Step inside this floating fairytale village

Where we’re going, we don’t need roads…

Fancy floating all your troubles away?

Well, you'll want to book a holiday to the beyond idyllic village of Giethoorn in the Netherlands, where locals use boats instead of cars to travel around the ‘Venice of the north'.

red boat on pond and black wooden walkways

(Image credit: TBC)

The pretty-as-a-postcard village doesn't have a single road - everywhere is accessed by boats and wooden walkways.

To keep the peace, locals even use 'whisper boats' which have silent electric engines.

sloping roof house and garden with flower plants and trees

(Image credit: TBC)

The village is, naturally, popular with visitors, but there are around 2,600 residents in the area, who call the four miles of canals ‘home'.

Everything is accessed via the water - and even the postie does his or her rounds on a boat.

During the winter months, locals use the waterways as their private ice rink, zooming around to see friends and neighbours on ice skates.

sloping roof houses with garden of trees and flower plants

(Image credit: TBC)

The official website for the village,, describes the beautiful spot as ‘a green and still area'.

The site reads: ‘It is so peaceful, so different and has such simple beauty that it hardly seems real - gently gliding along small canals past old but pretty thatched-roof farmhouses.

sloping roof house with grass lawn and red boat on waterways

(Image credit: TBC)

‘You can turn down a 'side street'
(another small canal) and drift under a wooden bridge where an elderly resident may be strolling over to see a neighbour. No this is not Venice, or Amsterdam.'

Fancy a mini break? The best way to reach Giethoorn is to fly into Amsterdam and head to Zwolle, before taking a local train.


Heather Young

Heather Young has been Ideal Home’s Editor since late 2020, and Editor-In-Chief since 2023. She is an interiors journalist and editor who’s been working for some of the UK’s leading interiors magazines for over 20 years, both in-house and as a freelancer.