Looking for windmills, clogs or cheese?
We joined the new Hop on Hop off tour to the countryside of Amsterdam and saw it all!
This summer a new Hop on Hop off tour introduced itself in Amsterdam; the Hop on Hop off: Cheese, Windmills and Dutch Villages. This tour starts in Amsterdam at the A’DAM LOOKOUT and has 9 stops in the countryside.
We decided to join the bus tour and visit the stops that are the least well known. There are several excursions to the Zaanse Schans already, because this windmill village is popular all over the world! Also the fishing villages Volendam and Edam are relatively well known among international crowds. The harbor in Volendam is always worth strolling over, and every Wednesday in Edam this summer there is a really nice cheese market!
But, because we already knew these places, we decided to get off at the stops:
Broek in Waterland, the Willig Cheese farm, Purmerend and Zaandam.
Broek in Waterland: a relieve from the bustling Amsterdam
After checking in at the A’DAM LOOKOUT, we got on the bus and enjoyed the informative audiotour on the Hop on, Hop off Holland app. At Broek in Waterland everything is calm and looks a little smaller. Broek in Waterland is a small village, known for its characteristic architecture. After doing the small walking tour, provided on the app, we stopped for coffee at the pancake house and decided Broek was enormously pretty and calm, there were almost no people and the views did now disappoint. With bad weather though, this would be one stop to skip, for it is really zo small and there’s not a lot to do.
Cheese farm: Hope you’re not afraid of farm animals!
The next stop on our tour was the cheese farm. We skipped Monnickendam, even though we heard there were some really fun ‘fishing days’: events were herring and other typical Dutch fish are smoked and eaten together on the streets, with music and everything! Something to remember next time…
The cheese farm provided a free tour, where the complete cheesemaking process is explained, among the farm animals! This tour is really interactive and fun, definitely recommended to spend some time and get yourself some great Dutch cheese as well. Here you really feel like you’re in the countryside.
Purmerend: Small Amsterdam
After visiting the cheese farm, we stayed seated on the bus, passing Volendam and Edam. We chose to skip them this day, but both villages are popular for a reason, so don’t hesitate to get out at these stops as well!
Purmerend is the largest of all the Dutch villages you can visit on this tour. In fact, it is not a ‘village’, but actually a city! The old center and the market square a like the canal district of Amsterdam, but smaller. The weather changed and we tried our luck in the ‘Purmerend Museum’. We learned a lot about the region in this museum!
Zaandam: Next to the Zaanse Schans
After passing windmill village Zaanse Schans, we got out at the last stop: Zaandam. This Dutch village is the only one that has a more modern look. In the industrial period Zaandam did a lot for the region, and the harbor in Zaandam played a big part in the 19th and early 20th century as well. After peaking at the impressive Zaan hotel and strolling around a little more, we decided to eat something before heading back to Amsterdam. Continuously we checked the app, checking if a bus is coming our way.
Back at the A’DAM LOOKOUT
Why not take a look upstairs at the A’DAM LOOKOUT, while we’re here? With a ticket for the Hop on Hop off: Cheese, Windmills and Dutch Villages, there is a discount for the entrance of the A’DAM LOOKOUT, so we got upstairs and enjoyed the great view over Amsterdam.
We discovered a lot in this tour, which is a great combination of provided audiotours in the bus and in the app, and flexible travel where we could choose our own stops and timetable! Great way to discover the countryside! Still, we feel like doing the tour again to visit the stops we couldn’t do today!