What is your impression of Europe? The romantic Eiffel Tower in Paris? Or the magnificent London Bridge? For me, the best thing I love about Europe is its slow-paced life that is perfectly demonstrated by the cute village in Holland. If you like slow pace, then visit Giethoorn! Giethoorn is the dubbed as the “Venice” of the North. It is located in the municipality of Steenwijkerland which is about 5 km southwest of Steenwijk. It has around 180 bridges inside the town and the main vehicles is boat. Yes, you heard it right! Boat.. It is said in the past, people tried to dig coal from the underneath to trade and gradually formed many canals. The houses here are in unique designs and extremely beautiful. If all these sounds exciting to you, you may want to visit Giethoorn in your next trip! In this post, I will share my Giethoorn visit experience and things you can do on a one day tour.
Rent a Boat to Explore The Canals
Undoubtedly, renting a boat and riding it yourself is the best way to feel this village. You really do not need to know exactly where you want to go. Simply drifting on the canals will make you feel like in a paradise where there is no sorrow and sadness but only sunshine and lush reeds. The average price for renting a boat is roughly around 75 euro per day.
The moment I arrived, I was utterly captivated. Giethoorn’s canals are the true heartbeats of this village. To dive right into the serenity, I rented a traditional punt boat and let the water carry me through this enchanting landscape. Trust me, gliding along those calm waters is an experience you’ll want to savor.
Visit the Museums
There are various musuems that provide interesting aspects of the village. One gem that truly stole my heart was De Oude Aarde, a mesmerizing museum showcasing an impressive collection of minerals, gemstones, and fossils. I was like a kid in a candy store, marvelling at these Earthly treasures from all around the world. Museum De Oude Aarde is presenting all kinds of unusual precious stone where you can even buy home!
Gloria Maris Schelpengalerie has various sea shells on exhibition. In Museumboerderij’t Olde Maat Uus, you can see the traditional life of local people in the past days.
Although the main vehicle is boating, there are side roads reaching to every corner of the village and thus cycling is a good alternative too (As long as you make sure you will not push yourself into the water).
Giethoorn is such a serene, quiet and slow-paced village where everything is in its cutest and purest form. Wandering around the village, you will feel the time seem to slow down and every breath is so fresh as if there is something filter out the noises from the outside world. You just cannot stop capturing the wonderful moment using the camera on hand.
Tips on Visiting Giethoorn
- Recommended visit duration is 1-2 days
- Don’t trespass and watch out for the sign board if the owner of the house do not allow tourists to enter.
- Knowing Dutch will be easier for you to travel.
- Official site: http://giethoorntourism.com
How to Get to Giethoorn?
You can get to Giethoorn by train, bus or car.
By Train and Bus
- Arriving in Amsterdam: If you’re flying into the Netherlands, Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is a major international hub. From there, take a train to Amsterdam Centraal Station.
- Amsterdam to Steenwijk: From Amsterdam Centraal, board a train to Steenwijk, which is the nearest railway station to Giethoorn. The train journey offers glimpses of the Dutch countryside and is an experience in itself.
- Bus to Giethoorn: Once you arrive at Steenwijk, you can catch a local bus (Bus Line 70) that will take you to Giethoorn. The bus ride will allow you to witness the transition from urban landscapes to the charming rural scenery of Giethoorn.
- Driving from Amsterdam: Rent a car at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport or in the city center. Follow the A1 and A28 highways until you reach the exit for Steenwijk. From there, follow the signs to Giethoorn. The drive takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on traffic.
- Driving from Other Cities: If you’re traveling from other Dutch cities, use GPS or a navigation app to guide you to Giethoorn. Just be sure to follow road signs and directions closely.
FAQs on Visiting Giethoorn
Where is Giethoorn located?
Giethoorn is situated in the northeastern part of the Netherlands, in the province of Overijssel. It’s renowned for its network of canals and charming thatched-roof houses.
Why is Giethoorn called the “Venice of the North?”
Giethoorn earned this nickname due to its intricate canal system, resembling the famous waterways of Venice, Italy. It’s a picturesque village with water-based transportation and stunning scenery.
How do I get to Giethoorn from Amsterdam?
You can reach Giethoorn from Amsterdam by taking a train from Amsterdam Centraal Station to Steenwijk and then a local bus (Bus Line 70) to Giethoorn. The journey offers a scenic route through the Dutch countryside.
Are cars allowed in Giethoorn?
Yes, cars are allowed in some parts of Giethoorn, but they are limited. Most of the village is car-free, and visitors typically explore by foot, bike, or boat. There are designated parking areas at the outskirts of the village.
What are the must-visit attractions in Giethoorn?
Don’t miss the Giethoorn Museum, where you can learn about the village’s history. Enjoy a boat tour along the canals, cross the charming wooden bridges, and explore the De Oude Aarde museum, showcasing minerals and gemstones.
Can I rent a boat in Giethoorn?
Renting a boat is a popular way to explore Giethoorn. You can rent traditional punt boats or whisper boats and navigate the canals at your own pace.
Is Giethoorn only worth visiting in the summer?
While summer is the peak tourist season, Giethoorn’s charm is present year-round. Spring offers blooming flowers, autumn brings colorful foliage, and winter provides a serene, peaceful atmosphere.
Are there accommodations in Giethoorn?
Yes, Giethoorn offers a range of accommodations, including charming guesthouses, bed and breakfasts, and hotels. It’s a good idea to book in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons.
What is the best time of day to visit Giethoorn?
Early morning and late afternoon are great times to visit Giethoorn. The village is quieter, and the lighting is perfect for capturing beautiful photos. Boat tours are also popular during these times.
Are there restaurants in Giethoorn?
Yes, Giethoorn has several delightful waterside restaurants and cafes where you can savor local Dutch cuisine. Whether you’re looking for a hearty lunch or a romantic dinner, you’ll find a variety of dining options to choose from.