I am very fond of borders and I find crossing the border is the best bit of traveling. Is there any border in the EU that is similar to the one in the photo and that I can visit?

No Escape

  • Water borders with visible markers
  • Can be crossed by a rented small boat
  • No need to stop in the middle of the water to show your passport
  • 12
    You're asking if there's a border that looks like a scene from the movie "No Escape" (which was set in Asia, and filmed in Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia) somewhere in Europe? Does the border need to include the people aiming searchlights and guns (top left corner) at you as you cross, or is that optional? – Doc Jan 9 '16 at 22:16
  • 6
    What are the key characteristics of the border in the photo? Are you asking for water borders with visible markers that can be crossed by boat? – user56reinstatemonica8 Jan 9 '16 at 22:16
  • 1
    Any within Schengen border that happens to cross a river, of which there are many, although most will have less of an official look. – Willeke Jan 9 '16 at 22:23
  • Do canals count? Man-made waterways? – Gayot Fow Jan 10 '16 at 1:07
  • 2
    Hmm, this could be tricky, because any border that is significant enough to be marked is likely to be the type that can only be crossed at designated points which are usually major roads. I could be wrong, though. For example, this company do small boat tours of the Norway-Russia border, but aren't allowed to cross pasvikturist.no/english/kirkenes-2/summer-activities/… – user56reinstatemonica8 Jan 10 '16 at 9:56

Probably your best bet is, to find waterways - particularly canals - that go across borders, not along:

  • Across, not along, because European rivers tend to have a lot of water traffic. I don't remember ever seeing a river or similar along a border that had markers down the middle - it'd be an unnecessary obstacle to boats - but waterways across borders will usually have a friendly welcome sign at the border point.
  • Canals are more likely than rivers because for military reasons, rivers in Europe near borders tended to become the borders, more often than crossing the border... But canals started to be built in more peaceful times.
  • Within an open border zone like Shengen or mainland Britain, otherwise it's likely to be closed with border-crossers funnelled into a major official crossing (usually a main road)

Here's one example (assuming you count it as a border) - the Llangollen Canal which crosses the border between England and Wales:

  • It's a completely open border (two countries within one nation state) so you can cross it at leisure. If you don't think it's a real border, don't say so where a Welsh person can hear you :-)
  • It has cheerful signs marking the border:

    enter image description here

  • It's extremely scenic and unique. You might not realise from that first photo, that the border crossing is actually high up on a historic aquaduct. Two pics from that Wikipedia article:

    enter image description here enter image description here

  • While you're there, on the Welsh side of the border further along the same canal, there's an even more spectacular aqueduct, Pontcysyllte (pics from Wikipedia and Reddit).

    enter image description here enter image description here

  • It's a popular desitination for all sorts of boating holidays. You can hire a narrow boat with an engine and enough space for a family to sleep and cook meals, and spend a few days cruising the canal, or you can paddle across in a canoe, or one of those weird standing canoe things (don't fall off!) called SUPs apparently. Pics from Tripadvisor and SUPnorth...

    enter image description here enter image description here

  • While Wales is a different country from England, calling it a national border where you might expect passport control is a bit overstating it. – Willeke Jan 10 '16 at 12:39
  • 3
    I never said that it was, and the question didn't ask for borders with passport control - the only mention of passports in the question is "No need to stop in the middle of the water to show your passport". I specifically said "two countries within one nation state" – user56reinstatemonica8 Jan 10 '16 at 15:24

I upset the OP with my Dover answer so here is a bit more serious take on the matter, hopefully he OP will forgive me now.

This is Rudawka - Lesnaja (map) tourist water border crossing on Poland - Belarus border open from May to October. It was opened to allow uninterrupted paddling between the two countries. Having said that you have to arrange the crossing in advance with the appropriate office (e.g. Republic of Belarus consulate in Białystok). You can expect to get detailed information at tourist information offices in the area.

The crossing is located at the Kurzyniec Lock, one of many locks on the Augustów Canal, a cross-border canal built in the 19th century.

Kurzyniec Lock/Kuzhyniec Lock

Kurzyniec Lock/Kuzhyniec Lock

This is a different lock on the Augustów Canal. Gives you the idea of the fun ride you can have there. The canal is 63 miles long and features 18 locks. You can paddle along the whole length of the canal.

enter image description here


The river border between Belgium and the Netherlands, in Dutch 'de Maas' and in French called 'La Meuse'.

