Boating is so much more than getting from point A to point B. It’s one of the best ways to experience all of the wonders the world has to offer. After all, water covers over 70% of the planet.
From glow worms in New Zealand to icebreakers in Sweden, boating makes for some of the most memorable travel experiences. Before planning your next trip, check out the world’s coolest boating experiences.
Sweden: Join an Icebreaker Ship
In Sweden, you can join the crew of a working icebreaker ship and see what it’s like to be a part of the Arctic Explorer. This 60-year-old icebreaker helps keep shipping routes open and moving during frigid Swedish winters. You’ll tag along for 2 hours of fun and have the opportunity to meet the captain, see the engine rooms, and even put on a dry suit and walk on the ice of the Arctic Sea.
New Zealand: Watch Glow Worms
New Zealand’s Lake Okareka is a must-visit for boating enthusiasts. This lake is home to magical glow worms that light up in small caves along the lake. You can rent a paddleboard or kayak at night and cruise through sparkling constellations created by none other than…worms! If it’s a clear night, you might even be able to catch views of the Milky Way right over the lake.
Egypt: Sail the Nile
The Nile is an ancient wonder of the world. Back in the 18th and 19th centuries, royal travelers would hop aboard a luxurious sailboat (also known as a dahabiya) and make their way to Egypt. Dahabiyas are stunning vessels that date all the way back to the time of the Pharaohs. Luckily, this boating tradition was revived thanks to veteran sailors who built authentic dahabiyas from the ground up. You can take a multi-day dahabiya cruise through the Nile and visit local villages along the way.
Finland: Cruise on a Steamship
Finland’s Lake Saimaa is the country’s largest lake and a popular spot for recreational boating. If you want to explore the lake in style, there’s a century-old steamship called the S/S Paul Wahl up for grabs. This ship was recently renovated into a luxurious cruising vessel that’ll make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. It features handmade furniture, a champagne bar, and luxury suites. You can arrange for a multi-day cruise on the steamship to appreciate the majestic beauty of Saimaa. And if you’re lucky, you might be able to spot a glimpse of the lake’s famous rare seal.
Croatia: Visit a Wine Cellar By Boat
Calling all wine connoisseurs. In Hvar, Croatia, you can journey to a wine cellar that’s only accessible by boat. It’s an underwater cellar nestled within an old limestone chasm. Once there, you’ll enjoy a wine tasting of only local vino while overlooking the Adriatic Sea.
New York: Hudson River Hot Tub
Skip the crowd at Times Square and head to the Hudson River instead. You can soak in the city skyline while relaxing in a hot tub aboard a 39-foot party boat. Trips can be booked any time of day or night and typically last a few hours. This exclusive party will make you see boating in a whole new way.
England: Hop on a Floating Spa
The Floating Spa at Monkey Island Estate is a boating experience focused entirely on wellness. This one-of-a-kind floating spa draws its inspiration from the famous Apothecaries’ Barge, a vessel that offered therapeutic syrups and powders in the 17th century. While definitely pulling from the historic roots mentioned above, this floating spa offers more modern wellness treatments like facials and massages.
Hong Kong: Ride a “Junk Boat”
Junk boats are iconic in Hong Kong and recognized around the world. These are tall wooden ships with three red sails located in Victoria Harbor. The boats date back to the Han dynasty (202 BC to 220 AD), although some historians believe they first appeared in the 10th century when China started using them for trading expeditions. The term "junk" comes from the Dutch word "jonk" and the Spanish word "junco", which refer to large to medium-sized ships used during the colonial period. And yes, you can take a ride in one. Many boating tours are offering dim sum cruises, evening harbor cruises, and floating afternoon tea.