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I stayed in a $700-a-night houseboat in Amsterdam. It was surprisingly spacious and worth every penny.

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  • I stayed in a houseboat in Amsterdam for four nights.
  • The houseboat cost $2,802.55 after taxes and fees, or roughly $700 per night on Airbnb.
  • Even though it was on the pricier side, it was worth it to live like a local for a few days.

One of the first things you notice about Amsterdam when you visit is that there are canals everywhere — and in many of those canals are houseboats.

When I took a trip in April 2024 with my parents to visit my brother studying abroad, I knew I wanted to stay in a houseboat for at least part of our trip since houseboats are so distinctly Dutch.

The Dutch have lived on boats as early as the 17th century. As the Washington Post noted, the Netherlands is “waterlogged” — one-third of the country is below sea level, and efforts to drain water from the land date back to the Middle Ages.

The New York Times reported there are about 10,000 houseboats in the Netherlands, and 2,500 of them are in Amsterdam. The space in an Amsterdam canal alone — that is, without a boat — costs nearly $500,000.

And houseboats themselves are only getting more expensive. Real-estate agent Jon Kok told the Times in 2019 that the prices of houseboats had increased between 30 and 40 percent in the five years prior.

Over the course of 10 days in Amsterdam, I stayed in two Airbnbs. Our first was inside an apartment on land, and our second was a houseboat that came to around $700 a night after taxes, cleaning, and service fees.

Our first Airbnb, which we stayed in for five nights, cost $2,442 in total. It was nice but not too different from the many other Airbnbs I’ve stayed in.

While more expensive, the houseboat was a completely new experience for the four nights. I’ve never taken a cruise, so this was the first time I’ve ever slept on the water. I was nervous about potentially getting seasick but decided the uniqueness of staying on a houseboat outweighed the potential nausea, which I thankfully didn’t experience.

Here’s what it was like to stay in an Amsterdammer’s houseboat.

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