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What is a houseboat?

A houseboat vacation rental does exactly what its name implies, offering a place to bed down that's either on a lake, on a river, or on one of the water channels of the world. It's a quirky and nuanced way to go on a holiday, with all sorts of eccentric and plush options on the menu. They range from fancy yachts to vintage Victorian vessels, always giving travelers something new and different to consider.

Why should I stay in a houseboat?

Going for a houseboat rental rather than a conventional holiday stay has all sorts of bonuses. For starters, it promises to be something totally out of the ordinary, getting you off dry land and onto a canal or river or sea. Then there's the added sense of adventure that comes with being able to move your hotel from place to place, if possible. That's not the case with permanent houseboats, but it's possible to bag stays that go from dock to dock, or which simply let you sail to and sleep someplace new each day.

Where do you find houseboats?

Up between the ice-caked peaks of the Indian Himalayas, houseboats have been a feature of the city of Srinagar since the era of the British Raj. They tend to be stationary, unlike their waterborne compadres down south in the misty Keralan Backwaters. Elsewhere, and houseboats are common from the Mediterranean, to quintessential Amsterdam, to buzzing seaside resorts in America – think opulent yachts with sails and sunbathing deck space aplenty.

How much does it cost to stay in a houseboat?

You can pay 1000s a night or just 10s for a houseboat in your destination of choice – it all depends on where you are and what sort of vessel you're looking at. Opulent boats with rooms to rival the top hotel resorts are available, and so are yachts with on-board skippers. They tend to cost the most, while cheap, inexpensive options are also available in the form of rustic barges, Keralan skiffs, and the like.

How do I book a houseboat?

If you're wondering how to book a houseboat, then it might help to know that it's exactly the same process as booking a conventional hotel, at least on That's because we collate all sorts of accommodations into the same search engine, letting you sort by type and choose bundled packages with flights and car hire included. Simply use the wizard above, which is set to show you houseboat options.

What's the difference between houseboats and hotels?

Well, for the more intrepid traveler who likes to try new things, the decision between an off-beat houseboat and a conventional hotel room is easy to make. These stays often promise plenty of culture and flexibility in your vacation, along with history and heritage to boot. Just bear in mind that many – except luxury houseboats, of course (think Paris) – will be more rustic than an on-land hotel, with shared bathrooms or under-deck sleeping spaces forming the norm.

Are there houseboat close to me?

Search for a houseboat nearby on and you could soon be bedding down over the waters of Venice. There are options all over the globe to pick from, whether on the canals of Holland or the high-perched lake waters of northern India, each with their own unique vibe and character.