After arriving in Amsterdam for the 3rd time in the past few years and my partner arriving for the first time, I wanted to show him that there is more to the Netherlands than Amsterdam and it’s reputation for wild nights. We booked a half day tour through Viator (full day was unavailable) where we explored the countryside of Netherlands. We went to Volendam, Edam and Zaanse Schans (The windmills).
I’d previously been on a similar tour to this where it focused on cheese, clog making and the windmills, but I wanted something a little different this time and to really see the Netherlands. Admittedly we were the youngest on the bus and you know what? that is completely fine by me!
A small fishing town that boasts famous singers and footballers (between 1940 – 1990s, maybe out of our timelines but something they are proud of!) with rumours that you cannot leave if you are born here, it is a beautiful fishing town worth a visit less than 30 minutes drive from Amsterdam. This is the place where the traditional dutch costumes were born, with some ladies still wearing them.
If you don’t drive then you don’t need to get on a tour bus to get here, there is a local bus from Amsterdam Central station that will take you straight here (110 or 316) and it will take you less than an hour. These buses run frequently through out the day so if you’re looking for something a little different and some dutch countryside (plus a lake, it’s not a sea! although it looks it!) then I definitely recommend you check out Volendam, it must be ticking all the right boxes if Picasso came here for a retreat.
Unfortunately we didn’t get long to really explore this town, 10 minutes to be exact. You’ll find this a reoccurring theme through out the villages that we visited. That is where our tour really let us down, or maybe I’m too much of an explorer and greedy? who knows. Overall the summary of the tour was that we wished we had more time. It was very informative though, so if this is your thing then I definitely recommend it.
Stopping by in to Edam (yes, the cheese is named after this place!) we found out that not many tour buses pull up here and the town its self is very quiet. On the day we went we passed around 5 people (+one doggo) who were not part of the tour. We were told by our guide that this is considered busy (if that gives you a little indicator) and less than 8000 people live there. and to me that can only be a really good thing.
Edam is all local businesses and very few and far between at that. We passed one shop (which had everything you could need) and one florist.
Sticking close enough for our tour (as to not to be too rude) we honestly tuned out on the intense historic chat and focused on our surroundings. We knew we would not get time to have a proper look around so we did what we could. We didn’t have any free time here so it is a good job we did.
I truly found Edam soso beautiful, especially as Autumn is coming in. There are some tour groups here but I’d say maximum of 3 at a time, so if you are exploring on your own then you would not have to wait very long for the photo you want or to experience real Edam. Do explore there on your own if you can. It is a 30 minute walk from Volendam or a 10 minute car journey.
and finally, Zaanse Schans
or the Windmills, whatever you want to call it! I’d been here before but the weather was so bad I couldn’t enjoy it. We got lucky and had sunshine through out the day so I am so happy to say I finally saw all of them (no fog or rain) and I enjoyed it. We opted to skip out on the museum chat and explore so we had a total of 1 hour and 15 minutes. 45 minutes more than those who went to the chat. We felt really guilty for missing out but I was poorly and coughing, so it was probably nice for the group to enjoy the tour without someone hacking away.
I don’t think you really need too long here to explore. There is several shops to have a look through which sell cheeses and pickles which we would have bought but we did not take enough luggage with space! Tip: If you want to take cheese back and only have hand luggage, the pickle needs to be 100ml or less and the cheese in wax (there are gift packet options there, hence the pickle ml!) We were informed we might have problems getting it home otherwise but you could chance it. I’m just not that obsessed with cheese that I’d risk it! haha!
That’s all for the tour! We went straight back to Amsterdam at around 2pm. I would truly recommend the tour and I did enjoy it, just again, not enough time. I hope you enjoyed the photos! I would go back to Amsterdam for a weekend again just for the tulip fields too but that is just me..
Ps. I don’t know whos jumper it is I am wearing, it was given to me by the coach driver from lost property cause he said the towns are quite open (especially the windmills) and I might “catch my death.” good news folks, I didn’t! (obviously!)