Giethoorn water village, venice of the Netherlands

Giethoorn is a ‘water village’ in Overijssel, in the municipality of Steenwijkerland, in the Dutch province of Overijssel and is located between Steenwijk and Meppel. Giethoorn is a very popular village in the Netherlands and is often referred to as the Venice of the North/Netherlands. The village of Giethoorn has 2620 inhabitants and is known for its bridges, waterways, and punts. Giethoorn is elongated and consists of three neighbourhoods that are connected to each other via waterways. In the north it is the Noordeinde, then the Middenbuurt and finally the Zuideinde. The Dorpsgracht is the central axis of Giethoorn and ends in the south in the Zuideindiger Wijde. Want to visit Giethoorn, the Holland water village? It’s a good day trip from Amsterdam and the canal cruise is beautiful. 

Netherlands village on water

Tourism has had a relatively small influence on the old traditional town of Giethoorn. The Holland water village, still only fully accessible by boat, is one of several places commonly known as the Venice of the Netherlands. The infrastructure of the villages counts over 180 bridges and countless canals. A Giethoorn canal cruise is a very popular attraction amongst Asian and especially Chinese tourists. The village sees between 150,000 and 200,000 Chinese tourists every year.

Giethoorn Amsterdam

Although we’re convinced that visiting Giethoorn and do a Giethoorn canal cruise will be a highly memorable experience, getting there can be quite a hassle. Giethoorn is a tiny village at quite some distance from Amsterdam; approximately 75 minutes by car. Getting there by public transport will take you over 2 hours and requires transfers from train to bus.

Giethoorn Tour

However, there are also all-in arranged tours from Amsterdam to Giethoorn available. Want to visit Giethoorn from Amsterdam? We advise you to book a tour and sit back and relax.

Giethoorn Netherlands impression

Giethoorn Netherlands is a perfect place for the most picturesque holiday photo’s you’ve ever seen. The old town of Giethoorn with its countless canals, bridges and beautiful houses will give any photograph enthusiast inspiration for an entire album dedicated to this water village. There are plenty of places from where you can rent your own private electrical boat, so you can discover the village at your own pace. Take your time to find the perfect sights for the perfect picture.

giethoorn bridge
In the old town, a chain of countless channels is connected by countless bridges. Pretty obvious why the town has been nicknamed “Venice of the North”

giethoorn architecture
The houses typical to Giethoorn are all fitted with straw roofing

giethoorn farmhouse
A perfect day in this village in the eastern part of the Netherlands, with a clear blue sky

Giethoorn electrical rental boat
Make sure to rent your own private electrical boat and discover the village at your own pace. For the sporty types; canoes are available as well!

Those who don’t like sailing can also explore the town by foot.

Once you exit the village of Giethoorn, you’ll find yourself sailing out on the open water of a beautiful lake.

If you sail right across the lake and enter the tiny waterways, you’ll find a look-out tower overviewing the beautiful nature surrounding Giethoorn

What to do in Giethoorn?

There is no shortage of tourism and activities in Giethoorn. Make sure to check out some of these activities:

Giethoorn Canal Cruise

Explore the waterways of one of the Netherlands’ most beautiful villages: Giethoorn. Enjoy the canals of Giethoorn from a tour boat with or without guides. If you’re looking to rent a boat we recommend you to have a look at Giethoornbootjehuren, this booking website allows you to rent a boat with several different boat rentals ensuring you have the most options at your disposal.

Here are some boat rental services in Giethoorn:

Boat rental ‘t Zwaantje

Sail with a whisper boat (without the sound of a motor) and quietly cruise around Giethoorn’s magnificent waters. Boat rental ‘t Zwaantje is popular for renting out such a quiet means of transportation to explore the area in peace and quiet. Apart from being very quiet, it is also very environmentally friendly and suitable for families with children. Pass through an island in the middle of the lake ‘t Wiede and go for a swim or have a picnic with friends and/or family.


Ds. T.O. Hylkemaweg 1 8355 CD Giethoorn
Gemeente Steenwijkerland, Overijssel

Restaurant de Rietstulp

Explore Giethoorn’s waterways and enjoy relaxing in a boat while exploring all that this wonderful Holland water village has to offer. Restaurant de Rietstulp lets you sail through the village on a boat, across the lake, and through the nature reserve de Wieden. Sail with them for an hour or get on for a nature trip of two hours.


Ds. T.O. Hylkemaweg 15 8355 CE Giethoorn
Gemeente Steenwijkerland, Overijssel

Boot Huren Giethoorn

For those free-spirited adventurers who would love to rent a boat and steer it themselves, Boot Huren Giethoorn is exactly where to be. Located in the centre of Giethoorn with its nostalgic bridges, you sail directly to the nature reserves from there. They also rent luxury boats, whisper boats, canoes, kayaks etc. You can also make a cruise with a boat captain/tour guide if steering one yourself is not your style.

Address and contact:

Binnenpad 42
8355 BS Giethoorn

Cycling in Giethoorn

Every enthusiastic cyclist will find an extensive network of cycle paths in Giethoorn. Kilometers of varied landscapes and nature (forest, reed, water), culture, and history. In Giethoorn and the surrounding area, there are various cycle routes such as the ANWB cycle route: De Weerribben Wieden and others. For more information, check out the official website of ‘t Zwaantje (the ANWB Tourists Information office).

