The Traditional  Dutch Postcard Scenery of the Villages of Noord Holland on a Day Trip to WATERLAND

A lovely day trip can be made using the Waterland Day Ticket which gives  unlimited travel on R-Net(Connexion) Waterland buses; in 2012 the ticket costs 10 Euros. Travel on this ticket includes  Broek in Waterland, Marken, Volendam Edam, Monnickendam, Hoorn.   From the Amsterdam City side pass through Amsterdam Centraal Station to the IJ River side; the R-net buses leave from the Upper Bus Terminal. The drivers have a reputation of being helpful and able to share the details of making the most of your day.

Waterland encompasses a landscape of flat green pastures with placid cows, tiny drainage canals, old farmhouses, humpbacked  bridges across  still waterways, serene  villages with cobbled tree lined streets  where you envy the village peace and tranquillity; quaint and colourful  fishing villages on the Ijsselmeer.  The flat Dutch landscape stretches in every direction to the horizon. The sounds of nature are bliss  after the nonstop noise of city Amsterdam.

BROEK IN WATERLAND.  The first stop on the Waterland Day excursion 8 klm north east of Amsterdam. This pretty village is divided  in half by  the road, after exiting the bus on the right hand side, find the nearby road underpass which leads to the charming older 17th Century  village.  Explore the quiet canal side  cobbled streets, pretty pastel coloured lakeside houses and church before returning to the bus stop to continue along  to Marken. (20klm from Amsterdam)

The old fishing village of MARKEN on the Markenmeer was formerly an island, now connected to the mainland by a 2 klm long causeway. The old colourful, predominantly spruce green and white houses  originally built on stilts and mounds (werfs) are clustered by the main Harbour. Near the bus drop off point outside the village there is a small Supermarket if snacks are required. Feel like a  long brisk walk with lots of sea air? - continue up the road from the bus stop to the distant lighthouse.

From Marken to VOLENDAM  a ferry operates  between March to November (dates vary each year). The journey of 30-45 minutes  costs Euro5.50 one way and Euro8.00 return. (2012 prices)

Volendam is much larger and seems more touristy than Marken.  Still with traditional dwellings and a bustling waterfront and harbour, though somewhat spoiled with large tourist buses  which crawl  through the crowds of visitors on the streets close to the harbour. A colourful town, where  a range of shopping activities  and restaurants abound.

EDAM  close by to Volendam is mostly associated with the spheres of  golden and red skinned cheeses: the Edam Cheese Market is enacted once a week in Summer only. Edam is  also popular with busloads of tourists, however the city is large enough to explore the network of narrow  streets and avoid the tour groups.  Visit the City Hall, Cheese Weigh-house and  quieter terraces along the canals.  The impressive Grote Kerk or St. Nicholaaskerk,  of cathedral proportions , is built on piles; one of the largest 3 ridged churches in Europe.

Prior to the Waterland day trip  plan your journey  on  the public transport  website to get an idea of bus times/numbers, map of bus stop locations and connections between the towns to get the most out of  your day trip.


Day trips out of the city


For a nice long day trip, instead of an organized tour, take the train from Amsterdam Central Station to Delft (approx 20 Euros adult) and you can stop and sightsee Leiden, Den Haag (the Hague) and Haarlem on the way back.  There are tourist map kiosks in or near each station where you can get maps with information on what to see and do in each town, if the tourist centers are not open.  The train passes by windmills, canals, nice homes, farms, fields of flowers, horses, pigs and cows grazing, etc.  Give yourself at least 8 hours to enjoy this trip and see each town.  An organized bus tour is approx 40 Euros and you mostly pass by the sites that you want to go into. The train ride to Delft is less than an hour and approx 15 minutes between each of the other towns on the way back.


When you really want to have a feel of the authentic Dutch landscape and villages, go on a nice day trip biking and boating in the typical Dutch landscape just a few miles outside of Amsterdam in the authentic village "Holysloot ."First start out by buying a nice ordinary map of Amsterdam (not only the center), and go to the back of the Central Station (left of the central station is a bicycle path which takes you underneath and around the station).

Take the (free) ferry (nice view on Amsterdam from the water) across the "IJ" , the lake-like thing behind the station, to Amsterdam North (Amsterdam Noord). Take the Meeuwenlaan until you arrive at the Nieuwendammerdijk follow this dyke (stop for coffee at the nice "café het Sluisje," which is also the favorite bar of the Dutch democratic party-leader Wouter Bos). You can also go through the "Vliegenbos" which is park-like. Then continue this dyke  ("dijk" in Dutch) until it becomes "Schellingwouderdijk" in the direction of Schellingwoude. Keep on following the Dyke all the way through Schellingwoude. Follow signs to Holysloot, (the bike signs are the small white signs with the red letters).

Search for the boat renting shop in Holysloot (pass behind the church)  *(a tiny but beautiful village with typical Dutch farmhouses), you can have a drink there and rent a canoe or a kayak or a "whisperboat" in Dutch "fluisterboot" with a tiny electrical motor. And go through the typical Dutch landscape (6 meters below sea level, so there's water and dykes everywhere)  where in the cold winters everybody goes iceskating.  (NOTE: This place is only open after the weather warms up, around mid April and no food or boat/kayak rentals.  Bring a picnic of some sort just to be safe.  Great day trip.).

Back on your bikes; go to the village of "Durgerdam" with its beautiful old small houses looking over the "Zuiderzee" (the Southern Sea), which is now actually a huge lake, but used to be the sea. Follow the signs back to Amsterdam, where you can arrive in the city from a completely different angle, just follow the signs to Artis (the zoo) and the center and ask around and you'll  be fine.

When it's not a nice sunny spring day; beware of the wind and wear gloves etc. It takes you approx 90 minutes to get there (with stops). It's a really calm road and not more then 7 kilometres from Amsterdam to Holysloot. If you wish, you can go by car as well.....but not with the ferry though.


A trip to Amsterdam in April or May must include a day trip to the Keukenhof, a huge bulb garden that burst into color in April and continues through May.  You can even purchase bulbs to bring home for a colorful reminder of your vacation.  Keukenhof is a feast for the senses and not expensive.

Zaanse Schans

Zaanse Schans is a village on the banks of the river Zaan where you will find windmills and barns. The village is characterised by it's wooden green houses and the traditional crafts like wooden clogs. There are small museums like Bakery Museum, Albert Heijn Museumshop which replicates their first shop in the 19th century, and the Zaans Museum which tells the history of the area Zaanse. The village is accessible by bus or train from Amsterdam Central Station in half an hour (Train stop: Koog-Zaandijk, Euros 5.6 return if bought from a ticket machine). There is a 10-15 mins walk from the station. The village is open to everyone but most museums cost around 3 Euros to visit. If you have an afternoon to spend and would like to see traditional Dutch crafts, this is not a place to miss.

Here is a video blog about visiting ZS