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Amsterdam to Giethoorn Day Trip – Helpful Tips From A Local

Top Tips to Plan Your Amsterdam to Giethoorn Day Trip

If you have had enough of the modern urbanity of Amsterdam and need a change of pace in life, Giethoorn is for you. People have been overly dependent on machines and technology, but this is not the case in Giethoorn. If you have had enough of modern urbanity and need a change of pace in life, Giethoorn is for you. Amsterdam to Giethoorn is the perfect day trip if you are looking to experience a quaint, picturesque Dutch village.

People have been overly dependent on machines and technology, but this is not the case in Giethoorn. Some of the most well-known destinations in Europe involve popular attractions in noisy and bustling cities, such as London, Paris, and Barcelona. Meanwhile, the main attraction in Giethoorn is serenity, peace and a laidback stroll or boat ride along medieval bridges and farmhouses.

Thatched-roof house on a Canal in Giethoorn

What To See in Giethoorn

Located in the northeastern Dutch province of Overijssel, this picturesque village in the Netherlands is mostly car-free. Imagine care-free living, as you move about on boat-filled waterways, footpaths and bicycle trails. See centuries-old thatched-roof houses and cottages, as you bike or stroll around pretty canals and bridges going to the Weerribben-Wieden National Park or Museum Giethoorn ‘t Olde Maat Uus.

All that this dreamy village has to offer will take you to what the Netherlands is best known for – flowers, bicycles, boats, romance, and a taste of magic. It has become so popular that in 2015 Giethoorn achieved a spot in the ultra-popular board game, Monopoly, special international edition.

There are over 180 bridges to see, and most canal-side cafés and restaurants can only be reached by foot or boat. describes it as “a typically Dutch village in Overijssel, (where) you can perfectly see how the Dutch love to live with and on the water. In an environment full of lakes, reed beds and forests lies this picturesque village with its many handsome farms with thatched roofs and characteristic wooden bridges.”

Canal intersection with wooden pedestrian bridge and house in Giethoorn

An enchanting medieval town

Like the rest of the country, Giethoorn is dreamy, medieval, and rich with blooms of all colors. It was founded around 1230 and named “Goat Horn” after the earliest settlers discovered goat horns buried in mud. Today, the village is widely regarded as the “Venice of the Netherlands” and home to only 3,000 people, with very few modern-day motorized forms of transport.

As you arrive in Giethoorn, you will be asked to leave your vehicle outside the village, which is a good thing. This is your chance to enjoy life as it should be – raw, simple, and pollution-free. Where else in the world will you not mind seeing the sites by foot, bike or canoe than in the Netherlands, most especially in Giethoorn. Even the boats are mostly without engines and those that do have engines are equipped with silent motors. They are called “whisper boats”. The loudest sounds you get to hear on the water (aside from excited tourists) are the quacking of ducks and the chirping of birds. Giethoorn, quite simply, is serene, peaceful, and magical.

How to get from Amsterdam to Giethoorn

The fastest way to get to Giethoorn from Amsterdam is to rent a car and drive all the way. If you wish to cut your driving time, take the train to Zwolle and obtain a vehicle from there. If you don’t plan of driving at all, take the train from Amsterdam Zuid/Centraal Station to Steenwijk and from there hop on Bus 70, which will take you to the Dominee Hylkemaweg stop for €4. From here, Giethoorn is just 10 more minutes away on foot. The whole trip on public transport will take about 2 hours.

Small canal in giethoorn in summer with large hydrangea bushes and lush trees along the banks and thatched roof houses

Amsterdam to Giethoorn Tours

The most exciting and convenient way to experience a trip to this fairytale-like village from the capital city is on a Day Trip package. There are several offers you can search for and avail. Imagine the convenience of meeting your own guide/driver in Amsterdam and getting into a comfortable, air-conditioned luxury vehicle.

Along the way, you drive through and marvel at the typical flat Dutch polder landscape, which means most of the places you see have been reclaimed from the sea, and that you are driving through was actually the sea until the 1950s. You can ask your driver to stop whenever you feel like taking a selfie along the way.

