Giethoorn is in the province of Overijssel in the east of the Netherlands, a green and still area.
Giethoorn is at the centre of Overijssel’s canal system. Indeed, the little village is so dependent on its waterways, many of the houses cannot be reached by road. When the postman delivers the mail he travels by punt.
It is so peaceful, so different and has such simple beauty that it hardly seems real – gently gliding along small canals past old but pretty thatched-roof farmhouses.
It is too quiet, too serene and remote...
Giethoorn’s name originates from the first inhabitants’ discovery of hundreds of goat horns (gietehorens) in the marshland, remnants of a 10th-century flood.
Today no goat horns will be found here, but the vegetation is quite distinct still. Here you will find yourself on the edge of vast series of lakes and canals, ideal for boaties, angling and paddle-cycling.
The best way to explore Giethoorn and the myriad of canals is obviously by joining a canal cruise. Local skippers will be able to guide you through the place and show you the most important places in this quiet village.
It is best to book a canal cruise in advance as there are a limited number of departures daily and the popularity of Giethoorn soared during the last few years.
Most of the canal-side restaurants rent them and it is a pleasant way of spending an afternoon, gently puttering down the narrow waterways, under gracefully arching bridges, past cosy thatched cottages.
Footpaths beside the canals are ideal for walking or cycling, and there’s a wide selection of cafes and restaurants.
The houses here are ripped straight from the pages of a storybook, with thatched rooftops lining winding canals linked by over 170 wooden bridges. Every house is unique, and if you pay close enough attention, packed with endearing details like heart shaped carvings in the shutters and perfectly planted bushels of flowers, adding pops of colour to an already perfect postcard