Giethoorn : A cuter version of Venice in Holland

by Arjun
Boat sliding through scenic boat ways of Giethoorn

Giethoorn is almost a car-free village. It’s known for “commute only with boat” kind of lifestyle. But I will say, if you are going to the Netherlands or nearby, it’s a must visit. It’s like a day tour from Amsterdam. If you have a car, you can directly go to Giethoorn. For people who don’t, I will explain ways to reach Giethoorn, keeping the budget in mind. 

It’s known for its boat-filled waterways, walking, bicycle trails and old houses. Giethoorn is like a place which seems like it came directly out of fairy tales. But, yes due to boat filled waterways you can compare it to Venice. But if Venice is romantic than Giethoorn is a much cuter version of Venice.

A small scenic piece of beauty on this earth where there aren’t any roads, but canals. 

Views like this, couldn't be captioned

Views like this, couldn’t be captioned

Where there are no cars, but only boats. Also, cycle tracks. It feels like you are in some other world. What I  experienced after visiting this place is difficult to describe in words. But, I will try to write about my experiences and tips you should keep in mind while going there. But, I would better leave rest on pictures to say it all loud. 

This place is  ‘the Venice of the Netherlands’. A friend of mine told me about this place. It’s a remote place. So, reaching here would be a bit of a task. Also can’t deny the fact that Netherland is expensive, to be specific I stayed and commuted from and to Amsterdam, so that’s particularly expensive if not all. But I would share all my knowledge at the end of this experience.

There aren’t many budget places around for lunch, so I would suggest if you want to be on a budget pick up your meal on your way. Otherwise, just when you reach there. Visit Spar hypermarket, pick up from various kinds of bread, croissants, sandwiches, beers, cake. Have it on the boat. After sailing for an hour, you will eventually start feeling hungry.

The best way to experience this beauty is either by walking around or by boat. But walking trails are small, and Geithoorn attracts about 800000-1000000 tourists every year. Little tricky for walking, No?

So clearly, the best way to experience Giethoorn is probably by boat. You can rent a ‘whisper boat’ (called so because of their quieter engines) from multiple vendors. Some vendors don’t even give boats for less than 2 hours. Some require prior booking as weekends are busy. But on an average you will get one even on weekends, it may take some time as that’s what we did.

I will suggest two vendors as per the experience and boats are seen around.

  1. Zwaantje ( ): We went for this one. Few reasons why we considered this:
    1. In front of the bus stop.
    2. In front of Spar hypermarket(to pick up eateries)
    3. Courteous staff
    4. Big Fleet
    5. Don’t want to waste any more time in just searching, as we reached in the afternoon only.
  2. Bootverhuur Giethoorn ( ): Their boats were also decent, maintained. Most importantly bit cheaper, and they don’t require a minimum of 2 hours.

Though a 2-hour boat trip is like adequate time. You can see, enjoy, take pictures, eat, drink, park it somewhere and listen to some music. For couples, it’s like a win-win place because scenic landscapes mean great photos, let the man drive you around, you can enjoy a drink, take pictures, get some tan and enjoy the company. 😛

What to eat:

  1. Take your food from home, or get it packed on the way.
  2. Buy some bread, ready to eat food from Spar just beside the bus stop.

What to take along on a boat:

  1. A camera.
  2. Some to eat, something to drink, a dessert to enjoy in fairytale landscape.
  3. A Bluetooth speaker to listen to music of your choice.

What will you get in Giethoorn:

  1. Peace, relaxation
  2. Breathtaking views around
  3. Fairy tales experience
  4. Peace of mind
  5. That feeling “ I don’t want to leave this place.”

How to reach:

  1. Simplest way: Reach Amsterdam Centraal station. Buy return tickets to a station called Steenvijk. ( ). This journey has a break. It costs 48 Euros for a return train ticket + Bus from Steenvijk station to Giethoorn, that bus is after every half an hour.
    Steenvijk Train Station

    Steenvijk Train Station

    Spending some time outside Steenvijk train station, waiting for a bus

    Spending some time outside Steenvijk train station, waiting for a bus

  2. You can buy a day Holland pass for 19 euros. It will save you a lot. You still need to buy that bus ticket. It’s valid for all the trains except for a couple of international ones. ( ).
  3. You can buy a package tour like this; it will be cost effective of most. But the catch is that it’s not valid on weekends. It includes one-hour boat ticket and returns train ticket to anywhere in the Netherlands. It says 23 euros for a person for all this. Isn’t that cheap? ( )

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