Sleep on the water with these 8 unique European boat rentals
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
As the travel industry reopens following COVID-19 shutdowns, TPG suggests that you talk to your doctor, follow health officials’ guidance and research local travel restrictions before booking that next trip.
This summer is shaping up to be a little different. Instead of hitting Ibiza‘s nightlife scene or jetting off to far-flung Asian islands, maybe you’re considering a U.K. staycation or a quick jaunt to an Irish beach. Either way, this year’s #summergoals include having fun without getting too close to, well, pretty much anyone else.
One way to do something fun and different while maintaining social distance is to rent your own boat right here in Europe. Obviously, we are not referring to a crowded cruise ship, nor are we suggesting you sail around the world. Instead, we’ve gathered a list of some of the private overnight boat stays (docked) within Europe so you can enjoy being on the water, whether that be a houseboat in Amsterdam, a snazzy yacht or a sailboat in the Mediterranean.
Before we dive into options, there are a few things to consider when staying on a boat:
- You can always ask your host, rental company or hotel staff if someone can take you out on a boat ride. Do not attempt this yourself.
- Cooking facilities, showering facilities and general space will likely be limited, so prepare accordingly — pack light.
- Seek out remedies if you’re prone to motion sickness. Even though your boat is docked, it will still be rocking on the water, especially if it’s docked at sea.
- Be aware that certain harbours or marinas are not directly in the city centre so it may take you longer to get to landmarks or tourist attractions.
It’s also worth noting that there are many websites out there for boat rentals, such as Boatsetter, Samboat, Get My Boat and Click & Boat (this one is U.K.-based). Or, you can search on regular rental sites like Airbnb and VRBO. When searching on a site dedicated to boats, make sure to specify that you want an overnight rental. When searching on a regular rental site, head to filters and click the boat or houseboat options. Or, just refer to this handy list of our favourites.
1. Romantic (and sustainable) Parisian escape, France
This renovated houseboat perched on the Seine dates back to 1910 but has been outfitted with all the modern comforts. The boat features a kitchen, bathroom and two separate sleeping spaces for four guests, but the real highlights of this rental are the two spacious, plant-covered terraces that overlook the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and other Parisian landmarks. Those wanting a getaway with all the luxuries will enjoy the double bathroom sinks, full bathtub, Nespresso machine and wine cabinet. But the best part? The owner plants a tree for every stay!
Prices start at £285 per night excluding cleaning fees.
2. Chic houseboat getaway, Belgium
This houseboat which sleeps up to four guests feels more like a stylish loft than a rustic boat. It’s docked in the Westhoek Marina, part of the Gravensluis lock of the Yser River. The modern, peaceful space offers a kitchen, bathroom, two bedrooms and a beautiful outdoor deck overlooking the water. There’s even a sunbathing rooftop terrace too. The marina features a restaurant and barbecue area, kayak rentals and the option to hire a skipper and motorboat to cruise the river. If you’d like to get out onto dry land, you can rent bicycles or electric golf carts too.
Prices start at £137 per night excluding service and cleaning fees.
3. Artsy London houseboat, U.K.
For a truly shagadelic London staycation adventure, stay on this houseboat near Victoria Park on Bow Wharf. Painted by famous artist Camille Walala, the two-bedroom, one-and-a-half bathroom boat is ideal for travellers wanting a little extra fun, featuring leopard-print wallpaper and a velvet couch. This stylish boat is truly unique — the kitchen sink is actually a vintage bassinet, and this is one of the few houseboats that has its own British antique fireplace.
Prices start at £120 per night cleaning fees.
4. Canal houseboat holiday, the Netherlands
If you’ve ever dreamed of an Amsterdam canal houseboat studio experience, this is it. Watch the world go by on your private deck, or walk a few minutes to the nearest bus stop to get out and explore the canals and city of Amsterdam. The houseboat (which is shared, but the studio has a private entrance and own deck) is perfect for two, with a bedroom, kitchenette area and bathroom — just note you’ll need to crouch down through a hatch to get inside.
Prices start at £100 per night excluding service and cleaning fees.
5. Group Adriatic sailboat adventure, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Families or groups will love this four-bedroom, two-bathroom sailboat with a kitchen that can hold up to eight guests. The boat will stay docked at the ACI Marina Dubrovnik unless you request the owners take you out for a sail on the azure Adriatic Sea at an additional cost — or prepare you fresh seafood for dinner. The walled city centre of Dubrovnik is reachable by car.
Prices start at £110 per night excluding service fees.
6. Finnish floating cabin, Porvoo, Finland
Unique boat experiences can also be found in Nordic countries. About 50 miles away from Helsinki, this charming Finnish cabin floats on the Porvoo River. The location is quaint and quiet, and the cabin can comfortably sleep two. The space is small but has a kitchen, bathroom and a small deck where guests can relax and admire the river life. Bicycle rentals are also available.
Prices start at £180 per night excluding service fees.
7. Glamorous French Riviera yachting, Cannes, France
There’s not much that seems fancier than yachting around the French Riviera. Rent this Galeon Fly 380 yacht in Cannes, which has two luxury cabins, a bathroom, kitchen and living area that can sleep four guests. With a few different terrace options, you can have fun in the sun or shade on this gorgeous yacht. Cruise the Côte d’Azur’s turquoise waters led by a captain at an additional charge.
Prices start at £436 per night excluding service and occupancy fees.
8. The Titanic, Liverpool, U.K.
This boat on the Mersey River was made to look like the original Titanic — the living room depicts the grand staircase, and bunk bedrooms for kids are even labelled as second and third class. Best for those wanting a kitschy, original stay for a bit of fun, the boat has three bedrooms which can comfortably sleep nine. Its location in the Liverpool Marina is close to plenty of attractions and landmarks.
Prices start at £365 excluding service and cleaning fees.
If you want a unique, memorable summer holiday, renting a boat may be just the right idea — and it’s easy to social distance once you’re in your own space in the water. From budget sailboats to mid-range houseboats to luxury yacht splurges in varying countries, there’s a boat rental right for everyone.
Featured photo by of rechitansorin/Getty Images
Welcome to The Points Guy!