Marken - Monnickendam, Amsterdam
Marken is a former island, that is now connected to the mainland by a dam.
It is a small fishermen's town with characteristic wooden houses.
Other people already wrote interesting tips about Marken. Here I would like to draw your attention to the possibility to do a nice walk around the island.
The hike takes 2 or 3 hours, depending if you walk up and down the dam towards Volendam or not.
The hike takes you around Marken, so it does not really matter where you start, just walk along the dyke.
A suggested starting point is the port. Go right after cafe "De Taanderij" onto the cycle-track ("fietspad").
Just before a bunch of willow trees, you can leave the cycle-track and go left onto the dam. This will add an hour to the hike, if you walk until the end of the dam and back. It's certainly worth the effort, with the water on both sides of the dam and the wide views. At the end of the dam, you get a view of the port and church of Volendam.
After the dam, continue your walk to the left, always stay on the dyke.
You will pass the lighthouse (nicknamed "The Horse") and the settlement Rozewerf where icebreakers protect the houses from the ice in the winter.
Follow the dyke, cross the main asphalt road to Marken and continue your walk along the dyke until you are back in the port of Marken.
See the pictures for a map of the island...Just follow the shore!
Bus 111 (Arriva company) takes you from Amsterdam Central station to Marken in 45 minutes!
It is also possible to take a boat from Marken to Volendam.
You cannot enter Marken by car unless you are a resident. There is a big parking before the village, 3.50 euro per day.
One option for a half day trip is to go by bus, around 30-40minutes to Volendam and from there corss by Boat to Marken, both villages are very nice and small. Once you arrive to any of both, you can go for a walk by the seaside and see the local architechture. There is a boat crossing from one town to the other, and from there bus back to Amsterdam, if you have time I think that the trip is worthy.
On the day tour to Vollendam you also visit the fishing village of Marken. An interesting place that was formerly on an island at sea. Now with land reclaiming, it is in the middle of a freshwater lake and you can drive all the way out. On the way you can experience the dykes and canals that make the Netherlands unique. Many of the houses are painted dark green with white horizontal stripes.
In tulip season (springtime) flower lovers can take a coach trip to Keukenhof, huge gardens dedicated to tulips. Trips can be booked from companies on the Damrak (around €30), or there is a day-trip by train from Central Station for less.
Not far from Amsterdam, in the former Zuiderzee (now the IJsselmeer) is Marken, an island now joined to the mainland by a land bridge. It still has many wooden houses, and you can still see people wearing local costume, not just for tourists. You should at least visit the harbour. There are organised coach tours (around €25), but for much less money (six strips of a strippen-card) you can take bus 111 from Central Station (times can be got from the public transport telephone information line 0900-9292, €0.50 per minute).
There is a group of working windmills along the river at the Zaanse Schans, as well as museums and a cheese factory you can visit. Take the train to Koog-Zaandijk (about 15 minutes), turn left at the bottom of the steps from the platform, and walk straight on right to the end of the street (about 5 minutes). Turn left, and ahead of you is a windmill at the end of a bridge. As you cross the bridge, you can see the working mills on the left. There is a gate at the end of the bridge, on the left.
is a small village located not far to the northwest of Amsterdam. There is a nice marina there on the Markermeer.