Explore Netherlands

Houseboat heaven

Houseboats moored along the canals are one of the iconic sights of Amsterdam. . There are about 750 houseboats of different types and sizes moored within the 17th century canal system – and some offer short term rentals, as an offbeat alternative to booking in to a hotel.

A friend and I booked three nights aboard a houseboat moored in the Jordaan district, an area within walking distance of the central station but as full of neighbourhood charm as you could wish. Lots of small restaurants and coffee shops, boutiques and ice cream shops. There was a well-stocked supermarket within easy walking distance of the boat.

Ducks and swan swam alongside everyday looking for handouts, and people passing in motorboats always gave a friendly wave as we sat out on the deck with glasses of wine in the evening.. The ripples their boats set up rocked the houseboat very gently.

Our boat was perfect for two, but conveniently slept four as my friend’s two teenagers joined us. The kitchen unit had a sink, electric cooker and a fridge.. though we didn’t bother cooking given all the great restaurants a short walk away. We brewed coffee in the morning to go with donuts from the local bakery. The weather was great so we had breakfast on deck and also had wine and snacks on deck in the evening.

Mosquitos, we were told, could be a problem so we bought repellant but didn’t need it.

The bathroom had a sink,toilet and shower stall and was connected to city water and electricity. There was a flat screen TV and WiFi, plus a dvd and a collection of films.

It was a fun alternative to a hotel and I’d happily do it again. Next time I’d have a bag of bread for the ducks. The donuts were so good they were hard to share

Contact websites for renting a houseboat: