“A serene river retreat with panoramic views, just 15-30 minutes from the city centre (sleeps 2-4)”
Modern, calm and uncluttered, the houseboat’s sense of space is accentuated by floor-to-ceiling windows framing panoramic views across the bay. You enter straight into the open-plan kitchen, with a sleek concrete island that doubles up as a dining table (seats 4 at a squeeze). The living room has a comfy seating area with block-like cushions in bold shades of plum and berry, and a pull-down double bed if required. There’s a TV, a small iPod dock with a speaker, and a wood-burning stove - a cosy (and necessary) addition if you’re staying in winter.
The bedroom is separated from the living area by a dividing wall and an opaque glass sliding door. It has a double bed and an adjoining shower room. There's a separate toilet by the front door.
Outside, the wooden deck is fairly narrow but it stretches the length of the boat, providing enough space for 4 people to comfortably sit or lounge. Electric blinds can be drawn, but you may choose to leave them open as nobody can look in (unless a boat passes by!); waking up to the sight of the lake, and swans gliding by, is magical.
The boat is firmly moored, so it barely rocks, except in a storm. It is also extremely quiet, with only the sound of lapping water or the occasional quacking of ducks to break the peace.
The kitchen is well-equipped with an electric hob, a microwave and a fridge-freezer. You get tea and coffee as standard, and there’s also a kettle, a coffee machine, a toaster and all the essential pots, pans and crockery. However, there isn’t a washing machine or an oven, which isn’t ideal for longer stays.
There is a Aldi supermarket 5 minutes from the houseboat, which is good for stocking up on ingredients, but for tastier fare you will have to head further into town - we like the Saturday market on Boxhagener Platz in Friedrichshain, just 10 minutes away by tram, which is very popular with locals.
There is a lovely restaurant-café, Hafenküche, on the marina complex (5 minutes from the houseboat). It's open all day; the only downside is that it only opens for breakfast at 10am on weekdays (9am at weekends). For more options you will have to head further into town: nearby Friedrichshain is choc-a-block with cafés and restaurants.
The houseboat is a fun, practical option for families with older kids who can already swim. Not only is the boat self-catering, there is also plenty to keep children occupied - from looking around all the other boats in the marina to exploring the riverside trails. Kids will also enjoy watching river life from the deck (including swans, cormorants, boats and the occasional sea-plane!). The nearby Hafenküche restaurant is very child-friendly, and for rainy days there is even an indoor climbing wall on the marina complex.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
The houseboat can sleep a maximum of 2 adults and 2 children, using the double bedroom and a pull-out sofabed.
The houseboat is not a great option for families with toddlers and young children because you are never more than a few steps away from the water. In winter the narrow pier leading to the boat, as well as the deck, can get icy and slippery - all kids need to be very careful here as there are no railings.