Edam – Volendam is one continuous place in North Holland. Though different, nothing separates one from the other. Thus, you can walk from one to the other and never notice. The point is that you have to visit both Edam and Volendam. To our surprise, a lot of tourists just go to one place, missing the other beauty.
Volendam is the first one, closer to Amsterdam. The lovely town is on the coastline. Gorgeous buildings line the promenade. However, the canals and parks off the coast are nice too. Edam is a picture-perfect peace of Dutch heaven. The city is also on the coast. To the north, splendid green fields. We simply love the quaint little village!
- 1 Edam, Home of the Famous Cheese
- 2 Volendam, a Charming Fishing Village
- 3 How to Visit Edam and Volendam
Edam, Home of the Famous Cheese
The town is known around the world for its cheese. We guess that the high quality is due to the healthy cows grazing next to Edam. The area was created 800 years ago, when a dam was built to protect the lake from the sea. This provided for great pastures. Combine it with Dutch passion for perfection and you get incredible products.
Edam looks and feels like the old Netherlands. Every single street is beautiful. Canals border the city and cross the center too. Though it looks like a movie set, the whole place is authentic. People live and farm here! Besides, there is far more than cheese. Lovely parks, historic architecture, impressive views, a fort, and restaurants complete the feast.
Edam Old Town
The place is an architect’s dream. There isn’t a single house that isn’t pretty. Most are from the 17th century onwards. Besides, most houses have manicured gardens, and lovely trees line the canals. The town feels rural and peaceful. Today, the Dutch government protects Edam due to its importance for tourism and culture.
As mentioned, the Old Town is small. Therefore, be sure to walk along every canal and street. Most of the area is pedestrian. Remember that people live here, so be respectful. The heart of the Old Town is the little square where the city hall is, Damplein. To us, the best place to stop for coffee. Check the dams and bridges too.
A lot of people visit Edam for its cheese market. The town got the right to sell cheese in 1520. From then on, they conquered the world. Until 1922, when the market closed. Factories had taken over the business. Today, the market is a reenactment of those times. The cheese is indeed artisanal, and you can buy it.
In total, there are 8 markets during July and August. No entrance fee. It begins at 10:30 AM and ends at 12:30 AM. There’s one night market in August from 8:30 PM to 10:30 PM. The place shines in all of its glory at night! It’s a fun thing to watch, but not a must. Edam is a great place to visit all year round, any day!
What to See in Edam
The center is in-between two canals. To the south is Volendam, while to the north green pastures. It begins in Baanbrug Bridge. One block, and you are on the dam, just before the main plaza. The tourist information center is in the Town Hall. Built in 1737, it towers above Edam.
The oldest building in Edam is the Edam Museum. It’s a brick house from 1530 converted into the current museum in 1895. Two blocks from there is Carillon Tower. Though the church was demolished in 1882, the bell tower from the 16th century survives. In fact, the bells play a lovely melody. Walk to admire St. Nicolas Church (Grote), a massive gothic church from the 16th century.
Where to Stay in Edam
Our favorite hotel is l’Auberge Damhotel in front of the Town Hall. The superb historic structure offers the best views in town. You will recognize it from its tall spear. The rooms are comfortable and the service is impeccable. The restaurant bar has chairs on the plaza. Grab your favorite drink and enjoy.
Edam has few hotels. While many tourists come during the day, at night you’ll have it all to yourself. De Fortuna Hotel & Restaurant is a lovely traditional house on a canal. Beautiful plants bloom in the patio overlooking the water. The junior suite has its own patio. It’s a small hotel, so book in advance.
Volendam, a Charming Fishing Village
Volendam is a little fishing village in North Holland. Originally, Edam used it as a port. Everything changed in 1357 when they built their own canal and port. Volendam like much of coastal Netherlands, turned into reclamation land. Hence the name, new dam. New fishermen settled and built the lovely town we can see today.
During the last century, its fame extended beyond the Netherlands. Artists flock to the port for inspiration and calm. The likes of Picasso and Renoir spent time in Volendam. Today, it’s a popular tourist destination. However, it doesn’t feel like an amusement park. People live here. Besides, it attracts visitors from the rest of the country.
Volendam Old Town
Though a bit bigger than Edam, Volendam is small. The Old Town is around the main square Europaplein. Volendam Tourism Office is a block from there, by the museum. The commercial part of the Old Town is closer to the coastline. The historic core is around Sint Vicentiuskerk Church.
