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A Walk through Holland’s Towns

Amsterdam is a beautiful city. Its central area was a bit dirty, but its canals never fail to amaze many travelers, and the houses around them tell us of the Dutch capital’s Golden Age. Not to mention how cozy their traditional houseboats look…

However, I expected a lot more from Amsterdam, and especially after visiting some of the charming villages in the area. My family and I, who were staying in an apartment in Amsterdam, carefully chose which towns to visit, because although Holland may be small there is a lot to see. Would you like to know what our route was? Grab a map and position yourselves.

Edam, Volendam & Marken

Marken - post holanda

The first name probably reminds you of cheese. And you are not wrong! It is from this small town northeast of Amsterdam that this popular delicacy comes from, just like Gouda cheese comes from the Dutch town of the same name. But leaving all food aside, in Volendam, which is right next to it, you’ll enjoy taking a walk along the dike, an amazing experience for those of us not used to seeing the sea level higher than the land. Moreover, I loved the architecture of its little houses, its boats with private moorings, and the well-kept gardens right by the canals. It looked like paradise on earth for those searching for the peace of a quiet afternoon spent reading and gardening.

Marken is different. Since the town is located on an island, the bus ride to the village is rather peculiar, as it crosses over an artificial extension of land. We visited in the evening hours, which is highly advisable if you don’t want to run into the morning tourist crowds that turn the charm of this small town into the stress of a theme park. Marken is in fact a small fishing village with a well looked-after harbor, wooden houses, and a solitary lighthouse in the middle of nowhere. Pure Dutch charm.

Traveling South. Delft, an Improved Amsterdam

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Could there be anything more credible than the recommendations of a Dutch woman? We had known a woman from the Netherlands for a long time, and after telling her our travel plans, the first town she recommended visiting was Delft. So after a day touring Rotterdam, and the popular Kinderdijk windmills, we couldn’t help but stop with the train at the town we had heard wonders about. And you know what? It appealed to me even more than Amsterdam, Edam, Volendam and Marken altogether.

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Delft is clean and tidy, with many historical churches, pedestrian streets, and free of noise. It is almost like a richer and more elegant Amsterdam. It was also the hometown of the famous painter Johannes Vermeer, and home to the popular Delft Blue. The center of town, very typically Dutch, consists of a large square with bars and restaurants that give it a vibrant and cozy atmosphere. Now, if I can only make you believe me and get you to get off at the same train stop!