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North Holland

Outdoor activities

Our most recommended North Holland Outdoor Activities

Amsterdam: Guided Bike Tour of Central Amsterdam

1. Amsterdam: Guided Bike Tour of Central Amsterdam

Discover the sights of central Amsterdam 2ith an expert guide riding by your side. You’ll learn about the city’s culture, see important historical sites, and famous hotspots as well as lesser-known local favorites.  Start your journey near the central station, pass the impressive A’DAM Tower, and ride over to the Western Islands, which are filled with charming drawbridges, old warehouses, and chic artists studios.  Continue along the Brouwersgracht Canal and visit the trendy Jordaan and 9 Street districts flanked by indie boutiques, cozy cafes, and hip eateries. As you ride deeper into the city center, you will enter the Grachtengordel neighborhood and zoom past the Westerkerk (Western Church) and the historic Anne Frank House.  Feel the buzz of music and street performers around Leidseplein Square, a busy theater district with a buzzing nightlife.  After so much excitement, enjoy a pleasant break in the Vondelpark, the largest park in Amsterdam and the most famous park in the Netherlands. Feeling recharged, circle the Museum Quarter and ride through the narrow streets of the Bohemian-influenced De Pijp neighborhood.  Cross the iconic Magere Brug (skinny bridge), a wooden drawbridge over the River Amstel, and arrive at the famed Artis Zoo leading into the Maritime Quarter.  Admire the impressive replica of a 17th-century Dutch East Indian Company ship at the Salt Harbour, before returning to back where your bike journey began.

Amsterdam: Zaanse Schans, Edam, Volendam & Marken Bus Tour

2. Amsterdam: Zaanse Schans, Edam, Volendam & Marken Bus Tour

Visit Zaanse Schans, Edam, Volendam, and Marken on a guided bus tour from Amsterdam. Admire the famous windmills of Zaanse Schans, attend a clog-making demonstration, and sample Edam and Gouda cheese. Depart Amsterdam by luxury bus on this exciting tour and head north of the city to see the historic windmills of Zaanse Schans on the banks of the river Zaan. Explore the traditional 17th-century houses and a collection of beautifully preserved windmills from the nation’s industrial heritage. Continue on to visit Edam, a beautiful town known worldwide for its cheese. Enjoy a cheese tasting and an exciting clog demonstration. Before the end of the day, go to Volendam and Marken, passing many authentic polders, the name given to land reclaimed from the sea. Wander down narrow streets, past colorful houses and visit the harbors full of fishing boats. You will have some free time to shop for souvenirs and sample the local fish specialties. Back in Amsterdam, you will be dropped off at the meeting point.

Amsterdam: Zaanse Schans with Cheese Tasting & Clog Factory

3. Amsterdam: Zaanse Schans with Cheese Tasting & Clog Factory

Join a guided tour from Amsterdam to visit the windmill village of Zaanse Schans which is an open-air museum housing working windmills, wooden houses, barns, and shops dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Enjoy live commentary from your guide, a clog workshop and a cheese-making demonstration. Meet your guide and driver at a central meeting point just across from Central Station in Amsterdam. Settle in for a comfortable, air-conditioned ride on a single deck bus that will take you to your destination in just 20 minutes. Upon arrival in the village, follow your guide for an orientation tour of the village. Visit the clog museum for a live wooden shoemaking workshop. Then, taste some Dutch farmer cheese on the cheese farm. Get a sense of Zaanse Schans' prosperity from the 18th and 19th centuries in the windmill village. Alongside windmills and barns, see houses that were originally built as homes for rich windmill owners and merchants. Admire their colorful facades painted in traditional hues of green, beige, and light blue. Finally, it is time to further explore the village on your own. Before you set off, take insider tips from your guide and learn about the region's local history and culture. At the end of the tour, hop back on the bus for your return journey to Amsterdam.

