Giethoorn, An Idyllic Town Without Roads

Giethoorn belongs to the province of Overijssel. It is about one and a half hour drive from Amsterdam. The English name is “goat horns”. The town was first developed in the 1200s as part of a large nature reserve. During farming local farmers uncovered a large quantity of wild goat horns. The town was then given the name Geytenhoren which was shortened into its current form Giethoorn.

Old Bridge Over Canal

This picturesque town has no roads. The only access to the town is by water over the beautiful canals or on foot over its wooden arch bridges. The locals use punters to get around. All cars have to remain outside the village. We were lucky to park our car on the compound of a boat rental company.

A village without Roads

Explore Giethoorn by renting a boat

There are several types of boats for tourists to rent. We rented one which is controlled via the engine lever. Depending on where we wanted to drive, the rental time varied from 1 hour to 4 hours. As we wanted to reach BovenWijde lake we rented the boat for two hours. Some canals are one way only. In order to avoid driving into wrong direction we must follow the map to drive on the dedicated routes.

However sometimes tourists were overexcited by the scenes along the canals and did not pay attention to their way. It was quite often to see some boats turning around at water way junctions and tried to redirect themselves to the correct ways. The water in the canals and the lake is shallow and is only about 1 meter deep. So it is very suitable for families with children. Some kids were actually driving theirs boats while parents were busy taking photos.

Well-Maintained Thatched Roof House

The village is small but there is enough to do or to see for a day trip. When you have time, it is worth to visit two museums ‘Het Olde Maat Uus‘ which is a typical farmhouse and ‘De Oude Aarde‘ (The Old Earth). You can also rent a bike to tour around.

Tickets & Tours

It is not easy to drive there with own car because the parking place is limited. If you stay in Amsterdam, you can book a tour starting from there. Some tours include bus transfer and a boat tour in Giethoorn.


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