‘Giethoorn’ Is A Village In The Netherlands That Uses Canals Instead Of Roads
Live your fantasy and take a trip through the pages of a fairytale book by visiting the peaceful village Giethoorn. Dubbed as the ‘Venice of the Netherlands’, this splendid Dutch town has no roads. Instead, the streets are made of water and the only way to get around is by boat. Hence, it is mostly a car-free village making it one of the most tranquil towns in the world. Nestled at the center of Overijssel’s canal system, the only means of transportation for its 2,600 residents are the waterways stretching around 90 kilometers and footpaths. So, residents and visitors could only get around the village by boat or by foot.
The village was founded around 1230 and it got its name from the Dutch word ‘gietehorens’ which means ‘goat horns’. It is said that the first inhabitants of the village found hundreds of goat horns in the marshland which are the remnants of a 10th century flood. Of course, you will find not a single goat horn in the village now. All you can see are vast series of waterways, centuries-old thatched-roof houses, stone footpaths, bicycle trails and arch bridges. It’s exactly what you usually see in most fairytale book settings.
The small islands of Giethoorn are connected by more than 170 arch bridges
The Dutch town of Giethoorn has no roads, only canals
Since the village is an auto-free zone, tourists have to leave their cars outside of the town. Then they can explore the village by renting punts or boats known as ‘whisper boats’. A whisper boat is an open boat driven by a virtually silent electric motor and could be controlled easily. If you’re too lazy to punt along the waterways then the whisper boat is perfect for you. If you visit the place, you can find scores of punts and whisper boats to rent. But since the village has become a very popular tourist destination, it is best to book a canal cruise in advance. Additionally, the cruise also includes a local skipper that will give you information about the village during the tour.
Aside from cruising, tourists can also explore around on foot or by renting bicycles. Footpaths beside the canals are perfect for walking or cycling. And during winter, the waterways transform into a long stretch of ice making it an ideal place for ice skating. When it’s time to take a break, you can stop for a cup of coffee or a bite to eat on one of the canal-side cafes and restaurants. You can also learn more about the village by visiting one of its three canal-side museums. If you want a longer stay in this magical place, you can find a place to stay with its wide selection of hotels and bed-and-breakfast lodgings.