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. (Updated: November 2022)

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 km 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. 

If you would rather join a fully guided coach tour from Amsterdam to Volendam, Edam, & Zaanse Schans, click here.

Visiting Volendam

green buildings on pier

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 a 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

Bike paths with grassy and water

The journey from Volendam to Edam by bike is 3 km 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. 

Visiting Edam

Edam is truly a hidden gem. It is equally as charming as Volendam, or perhaps more so. And, the best part – no tourists! We truly 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 its cheese today, it was once an industrious shipyard and port, making it easy to export to every corner of the world. 

canal with boats

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 with 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

canal with boats and houses

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. 

Visiting Marken

green house with red roof ands.

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.

Other Popular Day Trips from Amsterdam

If you want to add a couple more day trips to your Dutch itinerary, check out these other unmissable places that are near Amsterdam:

  • Utrecht – my guide to spending a day in this quintessential Dutch town
  • Haarlem – my guide to spending a day in this charming Dutch town

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 the Netherlands. Go and explore the countryside, where life is a little simpler and dare I say it, a little more beautiful.  

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  1. What an inspiring and helpful post! I’ve been planning on going to the Netherlands for one year now – it’s about four hours from where I’m based, hence, I’ve stumbled in this good old it’s-so-close-I-can-go-anytime trap. Apart from Amsterdam, I want to explore the surroundings, too. Actually, I’d like to go all the way to the western beaches. This guide comes so handy – now I just need to pick the right moment 😉

  2. Wow! I did not realize that Volendam is just 30 minutes away from Amsterdam. It would be nice to take a side trip to this charming place and just like you said let it just surprise us. 🙂

  3. Have only been to Amsterdam twice and both times it was just the city. How we were dying to explore the countryside last year and had planned but didn’t come through. Lovely post and information. Now I know better where all not to miss. When we do finally get back to travel.

    1. I’m so glad to hear you will consider this day trip next time you are in Amsterdam

  4. Your post reminds me of my trip to zaanse schan near Amsterdam. Such dreamy pictures. I had tried the Edam cheese and it is indeed delicious.

  5. Beautiful! All the little town are so adorable! I would definitely be interested in learning more about the history of Edam cheese and where it is from. And just in generally I would love to explore the Netherlands further from Amsterdam too. So far we haven’t been able to but it’s on my list.

    1. Hopefully you’ll get the chance! There are so many wonderful places beyond Amsterdam

  6. I have heard about Edam and its cheese but had no idea how cute the town is! I would love the see the cheese reenactment and will make a note to visit on a Wednesday. Great tip to take the express ferry to Marken, this sounds the perfect day trip.

  7. Oh my God! this post brought me back my memories when I had visited Volendam and Edam. They are such cute towns and the canals in those towns were absolutely breathtaking. I had visited them on a tour and it was a day tour as well.

    1. I’m so glad it brought back some memories for you. They are indeed such cute towns.

    1. Hopefully upon your return you’ll have to check out some of the smaller towns and villages outside of the main cities to give you that authentic Dutch experience.

  8. Wow, the Dutch countryside is so beautiful! It’s great that all these places are relatively close to one another and wouldn’t take extensive travel to reach them all. Would love to try the world famous cheese… yum!

  9. This sounds like a lovely, picturesque area to visit. I’d love to visit Amsterdam and I’ll put this area on my itinerary so I can see some lovely country side villages and scenery ❤️

  10. What an adorable countryside to explore! I like that it’s only 30 min from Amsterdam. I’ve never heard of Edam, but now I’m curious so I’ll have to look up the red cheese ball and see what it looks like 🙂

  11. Although Amsterdam is a great city, I love seeing more to the country. When I visit Edam, I will make sure it’s on a Wednesday for that cheese so thanks for the tip!! And from your pictures, I agree, it’s a little more beautiful.

  12. I wish I had the time to explore a bit more around Amsterdam when I visited it, Volendam is just 30min by bus!!! Edam and Marken too look perfect, definitely worth a visit. You are right countryside life is lot little simpler and more enjoyable.

  13. What a great guide. I haven’t been to Netherlands yet but Amsterdam was already top of my list so I’m happy to see some other options out of the city. Volendam sounds really nice and I kind of just want to go to Edam because I love cheese.

  14. Wow! These countryside are so pretty! I think Edam looks more beautiful that Volendam. I went to Volendam once in the winter. I don’t think it’s a tourists season, but I enjoyed the fresh fish there. Definitely want to go back during summertime.

      1. I’m always looking for interesting, charming places to visit in the Netherlands because being in Belgium, that’s always a easy weekend getaway for me. I’ve heard of Edam and Marken. Good to know Edam is easily reachable by public transport & bike from Amsterdam. Interesting that they still do an enactment of the cheese trade!

  15. I’m surprised Edam has so few visitors, as I would have thought it would be the more popular one because of the cheese! Great to know how quiet it is though, will definitely have to visit it next time I’m in the Netherlands!

    1. It is definitely super cute, and we weren’t there on market day. But was to,d it really comes alive on that day.

  16. I can’t believe I studied abroad in Amsterdam and didn’t make it to any of these cute towns! They look so charming. Will definitely want to discover more of the Netherlands the next time I go back.

  17. When we visited Amsterdam we only had one quick day. We would love to go back and see more of the city and head into the countryside. We would love small towns like Edam with no tourists. And such pretty scenery. But the cheese might make this a long stop for us! I can see why you wanted to head out into the countryside around Amsterdam.

    1. If you love cheese, then Edam is definitely a town you’ll want to visit. Hopefully one day you’ll be able to experience it.

  18. What a cute town and wonderful place to explore. Hopping on a bicycle is a great way to see the sights. I still haven’t visited Amsterdam, hopefully one day

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