A City With No Streets: Giethoorn, Netherlands

Posted on 30. May, 2010 by in Destinations, Europe Travel, Netherlands

Giethoorn - WikiCommons

Gieethron is located in the northern tip of the Netherlands, about 2 hours by car from Amsterdam - making this small town a great daytrip destination to an often forgotten part of Holland.

Its name comes from “geitenhoorns”, an old Dutch dialect word meaning goat because of the then abundance of goats in the area.

Nowadays known as Venice of the North, Giethoorn’s 7.5 km of canals were formed by peat digging that was eventually spreaded out and dried on land, forming many small islands,  now inhabited and feature lovely 18th century farmhouses with thatched roofs and mature trees. The islands are linked with each other by arched pedestrian bridges, entirely made out of wood. Could this place be any more romantic and authentic?

Giethoorn - WikiCommons

The Old Town is totally carfree - the only display of asphalt consists of cycling paths. Transportation is thus singled out to one thing: punters, also called Whisper Boats, silently powered by an electric engine.

It goes without saying that the major attraction in Giethoorn is the canal tour, the very best way to enjoy the features of the 50 wooden bridges and charming houses. Plus it now features an audioguide so you get to learn a little bit more about this small town. Other activities, such as cycling and sailing, are ideal because of the town’s location: De Wieden natural reserve and De Weerribben National Park. In winter, it is one of the greatest skating spots in Europe.

In overall, Giethoorn certainly isn’t a tourist top destination with hundreds of attractions - but sometimes all you need is a little bit of nature and authentic, unspoilt beauty to really feel disconnected. I think it’s really what Giethoorn is about.

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