The stretch measured in a straight line is about 19.5 mile, about 31.5 km, (Google maps) but because of the nature of the river much longer by water, and also going by road will take much longer. That is between Maasbracht, the Netherlands - Kessenich, Belgium and Lanaken, Belgium - Maastricht, the Netherlands.

Ferry crossing 'de Maas' at Grubbenvorst and Velden
Ferry crossing 'de Maas' at Grubbenvorst and Velden
Photo released to public domain, by Gouwenaar.

There has been a recent border adjustment as the river had changed its bedding but the official border was still on its fixed paper line. A part of the border on the Dutch side of the river was officially still Belgium and while the people just walked over the border, Belgium police and other officials had to apply for permission to pass the Netherlands into the part of Belgium. You can find more about it in English language newpapers and online versions, as far away as NY Times, this Irish one comes with several photos.

As you can read in those news snippets, it is easy and allowed to cross the river by small craft, no border officials and also no or not much in the way of border markings, depending on where of the river you happen to cross. There might be some ancient markers from where there has been an official border crossing over the centuries, it is only in the last 40 years that there are no border checks between Belgium and the Netherlands, I am not even sure how long myself.

The border crossing of the river Rhine (Rijn) from Germany into the Netherlands takes about 4.67 miles, about 7.5 km (measuring curtecy of Google maps) and due to the nature of the river, pleasure boating is less encouraged, but still possible and allowed. Spijk in the Netherlands is along one side the river as is Tolkamer, Kleve in Germany on the other. Border checks did continue here till the start of the Schengen zone allowed for check-free crossings. If you go to 51.846848, 6.154735 on google maps and use street view you can see the river, as it was the moment their camera vehicle came past.

Rhine with groynes near Tolkamer, Netherlands.
Rhine with groynes near Tolkamer, Netherlands.
By Gouwenaar (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

There is a roughly 2.5 mile, 4 km stretch of border north of there, about as far north as you can go along that border. Due to the laws in Germany, or at least to the way Google streetview implements it, I can not give you a few of the water at the actual border, this is the nearest I can get in the Netherlands: 53.183672, 7.203187 The town is called Bad Nieuweschans, the Netherlands, on the other side of the border you can find Bunde, Germany. The water there looks like man made, but it might be a canalized bit of river as well. Again, as far as I can see no rules against pleasure boats, but I am not sure, not having been there. I know it is accessible by car/foot as my brother has visited the area once.

That is just three on the border of the Netherlands, I am sure you can go around other Schengen borders to find more. Use a 'walk around' option with the online map, wherever possible, to check out the nature of the borders.

I agree with the other answer, if you want to see signs of the border in the water, better check where the water crosses the border rather than being the border. And the more recent the crossing was guarded, the more likely you will find signs of guarding. And the more defended the border was, the more likely you will find proof in the river even after years.

In that respect, you might want to check out where used to be the border between the two Germanies. No border anymore, when it became a border between two political blocks it was one nation with all kind of waterways crossing the line, and there is no reason to take out all signs of having been a border unless it is big enough for serious boat traffic.
But I am not sure it fits your requirements as you do mention it being an actual national border.

  • There seem to have been two designated river/canal border crossing points for barges etc in Germany - one on the Elbe and one on the Mittelland Canal. Can't find a picture of either, though. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… – Andrew Jan 10 '16 at 12:10

How about this one in Dover.

  • water? check!
  • boats? check!
  • markers? check!
  • guns? check!
  • searchlights? if you are hiding in one of the lorries there for sure, check!


  • Where does it say that I need guns? the worst part is that your answer got votes up. – Ulkoma Jan 10 '16 at 9:16
  • Before you edited your question (and the picture) to explicitly state what you want. I guess some people still have sense of humour hence the upvote. So relax, it turned out to be an interesting question in the end. – Johnny Baloney Jan 10 '16 at 14:33
  • 1
    Are you sure? The port has a sea wall but no boundary markers, there are territorial waters in the channel anyway. – Gayot Fow Jan 10 '16 at 17:52
  • I don't know if there is a marker stone there or a marker buoy on the way out. I assumed the presence of indicators that this indeed is a border crossing as sufficient to fulfil the marker requirement. I consider UK Border Agency welcoming you with a smile and border control check points to be such indicators, for the purpose of answering this question anyway. So if you are a markerspotter beware, there may be no markers as per the strict border marker definition. – Johnny Baloney Jan 10 '16 at 19:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.