European Canal Tours

Dear All - We have been receiving these great brochures for Viking River Cruises (not sure why, but we get them)…anyway, we thought, HEY! This would be a fantastic kayak trip…who needs a barge? We did a tiny bit of Internet research…but were wondering if the community had any experience or information. Thanks in advance.

Gowanus ?
First thought floating into my ‘consciousness’ is poop.

Try Goo search for: Euro canal pollution

Sure, here is a link to a trip two

– Last Updated: Feb-03-16 11:16 PM EST –

British guys did in 2012 from the Atlantic coast of France across Europe to the Black Sea. I plotted their route using rivers and canals, looks quite awesome. Many different permutations of their trip could be made.

Not sure how it would be affected by all of the refugees now moving into Europe but ....

edit: another note, I used Google earth, satellite mode, to look closely at the drainages and canals. The view was really quite good. Enjoy the "hunt".


– Last Updated: Feb-04-16 12:04 AM EST –

I went down the Thames above London by Dutch barge a few years back. Many of the locks had easy portages (rollers) for paddle craft, though many kayaks and canoes just went through the locks. Canoe & Kayak mag did an article a while back following some guys who paddled the same route. This may be another option. Not just the Thames, but also the other canals in the UK.

My friends now have their barge in France, but I haven't joined them yet. But they did say something related to what Datakoll said - in the UK they have to hold their black water until they can have it pumped out, where in France they just send it into the canal. You shouldn't find chunks, as the boats use macerators in their toilets, but bacteria could be an issue.

Friends went on one of the Viking
cruises and loved it but they aren’t paddlers.

have some paddling friends in UK
they do canal tours every summer. I’ve only paddled on the Cam and Afton short distances. Was indeed scenic and bucolic. If you wanted to see the country side and enjoy low key paddling this would be really great.

outfitters abound
There are outfits that do various kayaking tours across Europe and the Mediterranean. Here is a list of a few:

There are also videos on YouTube of people’s trips on European rivers that give you a good idea of what they are like. The Allier River in France has always looked very appealing to me:

French rivers
There is a series of short videos of a french family paddling rivers in an inflatable starting at

If you are interested in mild whitewater try this guidebook

Sandy Robsons blog
There is some interesting information in the European sections of Sandy’s blog of retracing Oskar Specks paddle from Germany to Australia.

Check Youtube
I caught a series by a young guy kayaking canals across southern France on his own, just camping.

Thanks for your reply!