The charming village of Giethoorn consists only of waterways and narrow walking paths. It is fittingly called the ‘Venice of the Netherlands’ or the ‘Venice of the North’. I had the opportunity to visit Giethoorn twice in the last few months.
This post is part of the ‘This pretty place…‘ series. In this series we share the most beautiful and unique places with you.
Walking around in Giethoorn gives you a serene village-feeling. You hear birds chirping, a boat slowly passes you by and an elderly resident greets you. Giethoorn is a true oasis of peace and quiet.
You pass by classic 18th century Dutch-style houses and farms with thatched roofs. Each of these well-preserved houses comes with beautifully kept gardens. There is no motorized traffic allowed in the old part of Giethoorn and the houses can only be reached by crossing one of the high wooden bridges. There are more than 150 steep bridges in Giethoorn connecting the houses and the main walking path which lies parallel to the canal.
A fun way and authentic way to explore Giethoorn is by boat. By boat you not only have the chance to see Giethoorn from the water, but also to explore Giethoorn’s pretty lakes with birds, ducks and more nature. In the evening you can go for a moonlight cruise. It’s absolutely beautiful to see charming Giethoorn by nightfall.
What to do in Giethoorn?
A must-do in Giethoorn is to rent a boat. You can rent your own boat or hire a boat with a captain. This is by far the best way to explore Giethoorn. There are several boat rental options and there also different kinds of boats. You can rent a boat with an electronic motor, a canoe paddling boat, a ‘whisper boat’ or a punter. It is also possible to do a guided trip with a large boat or an evening canal cruise. For the more sporty types Giethoorn offers the possibility for ‘suppen’ which is stand up paddle boarding.
Another option is to explore Giethoorn by bike. There are several bike rental companies in Giethoorn. When cycling, beware for the steep bridges. It’s better to walk up the bridge ;). In Giethoorn you can also visit the two museums ‘Het Olde Maat Uus’ which is a typical farmhouse and ‘De Oude Aarde’ (The Old Earth).
During my visit to Giethoorn, it was low-season and we saw few other tourists. However, it can get really busy in high-season, so make sure to book a room and maybe even a boat beforehand.
Where to stay in Giethoorn?
There are numerous accommodation possibilities in Giethoorn. Unfortunately there are no hostels and cheap options for backpackers in Giethoorn. ‘T Zwaantje offers a 3 person room which will set you back at a reasonable 99 euro. There are also some B&B options and a camping. Because we visited Giethoorn on a special occasion, we stayed at Hotel de Harmonie. This hotel is located in the southern (more quiet part) and is recommended.
Where to eat in Giethoorn?
The most famous cafe and restaurant in Giethoorn is ‘The Fanfare’. It became famous after a Dutch movie was partly shot there. In Giethoorn there is also a pizzeria, a Dutch pancake house and some other restaurants. You can also get your own dinner at the supermarket ‘The Spar’. As you may have already guessed, there are no clubs or bars.
How to get to Giethoorn?
You can reach Giethoorn by public transportation. From Rotterdam to Giethoorn by train and bus it will take around 3 hours. From Amsterdam to Giethoorn by train and bus it will take around 2,5 hours. There are also organized tours leaving from Amsterdam.
“Even though it may be a bit out of the way, picturesque Giethoorn is well worth a visit.”