Today, we want to share with visitors six wonderful villages in the Netherlands that are discoverable by boat and associated with the Dutch canals. These settlements, built centuries ago around small harbors, show a rich history and traditional Dutch architecture. This list includes Venice of the Netherlands, of course, and other awe-inspiring places.
Exploring their narrow alleyways or cycling along the banks of their small canals provide fascinating travel experiences. Enjoy reading this and feel free to use it as inspiration for a rural getaway this year!
This is one of the most famous Dutch villages in the canal you cannot miss it. As an alternative to keeping the polders dry, 19 elegant windmills were built along the broad canals (called “weteringen”) around 1740. Kinderdijk is probably one of Holland’s most famous sites and an authentic representation of the country’s rural life. If you are traveling from Rotterdam, the quickest way to get here is to take the A16 towards Dordrecht.
Today, the town, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site twenty years ago, is a famous tourist destination due to its extensive network of windmills (the largest in Holland). The inside of one of the windmills, Museummolen, can be explored, and the trip is generally paired with a visit to the steam-powered pumping station Wisboomgemaal. The price of the ticket is 6 euros.
Explore Kinderdijk by bike, as there are excellent (free) routes along the windmills. Your bicycle adventure can begin in Rotterdam.
The location is extremely famous during the winter season, when the waters transform into massive skating rinks. People come from all over the country to enjoy the scenery while sliding between the mills, so it can get rather crowded at times.
Marken, Dutch villages in the canal
Marken, regarded as one of the last relics of traditional Dutch culture, is experiencing a remarkable comeback as it opens up to the rest of the globe. For many centuries, the people of Marken had to live separate from the rest of the world. Things changed in 1957, when a causeway connecting the settlement to the mainland was created.
Marken, formerly an island in the Zuiderzee (a North Sea bay) and now part of a peninsula, is home to a charming tiny fishing village that will immerse you in a secluded and intriguing culture.
The dark-colored traditional cottages built on stilts and mounds distinguish this fishing community. Keep an eye out for gorgeous traditional costumes; locals occasionally wear them to big events. To learn more about the village’s history, go to Marken’s museum, which focuses on fishing legacy.
Urk, with a millennium of history, is a picturesque historic harbor with a peaceful environment. Urk’s economy has long been centered on fishing, thanks to its location on the North Sea’s beach; you can still see this lifestyle at the harbor today.
Its historic district is ideal for strolling and admiring the fishermen’s houses, exploring the canals by boat, or simply relaxing on one of the many terraces that surround the harbor. In the neighborhood restaurants, you may sample delectable fish meals. Keep in mind that most locals regard Sunday to be a day of rest, therefore it’s preferable to visit Urk during the week or on a Saturday. There is also a wonderful beach, which is ideal for visiting during the summer.
Edam, Dutch villages in the canal
Edam is one of the nicest destinations to visit outside of Amsterdam and is approximately 30 minutes away by bus. Its massive mansions, warehouses, churches, and bridges conceal a rich half-millennium of history.
This little village became famous all over the world during the 17th century because Dutch traders traded wheels of Edam cheese for spices and other treasures from the far East. In addition, the region was recognized for its industry, shipyards, and ports.
Today, Edam is known for its Cheese Market and picturesque canal, making it an enticing destination for foodies and amateur sailors alike.
Plan your visit to coincide with the Cheese Market, which is held every Wednesday. Even if it is quite crowded, tasting traditional cheese will be worthwhile. The best time to visit Edam is between July and August, when farmers transport their produce by antique boats and horses, like their forefathers did for decades.
Monnickendam is a town in the Waterland and Zaan Region of the Dutch province of North Holland. It is a classic Dutch harbor on the shores of Lake IJssel, and it is a popular day trip from Amsterdam.
Monnickendam’s historical center is well-preserved, with 74 buildings ranging from the 16th to the 18th centuries classified as National Monuments.
The Waterland region is a biker’s paradise, thus a trip there is strongly advised. The Fietsknooppunten (Biking nodes) system makes it very easy to orient yourself, with numbered markings directing you from node to node. This is one of the most beautiful Dutch villages in the canal.
Giethoorn, Venice of the Netherlands
What we like best about Venice of the Netherlands is that there are no cars or roads; visitors leave their vehicles outside of the hamlet and must travel by water or on foot across the lovely wooden bridges. We did a special piece on Venice of the Netherlands not long ago.
Along with the abundance of canals and bridges, Giethoorn village in The Netherlands is also lined with several bike and pedestrian trails. Visitors can ride bicycles and tour the Dutch countryside, which is home to endless fields and livestock farms. Cycling is the greatest way to experience this village’s rural beauty. Additionally, this choice allows you to explore independently and unwind whenever possible.
Giethoorn village in The Netherlands with no roads that are sometimes referred to as the “Venice of the Netherlands,” has grown to be a popular travel destination. There are various ways to experience its rustic beauty, including biking, boating, and guided canal tours. When you visit this location, you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped into a fairy tale. To ensure that you don’t miss anything, carefully plan your itinerary.
This “list” was compiled for the sake of inspiration. It is not a “top”; each community has its own distinct qualities and experiences. If you have visited any of these, or if you know of any additional charming villages in the Netherlands for the wandering tourist, please leave a comment below; we would be delighted to get in touch and include them in the post.