Visit Volendam near Amsterdam: complete guide

Volendam

Discover one of the most charming places in the Netherlands with this guide to Volendam.

If you’re spending a few days in Amsterdam, take a breath of fresh air at Volendam. A change of scenery is guaranteed, and you won’t regret it. Twenty minutes from the capital, Volendam is an old fishing village that has retained all its charm. It’s the perfect getaway to discover a piece of Dutch countryside, ancient traditions and delicious cheeses.

While you’re waiting to hop on the train at Central Station to go there, you can find some ideas for visiting Volendam in this article.

Volendam in a nutshell

Volendam

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Yasonya

Volendam is a small village built in the 14th century on the shores of Lake Markermeer, once connected to the IJsselmeer, the country’s largest lake. Traditionally, it was a fishing village specializing in eel fishing. From the 19th century onwards, the village gained in notoriety and many artists came to visit Volendam. Their paintings toured the world, attracting many curious visitors who wanted to see for themselves.

Since then, the village’s reputation has not wavered. A visit to Volendam is one of the top things to do during your stay in Amsterdam. The village is small, but not its charm. Luckily, its traditional fishermen’s houses have been preserved. The same goes for its small harbor. The village is also famous for its traditional clog costume. It’s easy to think that this is representative of Holland, when in fact it’s typical of Volendam. If you feel like it, you can take some home for the whole family in one of the many stores. Although this is no longer the village’s main economic activity, a few eel fishermen continue to fish.

If you’re a music fan, you may also be familiar with Palingsound. This is a style of Dutch pop whose name means « eel sound ». There’s a museum dedicated to it in Volendam. Surprisingly, in this museum you can also learn more about the smoking of eel, a local specialty. You can even taste it if you feel like it. To continue your gastronomic adventures, don’t miss the cheese factory and its displays of emblematic yellow cheese wheels.

You can also extend your excursion by exploring Marken, with its houses built on hillocks, or the aptly named town of Edam.

1. Volendam on foot

Volendam

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Natalia Paklina

The area worth visiting in Volendam is relatively small. So walking is the most popular way to get around. It’s also the ideal way to wend your way through the narrow streets and along the canals. This is particularly true of the Doolhof district, which is the oldest. It’s made up of small green-painted wooden houses that form a mini-labyrinth.

With the little bridges spanning the canals, it’s a picture-postcard landscape. The dike walk, dijk in Dutch, is also perfect for a stroll. It’s lined with terraces and offers a lovely view of the heart of Volendam.

2. Volendam by bike

Volendam vélo

Photo credit: Shutterstock – TasfotoNL

In the Netherlands, cycling is king! The country is relatively flat, and there are many well-developed trails. There’s no reason to miss out, so don’t wait to get on a bike and explore the countryside in and around Volendam. You can stop wherever you like and do your shopping. Numerous routes allow you to discover the best-known spots: Edam, Volendam, Monnickendam and Marken.

The latter village is located in the Waterland region, shaped by numerous canals. It is famous for its typical houses built on mounds to protect them from rising water. It can be reached by ferry from Volendam.

The final advantage of visiting Volendam by bike is that you can shop at the cheese market without worrying about transport for the rest of the day. Unless, of course, you’d like to taste them in the process…

Practical information

You can also sign up for a one-day bike tour with a guide from Amsterdam. In this case, be aware that you’ll be cycling at least 60 kilometers. So you’d better be in good shape, even if the route is flat.

A deposit of €25-30 is required at the time of rental. All safety equipment is provided, as well as a map to help you choose your route. Please note that if you wish to take the ferry, you must purchase your own tickets.

3. Volendam on an electric scooter

volendam

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Mostovyi Sergii Igorevich

Do you like two wheels but not so much pedaling all day? That’s okay, because you can visit Volendam on an electric scooter. You’ll be able to experience the thrill of the ride in a beautiful setting with a reduced impact on the environment.

The tour includes a visit to Volendam, of course, before moving on to Katwoude, famous for its cheese dairies and mills. The tour continues through the old village of Monnickendam and on to Marken.

Finally, take the ferry back from the Marken peninsula to your starting point. Hopefully, you’ll have some great photos to share.

Practical information

The tour lasts 3 hours and costs around €40. The return ferry ticket is included. A driving license is required to rent an electric scooter, and a €50 deposit is required.

Bulky bags are also prohibited.

4. Volendam in virtual reality

réalité virtuelle

Photo credit: Shutterstock – TierneyMJ

Would you like to see what the village looked like at the beginning of the 20th century? Thanks to the Historical Museum, you can visit Volendam in 1916. Equipped with a virtual reality headset, you can imagine yourself in an old fisherman’s house and then in the old alleys.

You follow the protagonist through the village to discover how its inhabitants lived and worked, before embarking on a traditional boat. It’s also an opportunity to learn more about the famous costume, ubiquitous in every store.

Practical information

The experience lasts 25 minutes and costs €8.75 per person. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in high season and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in low season.

Of course, the experience is also accessible to people with reduced mobility.

5. Volendam by boat

Volendam Bateau

Photo credit: Shutterstock – VDWimages

The Marken Express ferry has been plying the Marken peninsula for over 80 years. In other words, it’s a veritable institution, and the perfect way to visit Volendam and admire its coastline. On board, audio guides provide information on the old Zuiderzee quarter, traditional fishermen’s houses and local traditions.

The crossing to Marken offers some of the finest panoramic views of the coast and an easy way to discover this famous region.

Practical information

Departures are every 30 to 45 minutes and tickets cost €8.25. You can bring your own bike for a small additional charge.

Timetables for the first and last ferries may vary; you can check them on the Marken Express website.

6. Volendam by canoe

Amsterdam canoe

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Goldilock Project

Tourist guides often speak of the charm of the old village of Volendam, but little of the surrounding countryside. But it’s well worth a visit! In fact, the region is known as Waterland for its meadows bathed in canals and marshes.

It’s the perfect playground for a canoe trip to discover the lush green landscape and the canals with their mounded houses. You can rent canoes on site or take a trip from Amsterdam.

Practical information

From Amsterdam, allow 5 hours for a guided excursion along the Waterland. A bus will take you to the starting point, and the same for the return trip. Life jackets and a picnic lunch are included in the price. Prices are around €65.

This activity is only available in spring and summer, and even in fine weather, you’ll need suitable clothing.

For single rentals, go to Edam and charge €10 per hour for 2 people.

Now you know everything, don’t forget to send us a photo in traditional costume as a souvenir of your escapade!