Boats & Ferries

In some instances you will find traveling by some form of boat your best transportation option and maybe even your only option. Europe has many peninsulas separated by large bodies of water. The quickest way to get from one to other is by water or air. To travel by car or train would require go around this body of water adding on needed time to your travel. This is especially true in Scandinavia or the British Isles. Then there are areas like the Islands of Greece, Croatia, Sicily and others. Some cities like Venice rely almost exclusively on water transportation, like small water taxis to travel around. You may find that by traveling by water may be your best solution when you’re in proximity to a lot of water.

Water Transportation Options…

We look at water transportation in two main categories, primary or temporary transportation.


This is were you will travel for the majority of your trip by ship or boat. These are typically cruises vacations from start to finish. You may depart from one port and end at another or even return to the starting port at the end of the cruise. You will spend almost all of your overnight says on the ship and leave the ship when it stops at a port of call. When shopping for these cruises may sure your ship stops at the sights you want to see. Also, how much time will they allow you to visit as some only stop for a day. 
Additional amenities such as guided tours while in port, tickets for entrances to sites and activities. 
Many people prefer this form of travel as it can be very relaxing as it takes the tress out traveling. Checking in and out of multiple hotels, driving a car and the hustle of airports and train stations. 
Go below to find links to cruise line operators.


This is water transportation that will get you from one point to the another. These boats function like a train, metro, bus or taxi would on land. This type of transportation is used in cities that are prevalent along the coastlines or on large rivers. You can hop on at one end of the city and hop off at another end. This is especially true in Venice with its canals, London on the river Thames or Stockholm with its archipelago of islands. In some of these cities the citizenry find water transportation as the best way to travel to and from work everyday.
This water transportation also serves as forms of entertainment and pleasure. Cities like Bruges and others, have sightseeing boat trips up and down the canals or rivers for a minimal fee. Depending on how much you want to spend, in Venice you can hire a Gondolier for a half hour trip or longer with someone singing arias or playing an accordion on the Grand Canal. Other cities have night cruises with or without a dinner package. These are popular in river cities like Paris, Berlin, Budapest, Prague, London and Amsterdam. Viewing a city from a boat on the river with everything lit up under the flood of lights can certainly be breathtaking and give one another perspective. Other cities located on lakes like Como in Italy or Lucerne in Switzerland offer breathtaking cruises with the Alps as a background.
View some city transportation links below.
Many of these you can book through an online ticket agency, with your hotel concierge or directly with the transport operator. Some boat transportation is free when you purchase a transportation, city, tourist or visitor pass. You can review all of these passes at our pages for ➾ Tourist Cards & Passes or ➾ Public Transit/ Transit Passes

Primary Water Transportation…


There are Cruises of every kind to fit every pocket book. Some are smaller than others that will have the capacity to accommodate 50 couples and provide 5-Star luxury service. Then there are large ships that are transferred from the Caribbean by the major cruise lines that can accommodate hundreds of travelers. You can expect the same level of service and amenities that you would receive with a Caribbean cruise, some that are all inclusive. A fair amount of these cruises in the Baltic and Mediterranean will last more than a week.
Mediterranean cruises are also popular because of the important ports they stop at. Venice, Rome, Barcelona, Athens and some stop in Egypt. Some can spend more time in the Adriatic taking in Italy and the Dalmation coast of Croatia. Others can cruise to just the western Mediterranean stopping in Spain, France, Italy with Corsica and Sicily. Of course others, will spend time in the Aegean with stops at the Greek Isles, Athens, Istanbul and Turkey. Whatever your desire, cruise companies will have a cruise for you.
The Baltic is another area of fine cruises, stopping at ports like Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallinn and St. Petersburg. There is a wonderful cruise from St. Petersburg that winds its way through Russian lakes and channels until it reaches Moscow.
A fair amount of the Mediterranean and Baltic cruises will run more than a week.