From Amsterdam: Giethoorn & Zaanse Schans Day Tour with Boat

4. From Amsterdam: Giethoorn & Zaanse Schans Day Tour with Boat

Your experience begins as your guide meets you near Amsterdam's Central Station, from where you travel to the typical Dutch windmill village of Zaanse Schans. Zaanse Schans is an open-air museum complete with a cheese farm, clog factory, diamond museum, bakery museum, and Kuiperij, where barrels were made to transport goods, green timber houses, traditional crafts, and windmills. Next, head to the unique Dutch village of Giethoorn, heading further north out of Amsterdam. As you travel, listen to learn about the history and significant elements in the Giethoorn region. The journey will take roughly 2 hours, with a break included to ensure a pleasant journey. Giethoorn is beautiful in all seasons and contains a simple beauty that hardly seems real. Discover this as you glide gently through its small canals, passing old but pretty thatched-roof farmhouses. Your captain will serve as a guide throughout this 1-hour boat trip around town. Get to know everything about Giethoorn, with extra time after your boat trip to walk or bike along a narrow footpath, or to learn how to operate the ''whisper boat'', an electric-motor boat. In the evening, arrive back in Amsterdam's center with the rest of your night to look forward to.

Amsterdam: Culture & History Walking Tour in German

5. Amsterdam: Culture & History Walking Tour in German

Visit famous sites of Amsterdam downtown and get an overview of the city on this walking tour dedicated to culture and history. Profit from tips every adventurous traveler needs to know and make the best of your trip. Find out which food you should taste and which districts can be discovered independently by bike. Listen to your guide telling you which architectural designs were popular in the past and get an idea of the people of Amsterdam. Hear stories about how merchants, salesmen, and the poor used to live in the Middle Ages, why the world of art blossomed in the Golden Era, how World War II has changed the people of the city and what it feels like to live in the tolerant, multicultural city today. Start your tour in the heart of the city at Dam Square, where Amsterdam was founded. The tour leads you past the Royal Palace of Amsterdam, the New Church Nieuwe Kerk, and past the former main post office, to Torensluis Bridge. See one of the tiniest houses of the city and learn more about the colonial times at the statue of Multatuli on Torensluis Bridge.  Stroll past romantic canal-side houses and cross Spui Square to get to the pearl of Amsterdam – Begijnhof. With its entrance hidden in a narrow side street, this very special hofje is waiting for you to be discovered. On the way back to Dam Square you will see the river that the city owes its name to: the Amstel. The city tour ends at the national monument that was originally built to remember the victims of World War II but is now a memorial to all victims who lost their lives in any war worldwide.

Volendam: E-Scooter Rental

6. Volendam: E-Scooter Rental

After picking up your fantastic E-scooter, you will depart from the harbor to discover picturesque Dutch villages. See magnificent meadows, working windmills and countless cows as you ride through the famous Dutch dikes.  When you pick up your E-scooter, you will receive plenty of advice on different routes, so your journey is entirely up to you! Within an hour, you can take a trip to Edam, a nearly 800 year old town famous for its peaceful narrow alleys and small canals. Get a true taste of the Netherlands and sample some delicious cheeses in Edam's markets.  Discover the town of Monnickendam, also within an hour-long ride of Volendam. Admire the town's stunning houses made of light bronze brick, or take a trip to the old harbor with its charming terraces and pretty boats. If you're looking for some refreshment, head down to the beer brewery to learn more about the brewing process and savor some homemade sausages as you sit on the waterfront.  If you want a longer excursion, travel from Monnickendam through beautiful countryside to the former island of Marken, now a spectacular town with its bridges over the small canals. From here it is possible to take a boat back to Volandam, just hop on board with your E-scooter!

Amsterdam: Giethoorn, Volendam, and Zaanse Schans Tour

7. Amsterdam: Giethoorn, Volendam, and Zaanse Schans Tour

You will begin with to a trip to the enchanting village of Giethoorn in the north of the Netherlands for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Known as the “Venice of North”, the village is notable for its many canals and complete lack of roads. You will explore this fairy tale village, where less than 3,000 people live, throughout a 1-hour guided boat tour. Explore the preserved village on foot, and see how each farmhouse is built on a small man-made island. Wander the narrow footpaths to discover hundreds of bridges, and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the village. Your trip will continue to the village of Volendam, where you can admire brightly painted wooden houses and see locals wearing their colorful regional attire. Your guide will take you on a short walk through the Volendam harbor, which has been one of the most popular tourist attractions in the village since 1875. This is a great place to pick up souvenirs and gifts for those at home or for yourself, and to have photos taken in traditional Dutch costume in one of many photo studios of the village. Your last destination is to explore the most picturesque traditional 17th-century Zaanse Schans village which contains houses and a collection of beautifully preserved windmills from the nation’s industrial heritage. In Zaanse Schans village you can stroll past the charming greenhouses and visit a factory where the clogs popular in this part of the country are made. There’s also nothing more Dutch than cheese, and whilst there you can try some at the Catharina Hoeve Farm where you will also learn about its production.

