Looking for an unforgettable day trip in the countryside of the Netherlands? Discover amazing tourist attractions that are definitely worth a visit and a few tips to avoid tourist traps.
The countryside of the Netherlands with the windmills and authentic wooden coloured houses has long appealed to my imagination. Since this area in the Netherlands is easily and quickly accessible from Belgium, the choice for this destination as a weekend getaway was quickly made.
The first tourist attraction is Giethoorn or better known as the Venice of Holland.
This small but very cosy village is famous for its narrow canals, wooden bridges and many tourists.
Every year this small town is flooded with thousands of tourists. How many there are is unknown. Some sources say that there are more than 100000 tourists yearly; some sources even say more than 1 million!
Funny fact: Giethoorn itself was even reconstructed in china as part of an amusement park because they love it so much.
So why would I still advice you to go there?
When I arrived in Giethoorn, I thought what is all the fuss about? But I immediately changed my mind when I got in the boat. Even though, we only rented it for one hour.
I enjoyed the beautiful views and the cosy vibe. As it was early it was very relaxing to drive the boat, there were no big crowds.
The lake is beautiful and reminded me a bit of my trip to Inle lake in Myanmar, without the floating gardens.
The narrow canals were truly breath-taking. As you enter them you sail under many wooden bridges. Giethoorn has no less than 177 of them. Almost every house has a cute wooden bridge that connects it to the road.
The cottages are typically Dutch, decorated with colourful shutters and flowers.
Passing through the village centre you could see it already was a bit more crowded. There are shops and bars alongside the canals where you can stop for some drinks or snacks. On the lake there is even an ice cream sales man in a boat.
In the afternoon we decided to explore Giethoorn by foot. It was already far more crowded on the canals then in the morning. The walking path alongside the canals was also crowded, but not that much that it bothered us. We could walk a normal paste without bumping into others. I was more focussed on what was happing on the canals. There were a lot of traffic jams before bridges and boats were even bumping in to each other. I was actually quite amusing to watch it. While walking I enjoyed the pleasant crowds.
The scenery of Giethoorn is simply stunning. And now I have seen it with my own eyes and experienced it, I understand why it is so popular with tourists.
Important tips to keep in mind
When you go early, you can avoid mass tourism. We went at 11 AM, but to be sure you best start at 10 AM. Before you discover the town by foot, rent a boat and discover the lake, but especially the many narrow canals around it. One hour is enough to see the largest part.
Don’t rent a boat after 1 PM, then you will have traffic jams on the canals for sure. The disadvantage is you won’t make it back in one hour and will have to pay extra for your boat.
When exploring Giethoorn by foot, watch out for the cyclists. They use the same path as the pedestrians and you can’t always see them coming through the crowds, so be careful.
If you want to eat lunch or dinner in a restaurant, pick wisely. There are some tourist traps where you pay a lot for food that isn’t that great.
Hopefully this information and these tips will help you to plan the perfect daytrip to Giethoorn in the Netherlands.
I don’t regret my visit at all even though this is a very touristic hot spot. I am very happy that I saw and experienced Giethoorn.
Don’t forget to read the sequel of The Netherland series: Unmissable tourist spots in the Netherlands. Part 2: Zaanse Schans.
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