Adventure Travel

Giethoorn Is The Town We’ve All Been Waiting For

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Looking for a quiet getaway? This auto-free town is a charming collection of waterways where one can only travel by boat. The town only recently added bike paths, which now provide another option for therapeutic transportation. After taking a closer look, we’d rather just move there altogether than simply go for a vacation.

Giethoorn is nestled in the Dutch province Overijssel in the Netherlands. The waterways are lined with thatched-roof cottages featuring colorful shutters and pristine gardens. The scene is made complete with wooden bridges connecting the rows of houses so that neighbors can easily visit each other’s inviting homes. Many assume Venice or Amsterdam has more to offer when it comes to a city made of waterways, but Giethoorn has something these popular destinations don’t—peace and quiet. Besides, when you’re looking for a place to enjoy both physical fitness activity and tourism, there is no better place than Giethoorn. Boat, bike, sail, and walk while exploring a new city bursting with culture and history. We promise you won’t be disappointed by making Giethoorn your next travel destination.

The reason for Giethoorn’s aquatic environment is the many lakes that surround the city and which are spotted all throughout the province. The first inhabitants named the city after the hundreds of goat horns (gietehorens) they found in the marshland after a 10th-century flood. While the goat horns are gone, the residents have made better use of the wet environment.

With 4 miles of canals, your boating options are endless. Rent a canoe or motorboat and explore the town’s quiet corners, or find the busier waterways offering dockside restaurants and eclectic shops. Giethoorn’s motorboats are called “whisper boats,” which are dinghies driven by electric motors. With these small boats ruling the town, you don’t have to worry about speedboats or jet-skis causing chaos. You can also rent a punter or ride in one for a guided tour throughout the town. Punters are similar to the gondolas in Venice, and they are the original form of transportation used in Giethoorn.

The best way to experience this fairytale of a town is to rent a house alongside the water. Get a feel for the community and what it’s like to live without the bustling traffic we often encounter. Rent a boat yourself to avoid limiting your adventure, and most importantly, explore all 4 miles of the canals.

Kate Wilke is the content manager at 301brands, and she's the editor of, and the lifestyle editor at When she's not paddle boarding or skiing, she's informing someone about global warming (or cats) over a local double IPA. Follow her on Instagram — @kateewilke

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