I know when people talks about canals and bridges, the first thing that jumps into our minds is probably Venice or Amsterdam… that is so mainstream, but I wouldn’t blame us because our minds are built to function that way since we are overfed with photos of these popular destinations. But, what if I tell you that there is a village, just 20km outside of Amsterdam, which offers the similar picturesque bridge-canal setting, minus the crazy size crowd? It sounds unreal, I know, but when I was finally there cruising peacefully down the canals, passing ancient thatched-roof farmhouse, drifting under tall old wooden bridges and hearing those ducks quacking just by the boat, I know I’ve found my favorite place in Netherlands.
1 month prior to my big Europe trip, I was surfing the web in search of the “WOW factor” for Netherlands in Summer. That was when I stumbled upon the Bored Panda’s post about Giethoorn. I looked it up on Google and found out that: apparently, the best way to visit the place is to book a tour, and so I did. I booked my tour with Easy Rider Amsterdam, I couldn’t be happier. The booking process was pretty easy and communication were excellent. The staff answered clearly to all questions I had, Emails were returned almost immediately. 1 day before departure, I emailed them again because my friend/ assistance wished to join the tour. Although their tour was fully booked and she initially had to depart on another van, they eventually successfully placed us into the same van, which is awesome.
Fast forward to the day we took the tour. Our guide Alon met us in front of the Magna Plaza right on time (9:00am). Since it is a huge shopping center, it was pretty easy to find. Furthermore, Easy Rider Amsterdam sent me an attached file with full details of the meeting point, making sure that I wouldn’t get lost.
There were only 8 people in our tour group. Pretty small and that's exactly how I love it as it made the experience more up close and personal. The bonus was, I was able to find out more about the cute village of Giethoorn, asked our tour guide (too many questions!) about the random bridges we drove past, the significance of the different roof tiles on the farmhouses, outrageous flavors of candies available in Amsterdam and a lot more! (I won’t reveal it here, if you want to know more, you’ll have to take the tour yourself! or, keep exploring the blog!).
I have a confession to make, before the tour I did not pay much attention to the itinerary presented on the Easy Rider Website. Hence, a stop at the quaint town Enkhuizen came as a pleasant surprise. We did a breakfast stop but honestly there were time aplenty, allowing us to tour the tiny town and grab a satisfying breakfast: a lovely cup of coffee verkeerd and a big slice of classic apple pie with cream.
As we approached Giethoorn, Alon took a different windy route through the wide pasture, passing by lakes and interesting houses in the countryside. Honestly this place deserves a day-trip on its own! We also managed to stop by a fresh fruits dispenser (I know!! This actually exist!) to pick up some vitamin C supplies for the ride.
|The weather did not look good when we were on our way to Giethoorn. Fortunately, the sky cleared as soon as we get to the village! Blessed!|
Set in the province of Overijssel, in the east of the Netherlands, Giethoorn is a quaint village founded around 1230. What makes it so special is the fact that it has no roads, only canals after canals, all connected by beautiful old wooden bridges (176 of them!). Alon left the van outside of Giethoorn and we walked right into the heart of the village through a restaurant for our first activity of the day— the most anticipated boat ride!
With 90km of canoe trails, boats are the only mode of transportation in the Village of Giethoorn, with the Whisper boats being the most common. Why is it called the Whisper boat? Because it is driven by a noiseless engine. During our 1-hour boat tour, we were able to truly appreciate the peaceful nature of the Village, with ducks quacking and paddling towards our boat. As we cruise down the canals and under gracefully arching bridges, we were told the story of Giethoorn. It was for the rich peat deposits under the ground, the early inhabitants dug holes, creating ponds, lakes and tiny island in between. The peat harvesters settled down and built houses on the tiny islands. Eventually, we went through the city center and reached the open lake.
Personally, I prefer a guided boat tour rather than to rent a boat ourselves. By following a tour, you won't get lost wandering down the canals without a clear sense of direction. I saw a lot of tourists who had problem navigating, handling the paddles and worst of all, kept bumping into one another (or the side curb).
Side note: I found the second most delicious candies in the world in Amsterdam (sorry, Dodol Durian will always be the first!) ! Introducing DROP!
Other things to do:
- There are a lot of restaurants and cafe located at the water edge.
- For hiking enthusiasts, there is a walking trail starting from Girthoorn to Dwarsgracht, a 15.3km route to and back.
- Explore some museums, for example, the De Oude Aarde and the 't Olde Maat Uus.
- Rent a bike to do the nature trail.
Want to know more about Amsterdam? More day-trip ideas from Amsterdam needed? Check out the Easy Rider Amsterdam's Facebook Page!
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Miss Happy Feet was a guest of Easy Rider Amsterdam in Giethoorn. However, all opinion and photos are as always, my own.