The Venice of the North: A Day Trip to Giethoorn from Amsterdam

Often referred to as the “Venice of the North,” Giethoorn is a picturesque village in the Netherlands that seems lifted straight out of a fairy tale. This car-free village is famous for its idyllic canals, charming thatched-roof cottages, and tranquil way of life.

Getting to Giethoorn from Amsterdam

Getting to Giethoorn from Amsterdam involves a combination of train and bus travel. First, take a train from Amsterdam Central Station to Steenwijk, which typically takes about 1.5 hours. From Steenwijk, you can then take a bus (line 70) directly to Giethoorn, a journey that takes around 20 minutes. Do check the current schedules as the frequency of the buses can vary depending on the season.

Things to do in Giethoorn

Upon arriving in Giethoorn, you’ll instantly understand why it’s often compared to Venice. The village is crisscrossed by numerous canals, with beautiful footbridges connecting the small islands where the charming thatched-roof houses stand. One of the best ways to explore Giethoorn is by renting a “whisper boat,” a quiet electric boat that allows you to navigate the canals at your own pace while respecting the tranquility of the village.

Walking or cycling along the paths that run beside the canals is also a delightful way to discover Giethoorn. The village is part of the Weerribben-Wieden National Park, the largest freshwater wetland in northwestern Europe, making it a haven for nature lovers. Look out for the diverse wildlife that inhabits this area, including several rare bird species.

While Giethoorn is undoubtedly known for its natural beauty, it also offers cultural attractions. Visit ‘t Olde Maat Uus, a museum housed in a traditional farmhouse, to learn about the village’s history and way of life. Afterwards, stop at one of the local cafes or restaurants to try Dutch specialties, such as poffertjes (small pancakes) or a slice of Dutch apple pie.

A day trip to Giethoorn from Amsterdam offers a unique opportunity to step back in time and experience the tranquil beauty of this car-free village. Whether you’re navigating its serene canals by boat, strolling along its picturesque footpaths, or simply soaking up the peaceful atmosphere, Giethoorn is sure to provide an unforgettable experience. So, pack your camera, lace up your walking shoes, and get ready to explore the Venice of the North.