Tip: For the Industrial Heritage and Smalltown Harbours routes, the Old Holland Tour bus ticket may come in useful. This all-in-one ticket costs €12.50 and gives you unlimited use of public transport bus routes between Amsterdam Central Station, Volendam/Edam and Zaanse Schans for an entire day

Route: Industrial Heritage 

Duration: 1/2 day or a full day 

Zaanse Schans windmills Cris Toala Olivares

  • Take bus 391 from Amsterdam Central Station to Zaanse Schans (50 mins). Here you can watch traditional craft demonstrations such as clog and cheese making or visit the windmills and historic buildings. 
  • At the entrance to Zaanse Schans you can rent a bike, which is the best way to explore the Zaan region - and you can buy a cycling route. Perhaps an even nicer way to reach the region is to take the special Zaan Boat from Pier 14 (behind Amsterdam Central Station). Accompanied children under 12 and bikes travel free. 
  • Whether you walk, cycle or drive along the River Zaan, you’ll pass historical merchants’ houses and old food factories. Of the latter, the Verkade complex is an impressive example. 
  • Further north is the town of Wormerveer. The dyke runs directly along the River Zaan and overlooks an impressive industrial river landscape, with a view of the great 19th-century factories and warehouses of Wormer (the Industrial ‘Wall’). 
  • On your return, stop off in the city of Zaandam, known for its car-free shopping area, modern Zaan Theatre and many cafés and restaurants. Don’t miss the Inntel Hotel, a modern interpretation of the traditional green Zaans houses. Complete your visit to the Zaan region with an overnight stay in this hotel or head back to Amsterdam (by bus 391 or by train, platform 4). 

Route: Amsterdam Waterland 

Duration: 1/2 day 

Beemster

  • Get a taste of the ‘real’ Holland by taking a bus (312/314/315, 20 minutes) from Amsterdam Central Station to Dorp, Broek in Waterland. Or for the more adventurous, rent a bike at Amsterdam Central Station and cycle to Broek in Waterland, a short ride from the city centre (40 minutes). 
  • Ten thematic bike routes take in the highlights of the Waterland region. 
  • Broek in Waterland resembles a traditional farming village, but in the 17th and 18th centuries it was actually the home of wealthy merchants and seafarers. 
  • Visit Theetuin Overleek, a charming teahouse serving homemade delicacies, or rent an electric ‘whisper boat’ and drift silently past the wooden houses and tranquil meadows of the Waterland Nature Reserve. 
  • For a day of relaxation, stop at Fort Resort Beemster, a wellness centre and hotel located in a UNESCO-protected fort. To get there, take bus 301 from Amsterdam Central Station to Purmerend and then bus 129 to the Halfweg stop in Middenbeemster (45 minutes). 

Route: Smalltown Harbours 

Duration: Full day  

Marken harbour

  • Take bus 316 from Amsterdam Central Station to Volendam (35 mins), a typical Dutch fishing village where the authentic character and traditional costumes are proudly preserved. Exactly 100 years ago, a huge flood destroyed many of the villages around the IJsselmeer. 
  • Journey back to 14 January 1916 at Experience Volendam, a virtual-reality presentation that immerses you in the dramatic events of that day. 
  • Take the Volendam Marken Express ferry (sails all year round) from Volendam to nearby Marken, once an island but now connected to the mainland by a dyke. 
  • In Marken, treat yourself to a Dutch meal at one of the wonderful waterfront restaurants before visiting the traditional wooden houses for which the village is famous. 
  • Bus 110 or 316 from Volendam will take you north to Edam (10 mins). A must-see is the Edam cheese market, held every Wednesday (July/August) from 10:30 to 12:30. The famous red ball shaped Edam cheeses have been travelling to the most remote corners of the world for centuries. 
  • Bus 314 (from Edam bus station) will take you back to Amsterdam in 35 minutes.