I am at a loss for words. I mean, uggg, this area I’m about to write about is it’s own kind of Utopia. And yes, I’ll find the words because that’s what I do! Don’t worry 😉
Join me as I lay out a crazy epic weekend trip from Amsterdam filled with beauty, culture, light adventure, and epic views. This is the land of Laag Holland and we’ll be visiting Monnickendam, Volendam, and Marken.
Let me back up a sec. I need to tell you how awful I feel for not having properly discovered the area just north of my house…literally within cycling distance. While we did cycle up that way once, we didn’t really take the time to take it all in, learn anything about it, or do any cool adventures. We just peddled our little butts off.
The itinerary I have for you here comes from my experience through Laag Holland on a press trip. These trips are awesome, especially when it’s in my own backyard because I already have knowledge about the area (limited knowledge, but still a bit!), so it’s like building blocks. They showcase some of the cool activities you can do, places to stay, towns to visit, and so much more.
I am so freaking excited to share this with you! I am pretty sure I was smiling every single day on that trip because the area is so surprising in the best way possible.
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Taking a weekend trip from Amsterdam
Get an OV Chip Card
First thing’s first. It’s best to have an OV Chip Card. If you live here, then you’ll have one. If you are a visitor, just head to the GVB office in front of Amsterdam Centraal Station to get an anonymous chip card and load it up! You’ll want to have a minimum of 10 euro on the card at all times so, for this trip, I suggest putting at least €25 on it.
To learn more about how these costs are calculated, here’s the Connexxion website, just use Google Translate to understand it a bit better.
Local transit app
Use the 9292.nl app to plan your routes. Google maps is okay if you don’t want to download another app (Totally get that!) but 9292.nl is the official app and will alert you of any issues.
Have some cash on you. Many places will take pin and debit cards, but just in case, it’s best to have some cash on hand. Also be sure you have a debit or credit card in case you need to purchase a ticket directly from the bus.
Day 1 on your weekend trip to Monnickendam, Marken, and Volendam
Time to start this weekend into Laag Holland. Oh guys…this is going to be incredible. Are you ready?!
Head to Amsterdam Centraal Station
This is easy-peasy. Take the tram, metro, bus, bike, or your own two feet to Amsterdam Centraal Station. Head to the back of the station via the outdoor pedestrian tunnel on the west side, or walk through the station itself via the passages that do not have the ticket barriers. Go up the stairs once you reach the back side.
Take bus 316 to Volendam
Once up the stairs, check the monitor for which stop bus 316 will be parked. It’s a big red bus, not the blue and white ones you’ll also see. The right stop for you is Volendam, Volendam Centrum.
Note: You’ll tap your OV Chip Card on the reader when you get on the bus and when you get off. Be sure to hit the stop button when your stop is next.
Pick up your retro e-bike
Ready for an awesome ride? Put your hair up and get ready for a cool and easy ride. Be sure to book your e- fat bike ahead of time because they’ll be popular during nice weather.
They’ll have some suggested routes already planned for you, but I hope you at least go from Volendam, to Monnickendam to wander around a bit before cycling on the dykes all the way to Marken. It’s an adorable and picturesque town that is pretty popular with tourists. But that’s okay, it’s still super lovely with plenty of spots to get picture-perfect pictures!
Check out this sunset from Marken…
Did I hear a wow?! Thank you, thank you 🙂
While you may not be there for sunset, I thought it was worth showing you one of my favorite pictures from my visit there. When in Marken, you should keep going for a bit and head all the way to Het Paard, the lighthouse. It’s ready for its photo to be on a postcard!
Just look at this spot. It’s pretty magical, if you ask me. I love lighthouses. I think it rubbed off on my from my grandmother. We used to climb them (with permission!) when going to a beach.
Renting e-fat bikes:
Flexible renting hours from 1-4 hours starting at €16 for 1 hour, or a full day for €55.
The bikes have a range of 70 kilometers.
More info on their website
Renting a regular e-bike:
2 hours is €20 or a day rental is €25.
These bikes have a range of about 60 kilometers.
These are more suitable for shorter people.
More info on their website (Dutch only)
Have lunch in Marken
Enjoy lunch with a view at De Taanketel. You might think that because this little town is popular with tourists, that it would be hard to find a good place to eat. That’s just not the case!
