Travel & Living

This Dutch village uses Boats instead of Cars!

Guide to Giethoorn

Giethoorn, a Dutch village in Overijssel is so pretty with its canals, wooden bridges and farms with thatched roofs that it almost seems unreal.

Giethoorn is known as Little Venice or the Venice of The Netherlands.

Giethoorn was established as a settlement of peat harvesters. Peat cutting created water bodies, and people built houses on the islands between them. The lakes were formed by peat unearthing.  As a result, access was only possible by using abridge or punters – traditional boats pushed along using a long pole. Those of you who may have travelled to Oxford in England may have experienced something similar there.

Not much has changed in Giethoorn; using a traditional boat and the wooden bridges are still the best way to get around. In fact, the postman delivers mail to local residents by boat to this day! The place is quiet, serene and calm with its population of just over 2500 inhabitants.

With about 90kms of canoe trails,a good way to see Giethoorn is to join an organized canal cruise. Tourists can also hire a small electric boat that is fairly easy to operate. Many of the canal side restaurants rent them out and it is a wonderful way to spend the day, gliding down the waterways as to go past quaint cottages and under old wooden bridges.

The Dutch filmmaker Bert Haanstra made his famous comedy Fanfare here.

Eating out in Giethoorn

Giethoorn has many restaurants, situated at the water’s edge. The restaurants De Lindenhofand’t Achterhuusare highly recommended!


Many of the hotels and holiday homes in Giethoorn are located directly at the water’s edge. If you are going during season time, ensure that booking is done in advance.


Giethoorn is about an hour and a half’s drive from Amsterdam. There is also good bus connectivity from Amsterdam.

The four-kilometer ‘Giethoorn Walking Route’ is a great way to explore the village with picturesque settings and sights along the way. Giethoorn is usually done as a day trip from Amsterdam – which is what I did – but I would certainly recommend that you make it an overnight trip to soak in the atmosphere of this delightful waterside village in The Netherlands.

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