Here are some of the top tours from Amsterdam to Giethoorn:

photo of the canals of giethoorn taken from a red kayak

What to do in Giethoorn

Just wander and explore

When you arrive at Giethoorn, your guide will take you on a short walking tour of the village or boat tour. After that, you can go and explore the village on your own. The town is not just for walking and strolling. There are plenty of other things to do and experience while there. The intertwining canals stretch for over 80 km. On your canoe or “whisper boat”, you definitely can’t miss the quaint farm-style homes and cottages. 

You could choose to walk or bike on the wooden arch bridges around the small village. Stop and visit a café, restaurant or hotel for a quick sip and snack. And in case you haven’t heard, for the Dutch, two-wheeling is a way of life. You shouldn’t miss experiencing it for yourself. On a bicycle, explore the many charming and cozy little cafés nestled in nooks, or look for cottages that are actually hidden museums and churches.

Small wooden windmill on a grass meadow next to canal near Giethoorn

The most popular restaurants here are De Lindenhof (Beulakerweg 77), with 2 Michelin stars. Also great are Hollands Venetië (Beulakerweg 167) and ’t Achterhuus (Dominee T O Hylkemaweg 43). Yet, taking a boat remains to be the most popular in Giethoorn.  The local mail is delivered by punters – traditional narrow Giethoorn boats pushed along using a long pole by a punteraar.

De Weeribben – Wieden National Park

If you love nature and enjoy being with animals, the De Weerribben-Wieden National Park is not far from the village. De Weerribben-Wieden National Park is home to an array of wildlife endemic to the Netherlands. They include otters, egrets and cormorants. Other than that, the park is known for its many lakes and a wide meadow of flowers. The best way to explore this park is hiking and kayaking. There are plenty of stunning trails for you to hike or canals to kayak.

De Weerribben-Wieden National Park - Grass field with a small canal in the middle and blue sky with clouds
De Weerribben-Wieden National Park

De Oude Aarde Museum

Another popular destination to check out when visiting is the De Oude Aarde museum. It is popular for showcasing precious gemstones, jewelry, fossil minerals and natural treasures from all around the world. The museum is home to the world’s largest egg that never fails to draw in tourists. If you wish to know more about the farming history of Giethoorn, then check out Olde Maat Uus Museum. It will take you back in time as you see a typical farmhouse from hundreds of years ago.

Vollenhove and Blokzijl

Not far away are the old Zuiderzee towns Vollenhove and Blokzijl. You might fancy a long walk or bicycle ride to see historic buildings, old churches and ancient castles, or simply enjoy a moment of bliss on a terrace by the water’s edge. There are just plenty to take in while in Giethoorn – sights and sounds (the quietness) that you just can’t find elsewhere in the world. Most Day Trips and in the afternoon, as your driver takes you back to Amsterdam.

When to visit Giethoorn

Come in April, May, June, or September when there are not many tourists. During the peak months, large crowds of visitors could ruin the serenity and absolute peace that the village is known for in the first place. It is also advised that you come visit during the weekdays. The village and its residents are most quiet, naturally going about their day-to-day lives during the week. If you come over the weekend, it may not be easy getting a bike or boat to rent. There will be plenty of tourists competing to get one. Recently, the village is most popular among Chinese tourists, outnumbering everyone else 75:1 every year. 

Many tourists come and spend an entire day on a Day Trip package to get their hearts full. If you feel a day is not enough for you, the village does have hotels to house you in. No one can blame you for staying longer in one of the most enchanting towns in Europe. Take a look at these Giethoorn Hotels here>>

An even more serene and surreal way to experience the village is a Day Trip in winter, when Giethoorn becomes more magical and more fairytale-like than it already is. The canals would have turned to ice, as well as the surrounding lakes and ponds of De Weerribben-Wieden National Park. They become the perfect spot for skate-lovers. Snow covers the green lawns and thatched roofs under a white blanket of ice, and the trees with glisten snowflakes. 

Giethoorn in Winter with snow - canal with wooden bridge and historic houses covered with a blanket of snow

Author Bio:

Ask The Dutch Guy is your go-to guide when it comes to The Netherlands. The goal of Ask The Dutch Guy is to showcase the beauty of The Netherlands and to inspire others to explore the country. Read more about Ask The Dutch Guy. Follow him on Facebook and Instagram.

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