De Taanketel has a menu that changes with the seasons and is a proper restaurant. They know what flavors and textures go together and what makes an excellent dish. I had the soft shell crab and it was delicious. But the nice piece of beef I got afterward just made the whole meal incredible. My mouth salivates just thinking about it!
There is a cool ferry back to Volendam from Marken if you want to see these photogenic places from a different perspective. It’s the Volendam-Marken Express ferry and only _ to take it back with a bike. It’s right near where you’ll want to drop off your e-bikes for the day.
Bus back to Monnickendam to take a canal cruise
Once you’ve returned your trusty electric steed, my recommendation is to hop a bus back to Monnickendam to explore it more in the afternoon and catch the 4:00 pm boat tour from Monnickendam down the Broek in Waterland and back. It’s a spectacular journey that is both relaxing and exciting because you’ll see some of the most adorable creatures along the way.
Taking the boat tour:
Pre-book your tickets here.
The trip ranges from 1.5 hours – 2 hours with a bathroom break in the middle.
Cruise times are 2:00 pm or 4:00 pm. Check the website above for most up-to-date info.
Price is €19.50 and includes one drink (but you can always pay for another).
Stay the night in Monnickendam
I think dinner is in order after that ride! There are so many good restaurants in Monnickendam that all you need to do is to pull up Google maps and find one. This is something you can definitely figure out on your own. I trust you 🙂
Then to stay the night, I highly suggest staying at Apartments Waterland. When I stayed the night, I was in awe at the hospitality, style, amenities, and the view! There’s a bottle of water and stroopwafels for you when you arrive. And depending on the season, you might just find some freshly picked tulips in your room.
I stayed in the larger room, but also got a sneak peak in the smaller rooms. Let’s just say there’s plenty of room to spread out a bit no matter which room you choose. And you can’t beat the prices! It’s just another reason to stay outside of Amsterdam.
They are all little apartments, so you have a small kitchen (still bigger than some I’ve seen in actual homes!), and a good sized bathroom. I would have been happy to stay there for days. Check prices here.
Day 2 – Memorable experiences in Laag Holland
Today is all about the “wow” factor. When planning your trip to the Netherlands, be sure to book this jaw-dropping, breathtaking, memory-of-a-lifetime experience.
Take a helicopter ride
What else could it be than a helicopter? This is no ordinary helicopter ride. (is there such a thing?) In the spring, we saw tulip fields from above that were bursting with color. We saw the famous Zaanse Schans from above.
Throughout the landscape were animals that looked so tiny and islands that made up the farmland. I’ve literally never seen anything like it. Even though I had knots in my stomach due to nerves, I couldn’t wife the huge smile off my face for anything. I really want you to have that same experience.
More information about the helicopter ride:
They have different landing areas so you’ll want to review that.
Click here to order tickets.
From €129 p.p. 15-30 min rides. Fits up to 4 people
Tell them what you want to see!
You may need to take a taxi, you can always ask for help at your accommodation if you do need one.
Find your way to the Scooter Experience to rent your electric scooter. They are super nice here and have a whole program set up for you. Once you arrive, you are welcomed into the back room for a tea or coffee. Then you go over the routes and decide which you want to take.
Once you think you are all set, you go outside to meet your new friend! I highly suggest renting the “chopper” style. I thought it would be harder at first, but I loved it. My biggest note here is that turning takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s nothing you can’t handle 😉
Explore on your own
Since you can rent the scooter for the whole day and use their helpful guides, this is where I will leave you. Have a ton of fun. Find the nooks and crannies that you can only find by taking a scooter or bike and enjoy what the real Dutch countryside is like.
I am so passionate about you having experiences you will always remember…that you will tell your friends and family, “you won’t believe…”. I want you to have the best time ever! So, please let us know if you do take our advice and how it turned out. We just love to hear your travel stories!
Back to Amsterdam
Once you are done with the scooter, take a quick walk to bus 316 (I’m sure the lovely staff at Scooter Experience can point you in the right direction) and take it to the Amsterdam Noord metro station. Go from bus to metro and you’re at Central Station in only two stops.
Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this epic itinerary. I know that my experience in Laag Holland was memorable and I can’t wait for you to make similarly amazing memories.
Wishing you joy and travels!