The first time I visited Amsterdam, I fell in love with the city immediately. I’ll be sharing my favorite places in Amsterdam in coming weeks, but if you find yourself planning a trip the capital of the Netherlands, why not do like the locals and consider staying in a houseboat?
Merchants used to navigate Amsterdam’s picturesque canal rings. Today, there are thousands of houseboats permanently moored to the city’s canals.
Originally, houseboats were a way to answer the housing shortage. Some houseboats were once cargo vessels and converted into livable spaces, while others were built specifically for living. Most houseboats have a terrace or small garden on the deck, and all of them are connected to the city’s water and power system.
We planned to stay in Amsterdam for three nights. Our first night, we stayed in an Airbnb right outside of the Bloemenmarkt, which was the perfect central location for us to orient ourselves with the city. We could have easily spent the rest of our trip in that location, but while trip planning weeks prior, I’d noticed there were a lot of houseboats listed on Airbnb.
Cost wise, staying in a houseboat can be cheaper or on-par with a hotel or other Airbnb accommodation. If you’re traveling in a group and able to split the cost, it becomes even more affordable to stay in a houseboat.
Since houseboat living is something that makes Amsterdam unique, I knew it’d be fun to spend a few nights on one.
I’d highly recommend the houseboat we stayed in, it’s central to tram stops and a short walk to city center.
Our living space was so cozy, much bigger than we anticipated. The houseboat had three bedrooms, a living room area, kitchen and bathroom. With only two of us, it felt super spacious for Amsterdam. Even with 4-6 people though, think it’d still be manageable because all of the bedrooms were separated.
In true houseboat form, the entrance to our boat was via a gangway, across the deck, down a step ladder and into a tiny, red door.
The views from the canal were lovely, staying on a houseboat is a peaceful, quiet way to experience Amsterdam. We loved being at canal level at night, watching tour boats float by, city lights reflecting off the water. During the day, light streamed in our boat’s long windows, and luckily, it was warm enough to open a few of them for a refreshing breeze.
In the morning, it was pure joy sitting on our terrace and watching the city wake up. Houseboats near us bobbed, bike bells clung in the distance and fog slowly lifted off the city as the sun rose.
All in all, staying in a houseboat is a great and easy way to make a trip to Amsterdam a bit more special.