The old Dutch village of Giethoorn has canals for its roads and small boats for its cars. It is a cosy little village untouched by noisy, motorised vehicles. Residents walk, take their bicycle for a spin, or ride their puntera (small boat) to buy their groceries, visit friends’ homes, or simply bask under the warm summer sun.
Giethoorn is indeed like a village from a storybook or a fairytale land. It’s a different world out here, making tourists from all over Europe and the world come to have a slice of the magic.
A Horde of Tourists
Giethoorn gets crowded with visitors, especially Chinese tourists. The influx of Chinese tourists who visit the village outnumber foreign visitors by 75:1 each year.
Tourists come in hordes all year round. During peak season, renting a bicycle or puntera is becoming more and more difficult.
Summer in Giethoorn
The best months to visit Giethoorn are just before summer in April and May, before the huge crowds of curious travellers arrive during the peak season.
Thousands of people arrive in May to take part in the Flinke Pink Festival in Leek, just a few minutes away from Giethoorn. It is a fun four-day festival during the Whitsun weekend, where people dance and have fun for 3 evenings and live band music.
Peak season kicks in just as summer begins in June. While the village could indeed get crowded until September, this is still the best time to come. Summer floods Giethoorn with colourful blooms. The village is actually part of Weerribben-Wieden National Park, and this nature reserve becomes ultra-popular in summer.
Weerribben-Wieden National Park catches the imagination of people for its forests, lakes, ditches, canals, meadows, reed beds, and swamps. The park’s calm open water gives life to all kinds of water plants, such as water gentian, frog bite or crab shear, as well as swamp life that includes birds, insects, and especially otters.
Summer Activities in Giethoorn
The lovely days of summer let you do five activities that locals love doing in their village. First, go for a walk. This may sound a bit mundane, but a simple stroll around the village is quite an experience.
See old houses, well-trimmed farms, meadows of flowers, historic cottages, and wooden arch bridges. The village is full of old and pretty thatched-roof farmhouses, too. People still live here, and some have converted their farms into small B&Bs, restaurants, or shops.
You can also take the 15-km Giethoorn Hiking Route. You can go further by 2.1 km if you wish. Several walking routes in the village can take you to really picturesque spots.
Second, rent an e-chopper. This is an electric scooter or e-scooter that lets you go around in style. You can rent one for half a day or all day to see the entire village. You can even go to nearby Sint-Jansklooster, Blokzijl, Kalenberg, and Steenwijk.
Next, spend time visiting the museums. When visiting for the first time, learn more about the history of the village in Olde Maat Uus museum. This is a traditional museum in a farm that lets you see how people lived here hundreds of years ago. You will be thrilled to engage with the staff, which are actually actors in costume.
Another museum here is the Museum de Oude Aarde. Gemstones, minerals, and other shiny objects are the stars in this museum. The owner is a resident of the village, and he is always eager to talk with his guests.
On the other hand, if you love shells, you should visit the third museum – Gloria Maris Shell Gallery. On display here are shells, corals, and beautiful treasures of the ocean.
Fourth, drink and eat along the canals. There are several cool cafés and restaurants with extensive terraces on the canals of Giethoorn. You’d love not just the food, but also the view as people pass by on the boats, gliding along the lovely waterways.
Finally, enjoy a lovely and romantic boat ride. There are several canoes, “whisper” boats, punteras, and other bigger boats for rent. Your time in the village without a boat ride is never complete.
And don’t forget to take as many pictures and selfies as you can. Remember that when in Giethoorn, you are in one of the most enchanting places in Europe, if not the whole world. It’s not every day that you see thatched roof houses that magically sit on patches of green that float above water connected by bridges.
Come on a Day-Trip package or stay longer if you wish. There are several hotels, hostels, boathouses, and B&Bs to choose from. Giethoorn is amazing too in winter with glistening snow and the frozen lakes, but come in summer when everything is lovelier.
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