Guide to Giethoorn: A Magical Town in the Netherlands with No Roads

Giethoorn, Netherlands, no roads

Dreaming of the simple life? Well, let me introduce the cutest, most adorable town in the world, Giethoorn. It’s a village in the Netherlands, also known as ‘Little Venice’ or ‘The Venice of the North’. It has such simple beauty that it hardly seems real – small canals, pretty thatched-roof farmhouses and a fairytale-like gardens.

Giethoorn, Netherlands, no roads

Background info on Giethoorn

Giethoorn’s history goes back to around 1200 when Franciscan monks settled in the area. It was founded by fugitives from the Mediterranean region in around AD 1230. Giethoorn was a separate municipality until 1973, when it became part of Brederwiede. It is currently home to less than 3,000 people, most of them living on their private islands. There’s approximately 180 bridges as it’s the only way to reach many houses, other than by boat.

Giethoorn, Netherlands, no roads

Getting there

Catching public transport will take around 2.5 hours. From Amsterdam take train to Steenwijk, from there take the bus 249 to Giethoorn. If you’re driving from Amsterdam, take highway A1-E231 to the A28-E232. Driving time is about 90 minutes.

Things to do

The best thing to do in Giethoorn is to relax and admire the canals, ponds and the scenery. Stop and have lunch by the water, some ice-cream or drinks. It’s all about laying back and enjoying your day. You can rent a boat and explore the waterways on your own, although in high season free boats are often hard to come by, so make sure you rent one first thing in the morning.

You can also rent an inflatable ball, position yourself inside it and literally walk (or float) on the water.

There’s bikes to rent too if you want to explore the village on land, and you’ll be able to cycle into the Dutch countryside and witness its beautiful fields.

Giethoorn, Netherlands, no roads

Where to stay

The village is very tiny, most people suggest no more than 1 night. You could see everything in just a few hours but if you’d like to stay overnight, or even longer, there are several hotels and bed & breakfasts to choose from.

A few recommendations:

De Dames Van De Jonge Hotel Restaurant
Appartement Hoek
Chaletpark Kroondomein Giethoorn (bed & breakfast)
Hotel de Pergola

Giethoorn, Netherlands, no roads

So… has it stolen your heart yet?


  • Ashley Christabelle

    Yes, it has stolen my heart! Such a cute place! Looks super duper relaxing too x

  • This is so magical and straight from a fairy book!

  • Wow, this place is stunning. I’d love to go to the Netherlands and visit this town! :)

  • Love discovering little towns like this, they’re lovely and off the beaten road!

    Miriam ♥ A whole lot of serendipity

  • More than stolen my heart—it looks straight out of a fairy tale <3 I have no idea how I keep missing your posts—it used to update me every time you posted :( Hate to miss any of your posts because your blog is one of my absolute favorties~
    She Will Be

  • It looks LOVELY! Thank you so much: now I have a new destination!

  • How did I not know this place existed?! It looks amazing and so magical, I need to visit!

  • This place is stunning!!! Need to visit for sure!

    Sara |

  • I’m from the Netherlands! Surprisingly, I haven’t even visited Giethoorn yet! There are tiny places like this in the area where I live, but it is high on my list to visit. It looks so magical! I do suggest you visit during our summer, since we have such unsure weather.

    Love, Layla Rosita

  • I love Giethoorn, I was born in a village 30 km south, so I visited Giethoorn a few times. It’s beautiful and great to rent a ‘punter’ boat and explore the town. However it’s been a bit overrun by Chinese tourists though, and I know a few people that live there and are not really amused by this, as their privacy is not really respected (people walking in their gardens, making photographs of them while eating breakfast etc). I hope the popularity will not affect the authenticy of the town.

  • This part of Netherlands looks surreal! This place is definitely going to my travel bucket list!!!

  • Amber McKenna

    You’ve convinced me to go here when we’re in Amsterdam in 6 weeks! Did you rent a car from Amsterdam? What was the cost of the rental car? Thank you!

  • Eline Fransen

    Coming from the Netherlands (and been to Giethoorn twice with school) i loved the little village but what i loved so much more was the nature reserve that is so easy to access when you go trough the village by (punter)boat. and was surprised that the nature reserve wasn’t mentioned. Renting one of those boats while visiting is really worth it.

  • Glauce Ge


    Nice post! Any idea how much the boat rental costs?

  • The little village looks magical!! :) We just decided to do a trip to Giethoorn next weekend :)

  • Marcos Jarschel


  • เอื้อมพร สายเสมา

    wow,the next station