Have you ever dreamed about being a captain of your own riverboat?
The idea of renting a boat on a river in The Netherlands probably never came to your mind as “Yes, I need to do this”.
But then, on the other hand, you probably did think about renting a van to tour around in Scandinavia or the US?
I could be wrong, but what if I told you that you can rent a boat in The Netherlands for multiple days on a river. And, you can freely roam those river waters and visit any place in the area.
This is slow travel on its best. In nature, in tranquility and shared with friends and loved ones. It’s an off the beaten path experience and definitely a good form of alternative travel.
Here’s a guide on how my experience was with this riverboat and on how you can book one.
Our Bateaux Nicols riverboat was docked in a little harbor at Kerkdriel. This is where you need to go after you booked your boat online on the Bateaux Nicols website.
When you get there, you walk up to the Bateaux Nicols helpdesk on the pier and in no time the friendly staff will be giving you instructions on how to manage and steer the ship.
In no time, you’ll be navigating away on the Maas river in The Netherlands as a captain of your own beautiful riverboat.
Not that far from Kerkdriel harbor, there is a little town that used to be a fortified city in the 18th century.
WOII bombing destroyed more than 90% of the old city walls. But over time the shapes of the wall on the river banks have been rebuilt with grassy flanks.
Visiting this old city in The Netherlands will bring you back in time. And, the harbor where you can dock your boat is a peaceful place. You can go for a relaxing stroll in the Oudheusden city center, which is a 5-minute walk from your boat. And, after that, you can walk around the city center on the river banks next to the water. Maybe, later you have some good food on the boat or have a bbq while you gaze at the sunset.
Hiking near the Biesbosch
The Biesbosch nature reserve is a large area in The Netherlands with a lot of river branches and stretched out water landscapes. There are a couple of hiking routes on solid ground near the Biesbosch Museum.
Here in the Biesbosch, you’ll rarely see houses and roads, but mainly rivers and their natural river banks. And, sometimes you’ll see another boat crossing by. You’ll be slow traveling on your riverboat, so you can take your time here.
The Biesbosch once was inhabited in the 16th century as they obstructed the area with a dam. But then the area was flooded by natural cause as the dam wasn’t strong enough and this happened a couple of times. The surviving inhabitants fled to nearby cities on higher grounds like Dordrecht or Rotterdam and the Biesbosch became a nature reserve.
A little harbor in the Biesbosch nature reserve
Tucked away in a small river branch somewhere in the Biesbosch, there is a small harbor that’s perfect for your slow travel riverboat trip. You can dock your boat here and enjoy the natural surroundings. The sunset here is stunning and you can go for a short walk in the harbor.
Tip: Keep in mind that you’ll have to pay a small fee in every river harbor if you stay overnight for electricity etc.