It's surprising how enjoyable a ferry ride can be! Even if in search of a cheap transport option, the views and scenery on many ferry routes around the world rival those of the priciest cruise ships. A fantastic way to experience any city is from the water, and since ferry journeys are often extremely cheap - from a few dollars to completely free, our 6 best places in the world to take a ferry crossings are sure to save you a penny or two whilst enjoying the view of a lifetime...
1. The Staten Island Ferry, New York
The Staten Island ferry carries around 60,000 people a day across the short strait between Manhattan and Staten Island in New York City. With breathtaking views of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, the ferry leaves from the Whitehall Ferry Terminal by Battery Park before making its way across the water to the borough of Staten Island.
Since 1997, the five mile journey has been free, so it's a fantastic way to experience New York from the water if you're on a budget. Check out the incredible view of the Financial District as you leave the port - the iconic One World Trade Centre has just been finished (2014) and is officially the tallest skyscraper in the western hemisphere!
2. The Star Ferry, Hong Kong
Since 1898, the best way to travel between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island has been the Star Ferry. From Tsimshatsui in Kowloon, the ferries head either to Central or Wanchai terminals on Hong Kong island and offer passengers some of the finest views of the Hong Kong skyline. The Central terminal route is shorter, so head to Wan Chai if you want to take full advantage of the amazing views for the low cost of HK$2.50 - around 20 pence! Try and take the trip at least twice, during the day and at night, to experience both the blue and silver views of the city by day as well as the dramatic light show that fills the sky every evening at 8pm.
3. The Vancouver Island Ferry, Vancouver
The ferry ride from Vancouver to the town of Victoria on Vancouver Island is stunning, taking you past green forests and deep blue inlets and if you're lucky - letting you spy some Canadian wildlife. In the summer months you might catch a glimpse of the elusive orca whale and if not, you'll have plenty of opportunity once you've reached the island.
Embrace the great outdoors available that await on Vancouver Island, including kayaking, hiking, bear-watching and loads more. The ferry costs around £8.50 per passenger or £28 for a vehicle and is a great way to enjoy the rugged coastal scenery of Vancouver.
4. The Golden Gate Ferry, San Francisco
This 30 minute trip between San Francisco and Sausalito is a real bargain - for just $10.25 you can sail past Alcatraz, Angel Island and enjoy fantastic photo opportunities for photos of the Golden Gate Bridge. The iconic red bridge is often shrouded with San Francisco's famous fog, so make sure it's a clear day before embarking on the Golden Gate ferry to Sausalito.
Once you arrive in Sausalito, this quirky town has lots to offer from museums and small, family-run restaurants to fantastic views over the bay. Hike up to the Marin Headlands for the classic shot of the bridge or drive north to the Muir Woods where you can stand amongst California's famous redwood trees and marvel at their immense size.
5. The Manly Ferry, Sydney
The ferry ride from Sydney Harbour to Manly Beach is a highlight of any time in Sydney. Beginning at Circular Quay, the bustling ferry port in the heart of the city, this ferry heads out towards Manly, passing the iconic 'coat hanger' Harbour Bridge before turning right and skirting around the edge of the Opera House, giving a unique view into its huge windows that overlook the bay.
You'll sail between yachts and cruise liners as you head further out of the Sydney harbour and past the hundreds of Victorian Sydney homes that overlook the harbour, eventually emerging in the beautiful port of Manly, where long, golden beaches and surf await. If you're lucky, you might spot a bottle nose dolphin or a whale on this stunning 30 minute journey. At around £8 return, this is an opportunity that can't be missed!
6. The Cook Strait Ferry, New Zealand
The Cook Strait ferry from Wellington on New Zealand's North Island to Picton on the South Island is the ultimate ferry crossing. Connecting the two sides of New Zealand, this 3.5 hour crossing journeys through stunning scenery. You'll pass the rugged Wellington Heads as you leave the capital, before entering open water where the sea and sky rival each other in their beautiful blue hue.
Dolphins and whales are sometimes seen on this long stretch of peaceful water before the ferry enters the Marlborough Sounds and winds its way through the inlets to the small coastal town of Picton, where the South Island's treasures await. Travelling by sea between the two islands is a must when visiting New Zealand and whether you're travelling by camper, car, or on foot, this ferry ride is bound to impress.
If you fancy a ferry ride in any of these incredible locations, we can build your dream holiday to include it. Call us on +44 1273320580 or request a quote by email and start planing; our consultants can advise on the best trips and activities to include with a ferry ride and get you on the way to the trip of a lifetime!