The Best Houseboats in Europe to Book for a Vacation

Staying on the Well Hauseboote is a great way to experience life on the Baltic Sea
Staying on the Well Hauseboote is a great way to experience life on the Baltic Sea | Courtesy of Well Hauseboote / Expedia
Photo of Alexis James
12 November 2021

There are more than 40,000km (25,000mi) of canals, rivers and lakes in Europe, and exploring the continent on the water is an underrated delight. It follows then that houseboats the length and breadth of the continent are becoming increasingly popular as an attractive alternative to villa and apartment living, offering more colour and charisma not to mention changing landscapes. From floating along a fjord to bobbing in a basin, we’ve put together a list of the best houseboats in Europe to book for a vacation. Read on – and reserve your holiday with Culture Trip.

Floating House Bergen, for party time with a crowd

Luxe bedroom with dark blue velvet headboard and bench and chic lighting at Floating House Bergen
Courtesy of Floating House Bergen / Expedia
Enjoy the tranquil surrounds of Norway’s fjord landscape in this luxury floating house based in the city of Bergen. Bask in the morning sunrise from a shaded lounger on the boardwalk, or open the five bi-fold living-room doors to take in the views and fresh Scandinavian air from the comfort of the sofa. The spacious open-plan layout also features a dining table seating six. A range of doubles and bunks, as well as sofa beds in the six bedrooms mean that up to 16 people can sleep in the vessel – that’s quite a party.

The UK capital with a twist at Boathouse London

The rustic-chic interior with cosy living space, open-plan kitchen and skylights at the Boathouse London
Courtesy of the Boathouse London / Expedia
Moored within London’s first floating pocket park, this wide-beam barge gives you easy access to the innovative green space in Paddington Basin. Bobbing gently on a series of pontoons made from recycled materials, the park features lush lawns and vibrant floral centrepieces. It’s also the launchpad for GoBoats, the electric vessels that allow you to explore London’s canals in style, at your leisure. The immaculately furnished accommodation features wood-beamed walls and skylights, while the cosy lounge transforms into a second bedroom, meaning Boathouse London can sleep up to four guests.

Homeboat Nieuwpoort, for aqua-glamping

“Glamping on the water” is how this property describes its offering at the peaceful Westhoek Marina in Nieuwpoort, Belgium. With two bedrooms – one with a double bed, one with a bunk – the boat can easily accommodate a family of four. Place your breakfast or brunch order at the nearby Bar Juliette and settle back for smoked salmon and fresh bread delivered to your door – an ideal start to the day. There’s a fully equipped kitchen if you’d rather do it yourself, including a Senseo coffee-maker. Bike and kayak rental are among the dozens of family-friendly activities in the area – head off and explore.

Burnished Bavarian sunsets at Floating Village Brombachsee

Spacious living and dining area with large windows overlooking the water at Floating Village Brombachsee
Courtesy of Floating Village Brombachsee / Expedia
This charming floating village in the Franconian Lake District of southern Germany is home to 19 delightful water villas. Each 67sqm (720sqft) property has two double bedrooms, an open-plan kitchen, dining and living space, including a fireplace. To add to the fun, you’ll be delivered to (and taken from) your villa by shuttle boat. Meals and drinks can also be delivered by the village’s “digital floating shop”. The best feature is the covered roof terrace, perfect for an evening glass of wine while contemplating the Bavarian sunset.

Houseboat Prinsheerlijk, for Amsterdam-fine accommodation

Houseboat Prinsheerlijk's arty and creative living space
Courtesy of Houseboat Prinsheerlijk /
The location of this houseboat couldn’t be better if you’re looking to explore central Amsterdam – it’s moored in the Reguliersgracht canal only a five-minute walk away from Rembrandt Square. The interiors are smart and surprisingly roomy, but the real treat here is that perfect moment as you sit on the comfy rattan chairs on deck and watch Amsterdam whirl by in all its glory. In the (very likely) event that you’re drawn by the magnetic pull of the iconic nightlife in the city, the good news is that checkout isn’t until 11am.

Porpoise-spotting at Well Hauseboote

Exterior view of the modern houseboats with floor-to-ceiling windows and outdoor dining area at Well Hauseboote
Courtesy of Well Hauseboote / Expedia
Staying in one of these two houseboats is a great way to experience life on the Baltic Sea. Moored in Denmark’s picturesque Flensburg Fjord, the Junior Boat accommodates four people, while the Family and Friends Boat comes with an extra room and the option to bring along two further guests. Both vessels are flooded with natural light thanks to giant glass facades on three of its walls. The view includes glimpses of the Holnis peninsula – so, keep an eye on the water, as porpoises are known to visit the area.

The Roisin Dubh Houseboat, for a family-home feel

Roisin Dubh Houseboat with white wood panelling and full kitchen
Courtesy of Roisin Dubh Houseboat / Expedia
Once a family residence, where owners Ger and Carolina lived with their children for more than a decade, this boat on the Grand Canal in Sallins, less than an hour west of Dublin, has managed to retain a warm and homely feel. Inside, there are two double bedrooms, while the sofa converts into another bed should you be looking to invite the maximum number of guests (six). Everything is beautifully furnished, resplendent with oak panels, and you’ve got a bath, working stove and central heating – crucial for keeping you cosy on colder Irish nights.

Sardinian harbour elegance at the Homeboat Company Sant'Elmo-Cagliari

The vibrantly painted mini-houseboats in Cagliari harbour
Courtesy of the Homeboat Company Sant'Elmo-Cagliari /
These vibrantly painted boats add real zing to the harbour in Cagliari, Sardinia’s southern port – their striking yellow, blue, purple or green tones are a beacon, so you’ll have no trouble locating your boat on the way back from a drink or two in town. Tailor-made for romantic breaks, these snug little numbers have everything you’d expect of a weekend abode: a shower, kitchenette and coffee-making facilities, while the bottle of Sardinian red on arrival is a welcome touch. Take a sip and sit back on the wooden deck – unless you fancy a little carefree swinging over the harbour in the chair hammock out the back.

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