One of the best parts of the Netherlands was getting out of Amsterdam (i.e. away from the chaos and weed smell), and escape to the dutch towns for a day which is probably why a day trip to Volendam and Marken is so popular. After comparing the price of joining a tour versus doing myself on the bus and ferry, a DIY itinerary worked out much cheaper (I did a comparison at the end of this post).
I did this itinerary on a Tuesday where most places were deserted. There was no one in the way when taking photos and no queues!
Prices and bus schedule times are based on my visit in October 2019.
Day trip to Volendam, Marken & Edam
Walk to Amsterdam Central Station and purchase a Region Day Ticket – it should be around 19.50 euro. If you’re not sure how to work the ticket machine there is an information centre where they can arrange the ticket for you. Then head to the bus station behind / on top of the Amsterdam Central Train Station.
Catch the 8:21am number 314 bus. Don’t get too comfortable though, because at 8:33am you’ll need to get off at the Broek in Waterland stop. You’ll probably think you’re in the wrong place – just 10 minutes outside of the centre of Amsterdam and you’re already in the fields with sheep! Walk across the road to the other bus stop and catch the 315 bus departing at 8:39am.
Then at 8:59am you’ll arrive in Marken. The reason I started this itinerary in Marken is because the main attraction (for me) was Volendam. Volendam is bigger and has more food places so I wanted to do Marken in the morning and then eat in Volendam around lunchtime.
Upon your arrival at Marken you can choose to do a 4km return walk to the Marken Lighthouse (which is what I did). It’s not a typical touristy scenic walk but I enjoyed the walk amongst the farms and the footpath is decent bitumen not just a dirt track and all of it is completely flat. You’ll constantly hear planes heading for Amsterdam’s airport and you can turn it into a game guessing what airline and what type / size of the plane it is before it descends through the clouds.
If you don’t want to do this walk you could leave Amsterdam an hour later. There are some amenities once you arrive back in Marken (you have to pay to use them).
Next, head into the town of Marken. There is a wooden shoe factory but you have to pay to enter and we’d already been to the clog workshop (which is free) at Zaanse Schans (read my post on that day trip here) so we skipped it. The houses in Marken were super cute and each one was slightly different, here are some of my favorites:
If you follow the main road after around 15 minutes you’ll end up at the harbour where it reminded me of a Charles Wysocki jigsaw puzzle.
Have a wander around the shops, buy a souvenir or have a snack, and then buy a ticket for the boat departing for Volendam at 11am. A one way boat ticket cost 8.50 euro. If you visit during off-peak season like I did, most of the stalls will be shut and you’ll need to buy your boat ticket from the tourist shop directly in front of where you board the boat. You need to buy the ticket before boarding the boat. You can buy food and drink on the boat but it’s expensive and I wouldn’t recommend it as the the good food is in Voledam!
At around 11:45am you’ll arrive in Volendam. Make sure you head outside on the boat, the cold and wind is worth it for good views of both Marken and Volendam – especially from the top of the boat. If you opt to do this day trip via an organized bus tour in a group you’ll miss this view.
Now that you’ve arrived in Volendam it’s time to try a Stroopwafel! These dutch biscuits can be eaten plain or you can choose one that has various chocolate, caramel etc. coatings.
I opted for a salted caramel one dipped in chocolate. The biscuit was quite big and a bit sickly to eat in one go. I’d eat half at once and share it with someone because you’ll want to leave room for some Poffertjes. There was a stand with tons of yummy combinations to choose from.
Wander around the tourist shops along the harbour strip, visit the cheese shop, clog workshop and go to the toilet. Being a popular tourist stop there is of course, a place doing ridiculously overpriced cheesy photo in traditional dutch clothes. I opted to just stand in the clogs in front of the shoe factory instead (for free!)
Walk around the back of the main harbour strip and you’ll reach the more modern part of town which has plenty of cute houses like this:
Take the 2:07pm, 2:18pm or 2:21pm bus from near the Volendam Museum. The bus ride to the last stop of the day (Edam) takes 15 minutes. Visiting during off peak the buses were almost empty!
Wander around Edam for 2 hours looking at the cute houses, crossing the bridges, walking around the canals and visiting the shops.
When you’re ready to head back to Amsterdam, take the 5pm or 5:25pm bus number 314 back to Amsterdam Central Station – it arrives around 6pm.
Edam bus station
DIY Day trip versus joining a group tour
Buses were on time, clean and pleasant to ride. No issues with the bus at all, felt safe and was easy to navigate – there’s a TV screen at the front of the bus announcing the current stop and also telling you the upcoming stops. Very glad we did our own itinerary rather than joining a bus load of people.
- 19.50 euro for a regional day ticket
- 8.50 euro for the ferry
- Total cost = 28 euro + food
There are a few day tours that include Zaanse Schans, Volendam and Marken for around $100 AUD (which converts to about 60 euro) Keep in mind that they pack around 50 people per bus on these day tours, they’re very popular so good luck finding a tour company that does a mini bus style tour only.
Another option is the Hop on Hop off dutch countryside bus for around $65 AUD (about 40 euro), which stops at Zaanse Schans, Volendam and Edam. This is a good option but it skips Marken which is why I decided to do a DIY itinerary and use public transport instead of joining a tour. Plus I find a lot of time can easily be wasted waiting at the bus stop for these hop on hop off tours if you don’t time to the bus or it’s running late.
I opted to do 2 day trips so it wasn’t as rushed
- Zaanse Schans and The Hague
- Marken, Volendam and Edam
Edam was like a cross between Amsterdam’s canals and Volendam’s houses so if you were really pressed for time you could skip it, but I think it was worth spending a few hours there.
If you want to copy this itinerary into your travel planner:
• Walk to the bus station behind the Amsterdam Central Train Station and get an Amsterdam Region Day Ticket $19.50 euro
• 8:21am get the 314 Bus
• Get off at 8:33am in Broek in Waterland.
• Get on the 315 bus departing at 8:39am
• 8:59am arrive in Marken
• Walk from the bus station to the Het Paard van Marken Lighthouse (4km return)
• 10:30am look around the Marken town
• 11am catch one way ferry to Voldendam $8.50 euro
• 11:45am arrive Voldendam.
• Have lunch and look around Volendam
• 2:07pm, 2:18pm or 2:21pm get the bus from near the Voldendam Museum to Edam (15 mins)
• 2:30pm arrive Edam
• Look around Edam for 2 hours
• 5pm, 5:25 or 5:25pm catch bus 314 back to Amsterdam Central Station
More Netherlands Itineraries
- 5 Day Amsterdam Itinerary (including 2 day trips)
- Day trip via train from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans and The Hague
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