Boating Holidays Masthead
Boating Holidays Masthead

Alsace Boating Holidays

Bordered by the Vosges mountains and the Black Forest of Germany, Alsace offers a boating holiday in superb scenery plus interesting towns and cities such as Strasbourg.

Neighbouring Ardennes takes you through forests into Belgium.

Famous for its wines and beers, Alsace has a unique French and German ambience.

Alsace Area Map

Our four boat bases offer a range of cruises on rivers and canals – see timber-framed houses with bright window boxes, storks nests on chimney tops, and magnificent cathedrals and impressive buildings.

Eastbound from our base at Hesse descend France’s most spectacular boat lift at St Louis-Arzviller. Opened in 1969, the inclined plane replaces 17 locks along the Canal de la Marne au Rhin and raises or lowers boats 150 feet in just 20 minutes.

Then reach our penichette base at Lutzelbourg with its castle and crystal workshops. Cruise on to Saverne, noted for its chateau and beautiful rose gardens.

Next reach Strasbourg, home to the European Parliament and with a town centre classed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is best seen by boat as the waterways take you through the very heart of the city.

Alsace and Ardennes - a blend of cultures

Just south of Strasbourg, the Canal du Rhone au Rhin runs parallel to the vineyards of Alsace, their Riesling ideal with sauerkraut and the local plum tarts.

West from Lutzelbourg ascend the Arzviller boat lift, and after Hesse spend time at the Gondrexange lake before reaching beautiful Nancy and its excellent shopping.

North from Gondrexange follow the canal to the pottery town of Sarreguemines and Saarbrücken, capital of Germany’s Saarland.

From Saarbrücken a licence is needed to cruise into Germany, or a skipper can be arranged. If so, a fascinating 2-week three country circular cruise is possible to Trier on the River Moselle and through Luxembourg via Metz and Nancy back to Hesse.

West of Alsace is the forested region of Ardennes, home to wild boar and deer.

From our penichette base at Pont-à-Bar follow the River Meuse through gorges to Charleville-Mezierès and picturesque villages and towns into Belgium on a one-way cruise to our barge base at Dinant-Anseremme.

Alternatively from Pont-à-Bar cruise south to Verdun or south west towards Champagne country.

Area Highlights

Highlights of the Alsace Region

  • Strasbourg a UNESCO World Heritage city famed for its architecture
  • France's oldest church, 4th century Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnais Basilica
  • Baroque castle and St. Johanner's open air market square
  • The Arzviller boat lift- lifts the boat 45m in 20 minutes!
  • UNESCO World Heritage 'Volkinger Hutte' on the River Saar
Boat hire in Alsace

Useful Information:

  • A boating licence is required if you wish to cruise from Saarbrucken to Apach along the waterways of Germany and Luxembourg.
  • Canal de la Marne au Rhin and Canal du Rhone au Rhin - All locks are automatic and easy to operate. Opening hours of the locks are 07:00 - 19:00 (-18:00 on Sundays)
  • Canal des Houilleres de la Sarre - all manual locks with a lock-keeper available to assist you. Opening hours of the locks are 08:30 - 18:30

Customer Reviews

We sailed from Hesse and made the 10 minute journey by train to Strasbourg for the day. The journey back to Hesse was very leisurely. Compared with canals in the UK this journey was very quiet and peaceful.AD - Hesse - Hesse

Suggested cruises from our bases in Alsace

Alsace Boating Map

Boat holidays from Boofzheim

A typical alsatian village, Boofzheim is a beautiful place to see. In the thick of the town, between the Lutheran Roman Catholic Church and the old belltower, you will discover timbered-houses from the eighteenth century.

One Way Routes

Boofzheim - Strasbourg - Hesse (or vice versa)

One Way • 1 Week • 104km • 43 Locks • 28hrs

Alsace in the spring
Water Fountain in Saverne

Boat holidays from Hesse

A pleasant and serene village, Hesse has preserved its charm and character over many years. Apart from a well-organised port, the village also has the ruins of a Benedictine Abbey from the 11th century, which is now the village church.

One Way Routes

Hesse - Strasbourg - Boofzheim (or vice versa)

One Way • 1 Week • 104km • 43 Locks • 28hrs

One of the most pooular routes, this takes you on the Canal de la Marne to Strasbourg and Boofzheim. The UNESCO World Heritage city of Strasbourg is perfect for shopping and sightseeing, whilst the Rhine reed plains outside Boofzheim are excellent for bird spotting and nature lovers.

On the way, discover timber-framed restaurants with fine Alsatian cuisine and crisp Reisling wine. Visit Saverne's rose gardens and Renaissance Palace, and enjoy the excitement of the Arzviller boat lift - a miracle of modern canal engineering.

