Where is Giethoorn?
Giethoorn is in the northeastern Dutch province of Overijssel. It will take around 1h 20 minutes to get there in the car from Amsterdam.
What is Giethoorn?
Giethoorn is a beautiful Dutch village also know as the ‘Venice of the North’. There are no cars, no roads and, in true Dutch fashion, the only mode of transport is boat!
The name ‘Giethoorn’ comes from a large numbers of goat’s horns found by the farming community that worked the land back in the 13th Century. The village then got its first taste of tourism when well known Dutch filmmaker, Bert Haanstra, filmed the comedy Fanfare here. The film rates as 7.4 stars on IMDB, so perhaps it’s worth a watch!
Where to Leave the Car?
As you enter the outskirts of Giethoorn you will begin to see numbered car parks along the road. The further along the road you go, the nearer to the centre of the village you get. However, the centre is not the best place to leave your car.
The best place to park is at parking lot 3, which is attached to the Smit restaurant. Keep an eye out for the red Smit flags and banners flying at the entrance.
Smit has a lovely restaurant where you can get some quality and traditional Dutch cuisine. The inside of the restaurant has a cool, contemporary feel with light and bright wooden beams, exposed brick walls and rich chocolately coloured upholstered leather chairs.
There is also a massive outside area at the front of the restaurant that can sit more than double the amount of diners inside! Here you can sit and enjoy the sunshine, whilst supping on a cup of Dutch coffee. All the while getting your first taste of Giethoorn as at your feet you can watch the main canal that leads to the centre of the village gently ferry friendly ducks and boats full of tourists back and forth.
Smit Boat Rentals
Smit also offers boat rentals and are cheaper than those places that are nearer to the centre of Giethoorn village. We really thought we had struck gold with this place!
They offer two types of boats to hire:
- A row boat style vessel with silent engine priced at €30 for 2 hours
- Or a ‘lux boat’, which is deeper and bigger with room to move around more freely at €60 for 2 hours.
We were travelling with two little children aged 1 and 4, so we chose the ‘lux’ option simply because it gave us more space.
Life jackets are available for everyone, but not necessary. However, both of the children were fitted out with one.
Once you have mastered how to drive your boat, Giethoorn then becomes your proverbial oyster and it is simply beautiful and such fun!
Moor up next to the ice-cream shop let everyone jump out to have a look around the magnets and tea towels in the souvenir shop. Then go a little further down the canal and moor up next to the cheese shop and the church!
As you explore the village the boat really comes into its own. I could have easily spent double the time popping in and out of the museums, jewellery shops and food shops on offer!
Then just sit back and enjoy the splendid thatched roofs, beautifully coiffured gardens and the extremely friendly ducks of Giethoorn!