Fishing Villages of Waterland – A Walk through Time Warp!

The history of Amsterdam the city of canals dates back to 12th century when it was a quaint fishing village. The city thrived to become one of the flourishing ports by the 17th century. And today Amsterdam is a bustling metropolitan enticing tourist and travelers with its maze of canals. But one can still experience the historic charm of Amsterdam just around 30 minutes bus ride away from the downtown Amsterdam. Waterland is a group of picturesque fishing villages which have a well-preserved rustic charm of the bygone era.

The information we gathered on the internet said that we could take a bus from Amsterdam central to the villages of Waterland. We visited the information kiosk in Amsterdam central and the lady handed us a comprehensive map with details of routes and connecting bus services for various Waterland destinations. They even offer a day pass for 10 Euros which is valid through the day.

We boarded the earliest bus available which headed to Marken. The cityscape soon gave way to the beautiful Dutch countryside. The vistas made of stretches of lush green meadows dotted with grazing cows and tiny canals with ducks kept our gaze fixed on the window.


Our bus halted at a dead-end surrounded by fenced verdant farms. The bus driver pointed towards a paved path to the left and asked to follow the path. Marken was once an island and is now connected to the mainland. Soon the path opened up into a large meadow cut through by tiny canals with ducks swimming in it.

Waterland Fishing Villages Netherlands

Waterland Fishing Villages Netherlands

We clicked some pictures and moved further to be bewitched by the breathtaking landscape. The green carpet of the meadow was peppered with dry leaves fallen off the trees painted in bright and vivid hues of fall. A small wooden table with bench in the midst of the enchanting tranquil aura of the landscape made for a perfect romantic setting. The playful ducks waddled around the table and jumped into the water one by one.

Waterland Fishing Villages Netherlands

A cluster of brightly colored characteristic wooden cottages stood on the other side of the canal connected by an arch wooden bridge. The area looked desolate nor could we hear any kind of sound. We sauntered through the calm and peaceful cramped alleys running between the cottages.

Waterland Fishing Villages Netherlands

Waterland Fishing Villages Netherlands

Every house had a backyard garden adorned with colorful flowers and a furry cat curled up into a ball. When we passed by the garden they would lift their head and meow at us. I had a chance to cuddle a couple of them too.

Waterland Fishing Villages Netherlands

We were even surprised to find the narrow alleys and the choc-a-block cottages opening up into a small square dominated by an imposing church in the small village of Marken.

Waterland Fishing Villages Netherlands

The old rusted bell hung at the gates, the spider web, the rickety letter box, and the unkempt garden exemplified the slow pace of life in the countryside of Amsterdam. A timewarp far from the hustle bustle of city life we wished never ended.

Waterland Fishing Villages Netherlands

Waterland Fishing Villages Netherlands

Our enthralling saunter down the winding alleys and the quaint cottages ended at the tiny port of Marken. We could now sight some human presence too. Fishermen cleaning their boats and sorting their nets. An old couple reading book and having tea on their veranda and a couple of more tourists.

Waterland Fishing Villages Netherlands

A restaurant with outdoor seatings along the port made for an awesome location to soothe our hunger pangs. A group of yachts and sailboats were moored at the harbor.

Waterland Fishing Villages Netherlands

A souvenir shop sold wooden shoes and wooden carved tulips. The wooden shoes which make for one of the best souvenirs are still worn by the farmers and fishermen in the villages of Waterland.

Waterland Fishing Villages Netherlands

There was still time for the ferry to the next village of Volendam so we sat down in the backyard of one of the houses watching some adorable sheep grazing in the fenced meadow. A beautiful swan preened as it swam past us swiftly unruffled by our presence.

Waterland Fishing Villages Netherlands

We waited near the port taking in the serenity till our trance was broken by the honking of the arriving ferry to Volendam. The journey from Marken to the village of Volendam took us around half an hour.

Waterland Fishing Villages Netherlands


Volendam is much touristy and commercialized when compared to Marken. Though the setting remained the same with brightly colored cottages. The canals and ducks swimming around were missing. The promenade along the lake was bustling with shops and cafes. There was a cheese workshop wherein one can understand the cheese processing along with some local cheese tasting. It looked much similar to the one we did in Zaanse Schans so we gave it a skip and just wandered around.

Waterland Fishing Villages Netherlands

It was the Halloween week so we could see the restaurants and shops along the streets were decorated in Halloween theme.

