One Day in Giethoorn – A ‘Fairy Tale’ Village in the Netherlands

This trip is our first journey after three months of going nowhere, and it was fantastic.

Image courtesy of the author

Giethoorn, a place being called a little ‘Venice’ in the Netherlands, is a small village located to the northeast of the Netherlands. Many other people called that name, but I did not agree with that because the view of Giethoorn is different from what you see in Venice. If I have a name for this place, I will call it the ‘Fairy Tale’ village of the Netherlands.

This place is famous for beautiful houses with colorful flowers alongside a canal. Travelers can enjoy the area by boating.

We had to get up at early to catch the early train. The feeling of going somewhere earlier was always special. There was no one on the street. We arrived at the train station at 6.05 am, with no doubt that we would be on time. Then small trouble happened. The train we planned to take at 6.13 am was cancelled, so we had to find another way. We decided to take a train to a small town nearby (around 15 minutes by train), then take another train from there to Steenwijk station, where we can take a bus from there to Giethoorn (Bus No. 70). The total traveling time by train will be 2 hours and 40 minutes (including the time to wait for a transfer).

It was an early train, so there were not many people on the car. During the pandemic time like this, it made us feel more comfortable and safer. The Dutch government requested people to wear masks on public transport, which was a good move from them to control the second wave of the pandemic.

We arrived early when no one was there. It was a hot sunny day, so coming early to ride a boat could be an excellent decision.

You can have many options to discover Giethoorn. You can book a tour, which combines tour on the canal and some drinks and snack. With this type, you do not have to worry too much, only need to take a seat and enjoy your trip and your snack. Of course, this is one of the most expensive ways. The cheapest way is choosing the ‘Canal Cruise’ option, which you can only pay around €12 for a one-hour trip. The tour guide will lead you through the history of Giethoorn and to the lake `t Bovenwiede. The boat windows can be covered or opened depending on the weather.

For us, both options above were not our preference. We chose boating. In this way, you rent a boat and ride it by yourself, following the map the boat providers give you. There are many boat providers in Giethoorn for you to choose with not any difference in price. It will cost you around €20 per hour. We thought this would be a fantastic experience when we ride the boat by ourselves to discover this beautiful village, and that was a correct decision.

The boat we picked called Whisperboat’ Kragge’. It was a small boat with four seats, one to the front, two in the middle and the back seat for the boat rider. There is a controller at the back seat for you to direct the boat. As mentioned, tourists can choose the appropriate boat depending on the number of their group members. The boat provider has the option of 4-seat or 6-seat boat.

Fun fact: The more, the cheaper.

There are many duration options for travelers. They can decide to take up to four hours trip. But in my opinion, one or two hours are enough for gazing the village, the canals and the lake. You have enough time to contemplate the beauty of Giethoorn: Beautiful small house alongside the canal. Some of them have colorful flowers outside on the green grass, which created a picturesque view. You can also use that two hours to stop by the middle of the lake `t Bovenwiede, to have food and chill, enjoy the sun, the wind, the high sky and the wide lake. I saw, in the movies that I watched before, people chilling in the middle of the lake, and I finally experienced that.

Image courtesy of the author

But, when you get out of the lake to be back to the canals leading to the village, you should be careful of getting lost. We got lost at a turn, and one good point (not sure, it was good or bad), we were not the only ones. Three or four boats following us also got lost at that turn. We were stuck there for around 15 minutes until we called the boat provider and figured out how to use the QR Code behind the map they gave us previously. There was a QR Code on that map, and we only needed to scan the code, open Google Map apps on our phone and follow the route. We have to thank the Rasmussen brothers for creating this excellent application.

After boating, we started strolling around the village. It was a pity when the Museum Giethoorn’ t Olde Maat Uus did not open these days. We would love to visit the museum, but we were unlucky when visiting the village on the day this museum closed. It has been only opened from 01 July 2020. A brief introduction of this museum, it exhibits the life in the water-rich village over a hundred years, where people can see the history of Giethoorn and know more about this place. We would highly recommend you visiting this museum.

Walking around the village, we saw those ‘fairy tale’ houses closer, to contemplate their beauty. Some of them were turned to souvenir shops, small stores, or museum. Getting some fresh air under the lovely blue sky, seeing people boating would release you from stresses. There are some restaurants or coffee’s for you to take a rest and feeling the lives in this small village. We chose a small restaurant to sit down a bit, take some break, looking around and gazing the beauty of this small village. 

The trip ended at the beginning point, where we rented the boat. We took the bus back to the Steenwijk station to catch the train back to our city. A fantastic trip, an excellent place to start the summer. The trip was also an excellent time for us to release the boredom after we had to stay inside our house (and our city) in the last three months. That would be more trips soon, and we hope that they would be another memorable trip.

We made a video about our trip here. Take a look if you are interested.

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