Out and Back Routes

Hesse - Nancy - Hesse

Return Trip • 1 Week • 152km • 42 Locks • 25hrs

With some of Europe’s most beautiful canal cruising, this route is ideal for a boating holiday. Enjoy superb fishing at Gondrexange, visit chateaux and superb Alsatian restaurants, and discover Art Nouveau Nancy with fantastic art and architecture, especially around Place Stanislas.

Hesse - Strasbourg - Hesse

Return Trip • 1 Week • 156km • 68 Locks • 37hrs

Cruise from Hesse to vibrant Strasbourg along the pretty Canal de la Marne au Rhin, and enjoy a superb combination of picturesque scenery and chic cosmopolitan towns.

Hesse - Saarbrucken - Metz - Hesse
(licence required)

Return Trip • 2 Weeks • 433km • 74 Locks • 84hrs

On leaving Hesse in France, cruise through Germany on the Sarre. The Moselle meanders through vineyards and pretty wine-producing towns like Remich and historic Metz, the capital of Alsace. Explore Nancy, the elegant and historic centre of Lorraine, before joining the Canal de la Marne au Rhin and returning to Hesse.

A boating licence is required for this route.

Hesse - Saverne - Hesse

Short Break Return Trip • 4 Days • 116km • 12 Locks • 18hrs

Hesse - Lagarde - Hesse

Short Break Return Trip • 4 Days • 71km • 14 Locks • 16hrs

Hesse - Mittersheim - Hesse

Short Break Return Trip • 4 Days • 60km • 26 Locks • 12hrs

Hirschhorn Hesse

Boat Holidays from Lutzelbourg - Alsace

The village of Lutzelbourg is dominated by the ruins of its majestic castle which perches on a rocky spur over 980 feet above sea level. Its famous crystal workshops specialise in the art of hand blowing and cutting crystal, and some workshops offer tours and demonstrations of this art.

Out and Back Routes

Lutzelbourg - Saverne - Strasbourg - Lutzelbourg

Return Trip • 1 Week • 115km • 60 Locks • 4 hr 45 / day

Lutzelbourg - Arzviller - Dombasle - Nancy - Lutzelbourg

Return Trip • 1 Week • 188km • 52 Locks • 5 hr 30 / day

Lutzelbourg - Arzviller - Sarreguemines - Saarbrucken - Lutzelbourg

Return Trip •10 / 11 Days • 234km • 72 Locks • 4 hr 15 / day

Lutzelbourg - Arzviller - Dombasle - Nancy - Metz - Lutzelbourg

Return Trip • 2 Weeks • 303km • 64 Locks • 4 hr 30 / day

Lutzelbourg - Arzviller - Sarreguemines - Saarbrucken - Luxembourg - Metz - Nancy - Lutzelbourg

Return Trip • 3 Weeks • 454km • 78 Locks • 4 Tunnels • 2 Boat Lifts • 3 hr 45 / day

Penichette Boat in Alsace
Arzviller Boatlift

Boat Holidays from Pont-a-Bar - Ardennes

Cruising these waterways from our base at Pont-à-Bar you can travel through the gorges of the River Meuse to Charleville-Mezieres and picturesque villages such as Fumay and north to the Belgian border and our base at Dinant/Anseremmes.

Home of wild boar, roe-deer and some of France's rarest birds, the Ardennes forests shelter rarities as orchids and the fly-catching sundew. It is an area of crags and forests, pretty villages and handsome chateaux.

Alternatively, from Pont-à-Bar cruise south to Verdun and towards Toul or south west along the Canal des Ardennes towards Champagne country.

Out and Back Routes

Pont-a-Bar - Charleville - Mezieres - Revin - Fumay - Givet - Pont-a-Bar

Return Trip • 1 Week • 187km • 42 Locks • 5 hr 15 / day

Pont-a-Bar - Sedan - Mouzon - Verdun - Pont-a-Bar

Return Trip • 1 Week • 217km • 46 Locks • 5 hr 45 / day

Pont-a-Bar - Charleville - Mezieres - Fumay - Dinant - Namur - Pont-a-Bar

Return Trip • 2 Weeks • 286km • 62 Locks • 3 hr 45 / day

Pont-a-Bar - Berry au Bac - Reims - Vitry le Francois - Bar le Duc - Commercy - Verdun - Sedan - Pont-a-Bar

Circular Route • 3 Weeks • 500km • 203 Locks • 5 hr 30 / day

Penichette Boat Hire in Alsace
View from a Penichette
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