Waterland Fishing Villages Netherlands

There were a couple of statues of the fisherman and fisherwoman clad in traditional costume along the promenade.

Waterland Fishing Villages Netherlands

We soon came to the other end of the village which connected to the main street from where one can take a bus to Edam village or back to Amsterdam central. This impressive garden adorned the frontyard of one of the houses along the main street.

Waterland Fishing Villages Netherlands


Edam is another fishing village in Waterland and is home to one of the most famous cheeses in the world. One can also attend the popular cheese market if visiting in Summer. Also worth a visit is the Edam oldest house for an authentic dutch experience dating back to as old as 16th century.

There are several other fishing villages in and around Waterland which lure travelers with their postcard-perfect Dutch villages and charming countryside. The villages have well-connected transportation which makes for an easy day trip.

Have you been to any of these fishing villages of Netherland? Do share with us in comments.

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16 Comment

  1. Suze says: Reply

    I haven’t visited any of them but Marken in particular looks very picturesque. Did you buy a wooden shoe as a souvenir? Love your shot of the cobwebs on the grass.

  2. Brian says: Reply

    My introduction to Europe was a long weekend in Amsterdam back in 2003. I’ve been there two more times since, but have never made it outside the city. I need to spend about a week or so exploring the rest of the country. “Amsterdam” is a Van Halen song! “Amsterdam” is a David Bowie song!

  3. What gorgeous places to explore! It all looks very peaceful. I love the tulip and wooden shoe souvenirs. That’s so neat that some farmers and fishermen still wear wooden shoes 🙂

  4. That a pretty reasonable train price to be able to travel all those place. The village Marken looked peaceful and charming. I know how busy Amsterdam is so it must have been a noice break.

  5. I absolutely love that “little fishing village” look. They all seem to have the same kind of buildings and houses! I have yet to pick one to visit, but this might be the one. I think the pictures in the fog are just incredible!

  6. Shane Prather says: Reply

    Oh it looks so foggy there being so close to the water! I wish I’d had more time in Amsterdam to get off the beaten track and venture out to this town!

  7. Waterland captures the essence of the Netherlands and its spectacular natural beauty comes out in vivid detail in your pictures. Amsterdam must be a bit overcrowded and choc-a-bloc with tourists now, so places like these are the ones to seek out to have a real experience of the land. It is indeed a place so picturesque, it looks like a painting that has emerged from its canvas.

  8. Tatum says: Reply

    This place is the cutest! Ha, you look so happy to be there too. The weather doesn’t seem to be the greatest but you made the perfect day out of it! 🙂

  9. Emma says: Reply

    Wow, all that mist makes your photos look so atmospheric! I love the quaintness of the tow, all the cute houses and shops. It does look like a town from a bygone era – like in a time warp!

  10. Oh, that’s the reason I see a lot of pictures of wooden shoes as a souvenir. Never knew that they were used by fisherman. The place looks beautiful. Will try to include a day trip to Edam and Marken on our visit in June 🙂

  11. It seems like the only things you hear about the Netherlands are Amsterdam and tulips. It’s so great to hear about a new attraction! I think Volendam would have been my favorite place. The little shops look so quaint. Plus cheese 🙂 Although the little cottages in Marken were quite lovely too. It’s too bad the day wasn’t sunny and bright though. Would you go again?

  12. Fishing village are the best, I use to eat fresh fish when I visit . This one looks beautiful, even the weather was not so good I’m sure you had fun. Next time I’ll go to Amsterdam I’ll add to my list the fishing villages of waterland 🙂 thanks for sharing

  13. Waterland looks charming indeed, and it’s pretty amazing that it’s just 30 km from the hustle and bustle of the city. I have been to Amsterdam only once, and only for a day so just walked in the city. This is a must-do on my list now 🙂

  14. There is the concept of acquatic culture from where I am which is closely related to the entire concept of a fishing village. The day should have been a little more sunny so that we could get some picturesque views of the background.

    Love the image with the statue. 😀

  15. Waterland fishing villages look beautiful and away from all the crowded cities. Your pictures are beautiful esp. the one with the cat. I liked those souvenirs especially the wooden shoes and it is really new to me that these shoes are used by fisherman.

  16. I am a small town enthusiast and visiting these small villages would be a perfect excursion for me. Not sure I’d bring home a pair of wooden shoes to wear in the garden, but I do like seeing them. The Netherlands are high on my list so I pinned it for later!

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