Travelling by hotel barge
The concept of Bike & Barge Holidays in the Netherlands started in the early eighties of the last century. Cycling from city to city along the most beautiful roads while a sailing hotel ship follows you to the next destination.
At the development of the tours it is important to consider which cities actually can be reached by ship. Of course one can plan a route along the widest canals and broad rivers where ships of all sizes are able to sail. But one can imagine that the most interesting and scenic routes of course lead along the older and narrow canals.
In Europe all waterways used for commercial navigation are divided in 6 different size classes, depending on the dimensions of the water itself and the dimensions of the bridges and locks along the waterway.
Almost all barges used for Bike & Barge holidays are former cargo ships. After their first life as a freighter, which ended for economical reasons (they were too small to be profitable), they were converted into attractive passenger accommodations.
Most of these ships are able to sail the European waters of the Classes I and II. Ships with a maximum width of roughly 5 meters (17 feet ) by a length of 39 meters (128 feet) are able the sail the waters of Class I , while the waters of Class II can welcome ships with a maximum width of 6,60 meters (21,5 feet) by a length of maximum 55 meters (180 feet)
During a bike and barge holiday it is very interesting to watch the captain manoeuvre his ship through the narrowest bridges and sail into a just-fitting lock!
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