Giethoorn is known as the "Venice of Holland" and for good reason with its charming canals, picturesque hiking trails and incredible 176 bridges! The village is only accessible by foot, bicycle or boat, and boat is by far the most preferred option for its 2600 inhabitants.
Needless to say, you should hire a boat in Giethoorn for the best views of this fairytale village with no roads.
This article will take you through all the best Giethoorn boat rental options, including how to navigate Dutch language websites to get the best deals.
Fun fact: My husband grew up in a small Dutch town near Giethoorn and went on field trips there with his elementary school. How cute is that?!
1 How to rent a boat in Giethoorn
1.1 Option 1: Book a Giethoorn boat trip
1.2 Option 2: Rent a boat on an English website
1.3 Option 3: Rent a boat on a Dutch website
1.4 Option 4: Take a canal cruise
2 Giethoorn boat rental frequently asked questions
2.1 How do I get to Giethoorn?
2.2 What kind of boats are available for rent?
2.3 How much does Giethoorn boat rental cost?
2.4 What is the best boat rental in Giethoorn?
2.5 How long should I rent a boat in Giethoorn?
2.6 How early should I book a boat in Giethoorn?
Disclaimer: Girl Gone Wandering is a reader supported site. Purchases made through genuinely recommended links may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.Learn more.
How to rent a boat in Giethoorn
There are 4 easy ways to rent a boat in Giethoorn.
If you are visiting Amsterdam and have limited time or access to transport, you canbook a day tripcovering transfers to and from Amsterdam and boat hire in Giethoorn.
If you can get to Giethoorn yourself, you can rent from a wide range of boats on English websites from 2 hours to a full day. You can also take a canal cruise and enjoy the sights without worrying about steering the boat.
However, my best recommendation is to rent a boat in Giethoorn with a Dutch language website. This is by far the most cost effective way if you can get to Giethoorn yourself and are open to using Google Translate to navigate non-English websites.
Option 1: Book a Giethoorn boat trip
Are you traveling to the Netherlands from abroad and with a tight schedule? Don't you want to take the train? Don't want to rent a car? Then the easiest way to see Giethoorn is to book a day trip from Amsterdam.
Giethoorn is relatively difficult to reach by public transport. The village is 120 km away from Amsterdam and it takes about 2.5 hours and at least 3 transfers to get there.
Driving is faster, but there is little need to rent a car in a well-connected country like the Netherlands, especially when parking costs €7.50 an hour in the center of Amsterdam!
Therefore, your easiest option to see Giethoorn is by boat from Amsterdam tobook a trip.
When traveling in Europe, I recommend using online tour aggregatorGet YourGuide. GetYourGuide is a European company and has one of the most comprehensive lists of short tours around Europe.
This saves you time researching individual travel providers yourself. You pay the same price as you would if you booked directly with the travel company on the ground, but you also get the added benefit of 24/7 customer service and refunds if you're unhappy with your tour experience.
Giethoorn boat trip prices start from €75 per person and include transfers to and from Amsterdam. Tickets can sell out quickly, especially in the summer months, so book in advance.
Themost popular and affordable touris a full-day trip from Amsterdam to Giethoorn, including bus transport, a photo stop atAfsluitdijk, and a 1-hour Giethoorn canal cruise.
There are also tour optionsgive you a chanceto drive a boat, orvisitthe traditional fishing village of Volendam and the windmills at Zaanse Schaans.
Explorebest optionsfor a Giethoorn boat trip at GetYourGuide!
Option 2: Rent a boat on an English website
If you can arrange your own transport, you can book a boat in Giethoorn to pick you up when you arrive.
TheGiethoorn Tourism websitehas a convenient online booking system in English with a large selection of boats that you can hire.
You can choose how many people are in your company, what type of boat you want and how many hours you want the boat for. You do not need a sailing license for any of these boats because of their speed.
