Last updated: 12:15 PM ET, Fri April 24 2015

Back-Roads Touring Takes to the Waterways

Tour Operator | David Cogswell | April 24, 2015

Back-Roads Touring Takes to the Waterways

PHOTO: Barging in Burgundy. (photo by David Cogswell)

Back-Roads Touring, an operator of small group tours and custom packages, unveiled a new series of water-based programs called the Charming Waterways of Europe, which includes barging trips on the canals of France, and sailing in the Adriatic Islands of Croatia, along the Turquoise Coast of Turkey and among the Greek Cycladic Islands.

The new water-based product is offered through a partnership with Charming Waterways of Europe. Back-Roads Touring will be taking over the barges exclusively and combining the water-based experience with its own style of land travel.

Aside from the water locomotion, the trips follow the formula of Back-Roads Touring’s offerings for the last 27 years, including leisurely travel days and authentic experiences of cultural immersion through specially designed shore excursions.   

Back-Roads tours carry a maximum of 18 people. They are designed to provide immersion in the places visited and among the people who live there. The tours are leisurely paced, with a balance of independent and escorted travel. Most afternoons are free to explore and some days are entirely free.

It’s not about traditional, packaged sightseeing.

“We don’t want to give people the impression it’s for people who want to go see the sights,” said Chris Coillet, Back-Roads Touring’s vice president of North America, “It’s about getting people into those regions they can explore.”

A key element is food.

“We want to get people up in front of the amazing food of that region,” said Coillet, “whether it be specific chef or an award winning restaurant or a different style of cuisine. If it’s unique to that region we want to be sure they get to explore and try it.”

All of the vessels have public areas, sunbathing space on deck, interior and exterior dining and a casual, social atmosphere on board.

Back-Roads Touring brand manager, Hugh Houston, believes the water-based product is the best offering yet in the company’s history.

“I truly believe the mix of stunning waterway travel and specialty on-land adventure is the ultimate way to experience the world”.

Back-Roads Touring’s new water-based offerings include the following:

Burgundy: A Cruise along Le Canal De Bourgogne is a seven-day barge cruise through the region of France that has become synonymous with wine. The trip uses the canal barge MS Jeanine and of course includes a local wine tasting.

Provence: A Cruise along Le Canal Du Rhone-A-Sete is a six-night/seven-day trip aboard the MS Anne-Marie through Provence, with land excursions to explore the surrounding area to explore local cuisine, visit historic churches and forts and sample local olive oil. I

The Croatian Wilderness Sailing Tour travels on a luxury Croatian motor sailor through some of the remote islands of Croatia, with wine tastings, olive oil tastings, stops in a variety of local harbors along the way. The tour travels aboard the M/Y Vjeko.

Greece: Jewels of the Cyclades tours the Greek Islands aboard the M/S Meltemi, a traditional yacht. The trip will include experiencing the local foods and wines of Greece, with a cooking lesson in Paros and a wine-tasting in Santorini, and time to swim in the blue Aegean Sea.

The Turkey Gulet Sailing Tour is on board the motor sailer Gulet GA, sailing along the Turkish coastline with land excursions along the way to sample local cuisine and wines and stops for swimming.


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