Be sure to check out the website for bike rentals. A route map is also included in the rental.

Swimming in Giethoorn

In Giethoorn you can swim in open water in the Bovenwijde (popularly called ‘t Wiede) at the picnic island, accessible by boat. Bovenwijde is a lake to the east of Giethoorn. The lake is about 2 kilometers long and 1 kilometer wide. It is about 1 meter deep and is accessible by boat.

Things to see in Giethoorn

Besides the Giethoorn canals, you can visit a lot of museums. Of course, museums in Amsterdam are on another level and it is nothing compared to the Rijksmuseum or Moco Museum. But it is shows Giethoorn, the Holland water village, as it is.

Museum De Oude Aarde

Discover the beauty of Mother Nature at De Oude Aarde in Giethoorn Netherlands. The most beautiful gems, minerals and fossils have been on display in the museum since 1969. Because of the many voyages of discovery of René Boissevain (the founder of the museum), the museum is filled with a unique collection of his discoveries and findings. Discover the wondrous shapes, beautiful colours and stones that you could not dream of existed, you will meet them all in the scarcely illuminated museum.

Museum Giethoorn ‘t Olde Maat Uus

Here is an opportunity to see how life used to be in Giethoorn? This can be done in the completely redesigned Museum Giethoorn ‘t Olde Maat Uus. From personal stories of striking inhabitants, everything comes to mind about peat extraction and special customs. The fisherman’s house and the boathouse also give a unique impression of what life was like in the past and there is definitely plenty to discover for children!

This museum is home to works of art on how Giethoorn has been portrayed by artists for more than 100 years. In addition to the collection on display, the exhibition shows works that were gifted to the museum by various inhabitants of the village (past and present).

Schelpengalerie Gloria Maris

Schelpengalerie Gloria Maris is a museum that is dedicated to the beauties of marine life. Here you can enjoy the wonderful beauty that nature brings from under water.

  • Discover the shells and corals in their many variations, shapes and colours.
  • View the precious shell ‘Gloria Maris’, from which the gallery derives its name.
  • Admire the unique collection of jewellery made of coral, pearls and shells such as mother-of-pearl, nautilus and cameos.
  • Be surprised by the annually changing exhibition, inspired by the sea.
  • View all gadgets (home decorations & decorative objects) from and out of the sea.

Giethoorn water village

Tours from Amsterdam to Giethoorn

As stated before, getting from Amsterdam to Giethoorn by public transport is quite a trip by public transport. However, there are tours available complete with transport from Amsterdam to Giethoorn and back again under the guidance of a professional tour guide. For private guided tours, you can also reach out to


Early summer season (March 23 – June 29):
Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 09.30 h.

High summer season (July 1 – October 22):
Every day in the week at 09.30 h.

Winter season (October 23 – March 22):
Monday and Friday at 09.30 h.

± 9 h.

30 min. before departure at Damrak 26

Child age and price:
0-3 years: free
4-13 years: child ticket

Note: All Tours & Tickets Tours depart from the Tours & Tickets Shop at Damrak 26 in Amsterdam (On your way to Dam Square, opposite the Amsterdam Stock Exchange Building).

What’s included in the one day trip to Giethoorn?

  • Live guide in English, Spanish and German
  • Boat tour in Giethoorn

Giethoorn by public transport

If you’re looking to visit Giethoorn by public transport, our advice is to plan your trip well. Getting to Giethoorn from Amsterdam will take you at least two hours by public transport, so be prepared to leave early in the morning. If you plan your trip well and your connection is good, you’ll get to Giethoorn in just over 2 hours. If you’re not so lucky it might take up three hours, so planning is key.

The best possible connection requires you to travel to ‘Almere Centrum‘ station from Amsterdam. In Almere, you will have to transfer onto the train in the direction of ‘Leeuwarden’ a city in far North of The Netherlands. This train to Leeuwarden will take you past three stations before you have to get off: ‘Lelystad Centrum’, ‘Zwolle’ and ‘Meppel’. After passing these stations, you have to get off at ‘Steenwijk‘. From this very station, you have to take a bus in the direction of ‘Zwartsluis‘. This bus will get you to Giethoorn within 10 minutes.

The connection described above is the best possible connection. We strongly advise using to plan your trip and for real-time travel advice. In order to use public transport, you will need a charged OV-chipcard. This trip will cost you around €25,- one way, so forth and back will cost you approximately €50,- each. Check out the following page for more information on traveling by public transport.

How to get to Giethoorn

Giethoorn lies Northwest of Overijssel, between Meppel and Steenwijk and is approximately 30 km from Zwolle.Giethoorn can only be reached on foot, by bicycle or boat (going there with a car isn’t really advisable). There are various private parking spaces around the village center. From the car park (accessible for coaches, cars, and vans) you hop directly into a boat or your bike. You can also check out ‘t Zwaantje, which is an ANWB bicycle service point and provides tourist information to guests.

Hotels and accommodations in and around Giethoorn

As Giethoorn is quite difficult to reach, you might be interested in staying the night in the beautiful area. Do keep in mind that it is a small town and the number of hotels and accommodations are limited. Therefore, it is advisable to book your hotel in advance. Check out the latest deals on staying in the area of Giethoorn below!



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