1. Amsterdam: Volendam, Edam and Windmills Live Guided Tour
Escape the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam on a half-day guided tour of the Dutch countryside, starting with a 20-minute drive to the windmill village of Zaanse Schans. This outdoor conservation area is situated on the banks of the Zaan River and is home to traditional 18th and 19th century architecture, including several functioning windmills. Watch live demonstrations of craftsmen at work, including a clog maker crafting the famous wooden shoes of the Netherlands. There will be some free time to explore the village on your own, before traveling through the distinctive polders (land reclaimed from the water) of the Beemster area. From there continue on to Edam, also commonly referred to as the pearl of the Zuiderzee. Edam’s ancient streets and tranquil canals are lined by beautiful 17th century buildings, including the leaning Carillon tower, the Great Church, and town hall. Most famous in Edam is beyond any doubt the public weighing house, where in summer still every Wednesday the famous Edam Cheese is being sold. After a stroll around this history-rich town, you’ll have the opportunity to see how Edam’s world-famous cheese is made and, of course, to taste it in a closeby cheese farm. Finally, you will stop in the beautiful seaside village of Volendam. This typical fishing village with its bustling harbor has been a major tourist attraction as early as 1875. People come from all over to see the small buildings and houses and take in the locals in their traditional Dutch clothing. This is a great place to pick up souvenirs for those at home or a memento for yourself, and to have photos taken in traditional Dutch costume. Your guide will take you on a short walk through the oldest parts of the city, exploring a labyrinth of twists and turns to sites such as St. Vincent’s Church, the wooden Stolphoevekerk and the Visafslag (Fish Auction).