Giethoorn – visiting this village is like entering a fairytale

Pretty places


Giethoorn is worldfamous and has been visited by millions of people from all over the world. For many people it is still on their bucketlist, so we decided to check out why.

It is still cold and foggy as we park our car at the big parkingplace at the tourist office on a Monday morning. From here we continue on foot, as there are no roads in Giethoorn. After a five minute walk, we see Giethoorn loom up at us out the dense mist. The sight is breathtaking!

Giethoorn 3Traffic jams in the canals

Giethoorn is located in the northwest in the province of Overijssel. From Amsterdam it is a 1,5 hour drive by car. The village has always been a popular destination for a daytrip, but since a few years it’s been discovered by much more people due to a lot of media attention abroad. It can be really very crowded during the high season, leading to traffic jams in the canals of Giethoorn sometimes.

Venice of Holland

The village has around 2600 inhabitants and is famous because of its bridges, canals and whisperboats. Therefore many people like to refer to Giethoorn as the Venice of Holland. There are more than 176 bridges. Those are necessary to reach the houses, which are built on little islands. You won’t find a car here. In fact, there are no roads in the old town. Well, at least not a road big enough to deal with a car. You will only find a path serving as a pedestrian- and bicyclelane.


While walking through the village we see the most beautiful houses and farms. All on their own little island and only reachable on foot or by boat. When slowly the fog lifts and the sun carefully starts to shine, a magical 18th century landscape unfolds in front of us. Giethoorn is like a fairytale.

The houses are wonderful, one even more beautiful than the other. The gardens are amazing and all surrounded with canals and little wooden bridges. The village exudes peace and serenity. Also caused by the fact that there is no motorized traffic in this water village. The boats sailing through the canals are equipped with an almost silent engine and are called whisper boats.

Giethoorn 2Boattrip

It is possible to make a boat trip through the canals by hopping on an excursion boat. However, it is much more fun to rent a whisper boat and sail yourself, and if you are even more adventurous you can rent a canoe or a sup board.

What else to do in Giethoorn

Hungry or thirsty? There are plenty of restaurants to take a break and enjoy a meal and/or have a drink. There are also several nice little shops. We found a very nice pottery, named Rhoda, where a lot of pretty stuff is sold. There are two museums in the village. Museum ’t Olde Maat Uus and Museum De Oude Aarde. Museum ’t Olde Maat Uus shows visitors farm life around 1900. It also shows the history of the area. Furthermore, you will find expositions of old crafts, like turf-cutting and thatching houses. Museum De Oude Aarde shows a collection of minerals and fossils. More information on Giethoorn can be found on


We loved being in Giethoorn. It was not very busy as we visited on a Monday morning outside the high season. In case you visit during the high season and want to escape the crowds, you might want to go to Giethoorn-Noord (Giethoorn-North). There you will also find the same beautiful houses surrounded by canals and little wooden bridges. It is just as beautiful and maybe even more authentic than the famous center part of Giethoorn. It is less crowded and it is possible to rent a boat as well.

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