The most commonly rented and cheapest boat (that you do not row yourself) is a 4-person "whisper boat". The Giethoorn Tourism website offers whisper boats from €39 for 2 hours or €90 for a full day (until 5.30pm) and there is an additional booking fee of €5.
These boats are called whispering boats because of their silent electric motor. Note that the basic option does not have seat cushions or a steering wheel - you steer with the engine.
You can of course choose a more luxurious boat with a steering wheel, pillows, cushions and backrest. However, you will notice that most locals have basic whisper boats parked at their private docks, so go for the most basic option for the most authentic experience!
You can see all the options for boat rental on Giethoorn Tourism's websiteher.
But before you go ahead and book, consider that you can save 20% on your Giethoorn boat rental by booking on a Dutch language website. All you need is Google Translate.
Option 3: Rent a boat on a Dutch website
When I visit Giethoorn, I use a website calledRent a boat Giethoornwhich means "Boat Rental Giethoorn". They have the best prices for renting a boat in Giethoorn and I always dothis websiteto visitors.
4-person Whisper Boats start at €45 for 3 hours or €75 for a full day (until 5.30pm) and there is no additional booking fee.
So you pay €95 on an English website but €75 on a Dutch website for the same kind of boat! That's a difference of 20%!
Rent a boat Giethoornhave a range of boats that you can hire as well as options for coffee, tea, juice, picnic baskets or full meals that you can add to your booking.
While minimum rental times for your own boat are longer than the 1-hour guided Giethoorn canal cruises, I guarantee you'll have plenty to do between swimming in lakes and sailing through the scenic village outskirts.
How to translate a Dutch language website
To understandRent a boat Giethoornwebsite, you must either copy and paste the content into Google Translate or use a translation option in the browser, which most browsers have.
Google Chrome and Safari have Google Translate built into their system. Firefox supports a Google Translate add-on. All you have to do is right-click anywhere on the page, select "Translate to English" and all text content will be instantly translated into English!
Option 4: Take a canal cruise
If you prefer not to operate your own boat, you can take a 1- or 2-hour canal cruise instead. The canal cruise boats are covered and heated, so it's a good option if you're visiting in winter or if the forecast calls for rain.
Canal cruise prices start at €12.50 for anyone aged 12 and over, €8.50 for children aged 3 to 11 and are free for children aged 2 and under. There is room for about 20 to 30 people on Giethoorn canal cruises.
There are also luxury canal cruise options where you can book your own boat with a private skipper and charcuterie plates and drinks served on board. These packages start at €695 for 2.5 hours and up to 4 people.
TheGiethoorn Tourism websitealso has booking options for canal and luxury cruises.
Frequently asked questions about Giethoorn boat rental
How do I get to Giethoorn?
Giethoorn is located about 120 km from Amsterdam in the northern part of the Netherlands. The area is swampy and full of shallow lakes, waterways and farmland where cows greet you as you sail by!
The easiest way to get to Giethoorn is by car. It takes around 1.5 hours to reach Giethoorn from Amsterdam and parking is free almost everywhere.
Giethoorn has a system called the "P-Route" which you can follow to clearly marked car parks, all of which are free and are a 5 minute walk from a restaurant or boat rental facility.
That said, if you're visiting from abroad, there isn't much need to rent a car. The Netherlands is well connected by public transport and parking in cities is very expensive (think €7.50 an hour in the center of Amsterdam!)
By public transport
If you don't have and don't want to rent a car, you can also reach Giethoorn by public transport. However, it is quite time consuming.
To get to Giethoorn from Amsterdam you take a trainAmsterdam Centralto Almere Centrum, another train from Almere Centrum toSteenwijk Station, and then a bus from Steenwijk Station to Giethoorn.
Or there is a train that leaves directlyAmsterdam Syd StationtoSteenwijk Station, where you can then take a bus to Giethoorn.
There are also buses to Giethoorn fromZwolle Station.Meppel Stationis also close to Giethoorn, but there are no direct buses.
