On your radar: Giethoorn, Netherlands

On your radar: Giethoorn, Netherlands

by Jessica Zen
Stripes Europe

The charming water village of Giethoorn is home to less than 3,000 people and known as the “Dutch Venice.” This amazing village is located in the province of Overijssel in the east of the Netherlands. Here you can gently glide through the canals as you view traditional thatched-roof farmhouses. Spend the day drifting under wooden bridges, followed by enjoying delicious cuisine at a waterfront restaurant in this incredibly serene setting. 

The village name originates from the discovery of hundreds of goat horns in the area that were leftover from a flood in the 10th century! Though today you won’t find any goat horns milling in the water, there is still plenty to see. Giethoorn’s fascinating landscape can attribute its layout to peat harvesters. When they were cutting the peat (decayed vegetable matter used for fertilizer or fuel), they created ponds, canals, lakes and the islands where houses were built. As several houses and businesses are only accessible today from the water, the best way to get around Giethoorn is by boat. 

A punter is a common narrow boat, propelled by a long pole, used in the area for transportation. If you’d prefer something a little more modern you can opt for a whisper boat, which is a dinghy powered by an electric motor. There are over 55 miles of canoe trails to explore in the area and over 150 beautiful bridges to glide under. Schedule a boat tour to learn about the area and the traditions that go along with these adorable thatched-roof cottages. For those with a more adventurous streak, rent a transparent inflatable ball that allows you to get inside and walk on water! 

Perhaps the most relaxing way to pass the time in this fairytale village is dining on the water’s edge. Enjoy a romantic dinner at De Lindenhof, where you will be pampered in a setting that has been awarded two Michelin stars! Indulge in the surprise menu which features 12 small courses, all lovingly prepared by Chef Martin Kruithof. If you are so inclined, you can even spend the night at the small hotel here. The cozy atmosphere and staff will make you feel right at home. 

Another delightful restaurant option on the water is Hollands Venice. Here you’ll find various terraces that overlook the Weerribben-Wieden nature reserve. For over 80 years, this eatery has been serving up seasonal dishes made from pure ingredients that are sure to make your taste buds sing! If you have the pleasure of dining here for dinner, you’ll find items like lasagna Bolognese or codfish with marinated vegetables on the menu.

While you’re floating down the peaceful canals, be sure to stop at one of the village museums. “Het Olde Maat Uus” Museum features traditional farmhouses from a century ago. Museum de Oude Aarde is home to a collection of gemstones and minerals. The Histomobil has a collection of old cars, motorcycles and carriages. 

Located just an hour and a half from Amsterdam, Giethoorn is the perfect place to add to any Netherlands itinerary. Enjoy a day spent leisurely floating down the beautiful canals and admiring the quaint village houses that are lovingly tended to. Dine on some seriously sensational food and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Giethoorn is the perfect place for a relaxing day. 

Why Go There

The scenic village of Giethoorn, often referred to as the “Venice of the north,” offers a similar experience to the famous canal city, but without the excessive crowds. Giethoorn should be on your radar as the perfect destination for a relaxing day spent on the water. From the charming thatched-roof houses to the calming waters, this fairytale village is sure to steal your heart!

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