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Zaanse Shans/Marken/Volandam

Mom and I are going to spend a few days in Amsterdam next week. On Tuesday, we have an unplanned day. We love open air museums and from my reading, I think we would both really enjoy Zaanse Shans. It seems easy enough to make this trip on our own from Amsterdam. However, I do see organized trips that include Zaanse Shans, Marken and Volandam. These day trips spend 60 minutes in Zaanse Shans and then move on to the next place. For anyone who has been to ZS, is this enough time to explore the village? The benefit to the organized trip is getting to see the 2 other locations. I’m torn about whether to just stick to ZS or get to see more locations, but having less time there. Would we be disappointed that we had to leave after an hour and then not enjoy the other 2 places enough to make up for it? (I know, it’s so subjective!) Any thoughts from people who have been to one, both or all 3 places would be so helpful!! :)

Posted by
1399 posts

It doesn’t go to Zaanse Shans, but the localbus.nl will take you on a loop through Edam (cheese), Markem and Volandam. It is 9€. There is no timetable per se. Your bus ticket is good for up to 8 hours, depending on which trip you take, they have 3 routes. You just show up at the bus stop at the scheduled time and go to the next town. They run very frequently. You can spend as much or as little time as you want. Between Volendam and Marken we took a lovely ferry ride, all for 9€. Check out the other 2 routes. We had a picnic on the ferry - we purchased cheese in Edam, bread and wine at a small supermarket in Volendam, and ate it on the way to Markem. If you do go, visit the cigar house and a small local musuem (operator was in local dress) in Volendam.

Posted by
122 posts

We went to ZS a few years ago and spent several hours there, including a most wonderful lunch at De Zaanse Molen, an Asian Fusion restaurant just over the bridge from the entrance to ZS. For me, an hour would only allow one to scratch the surface but that’s me as I like to wander and poke around. On another trip the The Netherlands, we spent 3 hours at Marken alone. If you like to poke around and take your time, go to ZS. That’s just my opinion and others may have different ones.

Posted by
447 posts

We took the bus to Zs last summer and you can certainly walk around the site and see most in an hour unless you wanted time to actually tour inside the windmills and/or the small museum on site. Walking around Zs is free but those are charged for. There's also several gift shops and there was a wooden shoe demo that was going on when we were there.

The bus there is fairly easy to catch though we were given two different station platforms (visitor center said one but the actual.was different) and it's a pretty boring ride - just Amsterdam suburbs.

Posted by
14 posts

We went to ZS and spent the day there. I don't think 1 hour would be sufficient if you really want to see things. We took the train, which was easy, but then there was about a 10 minute walk from the station to the site. You just follow everyone else. We toured all the windmills, the shops, took a boat ride, visited the museum and the cheese shops. There is a lot to see there. If your idea is to mainly see the other two places, then the organized tour may be what you want.

Posted by
226 posts

Mind the spelling ! Zaanse Schans and Volendam . In Volendam you got to try the smoked eel , delicious .

Posted by
506 posts

Thanks so much, everyone! I’m not sure when I’ll be back, so trying to decide if I want a little of a few things or a lot of just one!

Posted by
506 posts

Hi, All-

I just wanted to check back in and let you all know that we ended up taking a tour through Viator (Buendia Tour Company) that visited ZS, Edam, Volendam and Marken. I was concerned about not getting enough time at ZS, but it was a very cold, windy day and we ended up spending about 45 minutes there- a bit rushed, but fine. We were supposed to go inside a windmill, but sadly it was closed. Not much was open. We quickly wandered through the village, took photos, visited the chocolate shop and that was it. On the other stops, we were able to watch a demonstrations of making cheese, wooden shoes and stroopwafels. It was a busy day, but we felt like we got to see a lot.

Thanks so much to everyone who shared advice! :)