Nicknamed the “Venice of the Netherlands,” this car-free paradise almost offers a unique escape from the bustle of modern life, inviting you to glide through charming waterways and soak in the serenity of Dutch countryside charm.
But first us and Alma it was not meant to be, our trusty app listed two motorhome stop overs in the area, but apparently open all year.
Stop one – overgrown, large rocks blocking the entrance….
Stop two – a rope across the driveway and a digger carrying out ground work
Back up plan- the main carpark – huge no overnight camping sign !!
Not to be dramatic but a gloom descended, Giethoorn was in my list of must sees and it felt like it was slowly slipping away ….
Needing a place to rest Alma’s wheel we headed about 15km away to a small place called Meppel .
Now, for about 30 seconds we were disappointed, missing out on a place we really wanted to see, but then logic took over.
If it’s only 15km away – why not cycle ?
The joy of motor-homing in The Netherlands is that for every road, there is also a dedicated cycle path, so really easy and safe to get around on our bikes !
The cycle path ventured beyond the canals of Meppel and into the National Park De Weerribben-Wieden, a haven for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts.
Giethoorn’s magic lies in its car-free existence. Here, whisper-quiet electric boats called “punters” navigate a labyrinthine network of canals, lined with picture-perfect cottages adorned with vibrant flowers. Bridges, some centuries old, connect the canal banks, offering enchanting vantage points to admire the village’s beauty.
Its own history whispers through its cobbled paths and thatched-roof houses. Founded in 1230, the village flourished as peat became a valuable commodity. Peat diggers carved the canals, creating the village’s unique layout.
This places charm extends beyond its waterways. Quaint shops line the canals, tempting you with locally crafted souvenirs, hand-painted clogs, and delectable Dutch cheese. Art galleries showcase the work of local talents, while cozy cafes offer respite with steaming cups of coffee.
Ok, so enough of the big tourist attraction , let’s talk the charming non-tourist town of Meppel, our home for a few days and actually probably deserving of a blog post all of its own
With excellent, fully serviced motorhome parking by the marina, what’s not to love.
The Towns history dates back to the 12th century, and its strategic location at the confluence of three canals – the Drentsche Hoofdvaart, the Hoogeveensche Vaart, and the Meppelerdiep.
The town flourished as a trade center, and its prosperity is reflected in its well-preserved historic center.
Meppel’s historical center is a captivating in itself a maze of cobbled streets lined with gabled house.
All in all, we are really rather glad that we could not stop over in Giethoorn , the accidental trip to Meppel was a true breath of fresh air , away from big city’s and throngs of tourists.