While Amsterdam’s popularity is well-deserved its surrounding countryside is equally as charming. Within 30 minutes of leaving Amsterdam’s main train station, you can immerse yourself in the Dutch countryside. The quintessential landscape features fertile farmland and flower fields, lovely waterways, windmills and attractive towns and villages. That means, after you’ve seen the best of what Amsterdam has to offer, you’ll have plenty of day trip options, just like this one.
From Amsterdam to Volendam
The journey from Amsterdam to Volendam by bus is 30 minutes. Take Bus Number 316 from Amsterdam Centraal and you will arrive at Volendam Centrum. Right around the corner is the Volendams Museum and Information Centre.
The journey from Amsterdam to Volendam by bike is 25 kilometres, or about 90 minutes. Dedicated bike lanes take you alongside the highway for most of it before it diverts through scenic countryside and quaint villages, like Monnickendam and Broek. Making it ideal if you have the extra time and weather on your side.
Volendam is a picturesque fishing village on the shores of Lake Markermeer. The town’s harbour is dotted with classic sailing vessels and flanked by rows of brick houses dating back to the 17th century. It is postcard perfect! Except, it is a tourist trap. The harbourfront promenade is chockfull of souvenir shops, restaurants and tourists!
There is no denying that this town is worthy of the hundreds of visitors it receives daily, but it’s just not our kind of vibe. So, after receiving some helpful advice from a local fisherman, we found ourselves in the nearby bike rental shop and were off to Edam.
From Volendam to Edam
The journey from Volendam to Edam by bike is 3 kilometres, or about 10 minutes. That’s if you decide to take the direct route. We opted for a more scenic route, and was it ever! Follow the trail along the shores of Lake Markermeer – sea on one side and grassy countryside on the other. You will cross over drawbridges and see many windmills along the way.
Edam is truly a hidden gem. It is equally as charming as Volendam, or perhaps more so. And, the best part – there are no tourists. We had this pretty little town all to ourselves.
Edam is known for its world-famous cheese – the small, red cheese ball. Historically, local farmers would bring their cheese by boat and horse to be weighed and traded. Although, the cheese market closed down in 1920, a re-enactment of this tradition occurs every Wednesday in the main square. Although Edam is known for their cheese today, it was once an industrious shipyard and port, making it easy to export to every corner of the world.
Like a miniature Amsterdam, rows and rows of narrow brick houses line Edam’s streets and canals. The best thing to do in this small town is to wander its quaint lanes and canals. If you want to learn more about Edam and its history, check out the Edam Museum. This 400-year-old historic residence provides visitors a glimpse into what old canal houses once looked like. The house is particularly interesting for its floating cellar, designed to accommodate changes in water level without destabilizing the structure.
From Volendam to Marken
The journey from Volendam to Marken is easiest via the Volendam Marken Express, a ferry that crosses Lake Marermeer taking about 30 minutes.
The journey via a 1.6 km long embankment, allows you to cross by bus or bike. This requires you to be close to the village of Uitdam.
Marken was separated from the mainland in the 13th century by a storm. After centuries of isolation for this population, Marken was connected to the mainland in 1957, by building an embankment, and has been a peninsula ever since. This authentic village, has so much charm and character that it’s impossible not to fall in love.
As a holidaymaker…
Sometimes it’s the places we go beyond the main destination itself that surprise us the most. While Amsterdam definitely has a lot to offer, it was the day trips that added a little something extra to our holiday. A chance to get a glimpse into the everyday life of the people and culture of Netherlands. Go and explore the countryside, where life is a little simpler and dare I say it, a little more beautiful.