Luxembourgs national holiday weekend gave us the opportunity to drive to the Belgian Coast. The last time we went our daughter was only 3 months old. So it was definitely an occasion to go back! But this time our accommodation was going to be something original. We were staying on a house boat. A little home on the water- how cool is that? More precisely, our destination was the Homeboat Westhoek Marina in Nieuwpoort.
The drive from Luxembourg to Nieuwpoort takes about 3 hours, 4 if the traffic in Brussels is crazy, as it was the case for us. The homeboat is located in the Westhoek Marina and is easily accessible by car. Parking in the port is free.
We were welcomed by Anna, who together with her husband owns and manages the homeboat. The pre arrival communication with Homeboat Westhoek Marina was great. The booking was straightforward and our questions were always answered quickly. The homeboat Westhoek Marina can be booked either on AirBnB or here. A lovely welcome gift was waiting for us on the boat.
Local beer for us and Belgian chocolates for the kids
Life on board
The houseboat has 2 bedrooms and sleeps 2-4 people. We slept in the Master bedroom and the kids were excited to sleep in the bunk beds. Chloé loved the view right on the water from her bed. She even got a visit from a duck 🙂 Fresh bed linen and towels are provided.
The houseboat has a heating/ cooling system working with a regular air to air heat pump and 100% ecofriendly. The kitchen is fully equipped: fridge, freezer, oven, microwave, 4 stove tops, water cooker, coffee machine, toaster and a dish washer. It has also everything you need regarding cooking utensils. There are grocery stores like Carrefour, GB, Match, Aldi, Colruyt and Lidl in a 4km radius.
The living room with its large windows on the canal was our favourite place in the house boat. We love bright living spaces and in that sense the homeboat is just perfect. We would just sit there, admire the views and relax in this peaceful atmosphere. A WiFi connection is available on- board and a TV is planned, but in our opinion not really necessary.
The bathroom is well laid out and surprisingly spacious for a houseboat. It is equipped with a WC, shower, sink, electric towel dryer and a hairdryer.
The boat features 2 terraces. One next to the main living room and a roof top terrace with breathtaking sunset views. See for yourself.
Children on board
As we are on a boat, parents are responsible for the safety of their children. By law children are required to wear life jackets at any time but we all know that this cannot be enforced. The house boat provides life jackets in different sizes for the little guests.
That said, we don’t recommend the boat for toddlers, unless you want to keep an eye on your child 24/24. There are some parts on the boat with no guard- rails, so it’s definitely too tricky with active toddlers. And before we forget, pets are welcome on board!
Activities in the area
• In the direct vicinity: Possibility to rent kayaks, bicycles, stand up paddles…
• Dirk from Flanders Tours offers several guided tours in the area. A special boat tour departing right from the homeboat can be organised at your convenience. Dirk speaks English, Dutch and French and will ensure you’ll have a great time visiting the area. Besides the popular boat tours, Flanders tours also organizes visits of breweries, historic tours in Lo with a visit to the famous Belgian Jules Destrooper cookie manufacturer and tours related to the 1914-1918 war and the Yser battle.
Nieuwpoort boat tour by Flanders Tours
We were picked up at the house boat on the agreed time with a modern and comfortable mini bus. Our destination for the morning was Nieuwpoort for a little harbour tour. The kids got a little introduction on how to navigate the boat. They couldn’t have been more proud. Dirk’s explanations were clear and interesting and it was a pleasure to have him as a guide. If you are staying on the homeboat or vacationing in Nieuwpoort we really recommend Flanders Tours. It is a reliable company who has very competitive prices.
• Nieuwpoort Bad (5 km)
• Nieuwpoort swimming pool (slide and baby pool)
• Disney Sand Magic in Ostend is an amazing exhibit of Disney sand sculptures created by 40 artists from around the world. It’s the largest festival of its kind, taking place from June 24 until September 10 2017. If you are traveling with kids you should not miss it.
• Shrimp catching on horseback in Oostduinkerke (7 km)
• Navigo– Fisherman museum in Oostduinkerke
• Plopsaland de Panne (16 km)
• Day trip to Bruges (40 km)
This list of activities is just a small sample to give you some ideas. There is much more to do, but we cannot list everything.
Where to eat while staying on the Homeboat Westhoek Marina?
Of course,you have a nice and well equipped kitchen but you can also take out some food to eat on the boat (what about a huge seafood platter?) or go to a restaurant. The only restaurant we tried during our short stay was “Le Couver” in Nieuwpoort Stad. The food was really good and they had a menu for the kids.
Our thoughts on our first stay on a house boat:
The homeboat in Nieuwpoort is a year round destination for all. Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway or a family trip, the house boat will please everyone. Each season has its benefits and the experience will be different whether you stay in the middle of the summer or during a quiet week in November. The special atmosphere on the houseboat in winter is perfect to revitalize and switch off from the busy everyday life.
As we drove through beachfront towns in the area, like Westende, Middelkerke and Ostend, we realized even more that the Homeboat Westhoek Marina was the right choice: it’s in the middle of the nature, surrounded by water, birds and ducks, away from the high apartment buildings built in the 50’s. And yet, if we wanted to go to beach, we were only a few minutes away.
There are two things that could make the stay on the homeboat even more enjoyable. First, changing the blinds in the Master bedroom to light blocking blinds and upgrade the Senseo coffee maker to a Nespresso machine. But these are only our preferences 🙂
If you have any questions about the Homeboat Westhoek Marina, please leave a comment below or contact us. To read more hotel reviews, click here. For travel inspiration follow Letzflyaway on Facebook
Where to find the Homeboat