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The Waterland region, a stone’s throw from Amsterdam


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Waterland is the region in the north of the Netherlands, a short distance from Amsterdam and therefore easily accessible for a day trip.

In Waterland, you will find sleepy little villages where life seems to have stopped a hundred years ago.

The most interesting villages are Volendam, Marken, Edam and Zaandam.

These cosy villages with their typical wooden cottages set among the canals captured our hearts and are an absolute must on a Dutch itinerary.

The Waterland region, a stone’s throw from Amsterdam



Volendam is perhaps the most touristy village although, in general in Waterland, we never found it too crowded.

In the centre of Volendam, you can find typical shops where you can taste good cheese and try on traditional Dutch costumes.

In the harbour, you can find a few bars/restaurants where you can have lunch while watching the little boats and old fishing boats.

You can also find wonderful fish stalls (sandwiches, pancakes, smoked herring) and proffertjes, the typical Dutch sweets.


In one of the characteristic little houses with pointed roofs, you will find the Volendam Museum, which tells the story of this small fishing village.

From the harbour, it is possible to board a boat that goes across the bay of Gouwzee to nearby Marken.



The charming fishing village of Marken can be reached by ferry or by land by crossing the artificial isthmus that connects it to the mainland.

Once there, you leave your car in a large car park and continue on foot.

The view is fabulous: the aforementioned little green houses, with their flowering gardens, are reflected in the waters of the canal, giving a sense of pure tranquillity.

Then you can admire the fishermen’s houses, built on stilts, and the old fish smokehouses.


The range of restaurants is limited, but you will find the usual wonderful kiosks selling fish, chips and proffertjes.

A visit to the impressive Marken lighthouse on the eastern tip of the island, built in the first half of the 19th century, is also well worthwhile.


The lighthouse is nicknamed Paard van Marken, ‘The Horse of Marken‘ and can be reached via a pleasant walk of about 2.5 kilometres.

The path to follow is through fields, among grazing sheep (watch your step!).

Zaanse Schans

zaanse schans

Zaanse Sch ans is the windmill village located a few kilometres from Amsterdam.

Like Kinderdijk, it is an open-air museum where you can discover the culture and traditions of the past.

There are ten windmills in Zaanse Schans, all lying along the banks of the river Zaan.

Some of them are open to the public and can be visited.

In addition to the mills, the site includes a chocolate house, a cheese factory and wooden clogs, where you can watch a demonstration of how they are made.

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Also very pretty is the small town of Edam, famous for its cheese covered in yellow wax.

Like most towns in the Netherlands, Edam is criss-crossed by small canals and crossed by drawbridges.

On the main square, the traditional cheese market is celebrated and the Kaaswaag, the old public weighbridge, is also located.

The Edam cheese market is held in the summer, every Wednesday from 10:30 to 12:30.

Edam’s characteristic yellow cheeses are the stars of all the shops and can also be bought as souvenirs.

How to get to Waterland

The best way to reach Waterland and visit the most characteristic villages is by car.

Waterland was only one part of the tour we organised in Holland and so, to speed up our journey, we rented the car as soon as we landed in Amsterdam.

Several times we stopped along the way to observe the beautiful views of the Dutch countryside.

Waterland can also be reached by public transport or by bicycle along the Waterland Route.

▶ If you arrive by plane and need to rent a car, you can compare the offers proposed by rental agencies and save up to 70% by booking your car on the DiscoverCars portal.

I talk about it HERE.

Where to sleep in Waterland

Although the villages of Waterland are within easy reach of Amsterdam and can be reached on a day trip, our advice is to stay a few days to enjoy the atmosphere and traditions of these small villages.

Hotel Old Dutch – Modern rooms and a beautiful location on the harbour of Volendam.

Cot 0-4 years old offered free of charge as well as an excellent breakfast – Book here.

Do you need travel insurance? As a reader of BimbeinViaggio, you are entitled to a 5% discount.

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