A day in Giethoorn
Somewhere in the North of the Netherlands, there is a place that looks as if it came right out of a children's fairy tale. A place where canals have replaced roads, where boats have replaced cars and where you're guaranteed to feel transported to another world. This place, often referred to as 'the Venice of the Netherlands', is called Giethoorn and it is a peaceful getaway for anyone longing for simplicity and quietness (at least for a couple of days).
Lunch at Grand Café Fanfare | Binnenpad 68, 8355 BV Giethoorn
Giethoorn is kind of remote so you'll surely be hungry upon your arrival. For lunch, I suggest heading to Grand Café Fanfare, a restaurant that has been open every day (from April to October) since 2007. They offer a variety of bread specialties (their bread is freshly baked every morning), soups, salads and of course the Dutch 'kroketten' with cheese or beef.
Exploring the center of the village
Giethoorn counts 90 km of waterways and 180 bridges, most of them leading to charming farm houses that date back to the 18th and 19th century. The area is so picturesque Harper's Bazaar compared it to a movie set. The best way to experience it is just by walking around the center of the village on the small trails, taking in all the beauty as you go along. But be aware that you won't be the only one: Giethoorn attracts about 800 000 tourist yearly (among which many Asians).
Renting a 'whisper boat'
On second thought, the best way to experience Giethoorn is probably by boat. You can rent a 'whisper boat' (they are called this way because of their quiet engine) at multiple spots, but in the high season you might want to consider booking one in advance (it will cost you €15,00/hour). A 2-hour boat trip will take you through the village, then into the Weerribben-Wieden National Park which is quite sensational. Get your boyfriend to master the navigation of the boat and you're in a for a treat!
Dinner at De Eetkamer van Giethoorn | Vosjacht 6B, 8355 CM Giethoorn
Just outside the center (about 3 km) you'll find De Eetkamer van Giethoorn, a cozy restaurant with delicious food. The interior is warm with lots of wood and leather and the menu is filled with mouthwatering dishes, among which a few truly great vegetarian ones. I recommend their 'Share a bottle' formula which consists of a bottle of house wine and a plate of small bites (€27,50 for two). It is the perfect appetizer before your main course.
Going from Brussels to Giethoorn by car will take you approximately 3 hours. Therefore I recommend spending the night there, for instance in one of the farm houses that serve as Airbnb. You can also visit Giethoorn after a city trip to Amsterdam (this will take you 1h30 by car). You can plan your trip on any given day (just know that 'De Eetkamer van Giethoorn' is closed on Mondays).