Picking a destination is brought about by very random reasons. How I ended up doing this day trip goes back to a month before my 2017 summer travel. I had gone to visit a friend at her house and the Dutch neighbour popped in for a drink and he got talking about the small most beautiful village that he lived in. He pulled out Google Images and teased my travel senses with pictures of a dreamy small village.
A couple glasses of wine and laughter later I forgot the very Dutch name and went home, a week later I tried to recall the name with many failed attempts but after 20 minutes of trying very weird combination searches I finally found the name : GIETHOORN. Before I could forget once again I quickly messaged my boyfriend and told him, we gotta go here.
Fast forward to 21st June when I was packing for my one month long Euro trip which was planned to coincide with summer to fulfill my quench for a proper sun-kiss. I obviously packed only the lightest and tiniest of clothes getting my backpack weight to 10.9 Kgs for the 1 Month. Yes I do pack extremely light. Little did I know the Dutch summers have their own mind and summer showers are not uncommon.
After the initial days of a mix of rain, over cast and sunny days the forecast for north of The Netherlands was nice and sunny and so off we went.
Giethoorn is a postcard-perfect village in Overijssel Province, in the North of The Netherlands. It’s known for its boat-filled waterways, footpaths, bicycle trails and centuries-old thatched-roof houses. It is so serene so calm to a point of it seeming un-real or staged. Rowing silently in the canals with an elderly lady crossing the bridge right above you is a typical scene of Giethoorn.
It is easily accessible from Amsterdam by train, bus or driving there. If taking public transport you can find more information to get to Steenwijk where you would take bus 70 to the Dominee Hylkemaweg. Once there right across the street you will see the water and if you walk towards it you will be where all the calm action starts.
We opted to drive and this took us about 2 1/2 hours of great typical sites of Holland: dykes, flat lands and windmills.
What To Do
The main activity here is relaxing and just enjoying “BEING present”.. let your imagination grow wild as you stroll the quiet streets, navigate the canals on the boat, try your luck at wind surfing, enjoy a lovely meal at the canal restaurants, have a picnic on the small island, take loads of great pictures or even go for a cheese tasting session.
This is the main activity and rather quite popular attraction of Giethoorn. In my opinion the best option is to rent your own boat for about 2 hours allowing you to explore the village and the nature and lake further out.
Rates (as at June 2017)
Euro 20 – no steering wheel for 1 hour and 10 Euro for each additional hour
Euro 25 – with steering wheel for 1 hour and 15 Euro for each additional hour
Boat Tours – Euro 6- 8 per person – avg 1 hour
The advantage of having your own boat is firstly, it’s super easy to navigate, I am not great steering any vehicle but on this boat I was a champion. Secondly and most important you can take your time, get off to buy some beers and ice cream, stop the engine and just chill and have lake chills. We both are averse to being told what to do hence prefer to avoid all sorts of tours.
Giethoorn has previously been names as the no roads village, it does have roads but the picturesque part of the village is a no car zone with only paths for pedestrians and bikers. I personally think walking around the village is better, more relaxing and it also works up your appetite; it also gives you a very different feel and angle compared the boat. It does get a large numbers of tourists and this could reduce its charm but not take it away. went on a Tuesday and therefore it was not as busy and had a very relaxed feel to it.
The other trick it is too stay the night or a little longer to when the day trip crowds live and the roads are all yours. We left at about 7 – 8 and so got to enjoy late summer walks after the minimal crowds had left.
Eat & Drink Up!
We love to eat and having a drink in pretty place is away to “put a cherry on the cake” our travel experiences. We opted to have a drink on one side of the village and some Tapas on the other end. All very yummy and considering how touristic the village is we were surprised at the rates having done Amsterdam in the prior days.
Wine – Euro 3.75 – 6 per glass
Beer – Euro 4 – 5 per 1/2 liter
Cheese Tasting – Euro 7 – 8 per person
Lunch – Euro 9 – 15 based on what you eat
Giethoorn can easily be done as a day trip like we did but if you have more time and would like to stay the night, some of the houses are available to rent alternatively you can rent wooden cabins or camp for Euro 8.50 with your own equipment.
Last thoughts??? if you are visiting Amsterdam or live there and are looking for something a little bit different from it then here is a great plan.