Every day, people from all over the world visit the villages of Volendam and Marken, which are situated on and in the Markermeer, the southern part of the IJsselmeer. (“meer” = lake) This area is close to Amsterdam, even in biking range, but has its own unique atmosphere. We were there too, last August… and here’s what we did 🙂
We spent a lovely, long weekend at the Marina Park, a nicely designed holiday park with many facilities, within walking distance from Volendam. The park is built in the typical Volendam architectural style and is situated on the shores of the Marker lake, offering nice accommodation in a great location. It has a closed off harbour for private boats, but there is a rental company that rents out power engine rubber boats for the public at large.
Volendam has its characteristic small, narrow houses, an old harbour overlooking the Markermeer and the well known DIJK (Dike). During the summer, tourists enjoy browsing the small shops, the many restaurants and relax with a drink or a meal on one of the pub’s terraces on the waterfront. Volendam is mainly known for its remarkable, regional costume; you can see pictures of the costume everywhere and there are a few shops where you can have your photo taken wearing one…just what you need over your mantel stove!
From the harbour, boats are seen sailing to and fro Marken. You can board a sailing boat, learn a thing or two about sailing from the pro’s and explore the lake. There is also a ferry, “the Marken Express“, which runs back and forth a couple of times a day between Volendam and Marken. We thought it was an enjoyable way of travelling back to Volendam and complete our circular tour.
Marken was a small island until the year of 1957. That is when it was connected to the main land by means of a 7-kilometre-long dike…great for biking! We rented electric bikes here in Volendam (a good idea for the less – or untrained biker…there can be pretty strong winds on those dikes:-)) for a very reasonable price, and we set out on a wonderful 25 km. long biking trip to Marken via Monnickendam and other pretty villages, onto the 7 km. long dike which connects the island Marken with the main land. We cycled over the dike to Marken, had a look around in the pittoresque harbour village, cycled to the north side of the island towards the light house, “the White Horse“, which faces the waters of the extended IJsselmeer. In the afternoon, after having visited Marken, we took the Marken Express ferry back to Volendam, which took about half an hour. It’s no problem to take your bike onto the ferry, you just pay a little extra.
There are plenty of biking routes in the area, which take you along the waterfront and into the beautiful Dutch countryside with many authentic small cobble stone villages such as Monnickendam. The various landscapes, sea, grassy planes and old villages, are all absolutely breathtaking. Here is a great app for finding and designing your own biking routes in Holland, very handy and user friendly. You can add stops wherever you like on your route and the app will give suggestions for sights and activities in the areas of the stops you desire. Brilliant!
Another fun activity is to rent an electric boat in Edam. Pub/Cafe “de Harmonie” offers boats on the channels of Edam, yes, the village of that famous Dutch cheese. Take a map with you and sail away!
After a long bike ride through Volendam, Monnickendam, Marken, do what the Dutch do after a sportive, or any other effort…time for a cup of coffee or tea, a prosecco or a nice cold beer, even better…
You could try the local smoked eel…it’s considered a delicacy!
Or maybe just play it safe with a bag of the famous Dutch chips!
Whatever you do, have fun!!!!
Here are some more pictures from our trip