Explore Venice Aboard a Houseboat

With its scenic location on the Adriatic Sea and a history that stretches back nearly 2,000 years, Venice, Italy, is one of Europe's most beautiful cities. If you're thinking of visiting the City of Bridges on your next vacation, try exploring it aboard a private houseboat.

You can rent luxurious two- to 12-passenger houseboats from several companies in Chioggia, a historic fishing port on the southern edge of the Venetian Lagoon. From there, you can spend two days to two weeks touring Venice and the surrounding area. No prior experience is required to rent or operate a boat.

Houseboats offer a unique vacation experience.

You won't be able to take your boat into the Grand Canal or any of the canals that run through the city's center. But you can moor it on the outskirts and take a water taxi to the must-see sights. At the end of the day, return to your houseboat for a good night's sleep. Check out these two rental companies:

Locaboat Holidays: This company, which has locations throughout Europe, designed and built its own houseboats, called Peninchettes. The 30-foot, 27-horsepower Classic 935 model is equipped with a double bed in the forward cabin, a single bed in the corridor and a fold-out dinette. The kitchen, located in the rear of the boat, is furnished with a refrigerator, an oven with an electric stovetop and a sink with hot and cold water. The bathroom has a hot-water shower. Other amenities include a heater, sunroof, deck and a 12-volt socket to charge your cell phone or camera.

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