Have you ever heard of the Venice of the North? A village where there are no roads, just canals that you can navigate by a boat? footpaths, bicycle trails are the only other way to make your way around this village, no honking cars anywhere! And if you think that is it, then you are mistaken. The houses that are scattered around this village are stunning centuries-old thatched-roof houses… It sounds like a fairy tale but it does truly exist.
The village is a small village located in the northeastern Dutch province of Overijssel. (Where I am from YAY) and can be reached when you are on a trip to Amsterdam or Rotterdam. I will show you the best ways to get there, when to go and what to see and do.
Get ready to add this stunning little village to your ever-growing bucket list…
GETTING THERE | The village is located 121 kilometers from Amsterdam. A day journey from Amsterdam to Giethoorn by public transport will take between 2 and 2,5 hours (This is one way). Use 9292.nl planner for the best route from Amsterdam Central Station to Steenwijk.
Because there is no train station in Giethoorn you have to transfer over to a bus. If you are traveling from Amsterdam Central, you need to take a train to Zwolle, and then change to bus number 70. Your final destination is Bushalte Dominee Hylkemaweg. Alternatively, you can travel by train to Steenwijk station and then take bus number 70 to Dominee Hylkemaweg.
If you travel by car it will take you approximately 1,5 hours. See Google maps for directions. There is plenty of parking available (at Beulakerweg 135, 8355 DD Giethoorn) The village center is only 7-10 minutes walk from the free parking. It does get very busy in summer, so be there early.
TOURS | If all that traveling and driving is too much work or if you are worried you are going to end up on the wrong train or bus then you can always take a day tour from Amsterdam.
Some options that you can book:
- Tickets for Giethoorn: Roundtrip from Amsterdam + Free Canal Cruise
From AUD $135,-
– Depart from a convenient location near Amsterdam Central Station and spend a day in the Dutch countryside
– Take a canal cruise with your guide and see antique thatched-roof farmhouses, pretty wooden bridges, grazing horses and more
– Stop off at the Enclosing Dike then head back to Amsterdam and explore its canals with a free canal cruise (worth €18.00)
- Giethoorn Tour
From AUD $ 135,-
– Comfortable bus with airconditioning
– Live guide in English, Spanish and German
– Boat tour in Giethoorn (Weather conditions could influence the boat trip)
– Stop at enclosing dike
TOP TIP | Bring some water, snacks, money, your photography gear (Duh), and probably a raincoat/umbrella. It is the Netherlands after all.
Firstly I do need to clarify that there are some roads in this village. Life would be impossible for the residents if they had absolutely nothing. Most of those roads are however footpaths or bike lanes. So cool!
This amazing little village is very dependent on its waterways, many of the houses cannot be reached by road. When the postman delivers the mail he travels by punt. (Which is a long, narrow flat-bottomed boat, square at both ends and propelled with a long pole)
Boating has been a popular tourist attraction here for years, with 90 km of boating trips. In Summer the canal is filled to the brim with tourists on boats enjoying the summers sun.
It’s a pretty small village, but there are still a few nice spots to eat. Underneath are some options for you when you get hungry.
De Lindenhof | Offers Dutch, European and French cuisines. Not the cheapest food, but it is worth spending some extra money on this quality food.
De Witte Hoeve | Offers Dutch, European and can offer Vegetarian-Friendly meals. Their price range is between $15 and $32,-.
De Sloothaak | Dutch, ‘International’ and European meals are offered here. The restaurant is very cozy and characteristic and they offer a quite large variety of dishes and two fix price menu (25/35€).
WHAT TO SEE
This is the beautiful thing about Giethoorn, it’s relaxing and you don’t really have to do anything.
Take a leisurely stroll, hop on a boat and float around the canals, find a bench to eat your pre-packed lunch, Do as the Dutch do and hire a bike to ride around the village… Or just wing it and see what you feel like when there.
You may want to have your camera handy, but don’t spend too much time behind the lens. Simply enjoy.
There is a museum that you could check out where they show you how people lived more than 100 years ago and how they earned a meager living by cutting peat and building small boats (‘punters’).
Whether you rent a boat yourself or you take a tour, be sure to get on a boat! It is simply a must.
Once you arrive at the bus stop (at Dominee Hylkemaweg), cross the street and you’ll see the water on the left. Walk around the building there and simply follow the canal. There are several canal cruises that will take you on an organized trip as well as vendors where you can rent a boat from.
PLANNING TO GO TO HOLLAND SOON? THEN CHECK OUT SOME MORE TRAVEL GUIDES HERE:
- The ultimate travel guide to the Netherlands
- Amsterdam City Guide
- Rotterdam City Guide
- The Netherlands in pictures
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