Step back into the Holland of old at Zaanse Schans and the fishing town of Volendam on 5-hour afternoon or morning trip from Amsterdam. With an expert guide, travel to Zaanse, a vision of quaint shops, house and wooden windmills. After touring a windmill to see its working cogs and sails, continue to Volendam to discover its pretty waterfront framed by wooden houses and fish restaurants. Visit Volendam Museum and a cheese-making workshop, and enjoy free time to explore or eat independently.
Choose from a morning or afternoon tour and then meet your guide in central Amsterdam. Board your air-conditioned minibus, and travel north to Zaanse Schans, a museum village on the Zaan River.
On route, pass Holland's famous polders ' lands reclaimed from water ' and dykes, and hear about the country's permanent battle to stave off the sea. As you look, listen to stories about Zaanse and its historical, still-working wooden windmills.
After roughly 30 minutes on the road, arrive in Zaanse Schans, and admire quaint wooden shops, museums and neat riverfront houses as you walk to one of its large windmills. Head inside and listen as the miller explains the age-old milling operation. Climb the ladder to the first floor to see the huge, wooden cogs that help produce wind energy, and then head out onto the platform to watch the sails whip right past your nose.
Continue to Volendam on the shores of IJselmeer Lake. Hear how Volendam thrived as a fishing port during Holland's Golden Age due to its position on the bay of Zuider Zee, and learn how the Zuider was later sealed off by a man-made dyke, turning it into IJselmeer.
Stroll along the charming De Dijk waterfront past boats, houses and fish restaurants, and visit Volendam Museum. Explore the exhibits that include traditional Dutch costumes, musical instruments and handicrafts, and trace the town's history through the old maps and photos.
Afterward, stop at a cheese factory to discover how Holland's famous cheese is made. Watch a cheese-making demonstration and sample some delicious varieties for yourself. Lastly, enjoy some free time at the waterfront to have a meal (own expense) or buy souvenirs before rejoining your guide. Your tour ends in central Amsterdam.