If you're planning a European short break, why not consider exploring Holland by boat? The country boasts a network of waterways you can meander along for the perfect relaxing holiday where you can take in glorious countryside and quaint villages like Giethoorn.
Canal boating holidays afford you the freedom to really explore your destination, spending as much or as little time in each location you visit as you like during your river cruise. Giethoorn is certainly worth stopping at on a break along the waterways of the Netherlands, having become something of a tourist attraction over the years.
The rural village - known as the Venice of the North - can be found in the province of Overijssel, and comprises lakes, canals and bridges. Many of the inhabitants live on private islands in the area in pretty thatched cottages, getting around by boat or bicycle.
Located on the edge of the Weerribben-Wieden national park, the village is ideal for mooring up and stretching your legs in the lush green surroundings before setting about exploring the beautiful park.
The largest area of fenland in north-western Europe, Weerribben-Wieden comprises reed beds, wetlands and flower-filled meadows, making it a great spot for fans of nature. There are many species of water birds living here, as the environment constitutes a perfect breeding ground.
Climb into a canoe and set about exploring the beautiful landscape - don't forget to bring your camera!
Back in Giethoorn, if you feel like getting active why not try your hand at sailing? The sport is popular here, along with other means of traversing the water, such as rowing boats, punts and canoes.
When you've seen all that Giethoorn has to offer, you can make your way to the next port of call, which may well be Elburg. The picturesque city is full of antique buildings and medieval elements, making it an interesting place to moor up and explore.
Make your way around the pretty harbour and admire the prominent gate, which was constructed in the 14th century as a defence tower. Built around the same time was the St Nicolaaskerk - a church well worth a visit to take in the old tower, antique organs and interesting wall paintings.
If you're visiting in the summer, you can call in at the underground artillery casement of Kazematten, while you'll be able to visit the Gemeentemuseum any time, which is housed in an old convent and features a series of rooms laid out with period decor and historical artefacts relating to local history.
There's also a fishing museum and the Alfred Vogel Tuninen Homeopathic Gardens to explore during a stop here; as you can see, there are plenty of things to do in Europe when you book a boating break in the Netherlands!
Back on your boat, you'll pass through Huizen next. This large town was once a coastal fishing village before the damming of the Zuider Zee. The area is ideal for a tranquil overnight mooring and has some lovely old stone houses. It's also a useful spot from which to journey to Amsterdam if you fancy leaving your boat behind for a day and visiting the bustling city.
You're likely to call in next at Spakenburg, a village in Bunschoten, Utrecht. When you climb ashore here you might be lucky enough to spot inhabitants in traditional attire, as this is one of the few remaining villages in the country where some of the women still dress in this way.
The settlement's fishing heritage is easy to see as a result of the many boats in the little harbour, the fishing nets hung overhead in the streets and the statue of a fisherman holding his catch. The medieval town is worth a stroll through and when you're in need of refreshment you can visit one of the cafes beneath the bell tower and enjoy a coffee while you listen to the various songs that drift from the tower every so often.
From here, you can explore the Utrecht province, taking in the famous Dom Tower and visiting the many museums. You can browse artworks and historical artefacts, as well as pay a visit to the heritage site of Rietveld Schroder House.
There are numerous castles dotted throughout the region, too, so keep your eyes peeled!
Book your boat hire in Holland today and you can look forward to all this and more.