Giethoorn is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Netherlands. And that’s for a reason, as this is the Dutch version of Venice. A city that can be best explored from the water. Because of this thousands of tourist each year go to this small city – or actually village – to explore the historical houses, and the Dutch landscape.
Where is Giethoorn and how do you get there?
Giethoorn is located in the northern part of the Netherlands between Hoogeveen and Emmeloord, right above Zwolle. From the west of the country – where Amsterdam is located – it will take you about 2 hours by car to get there.
If you go by car you can park it on the P-route parking lot. Most parking spaces in the village are free of charge. You can also park your car at a restaurant or at the boat rental. Of course only if you are a customer or guest.
It is also possible to take public transport to Giethoorn. To get there you take the train to Steenwijk Station and from here you can take the bus or bike if you have one with you. The route is about 8 km so it’s doable by bike.
In the village center cars are not allowed, you leave your vehicle outside the village and from here you can continue walking or rake your rental boat.
People know that you can sail through Giethoorn – more about that later on in this article – but is there actually something to see?
There are roughly 3 things you can experience and see in this village. The first are the 3 museums where you can learn more about the history. These are open daily – also on Sundays – and give you a brief impression of how things used to be in Giethoorn centuries ago.
Then there is of course the village itself which consists of lots of water and picturesque cottages. You can visit them from the water, on foot, or by bike. Because of the abundance of water in the village, boating is the best way to see and discover everything.
Finally, there is the nature park around the village. This is part of the National Park Weerribben-Wieden. This includes a peat landscape, a swamp area and open water. With the accompanying plants and animals. They even have a real mountain, or at least hill, that originated in the last ice age.
Rent a boat or cruise through Giethoorn
If you go to Giethoorn then you really have to discover the village from the water. This can be done by renting a sloop or other type of small boat. But you can also join an organized canal cruise.
The easiest way to book a boat is to do it online. Then you know there will one available for you on arrival. You can rent a small boat with an electrical engine from €75 per day, a sloop from €125.
When you rent a boat you will get an explanation in advance how it works and you will get a map of the area. Also, the routes are easy to follow even if you have no boating experience. Piloting a boat may seem a bit overwhelming but it’s really a lot of fun and easy to do.
Would you rather not use a motorized vehicle? Then you can also rent a canoe and explore the area with this mode of transportation. There are even small islands where you can stay and are allowed to camp. What could be nicer than sleeping under the stars with the tranquility of nature around you. The only disadvantage is that there are no further facilities.
If you prefer not to drive a boat yourself, you can also join an organized tour. They show you the best places and tell you more about the history and buildings. It is also best to book a cruise in advance to avoid disappointment.