Some of the best memories of your interrailing trip will centre around the lakes and canals around Europe. Liam Ashton gives us his top 5 activities to spend a day (or night) at.
Canal Cruises – Amsterdam, Netherlands.
In a city famous for its canals, the Amsterdam canal cruise brings you on a guided tour of the Dutch city, showing passengers architecture, historical landmarks and popular tourist destinations. Although it may be difficult to see certain sites from low down in the water, canal cruises are the easiest way to see the city without renting a bike for the day. Choosing the right cruise is essential to each visitor as you pay for what you get. The cheaper tours, which are around €12, will allow you to see the main parts of the city, however without food or drink on board in can become very clammy, especially in the glass covered cabin. The more expensive tours, which can be up to €50, will have an open top section and will also have a lunch for each passenger. The cheaper alternative may be more appropriate in this instance for a student budgeting a two or three-week trip.
Badeschiff beach bar and pool – Berlin, Germany.
Located on the banks of the river Spree, Badeschiff is one of Berlin’s most unusual bars. After passing through an artificial sand-based bathing area, there is a tiered decking area with sun beds and umbrellas leading into the river. However, if you wish to go for a swim there is a two-meter deep pool sitting atop the Spree. Badeschiff is ideal for a relaxing day after experiencing Berlin’s night life, as there is also a reasonably priced grilled lunch menu at the bar. It wouldn’t be a first choice for a couple of drinks in the evening, despite the beach theme and central location, however Badeschiff is an ideal spot to recuperate in-between sightseeing days.
Szechenyi Baths – Budapest, Hungary.
The Szechenyi Baths are the go-to location for any student visiting Budapest. While it may prove to be one of the more expensive nights of your trip, the bath party is an experience that is unlikely to be had in any other European city. During the day, the baths act as a relaxation resort in temple-like surroundings to unwind in the centre of the Hungarian capital. But by night, the Szechenyi Bath Palace is transformed into a mix of a water park and a night club. After supplying a pre-bought ticket upon entry, you must also put twenty-five euro on a ‘Monopoly’ style credit card to use in the bars surrounding the two-outdoor heated pools. Purchased online, tickets are €35 for admission and baths are open all year round.
Lake Bled – Slovenia.
Considered one of the most aesthetically pleasing locations of any InterRail trip, Lake Bled viewed from any angle is a scene worthy to go on the back of any postcard. The main attraction of the lake is the large designated swimming zone. Entry is €2 for the afternoon which can be spent on the water slides, three-meter diving board, playing table tennis or simply swimming in the lake. There are deck chairs and food kiosks serving breakfast, lunch and dinner meaning you can spend all afternoon at this recreation point. The blue waters of Lake Bled also offer a range of water based activities such as paddle boarding and kayaking, which will also allow you to gain access to medieval-era ‘Bled Castle’ on its own island on the centre of the lake.
Paddle boats on the River Vlatava- Prague, Czech Republic.
On a city which is geographically quite small, a lot of the activities other than alcohol tours are based around the river. The paddle boats are an ideal way of seeing the city, similar to Amsterdam, however you can do it in your own pace. The highlight of the paddle boat experience is the piers of the bars that back out onto the river. When approaching the bar, a waiter or waitress will come to your boat to take your drink orders from which point you can continue paddling on, drink in hand. Just like in Berlin, this water based activity is ideal to unwind inbetween sightseeing days.
Honourable Mention: Zrce Beach - Pag, Croatia
On the stony beaches of Pag, Zrce is home to some of Croatia’s biggest events such as Spring Break, Hideout Festival and Hard Island Festival. These make Zrce a hotspot at peak times, however even during the remaining summer months it is still an ideal destination to end any backpacking trip. It has a strip of clubs running the length of the beach open from 11am – 4pm to facilitate afternoon drinks and lunch, before opening for the main event in the evening at 8pm.