Yachtcharter de Drait
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River cruise without skipper's test
The Dutch company Yachtcharter De Drait has been developing, building and then chartering its own boats under the Drait brand for more than 35 years. The home shipyard and main charter base is in Drachten, with a new branch in Woudsend (Friesland).
In 2008, Yachtcharter De Drait expanded to Germany, specifically to the Mecklenburg Lakes region, where you can rent their Drait houseboats in Brandenburg an der Havel or Röbel an der Müritz. In total, you can choose from more than 70 boats and yachts of different sizes depending on how big a crew you want to sail with. Whether you're looking for a boat for 2 or 14 people, you're sure to find one. In addition, most of them can be sailed without a skipper's license.
One hour course before taking over the houseboat
Before you start your charter, you can take a short skipper's course on the chartered boat to learn the basic skills: how to navigate the boat, anchor and turn in narrow waterways, etc. The training is aimed at novice skippers and is tailored to the client's abilities. If you have more experience with steering and sailing, it is possible to take advanced courses and practice special boat manoeuvres, for example.
Day, weekend or week on the boat
Friesland cruising area
The Dutch port of Drachten is a wonderful starting point for routes towards the enchanting Alde Feanen National Park. A little further east lies another impressive national park, Lauwersmeer. The student town of Groningen, known for its lively nightlife, is also a popular stop. With almost 200,000 inhabitants, it is the largest city in the northern part of the country and is known as the 'metropolis of the north' in the Netherlands.
The Brandenburg cruise area
With Yachtcharter de Drait you can also charter a boat on the rivers or lakes of Brandenburg, where you can discover the north-eastern regions of Germany. Also on this route you will enjoy a refreshing mix of natural beauty and city life. Energetic Berlin, Magdeburg full of enchanting medieval monuments and a relaxing cruise on the calm waters of the Havel River await you.
The Netherlands is a houseboat rental paradise; all you have to do is reach the age of majority and, without a skipper's licence, more than 5,000 navigable kilometres open up before you. There is something for everyone. In Friesland, you'll find villages unspoilt by tourism and pleasant towns dominated by windmills where the locals still wear clogs. Amsterdam and the south of the country will appeal to museum and architecture lovers as well as more experienced skippers. For a round-up of places to visit, check out the 10 best places to visit in Holland. And don't forget to pack your bikes on the boat! Because where a houseboat can go, a bike can go, at least in the Netherlands that's certainly true.