Marken, Volendam, and Edam Full-Day Tour from Amsterdam

8. Marken, Volendam, and Edam Full-Day Tour from Amsterdam

Enjoy a scenic full-day coach tour of North Holland, and discover a charming landscape of windmills, canals, picturesque villages, and locals in traditional costume. Choose the all-in option to add a few extras to your tour, including a clog-making demonstration and a boat trip. Depart from Amsterdam station for the small fishing town of Marken, renowned for its preservation of traditional Dutch culture. Take a walking tour through streets full of colorful houses. If you've chosen the all-in option, stop at a shoemaker’s studio to watch how wooden clogs are made. Next, head to Volendam by coach if you've chosen the standard option or board the Marken Express if you've chosen the all-in option for a boat trip across the beautiful IJssel Lake. On arrival in Volendam, enjoy free time to explore the shops or try on a traditional costume for a souvenir photo.  Then, enjoy a tasting at a traditional Holland cheese factory and learn how cheese is made before continuing into the heart of North Holland to Edam. Discover the history of the former shipyard and see Grote Kerk, the largest church in the Netherlands, as you stroll the cobbled streets. Next, take in the last stop on your tour, the open-air museum of Zaanse Schans. Admire its magnificent collection of historic windmills. If you opt for the all-in ticket, you can go inside one of the operating windmills to learn more about this Dutch icon of industrial architecture. Finally, marvel at the picturesque homes, wooden barns, and scenic meadows of North Holland as you travel back to Amsterdam by coach.

Zaanse Schans: Authentic Dutch Windmill Entrance Ticket

9. Zaanse Schans: Authentic Dutch Windmill Entrance Ticket

Enjoy an afternoon learning about the inner workings of windmills in the village of Zaanse Schans. To begin, find out how the mill saws a tree into a plank and then learn more about the history of the famous Dutch windmills at an exhibition in the basement of the mill. Next, come inside the world's last-remaining, still-working paint windmill, which is dated back to 1782. If there is enough wind, you can even experience the grinding process and watch how the mill grinds chalk under the large grind stones. In the back of the mill is where the loggers stands, and it is where tropical wood is chopped. Be sure to check out the impressive working wooden interior of this "old" industrial factory.

Amsterdam: Countryside Bike Tour and Zaanse Schans Windmills

10. Amsterdam: Countryside Bike Tour and Zaanse Schans Windmills

Learn about Dutch culture and history as you discover the area of Zaanse Schans on a half-day bicycle tour from Amsterdam. Meet your guide at Amsterdam Central Station and travel to Zaandam by train to start the bicycle tour. Cycle past industrial windmills and admire the beautiful landscape. Stop at a sawmill to learn how it operates, and visit a paper mill to see how paper was made in the 17th century. Pedal through the stunning wetlands, painted by Monet at the end of the 19th century. Pass the neighborhood of Domineestuin, filled with authentic wooden houses, before arriving in Zaanse Schans. Park your bicycle and enjoy a demonstration of how clogs are made. Take the opportunity to taste delicious Gouda cheese, a local specialty. After a fantastic half-day experience, return by bike to Zaandam and board the train back to Amsterdam Central Station, where your tour will end.

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Frequently asked questions about North Holland Outdoor Activities

What are other things to do than Outdoor Activities that are worth visiting in North Holland?

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Other Sightseeing Options in North Holland

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What people are saying about North Holland

What a great activity. The guide was awesome and explained everything very well. I took this tour with my daughter and It was a great experience. I strongly recommend to do this bike tour!! Thank you

It was a very unique and intriguing half day tour. I loved learning about the history of the windmills, how clogs were made and are now made, as well as trying cheese.

Excellent way to start learning about Amsterdam sights / history etc. Guide was also quite good and caring. (Bring a rain jacket to enjoy this Dutch experience)

Todo el viaje fue dirigido por la Guia Silvia que tiene un gran carisma una gran persona, gracias por eso y el bus muy confortable

Great tour experience for experiences outside of Amsterdam central visiting the 3 locations.