Visit the Fairytale Canals of Giethoorn, Netherlands

Tucked away in the picturesque province of Overijssel, Giethoorn Netherlands is a place straight out of a storybook. With its idyllic canals, enchanting thatched-roof cottages, and lush greenery, this small Dutch village is often referred to as the “Venice of the Netherlands.” Join me as we embark on a journey through the enchanting waterways of Giethoorn and discover the top things to do in this fairytale destination.


As you follow along my Ultimate Netherlands Road Trip, you will travel from Maastricht to the whimsical town of Giethoorn. Even though it is a longer drive, I promise you Giethoorn is well worth it! And luckily for you, arriving in the late afternoon and staying the night will drastically help you avoid crowds.

Giethoorn, Netherlands

Where to Stay in Giethoorn:

When choosing your accommodation, consider the location. There are no cars allowed in the actual Village of Giethoorn so it’s nice to stay within walking distance. Also, keep in mind that staying overnight in Giethoorn allows you to experience the village when it’s quieter and less crowded, especially in the early morning or evening.

  • Hotels: There are a few hotels in Giethoorn that offer comfortable accommodations with various amenities. Some popular options include Hotel de Pergola or Hotel Giethoorn. These hotels are centrally located and provide easy access to the village’s attractions. De Dames Van De Jonge Hotel Restaurant is another great option, but the hotel is located further outside of the main area.
  • Bed and Breakfast (B&B): Giethoorn has numerous charming B&Bs that offer a more personalized experience. These accommodations are often family-run and provide a cozy and homely atmosphere. Some well-regarded B&Bs in Giethoorn are Bed & Breakfast Giethoorn, Gieters Gruttertje, Vintage Stay, and B&B De Galeriet Giethoorn.
  • Holiday Homes: Another popular option is to rent a holiday home or vacation cottage in Giethoorn. A popular vacation cottage is Plompeblad Guest Suites. Some homes provide more space and privacy, making them ideal for families or larger groups. Websites like VRBO or, offer a wide range of vacation rentals in Giethoorn.


Unfortunately, Giethoorn is a very popular tourist destination, so it does become quite busy. In my opinion, it is still very much still worth a visit. Here are some tips to help avoid crowds when visiting Geithoorn:

Choose the right time of year:

Giethoorn is a popular tourist destination, especially during the summer months. Consider visiting during the shoulder seasons (spring or autumn) when the weather is still pleasant, but there are fewer tourists.

Weekdays over weekends:

Weekends tend to be busier in Giethoorn, so try to plan your visit on a weekday if possible. This will significantly reduce the number of tourists you encounter.

Early morning or late afternoon:

Visit Giethoorn during the early morning or late afternoon. Most tourists arrive later in the morning and leave in the late afternoon, so by adjusting your schedule, you can experience the village with fewer crowds.

Avoid public holidays:

Be aware of Dutch public holidays and school vacations when planning your trip. These periods attract more visitors, so it’s best to avoid them if you want to steer clear of crowds.

Explore off the beaten path:

Giethoorn’s charm extends beyond its main canal. Take the time to explore the surrounding areas and smaller canals. You’ll find that the further you venture from the center, the fewer people you’ll encounter.

Visit during unfavorable weather:

While it may not be ideal, visiting Giethoorn during inclement weather can be a good strategy to avoid crowds. Rainy or overcast days tend to deter many tourists, providing you with a more peaceful experience. We visited in late March on a very rainy day. However, it was still beautiful and we had the place to ourselves!

Stay overnight:

If you are following my Netherlands Roadtrip you will be staying the night here! But if you are not following, consider staying overnight in Giethoorn or nearby. Many visitors come for day trips, but by staying overnight, you can explore the village in the early morning or evening when it’s less crowded.


Glide Along the Canals:

The best way to experience Giethoorn’s magical beauty is by taking a boat or canoe ride along its tranquil canals. Rent a traditional whisper boat, which operates silently. This allows you to immerse yourself in the serene atmosphere while admiring the quaint houses and beautiful gardens that line the waterways. As you navigate through the narrow canals, you’ll encounter charming bridges and delightful surprises around every corner.

Explore the Museum Giethoorn ‘t Olde Maat Uus:

To learn more about the history and heritage of Giethoorn, visit the Museum Giethoorn ‘t Olde Maat Uus. Housed in a cluster of traditional farmhouses, this open-air museum provides a glimpse into the village’s past. Discover the lifestyle of the former peat farmers and fishermen through the displays of antique tools, traditional costumes, and recreated interiors. Don’t miss the boat shed, where you can witness the construction of authentic Giethoorn punter boats.

Visit the Weerribben-Wieden National Park:

Just a stone’s throw away from Giethoorn lies the Weerribben-Wieden National Park, a stunning nature reserve that offers a serene escape from the village’s hustle and bustle. Rent a bicycle or go hiking through the park’s vast network of trails, meander along the canals on a guided boat tour, or try your hand at paddleboarding or kayaking. This biodiverse wetland is home to an abundance of flora and fauna, making it a haven for nature lovers and birdwatching enthusiasts.

Enjoy Local Delicacies:

After a day of exploration, indulge in the culinary delights of Giethoorn. Visit a cozy restaurant or café and savor traditional Dutch dishes. Be sure to try the local specialty, Gieterse Paling, which is an eel caught fresh from the surrounding waters. Pair your meal with a refreshing Dutch beer or a glass of local gin.


I hope you enjoy exploring Giethoorn, Netherlands! If you need any help planning or have any questions, please reach out or message me on my contact page!

I would love to hear about how your visit went. Did you rent your own private boat to tour the canals?

Following my Ultimate Netherlands Road Trip? Check out the next stop: Alkmaar!

Meet Mel

I started Mel’s Scene to showcase my trips and offer my personalized itineraries to other global wanderers. I have never cared for material things, I care more so for the experiences and memories that each travel destination has given me.


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