De Rijp

Wander through the centre of De Rijp and you’ll feel like you’re in a different age. This tranquil village, founded in the 13th century, has an atmosphere of quiet history and makes a great daytrip destination. It’s hard to imagine that centuries ago it was bustling with activity as it prospered from herring fishing and the whaling industry – look carefully and the traces can still be seen today. When you’ve finished looking round De Rijp, you can move on to the neighbouring village Graft, which is just as pretty.

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Broek in Waterland

Broek in Waterland is a rural idyl within cycling distance of Amsterdam. Strange to think that for years, this little village was a major port and trading place. Over the years, the role of the village changed as it became a haven for wealthy city-dwellers to spend their summers. Their elegant wooden houses, clustered around the squares and waterways, are what gives Broek in Waterland its distinctive atmosphere.

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Naarden-Vesting is considered to be one of the best-preserved fortified cities in Europe – though ‘city’ is hardly the word you would choose today to describe this picturesque historic village. Within the star-shaped walls and moat are a host of picturesque buildings listed as national monuments, among which the Arsenal, the town hall and the St. Vitus Church are highlights. You can also enjoy the views as you stroll along the top of the fortress walls.

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The former island of Marken has been a tourist attraction for over a century, and for very good reason. The village is famed for its pretty wooden houses built on artificial mounds to protect against flooding, and for its ornate traditional dress – though today this is only worn on festive occasions. Once you’ve finished exploring, you can learn more about the village and its fishing heritage at the picturesque little Marker Museum.

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The typical architectural style of the Zaan region north of Amsterdam can be seen in many places, but perhaps the best place to admire it is the village of Zaandijk. The characteristic green wooden houses are wonderfully preserved. As you walk along the picturesque Lagedijk, between the houses you occasionally catch a glimpse of the windmills of Zaanse Schans, completing the old Dutch atmosphere.

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Muiden is most famous for its grand, medieval castle, but there’s plenty more to see here. Although it’s officially a city, in reality Muiden is as much of a village as the other destinations on this list, and rich in history spanning more than a millennium. When the weather is nice, stroll along the river Vecht and watch the boats passing through the old lock and the swing bridge.

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Please plan your visit carefully and follow the basic rules to combat the coronavirus.