Cycling around Giethoorn – Venice of the North

Giethoorn is a beautiful, quaint village situated in the province of Overijssel. For me, this water village was an instant favorite and perhaps one of the top spots in The Netherlands. Fondly termed as Venice of the north, it is actually notably different from Venice, Italy. I found it to be much more peaceful, clean and far less commercialized. So, in my books this tops Venice, anytime!

My experience of cycling around Giethoorn

venice of the north

Exploring Geithoorn is best done by renting a bike. You will get a map and you can take any of the recommended cycling routes, or just go wherever you want. Even if you do lose your way, its no big deal. It’s a small town and you will enjoy going off the beaten path and soon find your way back.

My Dutch friend and I, arrived Geithoorn by the early morning bus from Den Haag. We had spent the last few days exploring some of the best Holiday parks in Holland and now we had the entire day to explore Geithoorn. Cycling around this beautiful town was an epic adventure. We passed canals, cute houses, huge fields, open roads and a lovely waterfront. On the whole we covered around 40 kms by bike. Be sure to wear comfortable footwear (I would recommend sturdy sports shoes) for long bike riding adventure. It can get fairly hot if you go during summers so wearing a cap would make cycling for long hours in the sun, easier.

comfy shoes

Comfy shoes please! 🙂

For bike rentals, rates start from just 10 Euros for 3 hours. While picking a bike, do ride it around a bit to see if you are comfortable. Dutch are some of the tallest people in the world – and even though I am above average height, for an Indian female, I had a hard time picking a suitable bike. If you don’t find the right sized bike, move to the next rental shop as there are several down the main street.

Once you hire a bike, you will get a map which covers various cycling routes.  You can choose anything from 18 to 45 kms, according to your comfort level. If you want to do a shorter route, just go up to the canals and come back. It’s a lovely short ride to take.

Lovely canals in Giethoorn

Lovely canals in Giethoorn

Remember, it is very easy to ride a bike in The Netherlands as it is the flattest country in the world and easiest for biking. Hence, cycling is quite popular throughout the country and more so in smaller towns like Giethoorn. You will immediately get a hang of it. I hadn’t ridden a bike since I was a kid. Surely it was very tiring & challenging to ride over 40 kms but it was great fun and awesome exercise. As you all know, being a fit traveler is of utmost importance to me, so activities like these are so fulfilling especially if they leave me exhausted.

So, what we did was head straight to the canals and bike on the footpaths and bridges surrounding them – it was a great way to explore. Lots of cafes and restaurants pop up in this area so you can always take a break and grab a bite. After that we explored the town, lake sides and fields – it took us all day and finally we made it to the last bus back home.

Biking & walking paths by the canal

Biking & walking paths by the canal

From the sound of quacking ducks to lovely cozy cottages by the canals, from boats in lakes to people enjoying picnics & fishing sprees, Venice of the north, simply stole my heart.


  1. I’ve never heard of this town, but definitely going to add it to the list. Love the canals and waterways. It really does look like Venice and if it’s missing the crowds I’m definitely in!

  2. Do they have trikes? I can’t ride a bike so I need 3 wheelers.

  3. I’ve only ever been to Amsterdam and have always wanted to explore more. So this town is going straight on my list of places to visit. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I think I’ve heard about this town and they said this is the town with no roads! guess its not true since you can bike here =D

  5. I’ve heard about this place! It looks so nice indeed. A bike ride along the canals could be the best thing to do when the weather is nice.

  6. Lili's travel plans March 21, 2016 at 8:42 am

    This is not so far from where I live but I’d never heard of it! The Netherlands are always nice for a bike tour but this looks particularly beautiful!

  7. i’m not a big cycler but this looks fun! hope you had a great time


  8. I’m just now getting into cycling. My butt still hurts!

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