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The small village of Giethoorn is a popular destination near Amsterdam and is well known beyond the borders of the Netherlands. Giethoorn is often called the “most beautiful village in the Netherlands” or the “Dutch Venice”. Although the village has only 2600 inhabitants, up to one million tourists visit Giethoorn every year.

A trip to the idyllic village of Giethoorn

Giethoorn and its many canals

Giethoorn is largely free of car traffic, as there are no roads in the middle of the village, only footpaths and canals. This creates a special atmosphere in this beautiful village. You can explore it by boat on the canals or on foot. In this article we tell you what a trip from Amsterdam to Giethoorn can look like.


How to get to Giethoorn

Giethoorn is situated in the nature reserve De Wieden. The small village is easily accessible by car from Amsterdam in 1.5 – 2 hours. Google Maps directions work fine. You can also travel by car from Germany, as Giethoorn is only about an hour from the German border near Meppen.

Another option to get to Giethoorn is an organized tour from Amsterdam. A bus leaves near the central station and takes you to Giethoorn and back in the evening.

The last option is to travel by train and bus. From Amsterdam Centraal you need to take the train to Steenwijk. From there you can take the bus 70 to Dominee Hylkemaweg station. And then you can walk along the canal towards the village. The whole trip will cost you about € 25. You can find an overview of times and prices on Omio.

Note: In Giethoorn you’ll find many parking places and signs pointing to them. Near the canal at the restaurant La Piccola Venezia, there’s free parking. We also parked there.

Accommodation in Giethoorn – our hotel tip

If you want to stay longer in Giethoorn, there are many places to spend the night. The small thatched houses along the canals are often rented out as holiday homes. Camping is also available on site, so there’s nothing to stop you from having a great stay.

You can find a great selection of accommodations with fantastic reviews here.

Accommodation in Giethoorn

Giethoorn – Tours and Tickets


A stroll through Giethoorn

After arriving in Giethoorn, it’s worth taking a stroll through the village. Along the canals there are paths for pedestrians and a few cyclists. You can take beautiful pictures from the hundreds of bridges of Dutch Venice.

Giethoorn, the most beautiful village in the Netherlands

The Gloria Maris Gallery of Giethoorn

There are no major sights in Giethoorn, but that’s not why most visitors come here anyway. They want to explore the canals and bridges by walking or by boat, or visit the museums, such as De Oude Aarde Mineral and Gemstone Museum or the Gloria Maris Schelpengalerie where you can find artistic and local souvenirs.

Antiques for sale in Giethoorn, the Netherlands

Thatched houses in Giethoorn, the Netherlands

Although Giethoorn is quite small, it takes a while to see the whole village along the canals. Every now and then there are cafés or restaurants where you can enjoy a break. The village is perfect for walking and there were very few tourists during our visit.

House on the canal in quiet Giethoorn

Giethoorn Boat Tour

A boat trip is one of the highlights of Giethoorn. You can either rent a boat or kayak yourself, or take part in a round trip. The tours start, for example, at Restaurant ‘t Zwaantje and last, depending on the route, 1 hour (village tour) or 1.45 hours (village and nature reserve). The tour costs € 7.50 or € 12.50. Click here for more information about the tours.

Boat on a canal in Giethoorn

As mentioned in the beginning, you can also rent a boat yourself. Prices start at € 15 per hour, depending on the rental company. In one hour you can do a small village tour. If you want to go to the nature reserve or to the sea, you should plan 3-4 hours, including a small break for lunch.

Many rental companies can be found along the canals during a walk. Usually, the boats are covered by insurance, but it’s better to ask when renting. Sometimes other boats of inexperienced people might hit you, although this is usually not dangerous at the low speed. However, it would be a pity if you had to pay for scratches, etc. on the boat.

Boat trip on the canals of Giethoorn in the Netherlands

By the way, for many years now all the boats have been powered by electric motors so that the noise level is not too high. In addition, the canals are one-way and the boats do not go faster than 6 km/h. These rules definitely help to make the trip more relaxing.

Giethoorn Conclusion

Giethoorn wasn’t even on my mind when I went to the Netherlands. I went there by chance, but it was definitely worth it. The small village with its thatched houses and canals is absolutely charming and a half day or a few hours in Giethoorn is really quite nice.

Since I went to Giethoorn with my girlfriend, I would say the trip is perfect for couples. We included it as a stopover on our way back to Germany from Amsterdam, which is a great idea if you are traveling by car.

The Netherlands has some incredibly beautiful places to offer and Giethoorn is definitely one of them!

Tobi at the canal in Giethoorn

Plan your trip to Giethoorn now


Have you ever heard of Giethoorn or even been there? What do you think of the Dutch village? We look forward to your feedback!