The popular idiom of “planes, trains, and automobiles” is often first on our minds when we plan transportation for a trip abroad. What airport will I fly to? Is there a shuttle service? Should I buy a subway pass?
These are all good questions to ask, but too often travelers forget the fourth option: boats. Rewind history 100 years and boats were still the top choice for traveling, domestically and internationally, to say nothing of transporting cargo in the days before semi-trucks. Though no longer nearly as popular as their heyday, ships, cruises, ferries, and barges still operate all over the world and can elevate your vacation from “great” to “ridiculously awesome.” Here are 5 suggestions to get you started.
Prince Edward Island – Canada
Located off the east coast of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island (PEI) is an idyllic getaway not too far from the mainland. With activities as varied as whale watching and golf, there is something for everyone! The Northumberland Ferry Ltd takes 75 minutes one way and is open to shuttle cars as well. The ferry’s path takes it past the beautiful Caribou coastline, so be sure to get a window seat.
Small Cyclades – Greece
When visiting Greece there are so many islands to choose from, it’s hard to know where to start! We suggest taking a tour of the Small Cyclades a group of 8 islands which includes Santorini and Ios. The Express Scopelitis service runs daily and provides access to all ports which gives you a great way to island hop at your leisure. Your most difficult decision will be which island to visit next.
Oki Islands – Japan
The Oki Kisen Line is the ferry service to use for the express route (1hr 20min) to the Oki Islands located in the Sea of Japan. Officially designated as a geopark, there are over 200 islands, but only 4 are inhabited. Of these Dogo and neighboring Dozen are the best stops for camping, snorkeling, and some of the best seafood you’ll ever have a chance to eat.
Fjords – Norway
No trip to Norway would be complete without visiting the fjords, and a boat is the way to do so properly. Coastal Express offers a number of different options, but the 11 day round trip voyage that takes you from Bergen to Kirkenes and back is the best way to fully appreciate the coastline. Passengers can alight at ports along the way to take hikes, go skiing, or see the glaciers.
Galapágos Islands – Ecuador
The Galapágos archipelago consists of more than 60 islands, many are too small to chart on a map. With so many small inlets and bays to explore, and countless animals to observe your best bet is to charter a boat. Ecoventure offers affordable 10 tours through this UNESCO World Heritage site, with plenty of opportunity to explore on-shore as well.
Has any of this convinced you landlubbers to ditch your shoes for paddles? Next time you visit a locale don’t let yourself be land-locked, take your travels to the high seas!