How many of you have ever tried "glamping"? I have to admit I never did and thus I was even more happy when I got the opportunity to have my first "Glamping" experience on a houseboat in Nieuwpoort, Belgium.
I hardly had any expectations at all... and that's probably why I ended up falling in love with the idea of staying on a houseboat. I promise, the relaxing effect of being constantly surrounded by water couldn't be better. And finally, after an epic Boat HitchHiking Adventure, I am back on the water!
Let me introduce you to a real hidden accommodation gem on the Belgian seaside: the Home Boat - Loft on the Water in Westhoek Marina, Nieuwpoort.
Accidentally the Belgian coast, with Ostend, Blankenberge and Knokke-Heist as its hotspots, sometimes has a little dodgy reputation, especially among the younger generation. They couldn't be more wrong! Discover how to experience the great coastal outdoors in combination with sports activities without sacrificing luxury.
If you look to give your trip to the Belgian coastline a little groundbreaking touch, then all you need to do is driving a bit to the west from Ostende until you arrive in Nieuwpoort. This charming little town is the total opposite of the widespread cliché of a obstructed Belgian seaside. It's surrounded by large virgin dunes and a lush green country side.
The concept of glamping on a HouseBoat is the perfect evidence for the new sense of classiness and relaxation for a younger, trendier generation on the Belgian coast.
Review of Glamping HomeBoat
The Glamping Concept
The term of glamping - a fusion of "camping" and "glamour" - refers to a new way of experiential traveling. Basically you get to enjoy the great natural outdoors without all the inconvenient little things of camping like pitching a tent, getting soaked in case of rain or waking up being surrounded by ants. It's a glamorous version of camping which rapidly caught fire especially among outdoor lovers.
Nowadays glamping accommodations can be tree houses, yurts, caves, safari tents... or houseboats like the Glamping HomeBoat, Loft on the Water in Nieuwpoort, Belgium. The big advantage of glamping are definitely its incomparable access to nature (in this case mostly water) all year round. On top each accommodation location has its very own individual character and background which sets it apart from common hotels.
The HomeBoat Loft on the Water is very easy to access since it is very well connected to public transport. It is also very easy to find in case you're traveling by car.
Ostende-Bruges Airport is located only 17 km away and takes you a 20 min drive. Find here the best deal for your flight to Ostend-Bruges Airport.
The nearest train station is Ostende, also only at 18 km from the HouseBoat.
In case you travel by car, you'll to take the Exit "Nieuwpoort" the motorway E40 and follow the directions to "Westhoek Marina". The boat is located inside the harbor.Compare here all the prices for major European car hire companies.
- Distance to Nieuwpoort City Center: 1km (I'd go by bike!)
- Distance to Nieuwpoort Beach: 6 km
The HouseBoat is situated in the harbor of Westhoek Marina. This guarantees you the access to all the harbor facilities: a bar with a barbecue place and possibilities to rent bicycles, kayaks, motor boat cruises with skippers, electric golf cars with the outdoor activity company Outsider Coast.
It goes without saying that you'll be surrounded throughout your stay by water, ducks and fellow boat lovers. The harbor has no direct access to the sea but is connected by a Nieuwpoort-Plassendale canal which directly goes to Bruges.
At some point we even got the crazy idea to ride with a canoe to Bruges... but we decided to leave it for the next time. ;-)
From the deck you'll have an alluring view over the flat Flemish countryside. The area is very peaceful and quiet. The only action will be cyclists riding on the opposite border or some fishermen hoping to catch a fish. Now and then a duck approaches to see if you have some dry bread for them. The curious ducks and gooses were definitely one of my favorite parts of the HomeBoat Loft on the Water.
It's all so idyllic... perfect for those who love to travel slow and re-connect with nature.
The HouseBoat is a new construction type of a catamaran which has been reinforced and isolated. This makes this spacious loft, with all the comfort of an apartment, stand apart from other houseboats.
For the people that get easily sea-sick, put your mind at ease! The boat hardly moves at all and is very stable. Most of the time I wasn't even aware of the fact that I was on a boat. Only the grinding noise of the floaters would remind me that we're actually floating on water.
The HomeBoat was built with the idea of integrating the presence of water as much as possible. Thus from the living room and the kitchen you have a 270° view on the harbor, the canal and the Flemish fields. As the interior is all white, the interaction between water and light creates some gorgeous reflections on the roof of the property.
The interior design of this 46 sqm apartment is very sober, bright white with an elegant, loungy twist.
The loft has 2 rooms, a spacious, cream-colored bathroom, a kitchenette integrated in the living room and a rooftop terrace with sunbeds.
Facilities and Service
The HouseBoat everything that it needs to make it a Home away from Home.
The Loft on the Water comes with a complete kitchenette including water cooker, micro-oven, dish washer, coffee machine and a toaster. WiFi is working well and the best part of the living room were its music station and books about house boating.
