Giethoorn: The Enchanting Dutch Town Without Streets

Published May 24, 2017
Updated March 25, 2020

The Netherlands' Giethoorn is an astounding town with canals instead of streets - step into the town known as the Venice of the North.

Giethoorn Netherlands
David van der Mark

Giethoorn Water Concert
Facebook/Smit's Paviljoen

Reflections Of Trees
Public Domain

Canals In Giethoorn Netherlands
Giethoorn Tourism

Lots Of Boats
piotr iłowiecki/Flickr

Night Lights
Jorge Gobbi/Flickr

Reflections In Water
piotr iłowiecki/Flickr

Giethoorn Red Boats
Giethoorn Tourism

Venice Of The North
Dutch Simba/Flickr

Giethoorn Canal
Giethoorn Tourism

Tree Reflections
brian_ytsu/Flickr

Giethorn Ice Skating
Giethoorn Tourism

Giethoorn Green
Giethoorn Tourism

Giethorn Flowers
Flickr/K.K.Chu

Reflective Water
Nemodus photos/Flickr

Verdant Grass
piotr iłowiecki/Flickr

Giethoorn Fog
YELLOW Mao/Flickr

Giethoorn Neighborhood
Facebook/Vakantiepark

Giethoorn Countryside
Oscar Vilaplana/Flickr

Giethoorn Sailing
Giethoorn Tourism

Giethorn Pictures
Shutterstock/Borna_Mirahmadian

Giethoorn
Giethoorn Tourism

House And Boats
Giethoorn Tourism

Covered Boat
Giethoorn Tourism

Giethoorn Tourism Corner
Giethoorn Tourism

Bridge Over A Canal
Giethoorn Tourism

Giethoorn Flags
Giethoorn Tourism

Known in the Netherlands as the "Venice of the North," the picturesque Giethoorn is a town with nary a road to be found. Instead, more than four miles of canals run through this rural village.

First settled by Franciscan monks in the 13th century, Giethoorn initially served as part of a large nature reserve. The canals, which the monks had dug for transporting peat, are only about one meter deep.

Currently, Giethoorn is home to less than 3,000 people, most of whom reside in private islands. The loudest sound, according to the village's tourism site, is typically a quacking duck.

The main means of transportation through the canals are via a canoe, kayak, or whisper boat (aptly named for its silent motor that doesn't disrupt the peace). Even the postman uses a boat to deliver the mail.

All of the canals are quite narrow, and there are also many wooden foot bridges to cross them. There are also numerous cycling and walking paths — and the easily-frozen water routes make for prime skating in the winter.

The best thing to do in Giethoorn "is to chill and admire the canals," the tourism site notes. You can also rent a giant inflatable ball that you can climb inside and "walk" around the water paths.

But for now, you'll have to make do with the stunning photos above.

For more on Giethoorn, check out these videos that capture the enchantment of the quaint Dutch town:


Next, check out these nine beautiful small towns you have to visit. Then, experience the wonders of Fly Geyser.

All That's Interesting
All That's Interesting is a Brooklyn-based digital publisher that seeks out the stories to illuminate the past, present, and future.