Day Trip Giethoorn, Netherlands
I had been trying to find the perfect time to visit Giethoorn. This little town with no roads is in northern Holland and is a little less than two hours by car from our house. With weather looking like it might be decent we made plans to drive up on a Saturday morning, rent a boat and explore Giethoorn with the kids.
We woke up to a fog-covered country, but when we arrived in Giethoorn two hours later the fog had burned off and the day was stunning. We were glad we had reserved our boat and arrived early.
We reserved online with Smit Giethoorn. They had the best prices when we looked and they were incredibly easy to work with. They rent flat-bottomed electric whisper boats. Our boat was large enough to fit two families of four and a dog. Renting life jackets, required for the little ones, is included. We happened to have some. You receive limited instructions and a small map and are allowed to head out into the town. No license required.
We had our sights set on a little island in the lake for a picnic. We pulled up around noon and had our pick of spots. Shortly after settling in though the island was swamped with visitors. We had packed two small grills and hot dogs to grill for lunch.
The island has a small area cordoned off for swimming, so we let the kids dip their feet for a bit.
Out on the lake are a variety of boats and it is the easiest place to move around. While out on the lake we were able to let each kid get a chance to captain the boat.
The whisper boats do not move very quickly and the canals of Giethoorn can be tricky to navigate. Boat traffic often comes to a standstill as some tourists do not have a handle on their boats. We suffered through several small collisions caused by other boat drivers.
The town is completely charming. If we didn’t have kids, and I weren’t pregnant, we would have pulled over a few places to grab a drink! There are plenty of little cafes in town where you can dock your boat to explore. There are several art galleries that look charming as well. You can also explore the town by foot, which may offer better photos but to really experience everything you have to be on canals boat.
Some of the canals in town are one way. Trying to get back to the boat rental place was a bit challenging as we kept ending up in a one-way canal going away from the boat rental place. We finally made it back and as soon as we had docked there was already a group ready to board our boat – they literally helped me unload our boat so they could get in and go! ha!
Giethoorn is certainly a unique place to visit and is perfect for one day. There is an adjacent national park that also has boat rentals that we hope to check out at some point.
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