There is even an electric oven which must give the place a very cozy touch in the winter months.
I also enjoyed to have all the tourist information brochures at my disposal.
The guest has access to all the facilites offered in the harbor including a bar and the possibility to do a wide range of outdoor activities with Outsider Coast.
A little minus would be that you have to drive to Nieuwpoort town to make your grocery shopping.
There is no food included in the stay... except the welcoming gift of Belgian beer (which was really appreciated!).
Luckily the bars at the harbour "Westhoek Marina" serve hot food. Otherwise you have to drive to Nieuwpoort city center to make some grocery shopping.
The owner can also inform you about food delivery to the boat.
We decided to take advantage of Nieuwpoort's fame for fresh fish and tried the sandwiches of the local fish shops. Our preferred one was "De Panger" which serves (HUGE!) sandwiches with young herring or salmon. We repeated several times... they were simply delicious!
The owners of the HouseBoat - Loft on the Water are very concerned about providing a positive hospitality experience both to the guest and the environment.
As the loft is a former catamaran, concerns regarding natural resources and sustainability are always valid. This means that you have to control the use of water and what you flush in the toilet. (Here you can read more about life on a boat during 18 days on my Atlantic Crossing by Boat HitchHiking.)
All the lights on the boat are energy-saving and the roof terrasse is covered with plants which function as a natural isolation during winter and summer.
- The ducks, my new friends.
- 270° View on the Water
- Immediate proximity to nature
- Sober and loungy interior design
- Many outdoor activities in the area like canoe, windsurfing, SUP surf etc.
Depending on the season the cost of a stay in the boat varies between 130-195 € per night.
In case you book the loft for an entire month, you get a -20% on your booking.
A cleaning fee of 50€ per booking is mandatory.
Lower rates for weekdays are in preparation and I wouldn't hesitate to ask to contact the owners in case you are interested to rent the houseboat for several days during the week.
My favourite part, besides the ducks of course, were the many outdoor activities you could do around the harbor "Westhoek Marina".
The outdoor activity company Outsider Coast offers all kind of sports and (group) outdoor activities in Nieuwpoort area and on the beach. Whether you want to be active in the sea by surfing, at the Nieuwpoort lakes by windsurfing or on land by Go-Kart... there is hardly any outdoor activity that Outsider Coast doesn't offer.
We decided to have an early canoe ride on the canal connecting Nieuwpoort to Bruges. There is no better way to wake up your senses in the morning than by gliding along gooses and ducks. My partner needed something more active after our picturesque canoe ride and decided to do a windsurfing session. Bae was never more happy!
In case you travel to the Nieuwpoort area on the Belgian coast and you want to become active during your stay, do not hesitate to contact Outsider Coast. Those guys are pro, knowing very well what they are doing and passionate about outdoor sports.
The HomeBoat - Loft on the Water unites the concept of glamping with staying on a houseboat. Which is still a not very common concept in Belgium. It's thus perfect for those who want to give their stay on the Belgian coastline an innovative, different touch.
Its remote location surrounded by water, but yet very close to Nieuwpoort city center and beach, make it a fantastic place for those who want to unwind and re-connect to nature. Since most parts of the houseboat are vitrified, nature and water will be your best company throughout the stay. By now I have to admit that I underestimated the relaxing effect of being constantly surrounded by water. It's pure magic!
The combination is indeed very unique: you're sipping wine in a loungy atmosphere surrounded by the deserted Flemish countryside which seems to come straight out of a Rubens' or Brueghel' painting.
This feeling of being alone amidst water and Flemish landscapes can be enjoyed all year round. The new styled catamaran has a perfectly working central heating and the electric oven surely gives it a particularly cozy touch in the winter months. Additionally the colors of the Flemish countryside will change with every season and will add a new, different feeling. The slightly melancholic, but cozy atmosphere during the winter months must be gorgeous.
For those who want to enjoy total peace and avoid the weekends when the crowds from Brussels, Antwerp or Bruges flow stream to the Belgian seaside, should consider a stay during the week. The relaxing effect from daily stress and living in a larger city couldn't be greater.
Nieuwpoort is famous all over Belgium for its fresh fish. During the mornings in the week, you can see how the fishermen unload the catch of the day.
If you don't only want to watch, but also to taste, then head to one of the numerous fish shops. We repeated several times at "De Panger". Their (HUGE!) fish sandwiches with smoked salmon or young herring were so delicious.
You can also contact themvia mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
In order to get more information on tourism in Nieuwpoort, Beligum, I recommend the site of Tourism Board of Nieuwpoort.
Disclaimer: I have been a guest of the HomeBoat - Loft on the Water. All my opinions, as always, are my own. This post contains affiliate links. In case you purchase one of the items, I'll receive a small commission at no extra cost for you.