Europe off the Beaten Path!!

The Swan Restaurant - also offers boat rentals 

Another view of Giethoorn by the canal. 

A beautiful lasting view of Giethoorn

The farm houses of Giethoorn usually haven been made in the 18th century and house 2-3 rooms. There are steps leading up from the canal to the farmhouse

A ride on the Punter is a must in Giethoorn. 

travel to giethoorn

There are many ways of travelling to Giethoorn but the simplest one would be to drive down. From Amsterdam follow Almere-Leystad - Emmeloord and take exit after Emmeloord. After exit, head in direction Steenwijk - Giethoorn and exit after Giethoorn Noord just outside Avia gas station (free parking). It could take about 100 km or app. 1.30 hours to get to Giethoorn from Amsterdam. 

The other option is to take the train. Unfortunately Giethoorn does not have any train station. The nearest train station is at Steenwijk. To get to Steenwijk from Amsterdam, one would have to change the train at Amersfoort. The train journey takes about 1.45 hours. From Steenwijk, take bus no. 70 directly outside Giethoorn (15 mins) from where one can walk for 5 minutes directly to the canals. The trip would cost about Euro 25-30 per person (one way). 

quick facts about giethoorn

  • The village of giethoorn has no roads. situated a few metres below sea level, the soil at the bottom is so soft that it is impossible to build roads. Hence it remains a car free village .However there do exist many cycling paths


  • using boats is the only way of transportation in giethoorn (apart from cycles). LOCAL BOATS ARE CALLED PUNTERS WHICH ARE USED BY LOCALS FOR COMMUTING AND TRANSPORTATION. it is said that the children of giethoorn learn to sail before they learn to walk


  • giethoorn is full of farm houses built in the 18th century 


  • GIETHoorn has more than 4 miles of canals. there are more than 180 wooden bridges in giethoorn

  • for a village with a history of 800 years, giethoorn's population at 2,500 is very small

  • boat making is the most flourishing industry in giethoorn. it takes 3-4 weeks to make a boat in giethoorn


  • after you are done with your visit to giethoorn, sit down in the village's bar and do not miss the delicious dutch pancakes. 

history of giethoorn

Giethoorn was first formed in AD 1230 by a group of fugitives from the Mediterranean region, who constructed canals to connect the two man-made lakes at the two ends of the village to transport peat extracts (a significant source of energy in the 13th century). Initially, the villagers dug up the peat soil wherever it suited them, mixed it with trough and laid out the mixture to dry. As and as more digging was undertaken, man made lakes were formed in the area in and around Giethoorn. 

​The next stage was to transport the peat. For this the villagers constructed ditches and canals to connect with lakes at either ends. Consequently, the village of Giethoorn got its unique and distinctive look.

​However, it was not until the 1958 movie from Dutch Director Ber Haanstra - "Fanfare" which showcased Giethoorn extensively that the village's tourism potential was finally realised. Since then tourists have trickled in and today Giethoorn purely survives largely on tourism. 

  Contents
  1. About giethoorn
  2. history of giethoorn
  3. quick facts about giethoorn
  4. how giethoorn derived its name
  5. how to travel to giethoorn
  6. accommodation in giethoorn
  7. giethoorn by boat
  8. ​what else in giethoorn
ABOUT giethoorn


 Where Central Netherlands
 Why For tranquility and serenity
 For whom Nature lovers
 How long  Day trip or one overnight
 Best seasonApril - October; also good in winter
 Likely cost per personEuro 100-150 (Rs 8,000 - 12,000)
Giethoorn, The Netherlands
the netherlands and canals are synonymous. but how about an only pedestrianized, small, tranquil and peaceful village, full of small farm houses, no roads and only small canals where the only way of transportation is using a boat, where time comes to a standstill and that too only about 100 kms from amsterdam. only walking along the lake and canals makes one lose the sense of time. if this is your idea of an idyllic holiday, giethoorn is an impossible to miss stop on your stay in the netherlands!

