If you are searching for a nice place to escape the unbearable summer heat in your place, Giethoorn could be the best choice to think about.
The small village is situated in the North of the Netherlands and lies only about 30cm (about a foot) above sea level.
Founded in the early 13th century (around 1230), it is bathed in emerald green vegetation and enjoys very mild and pleasant summers with comfortable temperatures.
The village is so beautiful that it seems almost unrealistic.
If you have already decided to spend a few days here during your next summer vacation, here are 10 things you should definitely try while in Giethoorn.
1. Boat Trip
As Giethoorn is best known for its water canals, joining a boat trip is definitely the best way to explore the town, and is the number one most recommended experience in the area.
There are several different types of vessels to choose from.
You can decide between a traditional tourist boat, a canoe, a kayak or a whisper boat (the last one is considered the most popular option).
The canals of Giethoorn serve instead of streets as a main transport network. They are usually about a metre deep and run beneath dozens of traditional wooden bridges.
Although very shallow, the water could be quite cold (only about 59°F / 15°C in summer, reaching about 68°F / 20°C on rare occasions during some of the hottest days) so falling into the cold water could be a very uncomfortable experience.
2. Enjoy the wonderful flower gardens
Giethoorn is known for some of the most charming flower gardens you have ever seen.
You can enjoy hundreds of species of flowers but probably one of the most beautiful is the wonderful hydrangea, known for its pale shades of purple, blue or pink.
However, you need to be very careful because most of these lovely gardens fall within the limits of private properties, so you can only enjoy them respectfully from afar.
3. Have a nice meal in a local restaurant
If you are planning to travel to Giethoorn during the summer months, you should visit at least one of its amazing outdoor restaurants or cafés.
You can choose from a wide variety of international (mostly European) dishes, varying from our favourite and simple street food to traditional potato, seafood and beef-dominated Dutch meals.
4. Explore the town on foot
Joining a boat tour is only one of the ways to enjoy the beauty of Giethoorn, and the other one is to explore the settlement on foot.
If you want to do that, you need one or two days, considering the size of the village, which is approximately equal to a large urban park.
It all depends on what your personal fitness level is. All you need is a pair of comfortable walking shoes and an umbrella (it is a good idea to put a small umbrella in your bag even on sunny and clear days).
5. Don’t miss some cycling
Going to Giethoorn and not cycling is like going to Rome and not seeing the Pope.
Not surprisingly, you have some very good and affordable options to rent a bike in Giethoorn.
This is a very special and authentic way to explore the tourist village because cycling is considered the most popular mode of transport in the country.
Because of the flat terrain in the area, cycling is considered quite easy, with no matter of your personal level of fitness.
6. Doopsgezinde Kerk Giethoorn
Doopsgezinde Kerk Giethoorn is one of the important historical buildings and landmarks in Giethoorn.
Situated on the bank of one of the canals, the small red-brick church was constructed in 1871.
Nowadays, it attracts many tourists and is one of the must-visit attractions in the small town.
7. Weerribben-Wieden National Park
Weerribben-Wieden National Park could be easily described as the European version of Everglades National Park but without alligators.
Most of its territory is covered by shallow freshwater wetlands, and the altitude of the area barely exceeds the sea level.
Within the protected area you can see an impressive variety of birds and other animals, including black terns, waterfowls and otters.
8. Visit Museum Giethoorn ‘t Olde Maat Uus
Museum Giethoorn ‘t Olde Maat Uus is a magical place that you should definitely visit while in the village.
The main goal of the museum is to show the traditional way of life of the locals in the past.
To be easier and more comfortable for you, the management of the museum encourages the visitors to book their tickets in advance online.
Climate and weather in Giethoorn
If you want to have a very good experience and realistic expectations for your vacation, you should carefully research in advance the climate in the Netherlands.
As the country has a temperate oceanic climate, you can expect cool and humid weather for most of the year.
The best time to visit Giethoorn is between late May and mid August, when the weather is very comfortable. The period brings some of the best weather conditions to explore the area.
The average temperature during the day is normally above 68°F / 20°C, reaching up to about 77 – 81°F / 25 – 27°C on rare occasions.
Because of its moderate summer temperatures, the village attracts tens of thousands of visitors from Southern Europe during the periods of heat waves in the height of summer.
Winters are mild but rainy and bring temperatures of around 5°C during the day. Snowfalls are relatively uncommon, and when it snows, the snow cover is usually very thin and doesn’t last long. The period between late December and late January brings the best chance of snow.
As the Netherlands is one of the least sunny countries in Europe, the weather in Giethoorn, unfortunately, is mostly cloudy.
Sunny days are rather rare. In June and July, on average, 2 out of every 3 days are cloudy.
April brings the best chance of sunny weather, when the average number of sunny days is 17.
What clothing to wear in Giethoorn in summer
If you travel to Giethoorn in summer, you will normally need to put in your luggage mostly summer clothing such as T-shirts, shorts, summer and spring dresses.
However, you should add a few pairs of jeans, a light sweater and a leather jacket just in case because some day could bring cooler weather.