This unassuming coastal Dutch village boasts more to see and do than you might notice at first glance. You go to Stavoren to relax and recharge. It’s a charming place that reminds me of versions of other villages in the Netherlands, but nothing quite like them at the same time. It slightly reminds me of Giethoorn in some ways (but with roads and a few canals). It also reminds me of what I think Haarlem would be like if it were smaller…and on the sea.
Really, though, it’s a place with a vibe all its own! It’s definitely a fishing village (so early-risers are treated to fishing boats coming in and off-loading their catch!) and a bit of a farming village if the roaming sheep on the walking paths are any indication. The locals are friendly so be sure to say “hallo!” when you get a chance!
Seriously, I couldn’t stop smiling when walking around the brick and stone streets. This town is over a 1000 years old and yet has some stunning modern touches. Sometimes it’s fun to go in without fully knowing what to expect and be completely blown away.
Stavoren sits right on the IJsselmeer, was founded before Christ, and received its city rights in the 11th century. It doesn’t feel that old, but you can feel that there is a significant past.
While there isn’t too much to do, there’s enough to not feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do.
(article continues below this video on a unique place to stay in Stavoren, NL)
Things to do in Stavoren
Vrouwtje van Stavoren
The statue is smaller than I expected! But it is a center point that everyone who visits must see. There are plaques around it in multiple languages so you’ll understand the story of the woman of Stavoren.
Fish fountain of Stavoren
This extremely large fish fountain was created by American artist Mark Dion as a project for artists to create 11 fountains in 11 cities in the province of Friesland. If you’re looking for the tourism office, it’s right behind it.
This structure is a sight to see in a small traditional seaside town. It’s made of steel, concert and glass and sits on top of an old fortification from the 1500’s. It’s spectacular but also looks a bit out of place.
There are a few small colorful lighthouses to see and take photos with. These aren’t the kind that you climb up for a view, but they are a treasured symbol of the sea and I’m a sucker for them.
This village wouldn’t exist without a harbor, and this harbor is very old. I loved looking at the brickwork, seeing foot patterns on the stone steps, and picturing a dozen or so ships docked for the evening.
There are some modern and stunning colorful rowhouses/townhouses/whatever you call them, that contrast beautifully with the old harbor they sit on. No matter which way you look at them, they are striking against the traditional buildings and fishing boats.
There are so many variations of water in this village. From the harbor, to canals, and beaches, this place is for water-lovers! The canals are lined with picturesque homes and shops just waiting to be adored.
Walk along the footpath that is enclosed by gates and take a seat on one of the benches for an unforgettable sunset. You might be joined by some friendly sheep.
Hit the beach
There’s a tiny beach near the green light house, but walk along the coast and you’ll get to a much larger beach perfect for swimming and suntanning.
Toankamer ‘t Ponthús
This museum tells the story of Stavoren through a timeline from the very beginning. Discover local history through treasures that have been saved or restored. Really, no visit to Stavoren is complete without a visit here.
Go sailing on incredible sailboats. The IJsselmeer is your oyster and your captain will take you on an exciting day out on the water. Wanna visit a nearby town by water? Do it! Experience a different side of the Netherlands and get your feet wet.
Where to eat in Stavoren
Eetcafé & Pizzeria It Alde Hearehûs
Head here for pizzas and burgers, but just don’t be in a hurry.
Schots Restaurant Stadsboerderij De Koebrug
Nice place and cozy plus good food and drinks.
Where to stay in Stavoren
We stayed in old wine barrels with our own personal spa, so OBVIOUSLY I’m going to recommend that because it was awesome. It was the Hotel De Vrouwe van Stavoren and it was simply charming and right in the center of town.
Otherwise there are many great home options for 4 or more people that have all the amenities you could want. There are a couple homes within a 2 minute walk of the beach, some with the best views ever, and some with their own canal and incredible outside space. This town is very small and walkable, so you can get anywhere from the train station quickly and easily. Find the right place for you on Booking.com
How to get to Stavoren from Amsterdam by train
You’ll want to use your OV chipkaart for this if you have one, check 9292.nl for more information on cost. If you have a discount subscription like we do, that really helps! If you have an anonymous card, make sure you have more than enough to travel the entire distance. Otherwise, buy a ticket at an NS machine for the entire journey
From Amsterdam Central:
Take the NS train to Almere and transfer
Take the train towards Groningen and get off at the Zwolle stop
Transfer to the Leeuwarden NS train, the stop is the last stop of the line
At this stop you’ll switch to the BlauwNet train so you’ll check out at the NS post and check in on the BlauwNet
Take the train here to the end of the line at Stavoren
The ferry from Enkhuizen to Stavoren
If you’re in Amsterdam and you want to take a boat to Stavoren, you can do that, too! You’ll have to start with an hour train ride from Amsterdam Sloterdijk station to the Enkhuizen station, but it’s just one train and no transfers. I feel like that’s much less confusing than the train…and it’s faster! Granted there are fewer departures, but just check the website and be sure to purchase your ticket ahead of time. This ferry has been in service since 1886, so I feel like it’s the way to go seeing how it’s part of history!
In case you haven’t seen our video in Stavoren, check it out!
If you have other incredible Dutch towns you’d like us to check out, reach out on Instagram and let us know!
Wishing you joy and travels.