Discover impressive modern art collections

Cobra Museum AmsterdamThe Cobra Museum in Amstelveen is a must-see for lovers of modern art, with changing exhibitions featuring the great names of the mid-20th-century CoBrA movement, such as Karel Appel, Constant, Corneille and Jan Sierhuis. Just a short journey outside of Amsterdam, you can explore an impressive programme of major exhibitions of work by individual CoBrA artists as well as contemporary art and photography.

Take in the harbour views in Muiden 

Wim Konings

Muiden is a charming town that's rich in history with plentiful opportunities for a tranquil stroll. This fortified settlement near the IJmeer dates back to the 10th century and boasts stunning riverside views, historic landmarks and a picturesque harbour. You'll find a range of convivial cafes and restaurants along the waterfront, where time seems to pass more slowly. For one of the best views, head over to Café Ome Ko. A former hangout for skippers and sailors, it's the oldest pub in the area and has been pouring beer since 1810. It is said that even Napoleon Bonaparte once visited on horseback.

Prepare for battle at Castle Muiderslot

The medieval Castle Muiderslot is undoubtely one of the highlights of the Castles & Gardens region. This impressive fortification, built in around 1285, looms over the mouth of the River Vecht in Muiden. Take a tour through the impressive knight’s hall, towers, dungeon and armory to find out more about the building's fascinating history. Keep your eye on the agenda for jousting tournaments and other family-friendly activities. 

Explore the mysterious fortress on Pampus Island

From there, follow the canal towards Muiden, until you see the ferry to Pampus Island. This mysterious island and abandoned fort make for an interesting day out for visitors of all ages. The fort was once part of the Defense Line of Amsterdam, a 135-kilometre-long system of fortifications that defended the city by means of flooding.

Tuck into a delicious lunch

Pampus PaviljoenFrom Michelin-star restaurants to cosy local pubs, the Castles & Gardens region has no shortage of gastronomic delights. When you're in need of refreshments, the wonderful Pampus Paviljoen on Pampus Island, with its excellent water views, is a great place to pause for a light lunch and snacks.

Take the ferry home

Pampus ferry amsterdamFeel the wind in your sails as you take the return ferry which runs directly from Pampus Island to Amsterdam IJburg. From there you can take the tram back to Amsterdam Central Station. Here's our guide to the best way of getting to and from the Castles & Gardens region.