From dropping anchor in a central Amsterdam houseboat to navigating a narrowboat on the historic English canals, I’m convinced there’s a nautical break to float everyone’s boat.
We’ve chosen 10 rentals that get you as close to the water as possible, without getting wet. And what’s more, they’re all ship shape and waiting to welcome you on board. Check them out…
Grassy bridle paths, leafy trees and soft sunlight on calm water… isn’t this just the picture of England’s idyllic waterways? The Adele Marie, a 58ft narrowboat, is based near Tattenhall in Cheshire. She sleeps four; ideal for two couples craving a peaceful few days drifting along, listening to the chug-chug-chug of the engine, spotting wildlife and mooring up for a pint in a rural pub.
With so many canal routes nearby, how far you travel is entirely up to you. Head south towards Birmingham on the Shropshire Union Canal or venture across the border into Wales on the Llangollen Canal. (WiFi is available on board so you won’t be completely cut off from civilisation. Unless, of course, you choose to be.)
It’s difficult to believe that this is, in fact, a houseboat. White walls, clean lines and a stylish skylight give this rental a modern loft apartment look. With a woodburner at one end and a dining table at the other, this is such a sociable space; ideal for a small group of friends travelling together.
The houseboat is located in Jordaan, a vibrant district full of character with bustling bars, cafés and attractive tree-lined streets. You’re just minutes from Amsterdam’s star attractions, including the thought-provoking Anne Frank House. Venture a little further north east, across the Willemsbrug bridge, and the green space of Westerpark awaits.
This delightful houseboat sits on the side of Lake Union in Seattle, in the north west corner of the United States. Considering this city’s skyscraping architecture and magnificent surroundings – water, evergreen forests and mountains – I wonder why it doesn’t have a higher profile on the tourist radar. Not that I’m complaining…
The houseboat itself has a warm and homely atmosphere made all the more cosy by a woodburner in the living area. Head up to the bedroom and watch the world go by from the outdoor sitting area. The driftwood table is just one touch that makes this stay feel completely unique.
Explore the captivating city of Copenhagen from this wonderful houseboat rental. With a thoroughly modern interior that screams sleek Scandinavian style, the result is spacious accommodation for up to eight people. Moored just five minutes’ walk from the world-famous Tivoli gardens, Copenhagen’s delights are at your fingertips.
The reviews speak for themselves: “It is so central and yet so very peaceful” and “a truly unique and special experience”.
Step off the street lined with aesthetically-pleasing houses and onto this charming houseboat bed and breakfast. Moored on the Amstel canal, the rental looks out onto a picture-postcard view of the city. Lovely finishing touches like the porthole windows and clever layout provide an ideal base from which to explore.
This boat’s location is an art lover’s dream, being just minutes from the Rembrandt and Van Gogh museums, as well as the Hermitage Amsterdam; don’t miss the gallery’s Golden Age exhibition celebrating the achievements of native ‘Amsterdammers’. It tells the story of how the city prospered and became the thriving, dynamic port it is today.
Imagine drifting gently by the waters of the Arabian Sea, passing palm-tree lined beaches. How do you feel? Relaxed? Then this boat rental cruise is the perfect choice for you. The beautiful region of Kerala, towards the southern tip of India, has mile upon mile of canal and backwater home to several species of exotic bird.
The boat itself has two bedrooms and a stunning balcony above the main deck, ideal for unrivalled views out across the water. It moors up each evening, giving you chance to explore the villages and meet the locals. Why not buy some prawns or crab from the fishermen? The boat’s chef will even cook it for you. Bliss.
Not too far from the buzzing city of Leipzig in Germany is Bitterfeld, home to the next waterside rental on our list. Two double bedrooms can comfortably accommodate a crew of four, as can the roomy living spaces, so it’s spot on for couples travelling together.
Outside seating is available on the decked area with a luxury canopied sofa and matching chairs. It’s just the place to sip an apéritif before dinner as the sun sets over the water. If the weather isn’t perfect, the elegant dining area has floor-to-ceiling windows so you can still appreciate the view.
This houseboat rental in central Paris boasts an easy and sophisticated style which goes down a storm with visitors: bookcases filled with well-thumbed volumes, comfortable leather armchairs and rich, dark wooden furniture. It has three bedrooms to accommodate six guests, as well as a light and bright kitchen area on deck.
Moored near the Bois de Boulogne, the boat is both a base to see the city’s sights and an escape from them: the best of both worlds. One reviewer summed up the boat’s location with “We loved the peace and quiet – in the middle of Paris!”
Pelican Place is one of San Diego’s best kept secrets. This two-storey floating home is built over the gentle waters of San Diego Bay in Southern California. From the decked terrace, you can watch all manner of boats, from luxury yachts to historic vessels, pass by. Seals and dolphins are frequent visitors to the bay, too. Why not explore it along with them by taking the 5-seater paddle boat out for a spin?
The floating house sleeps up to four people and is perfectly positioned for glorious sunrises and spectacular sunsets. You can take my word for it, but there’s really nothing like seeing it for yourself.
As the owners of the Gina say, “there’s nothing quite like the sense of freedom of cruising at your own pace”. This beautifully maintained and tastefully decorated narrowboat sleeps up to six. Full cooking facilities mean you can whip up dinner and eat al fresco on deck (weather permitting, obviously). Alternatively, moor up when you see an inviting looking pub. It’s entirely up to you.
The River Thames supplies a wealth of quintessentially English villages and towns to visit including Henley-on-Thames, Marlow and Windsor. Watching the countryside drift past on the Gina delivers the relaxation we all need every now and then. You should try it.
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