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Did you know that the Netherlands has its own Venice? That’s right, Giethoorn is a car-free village perfect to have some good time in the countryside. This romantic Dutch village is only accessible by boat. Or bike, of course. After all, we are talking about the Netherlands.
This small hidden town, which not many travelers know of, has a magical appeal. But don’t fool yourself. It’s a hidden village, but it is so small that it doesn’t need many tourists to get crowded.
I was living in Amsterdam for 8 months when I first heard about Giethoorn. After looking at some photos online I was determined to visit it. For me, photos were more than enough, I was instantly in love with this village.
However, if you are still in doubt whether or not you should go to this stunning place, continue reading to find out why you can’t miss Giethoorn on your next trip to the Netherlands.
But first, coffee and some history
Interesting Facts about Giethoorn
Many people ask, “what does Giethoorn mean?”. Well, it literally means “goat’s horns”. Many goats died in the region, as a result of a flood in the 10th-century, and years later only their horns were to be found. That is a little sad, I know. But these are the facts behind this little town’s name. Sorry.
Today the village has 2.620 inhabitants. Just so you can have an idea of how special this place is. Also, most houses are over 200 years old. Nevertheless, the houses and their gardens look tidily organized.
1. Best Time to Visit: Always
Giethoorn is cute and pleasant during Spring and Summer. That is true. The flowers are blooming, the grass is greener, and the sun is probably shinning. Yes, probably (That’s the Netherlands, guys).
However, even in the Winter months, the village has this great appeal, and everything looks enchanting! Besides the fact that you can ice skate on the frozen canals if the weather gets icy. Just don’t forget a good coat, because this little town is usually colder than Amsterdam.
Hot tip: Heading to Giethoorn in the Spring or in the Summer? Then go there during the week as it gets easily crowded in the weekends with national and international tourists.
2. How to Get To Giethoorn
Like I said above, the canals are basically the streets of Giethoorn. Amsterdam has many canals, but certainly not like this fairy-tale place (in relative terms, guys 😊). This small town is only reachable by foot, boat or bike. Isn’t that amazing? In the 21st-century, a village in one of the world’s richest countries is not accessible by car! I love this idea.
You might be wondering how to get there then. Well, you can reach Giethoorn from Amsterdam by getting 2 trains (One to Almere, and another from Almere to Steenwijk) and a bus (line 70 direction Zwartsluis, get off at Dominee Hylkemaweg), and rent a boat there. This trip takes around 2hs. Alternatively, you can buy the ticket to an educational boat tour in Giethoorn plus transfer departing from the heart of Amsterdam. Really simple and everything is taken care of!
3. Venice of the North
Dutch people are very proud of their adorable little town, which they kindly call “the Dutch Venice”. The Netherlands have been fighting against the water for a long time now since 26% of the country is below sea level. As a result of years of experience, they found a way to get along with it.
Giethoorn is an example of it. Among other Dutch cities, of course. But unlikely these other cities, Giethoorn has almost no streets, only canals. This small town developed itself around water, and today it is a beautiful attraction in the countryside.
4. Fairy-tale Village
Imagine a small town with very old and cute little houses, gorgeous canals, no cars, lots of nature and charming bridges.
Welcome to Giethoorn, a fairy-tale place secluded in the countryside of the Netherlands. The Dutch architecture is certainly fascinating, whether it is the modern architecture of Rotterdam or the medieval Amsterdam. However, the houses in Giethoorn look like they are straight out of a mythical book.
This is surely a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam. Just relax and enjoy the town!
5. Photo Hotspot
Prepare your camera! Giethoorn definitely has several photography hotspots because of its stunning houses. As a matter of fact, the whole “package” makes the village perfect for any kind of photos you might want to take. The bridges, flowers, cows in the meadows, you name it. Trust me when I say you won’t regret visiting this breathtaking place.
6. Boat Tour
There are some nice activities in this small town, such as visiting museums and a living farmhouse. However, the most pleasant thing to do in Giethoorn is a boat tour. Because that is all what the city’s charm is about, and you can see all the beauty the place has to offer from another point of view. Besides, you’re navigating where there are no streets to stroll along, thus that is the only way to see this part of the village.
Also, you can learn more about Giethoorn from a local in this educational tour I mentioned above.
7. Romantic Village
Needless to say, Giethoorn is one of the most romantic cities, not only in the Netherlands but also in Europe. Especially in the springtime, when all the flowers are blooming in the gardens. Couples can have a pleasant time here. Have something to eat in one of the restaurants by the water’s edge, stroll together along the bridges while you both appreciate the place or take couples photos next to one of the countless stunning canals.
If you were looking for a romantic destination to spend Valentine’s Day, you have just found it.
8. Off the Beaten Path Destination
When tourists visit the Netherlands, they usually go to the famous Amsterdam, to the modern Rotterdam, to the international The Hague, etc. But not that many foreigners have heard about Giethoorn and that makes this place even more special. A lot of Dutch people visit this stunning place, though.
Well, too bad for those who aren’t reading this post, because they have no idea what they are missing, right? So pack your things and pay this offbeat destination a visit. Not a single person I know who has been there wasn’t delighted by the beauty of it. Not one!
Have I convinced you to visit Giethoorn? I promise you won’t regret it! When you do, come back here and let me know how your experience in this village was.
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