Giethoorn village is an amazing ‘water village’ in The Netherlands. It’s a village with only canals. All transport is done with boats. There are no roads, only small pathways for pedestrians and bikes. Join us at Holland Windmills on a day tour to this remarkable area.
In Giethoorn village, life as it once was seems reflected in the Dorpsgracht, or Village Canal.
You step back to the 19th century, a time when everything was about water and all transport was done via canals on small boats.
The central canal with the thatched farmhouses on either side was the lifeline of Giethoorn village. You could see cattle, supplies and hay being transported over this main artery.
This so-called ‘water village’ has remained unchanged since the 19th century. The canals, small bicycle paths and 177 bridges give Giethoorn a unique character.
The only difference is that we now use electrical boats. These are very quiet.
Hunt for peat
Giethoorn and the other water villages in this area were formed by the hunt for peat. Back in the old days peat was the only source of fuel for most people. And there was a lot of peat in this area.
To extract the peat the workers dug lots of ditches and canals. In this system of waterways, the farms became isolated on islands. Hundreds of foot bridges provided accessibility.
Later, the special beauty of Giethoorn village was discovered as a haven for painters, photographers and nature lovers. It still looks like a postcard.
Wetlands around Giethoorn village
Giethoorn village lies in National Park Weerribben-Wieden, the largest wetland in northwestern Europe.
It’s like the Dutch version of the Everglades, full of rare flora and fauna. The clear waters attract otters and lots of waterbirds. Here, civilization sometimes seems far away.
From the cozy village, the main canal fans out into a maze of quiet narrow canals. Driving out of Giethoorn village you’ll soon be enclosed by the enchanting nature. Oncoming traffic is just as rare here as the special birds and animals that live there.
Three beautiful sailing routes lead directly into the silence and tranquility of the Weerribben-Wieden National Park. The routes are marked with yellow (7 km), red (14 km) and green (12 km) arrows. Nature reigns in the vast swamp area around Giethoorn village.
Day tour to Giethoorn village
At Holland Windmills we can arrange Giethoorn village as a day tour from Amsterdam. This tour takes about 7 hours. We pick you up from your selected hotel.
From Amsterdam it takes 90 minutes to drive to Giethoorn village, where we will embark in our punter and drive our boat through the canals.
You can drive your boat yourself, or you can let your guide do that for you. Don’t worry, these boats are unsinkable and can stand a fair bit of abuse.
Old sea ports
On our way back to Amsterdam we can visit some beautiful villages like Blokzijl, an old sea port where boats sail in and out.
Blokzijl looks exactly like it was in the Dutch Golden Age. The dates on the facades of the townhouses refer to its heyday, when the strategic location on the Zuiderzee caused a lot of trade with Holland.
Ten minutes driving from Blokzijl lies Vollenhove. The buildings in town recall an impressive history. The ‘city of the palaces’ used to be an important administrative center.
Before heading back to Amsterdam, we can have something to eat in lively Zwartsluis. A village at the crossroads of several waterways with many restaurants and nice shops.
If you want to make this a real memorable trip, then come to Holland in April or the first weeks of May.
On our way to or from Giethoorn village we drive through the expansive tulip fields of the Noordoostpolder.
This huge reclaimed land area is one of the biggest tulip producers in springtime. Every year there’s a special tulip car route, that takes you along the most beautiful fields.