Giethoorn also known as the Dutch Venice is a small town in the Orvijssel province of Netherlands. It’s famous as the village with no roads and accessible only by boats. It’s also said to be car-free. So is it really true? Not completely, read on to find out how to plan the perfect day trip to Giethoorn from Amsterdam…
Day Trip to Giethoorn from Amsterdam – Getting there?
There are multiple ways to reach Giethoorn from Amsterdam
- By road – If you have own rented car. This is probably the best & fastest option. Distance is approximately 120. kms.
- By train – Direct trains from Amsterdam Zuid to Steenwijk. Or you can change a trains at Zwolle and then head to Steenwijk.
- Group Day Trip to Giethoorn from Amsterdam – Like this one from Klook.
Once, you exit the Steenwijk train station, on the left hand side you will see the Bus Stop. From here, catch Bus No. 70 and get down at Giethoorn bus stop. The bus ticket costs – €4
This is the first view once you get down from the bus stop. Pretty surreal isn’t it?
For train tickets – I would suggest either buying a travel pass or a combined ticket. Check out the tip at the bottom of this post to do this at the cheapest rate possible.
Day Trip to Giethoorn – Things to do
Ok, so let me address the first thing first, contrary to what you may read, this is not a completely car free village. Cars are allowed upto a particular house next to restaurants. From there onwards though, boats 🚣♀️ or walking are the only options.
I booked a group boat tour (evening 4PM) from outside the restaurant right at the entrance. The idea was to walk around the village and then take the boat ride when it’s close to sunset time.
Museum de Oude Aarde
This museum has a beautiful collection of gemstones and minerals. You can later buy this gemstones as souvenirs. I decided to skip this as I was more interested in visiting the other museum in Giethoorn – Museum Giethoorn ‘t Olde Maat Uus.
Entrance fee – €3.50
Museum Giethoorn‘t Olde Maat Uus
If you haven’t been to a traditional dutch farmhouse before, this museum is highly recommended. Even though I had visited a similar farmhouse in Zansee Schans in my 2017 Euro trip, I wanted to experience it once again. I would definitely recommend this experience.
Entrance Fee – €4
Eat a meal in a boat restaurant
There are quite a few good restaurants in the village. You can choose from traditional Dutch, Italian and even an American restaurant I think. If you decide to hang on till the evening I would suggest eating in one of the boats docked in the canals.
I had lunch at an Italian restaurant named Ristorante Fratelli. Had some pasta and a pizza slice.
Walking around the village.
Since it was still an hour to go for my boat ride, I decided to go as deep into the village as I could for 30 mins and then head back to the boat start point. It’s a quaint little sleepy town and this being November, there were not a lot of tourists around. I loved going around the village with hardly anyone around. As I said its called the Venice of the West (Venice of Netherlands) but let me be frank, while Venice is beautiful, its also huge crowded and super hot during the European summer.
Giethoorn on the other hand has an old world charm about it. The houses and the surroundings look straight out of a fairy tale. This would have been a very popular pre/post wedding shoot location if it was in India. After going around the village to my satisfaction, it was now time to head back.
Boat Ride/Rent a Boat
Well, you can come to a village with canals and not do a boat ride. The boat rides take 50-60 mins and are a good way to explore the entire village including the lake on the backside.
If you are in a group, then an even better idea would be to rent out a boat on hourly basis. I had great fun on the group boat ride actually, the driver/navigator was a humorous and chirpy guy. We were laughing throughout our 40 mins ride as you will experience from the video that I upload.
Electric whisper boats (red colour) cost around €20-25 per hour and can accommodate 4-5 people.
The boat tour costed me €10 (€8 for the boat ride and €2 as tip).
Day Trip to Giethoorn – Cheapest way
Since Giethoorn is pretty far from Amsterdam, most travel passes won’t cover the transport (train + bus). So you would ideally have 3 options:
- Buy train tickets on the spot for Steenwijk and €8 bus tickets (round trip). Which can get pretty expensive.
- If you have Eurail pass, then you need to buy only the bus tickets.
- The option that I took – I took a one day off-peak season Holland Travel Ticket – It was €35 for 1 day (off-peak ticket). It includes both bus and train tickets for Giethoorn and back. Remember, Amsterdam travel pass & Amsterdam regional travel pass are not valid on this route and you may be fined. Buy Holland Travel Ticket here.
- During my bus ride back, I met a French girl Jacqueline and she told me an even cheaper way to do the same trip. €29 (Return transport from Amsterdam to Giethoorn + 1 hour boat ride in Giethoorn). You can book the ticket from here.
Other things to keep in mind
- Giethoorn is now immensely popular with tourists, so if you are visiting during the summer months (July-Sep), make sure you arrive early in the morning.
- If visiting during the winter months, the sun sets around 4:30-5 PM. So make sure you leave on time. Since it will take minimum 2 hours to reach Amsterdam by train.
- Carry your own packed food to save money.
- Most of the houses in the village are inhabited so while walking through the village ensure that you don’t invade their privacy.
Day Trip to Giethoorn – Videos
While most of the photos were clicked on my DSLR, the videos are from a Redmi Note phone.