Dubbed the Dutch Venice of the Netherlands, Giethoorn is a famous village without roads. Do you wonder this village looks like and why is it so famous and special? And is Giethoorn worth visiting, how to visit Giethoorn and what to do in Giethoorn? How to plan a perfect budget trip to Giethoorn for the first-time? So, let’s check out our Giethoorn blog (Giethoorn travel blog) with the fullest Giethoorn travel guide (Giethoorn guide) from how to get to giethoorn, how to go to Giethoorn and top things to do in Giethoorn to find out the answer! Now, joining us to explore one of the must-visit places around Amsterdam.
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Giethoorn blog: A brief history of the ancient Dutch village of Giethoorn
Giethoorn began to be discovered and inhabited by human in 1230, when a group of people fled out of the Mediterranean Region. However, when they came here, they discovered something very special compared to other places – a large amount of goat horns already existed in this land. Perhaps it was because of the great St. Elisabeth’s flood in 1170 swept the entire region, so there were goat horns here and they named this place as Geytenhorn which meaning goat horn. Through many years along with due to changes in language, the name Giethoorn was formed and is widely known as we seen today.
Peat mining (extraction) is one of the main occupations of the inhabitants here. At that time, they dug deep holes and trenches to extract the peat – then by the time they became canals and boats officially used as the main means of transport to travel on these canals.
The village of Giethoorn has begun to be known thanks to the movie Fanfare by famous director Bert Haanstra in 1958. Since then, this place has become one of the famous Dutch tourist destinations today.
Giethoorn travel blog: Overview of the fairy village Giethoorn
From the main road, passing the bus stop and go straight to the dirty road, the first of 180 wooden bridges crossing the canals of the ancient Dutch village of Giethoorn will be appear. And then, along the canal you will see well-preserved 18th-19th century farm-style houses. Previously, this village was completely roadless. Later, there were a few more small roads built for people to travel by bicycle and also a road along the canal that tourists take advantage of walking to sightseeing.
Giethoorn travel guide: How to get to Giethoorn and how to visit Giethoorn?
The distance between Amsterdam and Giethoorn is about 151 km and the journey can takes 2 hours to 2.5 hours of traveling depending on vehicle. To get to one of the best tourist attractions near Amsterdam, you will need to take the metro from Amsterdam Centraal Station to Steenwijk or Zwolle train station (2 stops) then take bus 70 or bus 270 in the direction of Giethoorn and then get off at Dominee Hylkemaweg station. Then walkingn straight down along Hylkemaweg Road about 250 meters to come. The total travel time by this way is about 2 hours.
Alternatively, to follow the suitable time schedule, you can visit the famous Dutch planner website of 9292.nl, input your departure and destination points and time you want to go. This site will automatically schedule the suitable itinerary for you.
The cheapest way to get here is to buy tickets at this LINK. The 23 Euros ticket, including the round trip tickets for 2 train trips + bus routes from any station in the Netherlands to Gierthoorn and an additional 1 hour boat ride in the village.
This type of boat is a covered type that can carry about 25 people, not like a self-rented type. This is the cheapest way to get to Giethoorn, you can’t find a cheaper way. Follow the address in the ticket to get to the boarding point. It’s not right at the bridgehead but you need to deeply go in a bit more.
Giethoorn travel guide: Getting around Giethoorn
There are 2 ways to getting around the village, one is walking along the canal, the other is by boat.
If you rent a boat, it costs about 20 euros per boat per hour. You can rent a motorboat or a paddle boat. They will have instructions for you in advance, so you don’t have to worry too much. It takes at least 1 hour to rowing boat around the village, if you want to going deep into the nature reserve, it takes about 3 hours.
Notes on travel in Giethoorn
1. The voucher of 23 Euros I mentioned above is the best and cheapest way because with Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket you can only go to Lelystad region. While to get to Giethoorn you need to go further to Steenwijk or Zwolle station and take a bus trip for 1 hour more. If you use the ticket above and then continue to take the following journeys to reach Giethoorn and paying a separate fee for each trip, the cost to get here must be increased to €50 as a minimum.