Large Cruise Ships
Small Luxury Ships

Boats that travel the rivers are called long boats. They are smaller being narrow but, very long. The most popular of these are the river cruises on the Rhine and Danube rivers. 
The river cruises are popular because they stop in the famous cities and the scenery along both rivers is wonderful. Rhine cruises can start in Basel, Switzerland and go up the Rhine past castles and vineyards. Stops in Strasbourg, Heidelberg, Cologne and ending up in Amsterdam. The trip could also start in Amsterdam and end up in Basel making the same stops and viewing the same scenery and landmarks. Danube cruises can start in Germany with stops in Salzburg, Vienna, Bratislava and ending in Budapest. Danube cruises can also include Prague as a start or end point.


Barging on canals is another way to travel. Barges are typically 6 days covering abound 50 miles of canals and traveling within one country. A river cruise travels hundreds of miles between multiple countries during the same 6 days. Barges are usually all inclusive as opposed to a river cruise boat. River cruise boats can carry over hundred passengers where a barge may carry eight. Barges are like being on a floating cottage, small and quint and river boats a floating hotel with more amenities. The majority of barge cruises are in France but, Belgium, Germany and Netherlands also offer several choices. Barges tend to be more exclusive and costly than a river cruise boat.

These are the most popular canals to go barging on in Europe.

  • Canal du Midi
  • Grand Canal d’Alsace
  • Kiel Canal
  • Main Canal
  • Main-Donau Canal
  • Marne-Rhine Canal

Temporary Water Transportation…


City cruises can vary from a taxi like service or day, night and dinner cruises. You may also find other boat services available at a city’s tourism site or through their tourist office. These services can be called Ferries, Water Buses, Water Taxis, Vaporettos. To find more services offer by the local transit systems go to our Public Transit page for cities services and click on the links for transportation options.

Ferry & Ship Directory…

The areas that require the most boat and ferry service are the Mediterranean, Baltic, Black Sea countries and the British Isles to continental Europe.