Google Maps will give you the best route, but overall it will take you around 2.5 hours to get to Giethoorn from Amsterdam. If you don't want to wait for a bus, there is a taxi stand outside Steenwijk Station where you can order a taxi. The trip is only 10 minutes, so it won't be too expensive!
If you're feeling particularly Dutch, you can even cycle to Giethoorn. Although it is a long way to cycle from Amsterdam, you are able to take bikes on trains from 9am to 4pm and 6.30pm onwards on weekdays and all day at weekends.
You can take your bike on the train to Steenwijk Station and then cycle the rest of the way to Giethoorn. It is a flat route of about 7 km and will take you about 30 minutes.
And if none of the above options are feasible or appealing, you can alwaysbook a day tripso you can fully enjoy your time in Giethoorn instead of worrying about transport.
I have a whole article abouthow to get to Giethoornher.
What kind of boats can be rented?
There are many different types of boats that you can rent in Giethoorn. The choice is yours depending on how authentic an experience you want, how much exercise you want to get, how comfortable you want to be and what the weather is like when you visit.
“Whisper boats"is the type you will see the most. They are named as such for their silent electric motor. With these boats you use the motor at the back of the boat to steer and you can rent them with or without seat cushions. You will mostly see whisper boats without cushions docked at the homes of local residents.
Cantilever boatsare electric boats with a steering wheel. These come with padded seats and are more expensive to hire compared to whisper boats.
If you're feeling adventurous or it's poor day, you can rent a "sailing punts" or a "traditional tipper” – basically a gondola like the ones you see in Venice.
You can also rent onekano, akayak, astand-up paddle board, or onepedalo.
How much does Giethoorn boat rental cost?
4 person whisper boat without cushions starts at €40 for 2 hours or €95 for a full day on an English website. However, this same boat only costs €75 on a Dutch website! You also need to consider the cost of getting to and from Giethoorn.
Alternativelyyou can booka Giethoorn boat trip from Amsterdam for €75 all-in and not having to worry about separate costs.
What is the best boat rental in Giethoorn?
Everyone will have a different opinion on what the best boat rental in Giethoorn is. The best Giethoorn boat rental aggregators are:
At the end of the day, don't worry too much about the boat. As long as you get yourself on-inboat on a canal in Giethoorn, you will have a great day.
How long should I rent a boat in Giethoorn?
Although I offer 1-hour canal cruise options, my recommendation is that if you have the time and don't need to rely on a tour group for transportation, you should definitely rent a boat in Giethoorn for a full day!
There is much more to see and do than a 1-hour guided boat trip allows. There are several shallow lakes that you can sail to and swim. The water is calm and only up to your waist, so it is very warm and relaxing to float in in the summer.
There is a pavilion on the lake where you can park your boat and have a drink, many restaurants along the main canals of the village, swampy fields that you can sail through, where cows will come and greet you as you pass by . There are even floating ice cream stands!
How early should I book a boat in Giethoorn?
You may know that Amsterdam is so popular that more tourists (19 million) visit Amsterdam each year than there are people in the Netherlands (17 million).
Many of these millions of tourists come to the Netherlands during the tulip season (April) and the summer months, so if you plan to visit Giethoorn during these times, it is best to book as early as possible. That said, the Netherlands is a popular destination all year round, so it's always good to book early.
I hope this guide will help you rent a boat in Giethoorn and see all the sights that the Dutch adventure village has to offer!
If you liked this guide, you will also like what I share aboutInstagram @gracegonewandering.
I live in Amsterdam with my husband and always share where to eat, what to do, where to go.
