Biking through the lush green countryside in North Holland is one of my fondest travel memories. I came upon vast open spaces of farmland inhibited by cows, horses and sheep. Little canals; home to mallards and other ducks line the farmlands. The sound of the trickling water is both refreshing and therapeutic. Some of the most gorgeous Dutch houses line one side of the quaint streets of Waterland.
Waterland is a municipality in the Netherlands consisting of Broek in Waterland, Ilpendam, Katwoude, Marken, Monnickendam, Overleek, Uitdam, Watergang and Zuiderwoude. It’s the most refreshing bike trail through Holland’s lush green countryside.
The entire circuit is accessible from AMSTERDAM CITY. Fetch a map of Waterland from the local tourist office and GO!
EDAM AND ALKMAAR ETC.
Edam and Alkmaar are cheese towns that stage traditional cheese markets during the summer. I started truly appreciating Dutch cheese only after visits to Edam and Alkmaar. One can avail of special discounts on cheese! Or bag a large hamper of assorted cheese if one guesses its cumulative weight! The markets run as follows:
ALKMAAR: The first Friday of April until the first Friday of September on Fridays 10 am – 12:30 pm
EDAM: July & August, Wednesdays 10:30 am – 12:30 pm.
GOUDA: Mid-June until August, Thursdays 10 am – 12:30 pm
HOORN: 28 June – 20 September, Thursdays 12:30 pm – 1:45 pm & 9:00 pm – 10:15 pm
VOLENDAM AND MARKEN
Volendam and Marken are fishing villages near Amsterdam. Pubs and Cafes line the harbour front. Music keeps everybody entertained. It’s almost a beach-like experience. Marken has a world-famous lighthouse.
There is a cheese and clog setup near Hotel Volendam.
I came upon some fantastic well-preserved old windmills at Zaanse Schans. In fact, most of them are functional oil-mills, sawmills etc. It also has a small cheese-making setup and a wooden shoe museum. At the wooden shoe museum, I came upon a live demonstration on the traditional manufacturing of wooden shoes or clogs.
I found the oldest Albert Heijn (a Dutch supermarket chain) and beautiful houses here. I have written this detailed article about Zaanse Schans and how to get there from Amsterdam.
AALSMEER FLOWER AUCTION
This is the largest flower auction in the world. It’s an intense morning-time whirligig. I recommend it. I have written this detailed article explaining the whole drill and travel info. from Amsterdam.
There is no direct train/bus from Amsterdam to Kinderdijk. You can board the train to Utrecht Centraal from Amsterdam Centraal and then a bus from Utrecht Centraal to Kinderdijk.
The historic windmills of Kinderdijk have been declared world heritage since 1997. Strings of windmills line both sides of a promenade that led me in. One windmill is open to tourists. All of the windmills are lit up in the evenings/nights during the second week of September.
_ BE HAPPY!