Company / LineSea RegionService Areas
SochiBlack SeaRussia, Georgia
Rosmorport / Yuzh-Flot LtdBlack SeaRussia
RG Line Baltic SeaOperates between Umeå/Sweden and Vaasa/Finland
Paradise Cruise & FerryBlack SeaRussia – Georgia – Turkey – Ukraine
Oz Star DenizcilikBlack SeaRussia – Turkey
Kerch Ferry Passage State ShippingBlack SeaRussia
Horgen – Meilen FerryLake ZürichZürich, Switzerland
Blue Line FerriesAdriatic SeaCroatia
Albanian FerriesMediterranean SeaItaly- Albania
Akgünler Shipping Mediterranean SeaNorthern Cyprus / Turkey / Lebanon
Aegeon PelagosAegean SeaGreece
Zegluga GdanskaBaltic SeaService from Poland to Sweden & Russia
WightLinkEnglish ChannelEngland – Isle of Wight
Western FerriesFirth of ClydeScotland
Viking LineBaltic SeaService between Sweden and Finland and Tallinn.
Unity LineBaltic SeaService between Poland (Świnoujście) to Sweden (Trelleborg & Ystad)
UKR FerryBlack SeaUkraine – Turkey – Georgia
TT LineBaltic SeaOperates between Travemünde and Rostock in Germany and Trelleborg in Sweden.
TrasmediterráneaMediterranean SeaSpain (Balearic & Canary Islands) Algeria / Tunisia / Morocco
Traghettifacile.itTyrrhenian SeaItaly – Sardinia – Sicily
ToremarLigurian SeaItaly – Tuscan archipelago
The Majestic LineScottish CoastScottish Hebrides
Thames ClippersThames RiverLondon
TESONorth SeaNetherlands
Stena Line Baltic / North / Irish SeaService in Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Poland & Sweden.
Steam Packet Company EnglandIrish SeaIsle of Man – Northern Ireland/Ireland
Isle of Man Steam Packet Co.Irish SeaIsle of Man – Liverpool, Dublin, Belfast, Heysham
StrandfaraskipAtlantic OceanFaroe Islands
SNAVTyrrhenian & Adriatic SeaItaly – Croatia
Red FunnelEnglish ChannelEngland / Isle of Wight
TS LaevadBaltic SeaEstonia
Northlink FerriesNorth SeaScotland, Orkney & Shetland Islands
Naviera ArmasAtlanticCanary Islands, Spain, Morocco
NavibulgarBlack SeaBulgaria – Ukraine – Georgia
MolslinjenThe KattegatDenmark
MobyMediterranean SeaItaly, France, Corsica, Sardinia
Minoan LinesAegean & Adriatic SeasGreece – Italy
Mersey FerriesMersey RiverEngland
MaregiglioLigurian SeaTuscan Isles
Levante FerriesIonian SeaGreece
La MéridionaleMediterranean SeaFrance – Corsica – Morocco
JadrolinijaAdriatic SeaCroatia – Italy
Inter ShippingMediterranean SeaSpain – Morocco
idoSea of MarmaraTurkey
HurtigrutenNorth Sea / Norwegian FjordsBergen to various Norway ports and fjords
Hellenic SeawaysAegean Sea – Greece
G & V LineAdriatic SeaCroatia
Grimaldi LinesMediterranean SeaItaly – Spain – Greece – Tunisia
Gosport Ferry LtdEnglish ChannelGosport to Portsmouth
GNVMediterranean SeaItaly – Spain – Morocco – Tunisia – Albania
Fred.Olsen ExpressAtlantic Canary Islands
ForSea FerriesBaltic SeaSweden – Denmark
Fjordline.comNorth & Baltic SeasNorway – Denmark – Sweden
Fjord1North Sea & Norwegian FjordsNorway
FinnlinesBaltic SeaServes most countries to Baltic Ports
FinnlinesBaltic SeaFinland – Sweden – Germany – Denmark – Poland
FastFerry BulgariaBlack SeaBurgas- Nessebar – Varna
Erturk LinesAegean SeaTurkey – Greece
Eckerö LineBaltic SeaFinland – Estland – Sweden – (Åland Islands)
DFDS Ferry CrossingsEnglish ChannelFrance / UK
Destination GotlandBaltic SeaGotland Island – Sweden
CTN Tunis FerriesMediterranean SeaTunis – Spain – France – Italy
Corsica FerriesMediterranean SeaCorsica – Sardinia – France – Italy – Balearic – Elba
Color LineBaltic / North SeaNorway / Denmark / Sweden / Germany
Caledonian MacBrayneIrish SeaScotland – Firth of Clyde, Outer Hebrides, Inner Hebrides
Brownsea Island FerriesEnglish ChannelEngland – Isle of Wight
Bristol Ferry BoatsBristol HarborBristol Harbor, UK
Bornholmer FaergenBaltic / North SeaGermany, Sweden, mainland Denmark and Bornholm/Rønne
Bodrum Express LinesAegean SeaTurkey – Greece
Argyll – ButeScottish West CoastScottish Isles
ANES Aegean SeaGreece
AnekAegean SeaGreece
AlilauroNaples BayNaples
