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Life on the Vltava river: We're moving into a houseboat!

Eva Ledecká
23.May 2019
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4 minutes
Život na husbótu

My husband and I have been considering buying a houseboat and living on the water for a while now! To find out what that entails, we rented one in the center of Prague, docked at the quay at Smíchov. If water attracts you like a magnet as well, set out for an adventure with us!

Houseboat rentals in Prague are also facilitated by Airbnb

If you want to try out this kind of living, you have the opportunity to rent a houseboat in Prague, for example via Airbnb. In Holešovice, houseboats for 6 people are available for around 3600 CZK a night, at Smíchov you can find smaller ones for 1100 CZK a night. Or you can try one that sails down the Vltava river at the same time. The price is 6000 CZK a night, 9000 with a captain. We chose the second option and it was a wise choice. The captain, who had an amazing two-hour cruise in store for us, told us a lot of interesting information about life on the water that we'd previously had no idea about.

The main problem on the Vltava river is not flooding

In case of a flood, you'd tie your houseboat to a floating dock that rises along with the water level and the boats. On the Vltava river, however, the "parking" itself poses a big problem. You have to pay for docking, the berths themselves are owned by private owners and there aren't enough of them. If you actually manage to secure one, you may have averted one crisis, but there is another one. And that's the nutria! They are becoming overpopulated and nothing can be done that would reduce their numbers. They'd often chew through your cables and cause a lot of inconvenience.

On the other hand, this is very unconventional housing that has its own unique charm.

Do you want to sail on your own? Get a license and follow the rules!

If you want to sail down the river with your boat, you have to get a VMP license (VMP, vůdce malého plavidla - small vessel operator) issued by the State Shipping Authority. It is required that you pass a practical and theoretical exam at the SSA in Prague, Děčín or Přerov. Costs for courses that will help you pass the exam start at 5000 CZK.

You have to follow traffic rules on the river as well. The vessel on one's right side has the right of way, same with the one sailing downstream. However, even here on the Vltava river there there are river pirates - large vessels (Grand being the largest one) that follow their own rule: the right of way is with the bigger boat. It remins a bit of trucks on the road, don't you think? You also have to watch out for fearless water scooter riders fetching beer at the embankment. If you happen to stumble upon one of such human missiles, remember that a houseboat needs nearly 15 meters to stop, even though it only sails at the speed of 10-12 km/h!

What's also interesting is that a houseboat sails upwind faster than with the wind behind it. The wind blowing from ahead lifts the front of the houseboat, which makes it sail faster. On the other hand, wind from behind sinks the front part and makes the houseboat go slower.

One more thing: when the houseboat is on the move, the power does not function at 100%, so you can't make a cup of coffee or tea to warm yourself up while sailing!

Are you wondering what living on a houseboat is like? It's time to invite you to see the interior.

Byt s terasami u řeky 239m
Byt s terasami u řeky 239m, Praha 8

The houseboat that we rented is 12 m in length. Through the main glass door you enter a "living room" with a kitchenette, beyond which lies the bathroom and toilet. The door next to those leads to a bedroom with plenty of storage space and a smaller back entrance door. From there you can reach the bottom deck, where a set of stairs leads to a luxurious terrace that is unbelievable 50 m² in size! Summer barbecue, hanging out with your family, formal parties, you can do all sorts of stuff there!

In the winter the inside of the boat can easily be electrically heated; you can have anything in here that you may could inside your own apartment. You don't have to fear a shortage of drinking water either; the water tank in this vessel can take in 480 liters.

A home for a romantic couple or a family with kids

Our rented houseboat was made in Dobříš, and if you search hard enough you'll find out that there are many companies in our country that specialize in making houseboats on order. You only have to pick!

The living space inside this houseboat is intended for 2 people, but you can have a larger houseboat built with a more spacious kitchen, a bigger bedroom, entry onto the terrace from the interior, and so on. You can get a very luxurious vessel capable of housing a family with kids. And the price? That depends on your requirements, but if you spent 3,000,000 CZK, you can have quite a comfortable life.

The dusk is falling, the captain has departed and we are enjoying the sight of the water illuminated by the nearby boats and lights from the bank. The night is calm, the city noise does not reach us at all.

The morning took our breath away!

We opened the blinds and were greeted by a sunny day. We drank tea on the terrace and watched the birds. Can you even imagine a nicer start of a new day? The energy that we got here fueled us throughout the entire day, and in the evenin,g at home, we still had that very image in our minds: the small waves on the water, the distant hum of the city, the sun over our heads.

This dream of ours simply must come true one day!

We'd like to thank VIP Living for letting us have a taste of living on a houseboat.

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