where passengers can see the Isle of Bute and Rothesay Castle, and the ‘Loch Lomond Discovery’. The company has also expanded its tour operations over the Isle of Skye which provides spectacular views of the Cuillin.
For more information, telephone 01436 675030 or visit www.lochlomondseaplanes.com
Wild swimming in Slovenia
Summer is the perfect time to plunge into one of the earth’s most basic elements. Wild swimming offers a little more adventure than the local swimming pool. The world has a number of rivers, lakes and reservoirs to choose from as well as pools and springs. Even ravines and gorges (perfect for snorkelling) are accessible.
Pick: The Slovenian Alps are surrounded with glacial lakes, crystal clear waters and clean, fresh air. Swimtrek, a leading swimming holiday operator, provides expeditions around Lake Bled, the Soca river and Triglav National Park. Based in the small town of Bohinj, the excursion includes a swim to the 17th century church on Bled Island.
For more information, telephone 01273 739 713 or visit www.swimtrek.com