algerie ferriesMediterranean SeaItaly, Algeria, France, Spain
ÅlandstrafikenBaltic SeaFinland to Åland
Aegean Flying DolphinsAegean SeaGreece
Adria FerriesAdriatic SeaItaly- Albania
Dodekanisos SeawaysAegean SeaGreece – Turkey
TransRussiaExpressBaltic SeaGermany, Russia
Baltic Scandinavian LinesBaltic SeaEstonia – Sweden
WaxholmsbolagetSwedish coastStockholm archipelago
Kihnu VeetedBaltic SeaEstonia
TTSLTagus RiverLisbon, Portugal
Trans-EximBaltic / Black SeaGermany, Russia
Woolwich FerryThames RiverWoolwich – North Woolwich London
St Peter LineBaltic SeaHelsinki, Finland to Tallinn, Estonia
CaremarTyrrhenian SeaNaples Coast locations
Sea LinesBlack SeaRomania – Turkey
Pentland FerriesNorth SeaScotland / Orkney Islands
NTS ASANorwegian CoastNamdalen, Norway
Kolobrzeska Zegluga PasazerskaBaltic SeaService to Kołobrzeg (Poland) – Bornholm/Nexo.
Ionian CruisesIonian SeaGreece – Albania
Hansa DestinationsBaltic SeaSweden – Germany
European SeawaysIonian SeaItaly – Greece
tirreaniaMediterranean SeaSardinia – Sicily – Tunisia
Tallink / Silja LineBaltic SeaFinland – Estonia – Sweden
Smyril LineBaltic , North & AtlanticDenmark to Scandinavia, Iceland and the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic
Bura LineAdriatic SeaCroatia
Birka CruisesBaltic SeaNon-car ferry service between Stockholm and Mariehamn(Åland)
Aegean Speed LinesAegean SeaGreece
Adriatic LinesAdriatic SeaVenice, Slovenia, Croatia
WasalineBaltic SeaSweden , Finland
VenezialinesAdriatic SeaVenice and Croatian ports on the Adriatic
Ulusoy SealinesBlack SeaTurkey – Russia – Ukraine
TrasmapiMediterranean SeaBalearic Islands Spain
Tallink SiljaBaltic SeaService between Sweden, Finland and Baltic states
ScandlinesBaltic SeaServes Denmark, Germany, Latvia & Sweden
PolferrisBaltic Sea Świnoujście – Copenhagen, Świnoujście – Ystad, Gdańsk – Nynäshamn/Stockholm.
P & O FerriesIrish Sea / AtlanticEngland – France/Belgium/Netherlands – Irish Sea
Orkney FerriesNorth SeaScotland / Orkney Islands
Norfolk LineIrish Sea / English ChannelDover to Dunkirk, Liverpool to Dublin, Liverpool to Belfast (operated by DFDS Seaways)
Manche îles-ExpressEnglish ChannelService to the Channel Islands from France
LD LinesAtlantic / Irish SeaSpain, France, Ireland & UK
Irish FerriesIrish Sea / AtlanticIrish Ferries Holyhead-Dublin, Pembroke-Rosslare, Rosslare-Roscoff , France
FRS IberiaMediterranean SeaTangiers – Italy, France, Gibraltar, Spain
Fjordline ferriesBaltic / North SeaService between Denmark & Norway
BaleariaMediterranean SeaSpain, Balearic Islands, Gibraltar to Tangiers Africa
DFDS SeawaysBaltic / North Sea / AtlanticDenmark / Norway / Estonia / Lithuania / England / Scotland / France / Belgium / Netherlands
Condor FerriesEnglish ChannelService in the Channel Islands Jersey, Guernsey from France and England
Brittany FerriesAtlanticUK (Poole /Plymouth /Portsmouth) to France (Normandy /Brittany) Spain (Bilbao /Santander)
Superfast FerriesMediterranean SeaServices between Greece & Italy , Aegean Isles
Blue Star FerriesMediterranean SeaServices between Greece & Italy, Turkey
Agoudimos LinesAegean Seato Aegean Islands from Greece
Adler-Schiffe GmbH & Co. KG Baltic / North SeaGermany, Poland, N. Frisian Islands, Rügen
Ventouris FerriesAdriatic SeaBari, Italy – Durres, Albania
SiremarTyrrhenian SeaNaples – Sicily
Meis ExpressMediterranean SeaGreece – Meis Island
Sea JetsAegean SeaGreece
Saronic FerriesAegean SeaGreece
Sea Dream Yacht ClubMediterranean SeaFrance – Italy – Spain
Turkish SealinesAegean SeaTurkey
TuryolSea of MarmaraIstanbul, Turkey
TP LineAdriatic SeaCroatia
Virtu FerriesMediterranean SeaMalta – Sicily
Yesil Marmaris LinesAegean SeaGreece – Turkey
Zante FerriesAegean SeaGreece
Golden Star FerriesAegean SeaGreece
SeaSpeed ferriesAegean SeaGreece
Fast FerriesAegean SeaGreece
Corsica LineaMediterranean SeaCorsica – France

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