Giethoorn is an enchanting Dutch town filled with thatched-roof cottages and wooden bridges. Instead of cars, locals get around using footpaths, bicycle trails and canals lined with leafy trees. The town is known as the “Venice of the Netherlands” and looks like it’s been plucked from a Dutch fairy-tale.
Many of the canals are dotted with atmospheric cafes and bistros where you can enjoy lunch with a view. Other buildings house bakeries, cheese shops and chocolatiers. Boat rentals are a great way to explore the village and admire some of the prettiest houses, which feature emerald-green lawns and flower-filled gardens.
While the southern portion of the village can get quite busy, the northern end is generally quiet and picturesque, even in the height of summer. Giethoorn is perched on the border of Weerribben-Wieden National Park and is a great base for exploring the wetland reserve. Canoes and electric boats are the best way to explore the park.
Giethoorn is located in the north-east of the Netherlands, a one-hour drive from Amsterdam. Parking is available on the outskirts of the village, though you’ll have to walk to access the centre. Trains run between Amsterdam and Steenwijk, where local buses take you to Giethoorn.