Volendam is the Netherlands’ most popular fishing port. Thus, locals flock to walk along the coastal promenade. Splendid wooden and brick buildings line the pedestrian street. To your right, the endless lake that reaches the sea. Be sure to explore the rest of the Old Town. We love the beautiful streets, bridges, tiny plazas, and parks.
Granted, it is not Greece, but Volendam does have beaches. We are talking about narrow slivers of sand. The closest is next to the main street, behind the houses. When you reach the end of the promenade, turn left. Volendam Beach Club is there. The views from the bar are the best. Grab a coffee and enjoy.
The other beaches are to the south of Volendam. Therefore, more isolated and quiet. Walk to the end of the promenade, along the row of houses until you reach a beautiful park. Then keep walking around the marina until you see a green area. You have two beaches to choose from. There’s a cool cafeteria with great coffee, cakes, and views.
What to See in Volendam
Volendam’s top attraction is the promenade. Every building on it is beautiful. We love the House on stilts. However, the little fishing port has more to offer. The historic area around the port is called The Maze. The Volendam Museum showcases the town’s history. Get the ticket that includes an apple pie at the pub in front.
Two churches deserve your attention. The oldest is Stolpkerk, from 1658. Though Sint Vicentiuskerk is from 1860, it’s much bigger. Walking along the dam is a must too. Once finished with the port and center, go ahead and walk across the parks and canals.
Where to Stay in Volendam
Volendam has a couple of fantastic hotels. Our favorite is the Hotel Spaander. The hotel’s entrance is on the main commercial street, but the hotel has incredible views of the sea. Sit on your private balcony and enjoy! The hotel’s restaurant is one of the best in town. Finally, the hotel has an indoor pool!
Again with views to the sea, the Old Dutch Hotel is on the sea promenade. However, the rooms don’t have balconies. It’s a gorgeous old house with all modern-day conveniences. They can arrange everything you need. The hotel operates the onsite Restaurant Van de Hogen, a local favorite.
How to Visit Edam and Volendam
Buses from Amsterdam
There are no trains. Thus, you have to take a bus to Volendam and Edam from Amsterdam. Bus 316 goes through both towns, so you can also use it to move between them. On the other hand, bus 314 stops only in Edam on its way to Hoorn. If you are first going to Edam, this is the quickest option. In Volendam, your stop is in front of the museum. In Edam, both buses stop at the bus station, close to the old town.
Buses depart every 15 minutes from Amsterdam Centraal. The bus station is behind the train station, up. You can get a ticket just to either place or the Waterland day ticket for unlimited journeys between both. It’s a 45-minute trip. Take note that it is not possible to travel from Amsterdam to Volendam by boat.
Walking Between Edam and Volendam
The walk from Edam to Volendam or vice versa is such a pleasure. Since Edam is next to Volendam, you can walk continuously without a glitch. One alternative is to walk all along the coast and loop around the canal. This is the longest way, an hour or so, next to the water.
We believe it’s better to walk on the walking path that links both places. It takes you through lovely parks, cute neighborhoods, canals, and fields. If you are tired, you can hop on the bus from Volendam to Edam. That’s why we believe the Waterland pass or any of the Amsterdam day passes is your best option.
Edam or Volendam or Marken
If you are short of time, you can always rush through both places. However, you won’t get to experience much. Therefore, if you have to choose between Edam or Volendam, we believe the first one is nicer. Nothing wrong with Volendam, but Edam is a dream come true! The place has more historic sites, fewer tourists, and so much peace!
You can also take the ferry to Marken, the small peninsula in front of Volendam. Volendam-Marken express ferries depart frequently and take less than half an hour. Alternatively, you can go to Marken by bus. It’s the same bus 316, but you have to go stop in Broek, Waterland. You have to change to bus 315. You can also go from Amsterdam to Marken directly by bus 315. It departs from the bus station in Amsterdam Centraal.
If you Have Extra Time
Don’t forget that Edam is on the coastline. Even if you’ve walked along Volendam’s promenade a walk to the coast from Edam’s center is worth your time. Walk along the street parallel to the canal. You’ll have houses to your left, then green fields. The fort is almost at the end. A not-so-cool campsite is next to the coast.
From the coast, walk back next to the green pastures. Cows and sheep seem to be having a good time. The views are stunning. To the south of the main canal is a huge sports park. A gorgeous windmill stands tall next to the football court. Though not part of the city center, the streets to the south are lovely.