Most tourists 1 come for a day in Giethoorn, a weekend or a whole week to the beautiful Dutch Venice. No matter how long you want to stay there, Giethoorn has a lot to offer, so you won't be bored for a moment!Is Giethoorn worth it? ›
Giethoorn is well worth a visit. This picturesque village without streets at the top of Overijssel is picture perfect. The 'Venice of the Netherlands' is best viewed from the water. So your day in Giethoorn should include a tour on an electric boat, canoe or traditional boat.Why is Giethoorn a special village? ›
Giethoorn village, the most beautiful and fairytale village in the Netherlands. The Dutch village where the inhabitants can only sail around, walk or cycle to transport themselves. Every year, 1 million people visit Giethoorn.Is Giethoorn worth visiting in winter? ›
Giethoorn is quite an attraction in all months of the year. People come in the summer for the festivals, boat rides, and summer market; in the spring, for the tulips and other blooms; while in the winter, for the snow and frozen waterways.What are the best months to visit 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.What is the best day of the week to visit Giethoorn? ›
During weekdays you will have the most chance to find a less crowded Giethoorn. In fact, are the Monday's usally the quietest day of the week. So, from Monday to Friday the crowds slowly increase each day. And, during the weekend, the village of Giethoorn usually receives the most visitors.How much does it cost from Amsterdam to Giethoorn? ›
|Distance||56 miles (90 km)|
|Average train duration||1 h 25 min|
|Average train ticket price||$28 (€24)|
|Train companies||Deutsche Bahn|
The name “Giethoorn” came from “great horn”, which says a lot about the history of this place. The village was founded way back in 1230, and the earliest settlers discovered goat horns buried in mud. You won't see goat horns now, but there are still old cottages and ancient wooden bridges in the village.Is the Netherlands nice to foreigners? ›
Inclusive and welcoming culture
In general, the Dutch are welcoming to foreigners and make an effort to engage newcomers into the community. They are known for their egalitarianism and are a fairly liberal society. Expats moving to the Netherlands will have plenty of opportunity to meet people in the Netherlands.
The canals in Giethoorn are only about a meter deep. Giethoorn has survived over the centuries and is home to just under 3,000 people. Most of the homes in the town are situated on small, private islands and are only connected by over 100 wooden bridges which criss-cross across the landscape.
The canals and surrounding lakes were actually formed inadvertently as the locals extracted the peat. Hence the canals are only about one meter deep and the surrounding lakes and waterways are not that much deeper.Are cars allowed in Giethoorn? ›
In the tiny Dutch village of Giethoorn, the tranquility is almost dreamlike. That is, until you remember why it's so quiet—there are no cars. In fact, there's no way for cars to get around, because there are no roads. Locals and visitors to Giethoorn navigate in whisper-quiet ways: by bike, boat, or foot.Is Giethoorn a good place to live? ›
Living in Giethoorn, as one could imagine, is one of bliss and enchantment, but also of concerns. Residents are worried that too much tourism could transform their lovely community into a typical village with cars, modern shops, and entertainment centres, with the accompanying noise and pollution.Does Giethoorn have snow? ›
It can sometimes snow in Giethoorn. The result: Giethoorn under a white coat.How cold are Dutch winters? ›
The Netherlands is located in the 'temperate zone'. Throughout the country, mean winter temperatures are about 3°C and mean summer temperatures are around 17°C. Coastal regions have more hours of sunshine than inland regions and a relatively small annual and diurnal temperature range.How long is the train ride from Amsterdam to Giethoorn? ›
Times and costs
The travel by train takes between 2/2.5 hours for a one-way ticket and costs about €25 per person. It is sometimes possible to buy a one-way ticket for approximately €15 per person in the lowseason.
Bursting with museums and heritage buildings and rich in cultural and political pedigree, The Hague is one of the Netherlands' most important cities. Three days in town gives you enough time to enjoy the city's world-renowned galleries, visit its top landmarks, and even go on a diverting day trip.How much time should I spend in Netherlands? ›
Planning Your Trip to The Netherlands
To capture the Netherlands beyond Amsterdam, opt for a weeklong visit. While five days is ample time to cover a variety of the country's major highlights—most centering in and around the capital—a couple of extra days allows you to get off the proverbial beaten path.
However, if you wish to do justice to the country and its heritage, then we suggest that you spend at least ten days in Holland. The duration is enough to browse through the collections of the country's most famous museums and wander through the cobbled streets of its old towns.