three things set giethoorn apart from any other tourist destination. one, everything is small - small houses, small canal, small population, small boats and even small super markets. two, it has more than 180 bridges, all wooden.  three, it is right in the middle of the netherlands, which makes it easily accessible from any corner of the country.

if you are looking to run away from a car infested city and rediscover a time where people could function just fine without it, giethoorn is your sure day trip on your tour in the netherlands. CHRISTENED "THE VENICE OF THE NETHERLANDS", GIETHOORN IS EUROPEUNEXPLORED'S TRAVEL DESTINATION OF THIS FORTNIGHT - ABSOLUTELY OFF THE BEATEN PATH!

More lasting impressions of Giethoorn

While crossing a wooden bridge over the canal in Giethoorn

A picture of Giethoorn and its small canals. Also in the picture is the Punter - Giethoorn's answer to Venice's Gondolas

An example of wooden bridge to get on the other side of the canal. Giethoorn has in excess of 180 wooden canals. 

accommodation in giethoorn

Proximity to Amsterdam generally makes Giethoorn a fine day trip. Also paucity of concentrated amount of land means limited availability of hotels. 

However, EuropeUnexplored recommends a tourist to stay overnight in Giethoorn in a schurtje (a tiny farm house). The schurtje are cozy two-three bed room apartments directly at the banks of the canal and can truly make one feel like a local in Giethoorn. Schurtje in Giethoorn usually include a bicycle rental. Check out other apartments at http://www.atelier66.nl/Giethoorn.htm. There is also a supermarket in Giethoorn for all your daily essentials. However it is so small it is likely to be smaller than the living room in your home!!

If you feel the urge of staying in a hotel, we would recommend staying in De Harmonie. Usual prices are closer to Euro 80-120 per night for a couple including breakfast. Check out more at http://www.harmonie-giethoorn.nl/

Video of Giethoorn by water. Video by Micheal Levit

what else in giethoorn

If even after boating in the canals and a walk / cycle ride along the canals your heart yearns for more, consider visiting the 't Olde Maat Uus museum (http://www.oldemaatuus.nl/museum.html) in Giethoorn to experience how people lived in Giethoorn across ages and eras.  Admission is cheap at Euro 4 per adult and Euro 1 per child. The staff are friendly and can tell you many pleasant stories of life in Giethoorn. 

​For others interested in rocks, visit De Oude Arde which has many different varieties of rocks (http://www.deoudeaarde.nl/en/)

The electric boat in Giethoorn. Electric boats are very silent and eco friendly. 

giethoorn by boat

Undoubtedly the best way to see Giethoorn is by boat. The first thing upon arrival in Giethoorn is to rent a boat and see around the village through the canals. The perspective while in water is fantastic when compared with when walking along the canals. There are a few companies offering boat rentals. Especially check out http://www.giethoornboeking.nl/zoek-resultaten. Expect to pay between Euro 20-35 for different variety of boats which can seat a up to 8 people at one point of time. 

An interesting question would be which boat to choose. EuropeUnexplored's suggestion would be to take the "Punter" - Giethoorn's answer to the Gondolas of Venice. A trip in the Punter could have someone row the boat while you may sit in awe and appreciate the beauty of the village! 

There are plenty of other boats - Kano (canoe), Fluisterboats (whisper boats) which are electric boats and can seat 8-10 people, the Sloep (luxury electric boats) etc. For further details please check http://www.smitgiethoorn.nl/. Also check the youtube video at the top right hand side of the page for a teaser of what Giethoorn by boat offers. 

how giethoorn derived its name

At the end of the 11th century when the original inhabitants found masses of horns of wild goats. Consequently they named the village "Geytenhorn" (geit = goat in Dutch). Slowly as dialects developed, the village was rechristened as Giethoorn. However the pronunciation remains tricky and involves a distinct back of the throat sound to make it as authentic as the locals!

Punter - Giethoorn's answer to the Venetian Gondola can seat about 6 people at any point of time

A fine farm house in Giethoorn