I am limited on time and have just learned about Waterland. We were planning to spend a day in Utrecht. I'm wondering if any of you have been to both places and if you have a preference. We will have spent 3 days in Amsterdam, 1 in Haarlem, 1 in the Hague - do we move forward with Utrecht or switch our last day to Waterland? Which location did you enjoy the most? Thanks!
Difficult choice, but I would go for Waterland for a different face of the Netherlands. And you can easily combine it with Monnickendam, a small historical harbour town on the former Zuiderzee, which is just some 5 minutes further on. If you're using public transport, take a bus from Amsterdam Centraal to Broek in Waterland, from where you can continue to Monnickendam. http://9292.nl/en# gives you the schedules.
I will throw this option at you. I do not know of your abilities for this, nor the time of the year you will be there, so I do not know if this is a good option for you. There is an excellent bicycle self tour that you can do on a rental from Amsterdam, through as much of the Waterland area as you would like. It's essentially flat. The route is described and mapped in either the Lonely Planet or Rough Guide book (sorry, I can't recall which). Route starts immediately after crossing the 3 minute Ferry from Central Station. We did this in summer 2010, with my 50+ y.o. wife being an out of shape cyclist at that point, had an excellent day out.
That settles it - Waterland it is. Thanks.
We also rented bikes and just rode around Waterland and it was great fun. We took the Waterland bus to Edam, the Ton bike shop is just around the corner. Rode around Edam, then to Volendam, then to Monnickendam, and back to Edam... stopping in each. Very fun!