Nicknamed the Venice of the Netherlands and the Venice of the North (one of many!), Giethoorn is a little, car free village with thatched roofed houses and idyllic canals in the Northeastern part of the Netherlands. This dreamy little picture perfect village of Giethoorn makes for a great day trip from Amsterdam.
This post covers all you need to know about doing a day trip to Giethoorn from Amsterdam.
Initially, I had booked a group tour for a day trip to Giethoorn through GetYourGuide. This tour was supposed to pick me up from a central spot in Amsterdam in the morning, take me to Giethoorn and drop me off back in Amsterdam. However, the tour was canceled due to low numbers and honestly this turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
The sole reason I booked the tour was because I was solo traveling and was trying to avoid having to figure out how to get to Giethoorn from Amsterdam. However, a little research was well worth the effort as I was able to get to and from Giethoorn easily, saving me money and also giving me the autonomy to explore Giethoorn at my own pace.
Here are all the ways to get to Giethoorn from Amsterdam.
Giethoorn is about 120 KM (~75 miles) from Amsterdam and it takes about 1.5 hours to get there by car. Since Giethoorn is car free, you will have to park at a lot and walk for 5-10 minutes to get to the actual village. Get to the address Beulakerweg 135, 8355 DD Giethoorn and you will see signs for a parking lot which is free.
Unfortunately, there is no train station in Giethoorn but the train will bring you close after which you will have to take a bus.
- Duration – Between 2 and 3 hours depending on the time of day and day of week
- Cost – Either anywhere from €26-€30 one way OR €41-€61 round trip. See below!
The one way cost is with a OV-chipkaart which is a travel card used in the Netherlands. The card costs €7.5 and is valid for 5 years. You load the card with money after the initial purchase and it can be used to pay for public transportation thereafter.
The round trip cost above is using the Holland Travel Ticket which is basically a travel pass. Here’s what you need to know about this ticket.
- The ticket can be used for ANY mode of transportation within the Netherlands (trains, buses, trams, metro)
- You can use it any number of times within the validity period which is 24 hours
- The cost is €41 for an off peak ticket (the off peak hours are from Monday till Friday before 6.30/after 9.00, during the weekend and public holidays) and €61 for a regular travel ticket
- If you are going to Giethoorn during a weekday, combining 2 one way tickets may be slightly cheaper (provided you have already invested in an OV-chipkaar) but you can also use the Holland Travel Ticket for other trips that day for only a couple of euros more
Depending on your other travels, the Holland Travel Ticket can be a great bargain, especially if you travel to Giethoorn during the weekend. This ticket covered me for the trams and buses once I got back to Amsterdam after visiting Giethoorn.
Here is how to get to Giethoorn by train/bus from Amsterdam
- Go to Amsterdam Centraal and visit a ticket counter – You can also purchase a ticket from a ticket kiosk but highly recommend going to the ticket counter because routes, costs and durations vary by day of week and time of day. The agent at the counter was so helpful and even printed the times, platform numbers for the return train. Alternatively, you can also use this website to plan your route
- Purchase a ticket – As I was traveling to Giethoorn during the weekend, I purchased a Holland Travel Ticket which was a great bargain as mentioned!
- Hop on the train going to either Zwolle, Steenwijk or Almere Centrum – Again this depends on your day/time of travel. You may have one or two train connections
- After getting off your final train, take the bus to Giethoorn – The bus stop will be at the train station itself. Again you may have to take one or two buses depending on day/time. Tickets for the bus can be bought on the bus or at the train station. However, all tickets are paid for if you have the Holland Travel Ticket and you don’t have to purchase a single ticket at any of the stops
- The final bus (No. 70) will stop opposite the village. Cross the road towards the restaurant sign and you will be in Giethoorn!
- Your best bet is to take the train to Steenwijk and then bus 70 to Giethoorn. This only requires one transfer and is relatively fast
- Bus 70 only comes by 1-2 times an hour. The bus stop back to Amsterdam from Giethoorn is on the opposite side of where the bus dropped you off. There is a timetable posted at the bus stop. Take a picture so that you can figure out when to get to the bus stop for your return journey
- The above being said, the bus was not on time so avoid routes with more than one transfer if possible as this will increase the risk of missing your connections
What to do in Giethoorn
Giethoorn is relatively tiny and the main attraction in Giethoorn is the village itself. Since there is not a lot to do, Giethoorn is the kind of place where you take in the surroundings and enjoy nature.
Tour the Canals in a Boat
There are lots of options for boat tours, from small self driven boats to canal cruises that provide guided tours around the canals and the marshy lake. These are also great of you don’t want to maneuver a boat by yourself.
Here are your boating options
Whisperes – These are small self-driven boats with silent motors (hence the same Whisperes). You don’t need prior experience to drive these. Click HERE to book.
Canoes – These canoes can accommodate 2-3 people and are cheaper than a Whispere. These can also be rented by the hour or for a full day.
Canal Cruise – These are bigger boats driven by a Captain who will give you a guided tour of Giethoorn and tell you interesting things about the way of life in Giethoorn. The cruise lasts about an hour and you will be taken along the canals out in to the open lake during this time.
Walk the Paths
Giethoorn has lots of walking trails and paths than you can wander by. There is a 15.3 km walking route that you can take if you are up for some heavy duty walking. HERE is a link with more information and a downloadable walking map.
Explore on a Bike
Alternatively, you can also rent a bike and cycle around the many bike trails.
Enjoy Giethoorn’s Old Time Charm
Although flooded by tourists, life in the village still revolves around farming and it hasn’t lost its old traditional charm.
Other Giethoorn Day Trip Tips
- Giethoorn has become popular in recent times, so get there early to really enjoy your day
- If you are interested in a boat tour (highly recommended), book your boat in advance HERE as they may run out fast during high season
- It was still cold when I visited in June so bring layers just in case it gets cold out on the water!
- Solo traveling? Check out my solo travel tips HERE
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