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Amsterdam Windmill Tours

Going to Amsterdam in September. We see online there are several companies offering tours to Zaanse Schans to see the windmills and then onto the fishing villages of Marken and Volendam.
We also realize that there are buses that go to these towns. It seems pretty easy to get there. Any suggestions whether it would be better to take a tour, or just go on our own the various villages.

Sometimes we like to stay longer than tours allow, but then, you'll often learn things from the tours that you wouldn't have on your own.

Posted by
27718 posts

Zaanse Schans is very easy to get to by train, just a block away.

Posted by
1854 posts

Check out the Waterland Bus Pass. It cost 10€ when we got it a year or so ago at Centraal Station. We had a great day. Visted Volendam, Marken and other towns. Convenient bus schedules made it easy to travel where we wanted and at our own pace. A long, long time ago we rented motorbikes to visit Z.S. from Amsterdam. We very rarely do tours as we much prefer the freedom of DYI, and the savings that result. I'm sure a guide can provide information, but we do a ton of reading and study before we travel and have always felt satisfied. The bus pass was one of our best daytrip experiences anywhere. A lot of fun, complete flexibility, and combined town, city and rural experiences...your choice. Have a safe trip.

Posted by
2023 posts

We took the train and walked a few blocks. Keep in mind that if there is no wind the windmills will not be up and running. That was the situation when we toured ZS. But is possible to see the interior of a mill and still interesting--we toured the lumber cutting mill. The village is worth a visit for sure--wooden clogs made and sold, cheese making, etc.

Posted by
47 posts

Sometimes we like to stay longer than tours allow, but then, you'll often learn things from the tours that you wouldn't have on your own.>>

I don't really agree that you will learn things from the tours that you would not on your own. If anything you will learn less due to being so rushed. On my first trip to Amsterdam in 2014 the three of us made the mistake of going on a 6-hour guided tour of Zaanse Schans, Volendam and Maarken. We were only allotted 45 minutes to experience Zaanse Schans and then it was on to the next stop. It was a group of 60-70 people. Imagine how crowded that feels when you are trying to look around in the Volendam Museum (we were only allowed 10 minutes in there)!

On our second trip this past May, we took the Connexion bus from Amsterdam Centraal station on our own and were able to spend a good five hours at Zaanse Schans. We went inside every windmill, took the boat taxi across the waterway to walk around the beautiful neighborhood near Zaandijk (an area the tour groups will never include) and then walked back across the bridge. So we were seeing the area on our own terms and not on the schedule of a tour company.

Go to for bus schedules on any particular day. We often referred to the site before leaving the hotel so we would know exactly when the next buses or trains left.

The OV Anonymous Chipkaart was what we used to access Netherlands transportation including buses, trains and GVB trams. It is valid for five years.