European Waterways launches Garden Cruises

New program for green thumbs offered in Italy and Scotland

Cawdor Castle Gardens | Credit: European Waterways

European Waterways is offering a new all-inclusive Garden Cruises program available on charters of the 20-passenger La Bella Vita in Italy and the 12-passenger Spirit of Scotland on the Caledonian Canal.

The six-night cruises allow guests to indulge their botanical passions and feature exclusive guided tours of some of the world’s most spectacular gardens, while guests are transported around Europe’s picturesque canals and waterways in luxury and comfort.

Spirit of Scotland | Credit: European Waterways

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On the Spirit of Scotland, guests can examine the Wild Woodland Garden of Larachmhor in the Highlands of Scotland, famous for its 200 varieties of rhododendrons. The La Bella Vita cruise features a walking tour of the lagoon island of Sant’Erasmo, east of Venice. Nick-named “the vegetable garden of Venice,” it is home to fields of aubergines, peppers, tomatoes and the famous St. Erasmo artichokes, which grow only in this location.

“After years of Covid-19 travel restrictions and government-imposed lockdowns, the trend toward ‘slow travel’ vacations is stronger than ever,” said Derek Banks, Managing Director of European Waterways. “On European Waterways’ Garden Cruises, guests have plenty of time to breathe in the fresh air as they stroll around some of the most magnificent parklands, biodiverse botanical gardens and manicured topiary in the world.”

Widmann Borletti Gardens | Credit: European Waterways

European Waterways’ Garden Cruises enhance the company’s classic itineraries for La Bella Vita and Spirit of Scotland with more immersive tours of the regions’ renowned gardens.

On Spirit of Scotland’s Garden Cruise, guests are led by the Head Gardener on a private tour of the Cawdor Castle gardens, recognised among the top 100 gardens in the UK. Famed for its abundance of flora and fauna, it blossoms with rhododendrons and azaleas in the spring, and borders of lilies and archways of rambling roses and laburnum in the summer.

A morning visit to the Abriachan Garden Nurseries reveals winding woodland paths, secret detours and stunning views of Loch Ness. The private gardens of Attadale in Wester Ross feature traditional Japanese gardens, hidden animal sculptures, Monet bridges, and waterfalls. They are overlooked by towering mountains and magnificent vistas of the surrounding highlands.

La Bella Vita cruising | Credit: European Waterways

A key highlight of La Bella Vita’s Garden Cruise is a tour of the University of Padua Botanical Gardens. Considered the birthplace of botanical science, it is the world’s oldest academic botanical garden and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visiting the tropical greenhouse, guests can observe staghorn ferns, bromeliads, and multiple species of rare and endangered orchids.

The gardens of the Bagnoli Estate’s 17th Century Villa Widmann Borletti provide views of classically landscaped Italianate gardens. They showcase potted lemon trees, topiary and mythological sculptures made by the Italian sculptor, Antonio Bonazza. The Parco Giardino Sigurta in Valeggio sul Mincio is also on the itinerary, offering a rose garden, a hermitage, and a medicinal herb garden amid its 600 hectares of park.

“Our Garden Cruises give guests a chance to experience first-hand the biodiversity on display and admire the ingenuity of gardeners throughout Europe,” said Banks. “When guests return home, they will be buzzing with inspiration, ready to turn their own patch of nature into a colorful masterpiece!”

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All images supplied.

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