2. In the right-hand direction, when walking down from the bus there will be a small supermarket, if you need to buy some food and drink, you can visit here.
3. When buying the 23 Euros voucher ticket above, you should print out the ticket before you go because the code reader at the pier often could not read the code on the phone screen (due to the screen protector). I did witnessed 2 Chinese tourists miss the train due to using tickets on their phones and the ticket gate was not open.
Tips: Regarding traveling around the village, I think you can take the boat that included in the €23 voucher to sightseeing along the canals. After that, you should take a walk to getting around to take nice photos. Actually, Giethoorn’s photos are only beautiful when you choose the good angles, taking boat is quite fast and crowded with a lot of people, so taking good photos is not easy at all.
In short, getting to this beautiful destination near Amsterdam will take quite a lot of time compared to other places. The average traveling time takes about 4-5 hours just for two-way of traveling. And after arriving, you may have to spend at least about 3-4 hours for sightseeing, eating, so it will take a whole day.
In my personal opinion, if you have a lot of time to visit Amsterdam, then come here, but if your visiting time is tight, you should consider to go to the Keukenhof flower garden, the Zaanse Schans Windmill Village and explore the center of Amsterdam is okay. One more thing is that I feel that if I want to take good photos in this village, perhaps walking will catch more nice angles, it is difficult to take while you are on a boat tour.
Giethoorn blog: What to eat?
On the day I went to Giethoorn village, I ate at Satellite Sportscafé (Address: Leidseplein 11, 1017 PS Amsterdam, Netherlands/Hours: 12PM–12AM). This restaurant is famous for its delicious grilled ribs. A portion of €19 but make sure 2 people can’t eat it all. So you only need to order 1 serving is enough.
However, if you want to try this dish, you will have to wait quite a while, about 45 minutes. It is best that you should go to the pier to ask boat driver what time is it for the next boat trip to arrange your schedule and then go find a restaurant later. Because it also takes about 45 minutes for a boat tour, so you can watch the departure time to save time for waiting. The day I went, also because I had no experience, so I didn’t notice this, so when I got to the village, I worried about to finding a restaurant to eat first, waiting for 45 minutes for a meal. After eating, when I got to the pier, it had just left, so I had to wait for another 45 minutes :))). That sucks!
Giethoorn blog: When to visit?
As you can see in the picture, in winter, snow covers everywhere in Giethoorn village. The canals have completely frozen over and have become walkways and skating rinks for everyone. For me personally, visiting the ancient village of Giethoorn in the summer is of course much more beautiful than in the winter. However, if you come to the Netherlands in winter and want to experience the feeling of ice skating – an experience that not many tourists get when visiting this ancient village of Giethoorn, then come here.
Above are two photos which taken by Uncle Kim Van Chinh – one of the “veterans” of self-sufficient European travel. These pictures were taken by Uncle in early May. I think this is probably the most suitable and best time for you to visit this charming and picturesque village. The feeling of the air here is very fresh and quiet space, not too noisy like the high season in July. I recommend you to visit the Dutch village of Giethoorn at this time. Are you wondering whether to go to the Zaanse Schans Windmill Village or the ancient Giethoorn village? Check out this article about the Dutch windmill village of Zaanse Schans and the set of photos here to decide.
See more images of Giethoorn:
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Giethoorn and Amsterdam you can refer to
- Giethoorn and Enclosing Dike Day Tour
- Small Group Full Day Tour to Giethoorn from Amsterdam
- Giethoorn and Flevoland Day Tour from Amsterdam (Small Group)
- Giethoorn Private Day Trip from Amsterdam
- Giethoorn and Enclosing Dike Day Tour
- Amsterdam City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Bus & Boat Pass
- The Rijksmuseum Skip-the-Line Ticket and Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Pass in Amsterdam
- Red Light Secrets Museum and Hop-on Hop-off Bus Pass in Amsterdam
- Amsterdam Public Transport 1-7 Day Ticket
Are you looking for more Amsterdam travel guide and top things to do in Amsterdam? Read more: Amsterdam travel blog — The fullest Amsterdam city guide for a great trip to Amsterdam on a budget for the first-timers.