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The concept of slow travel is a trend nowadays: everyone is talking about it like it’s something new, but it’s not! We’ve been doing it all along!

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What is slow travel?

Slow travel includes a number of elements that are good for travelers, good for the earth, and good for the people who live where you are traveling:

1. Traveling slowly

This is the most obvious of slow travel’s definitions: you travel more slowly. Rather than speeding from one sight to another in the style of the film “If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium,” you slow down and see just a few sights, but see them well.
Traveling slowly means adopting slower forms of transportation as well: hiking, biking, and/or boating, for example, instead of using cars or buses.

2. Sustainability

Slow travel encompasses sustainability in that slower forms of travel, especially walking or cycling, use so few resources. Unfortunately, to get to the start location, you might need to fly, but once you’ve reached your destination, it can be slow travel all the way.

You’re also going to spend your money more sustainably, supporting the local population. You’ll buy your locally-made souvenirs or a hand-made sweet treat from a local entrepreneur rather than some big multinational corporation. Your contribution to the local economy is real and appreciated.

3. Being more mindful

When you travel slowly, you’re more likely to, for example, notice things around you that you might not notice if you were whizzing along in a car. By moving more slowly, you get more time to process what you see and to think and make connections with that place. You’re not checking off a “must-see” bucket list; you’re experiencing a place in real time.
At the same time, your chances of meeting and striking up a conversation with a local person are higher. You end up feeling a much greater connection to a place and its people.

4. Peace of mind

When you travel slowly, it’s better for your own state of mind. Your impressions of the places you visit are deeper and more meaningful. You won’t get burnt out or exhausted trying to experience too much in too short a time. You’ll feel more relaxed, and that relaxed feeling will help you make connections with the people around you because you’ll have the energy to be friendly and to be curious. And your memories will be distinctly clearer. You’ll look back fondly on a small place you grew attached to, with greater understanding.

Boat Bike Tours = Slow travel

By now, you can see why, to us, slow travel isn’t just a trend. We’ve always done it at Boat Bike Tours.

  • You travel slowly, by boat and by bicycle, through the landscape.
  • You have opportunities to learn about and support local businesses – think of visiting a cheesemaker or a winery. Even our ships’ owners are local entrepreneurs!
  • As you cycle through the villages and farmland, you get a sense of place: a better understanding of how local people live, rather than just being spoon-fed a local stereotype.
  • And you relax, not rushing around trying to see everything.
  • And we love to tell stories about the Netherlands. Not just about the beautiful cities, but also about the green countryside, our woodlands and heathlands, and our rich culture. We do this through slow travel: from canoeing in the Weerribben-Wieden to rediscovering the cuisine and agritourism of South Limburg.

In recent months we’ve worked with photographer Aranka Sinnema to visually document these stories. We cast a light on lesser-known places, close to nature, with local entrepreneurs, and in a relaxed tempo.

In the coming months we’ll keep sharing stories about the slow-travel experience in the Netherlands.

It’s simple: slow travel is what we do!

Our travel experts would be happy to help you book your dream tour. Just contact us online or call us at +31 20 72 35 400 so that we can help you!

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