Explore the remarkable star-shaped fortifications of Naarden
Naarden is one of the best-preserved fortified towns in Europe, famous for its ‘star fort’ grid which resembles a giant snowflake from the air. The history of Naarden is explained at the fascinating Dutch Fortress Museum, which features canons, weapons, uniforms and an audiovisual presentation. Learn all about how the soldiers protected Amsterdam and its surroundings from enemies and explore the dark corners of the fortress, where the soldiers once fought, lived and slept.
Marvel at Naarden’s historic church
Naarden has plenty of cafés, shops and attractions to explore including the Grote Kerk which is one of the Netherlands’ oldest churches. Step inside to admire the impressive architectural details of the church, including the famous barrel-vaulted ceiling above your head.
Stroll through the historic centre of Weesp
Take time to explore the charming town of Weesp, which with its many canals and waterside terraces looks like a miniature version of Amsterdam. While in the city you can admire more than 200 historic monuments, including two forts, three historical windmills and several buildings that date back to the 17th and 18th centuries including the town hall which houses the lovely Museum Weesp.
Take in the harbour views of Muiden
Along with the unmissable medieval Castle Muiderslot, the fortified town of Muiden is known for its picturesque harbour with historical flatboats and lovely terraces. Time seems to pass more slowly on the banks near the lock. For some of the best views, pop over to Café Ome Ko for a coffee break. A former hangout for skippers and sailors, it's the oldest pub in the city and has been pouring beer to patrons since 1810.
Enjoy lunch with views over Fort Uitermeer
Don’t forget to stop by Fort Uitermeer, situated between Amsterdam and Gooi. Next to the fort you’ll find a lovely restaurant, Uit & Meer – the perfect stop for a refreshing drink or tasty meal. With lunch and dinner classics like burgers, salads and pastas, it’s a great place to refuel before your next stop.
See how a wealthy family lived at Kasteel Museum Sypesteyn
Henri van Sypesteyn (1857-1937) built this magnificent Castle-Museum to preserve his family’s 500-year lineage. Located in the middle of the Vecht region, Kasteel Museum Sypesteyn houses a fascinating art collection and exhibition on the family, while the beautiful garden is perfect for a walk.
Check out the Singer Laren Sculpture Garden
Situated in a former villa built in 1911, the Singer Laren Museum houses an impressive art collection of modernist gems. Outside, the sculpture garden offers a tranquil escape. Dotted through the grounds - designed by renowned landscape architect Piet Oudolf — you’ll find pieces by contemporary Dutch artists including Guido Geelen, Maria Roosen and Famke van Wijk.
Dive into the region’s culinary scene
The Castles & Gardens boasts a range of restaurant options, perfect for a hearty meal after a day of sightseeing. With its soft couches and wooden tables, the cosy De Eendracht in Weesp oozes a living room atmosphere. Meanwhile A-Fusion in Naarden offers mouthwatering small dishes like sticky Korean chicken, Japanese lamp chops and miso butter oysters. Lastly Aan de Poel in Amstelveen raises the culinary game with two Michelin-starred dining and an extensive wine list.