If you're looking to travel around Europe on a gap year there are few better ways to see what the region has to offer than by hiring a boat and exploring the continent's beautiful rivers and canals.
By doing so, you'll get to experience a number of wonderful countries and with so many things to do in Europe it is sure to be an experience that you will never forget.
But what destinations make for the best places to visit? Germany is a popular hotspot for many of those travelling through Europe on a gap year, and with its rich history and beautiful natural scenery it's not hard to see why.
Take boating holidays in Germany and you'll get the chance to visit the Spreewald nature reserve. In doing so, you can see a wide variety of beautiful creatures, from white-tailed eagles to otters, as well as numerous species of butterflies and other insects.
The flora here is as equally captivating as the fauna, with majestic oak and poplar trees lined against the banks of the reserve's rivers.
You'll also be able to take in some wonderful architecture - both from the comfort of your boat and after you moor up to explore on land - during your time in Germany. For example, you can see the historic 18th century Sanssouci Castle in Potsdam, while the north-east town of Brandenburg contains a variety of fascinating medieval buildings.
Berlin, the nation's capital, is just a short distance from Brandenburg and in this vibrant city you can visit a range of historic buildings and monuments, as well as spend time in fascinating museums. Among the numerous cultural institutions are the Pergamon Museum - which contains Islamic art and examples of Roman architecture - and the Neue Nationalgalerie, home to modern works by the likes of Picasso and Dali.
The German capital was famously divided into two during the Cold War and while the wall was torn down in 1989, you can see still see pieces of it that are left standing as a reminder of this significant period in world history.
Alternatively, you could take boating holidays in Belgium. The captivating country certainly has lots to offer, so it could be the perfect place for an adventure-filled gap year in Europe.
With its winding canals, you should find that you can guide your vessel right into the heart of the medieval city of Ghent. Upon mooring up, you'll find historic architecture including the St Bavo's Cathedral and St Nicholas' Church; although if you are after a more modern attraction, the Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art could be the place for you.
Belgium is famous the world over for its high-quality chocolates and lace, so these could make for the perfect souvenir of your travels. The country is also known for its many breweries and with more than 300 different kinds of Belgian beer available for you to try, you'll be in the right place if you're keen to have a few drinks before enjoying a night out on the town.
However, if you're looking to take things easy, why not head to Nieuwpoort? This coastal resort has some fantastic sandy beaches making it the ideal place to soak up the sun and relax.
You can also opt for boat hire in Holland, which lies to the north of Belgium. The country is famous for its numerous canals and as you sail along the waterways, you'll be afforded brilliant views of traditional windmills and fields of tulips.
However, there's lots for you to see and do once you've moored up your boat at the marina, especially in the capital Amsterdam. Spend an afternoon in the Rijksmuseum to see works by Dutch artists, such as Rembrandt and Johannes Vermeer, before relaxing at a canal-side cafe.
The 14th century Muiderslot castle and Utrecht's Dom Tower, the country's tallest church tower, are just two of the amazing attractions that you'll be able to take in during your gap year here.
But the above countries are just a selection of the European destinations that you can visit by boat. Hire a vessel to go along the Canal du Midi in southern France and you may get the chance to visit the Roman town of Narbonne and spend time in Languedoc, one of the most famous wine-producing regions in the entire world.
Exploring the Italian waterways by boat can also make for a brilliant gap year adventure. By doing so, you can sail along the rivers of the Po Delta, where you'll come across a wide variety of animals and plants, as well as elements of Greek and Roman civilisations, or meander through Venice's extensive network of canals.
No matter where you go, exploring Europe's beautiful waterways by boat during your gap year is bound to make for an experience that you will cherish forever.