A sailing trip to Marken

Marken is a quaint little village north of Amsterdam, famous for its traditional wooden houses and historical significance in the area. It used to be an island and was revered for its authenticity as a traditional fisherman’s village. These days, Marken is connected to the mainland by a causeway. On a company outing recently, colleagues and I sailed to Marken from Amsterdam and had a short guided tour. 


Clogs can be used as flower pots!
Clogs can be used as flower pots!


How to get to Marken


By car

Marken can be reached in about half an hour by car from Amsterdam. There are several parking lots.

By public transport

From Amsterdam, the regional bus 315 (EBS) leaves from metro station Noord these days instead of from Amsterdam Centraal station. You’ll have to take the metro to Noord first, get off at the last stop and then change to the bus to Marken. For details about public transport, check the 9292  plannerThe bus ride takes around half an hour, with buses leaving every twenty minutes or so. 

By bike

If the weather is nice and you feel up for it, you can cycle to Marken. It takes about an hour and a half to two hours depending on how fast you are and how often you stop. I’d recommend going through the villages and countryside inland instead of cycling over the dike to Marken: I find the latter a tad boring and in summer it’s swarming with bugs.

By boat

As I mentioned, we went on a sailing trip. If you’re sporty like that, you can hire a sailing boat with or without crew, or a motorboat. There are plenty of options depending on how active you want to be yourself. It takes a few hours to get from Amsterdam to Marken.

Sailing from Amsterdam to Marken
Sailing from Amsterdam to Marken


Our sailing trip from Amsterdam to Marken

Our day starts at the IJburg harbor of Amsterdam. From there, we are sailing to Marken with a crew (thankfully!) in a Lemsteraak, a traditional Frisian type of sail boat. We have people in our group of various levels of willingness to help with the sailing. I belong to the few that are not too keen on lending a hand, which is perfectly acceptable. I do like going on boats! In the morning, it’s smooth sailing (couldn’t resist the pun!) as we leisurely make our way to Marken in calm weather. We have lunch on the boat before disembarking in Marken. 

Marken's lighthouse: het Paard van Marken. With some imagination you can make out a horse (paard) in the shape of the lighthouse.
Marken’s lighthouse: het Paard van Marken. With some imagination you can make out a horse (paard) in the shape of the lighthouse.


What to do in Marken

Marken is a small village and I estimate you can spend a few hours there before you have seen and done everything on my list below. Many people combine a visit to Marken with a trip to Volendam. It’s an option, though in my opinion the villages are quite similar. 

Alleyway in Marken
Alleyway in Marken

We go on a short guided tour, which I can recommend. You will learn about the architecture and history of the fisherman’s village and it will enrich the experience. You can go to the information point in Marken itself to inquire about hiring a guide, but the opening hours are limited. Better arrange it beforehand! 

Things to do in Marken


  • Eat fish and/or poffertjes (tiny pancakes)
  • Visit the Marker Museum (season runs from March through October)
  • Stroll the village: go into the alleyways of buurt (neighborhood) 1 and 2
  • Learn about traditional clothing in the family Visser shop in buurt 2 
  • Buy souvenirs
  • Take tons of photos! 

Please note that the lighthouse Paard van Marken is privately owned and not open to visitors apart from on Open Monumentendag (Open Monument Day, second weekend of September every year). 

As we head back to Amsterdam in the afternoon, the temperature has dropped, the wind force has increased and the sailing conditions have improved. Apparently, the crew loves it! I don’t. It’s cold and being on the water makes me feel rosy, so I want to take a nap. At least it’s not raining! Still, it was a lovely day out and I recommend a visit to Marken for a taste of old times in The Netherlands. 

Sailing back from Marken to Amsterdam
Sailing back from Marken to Amsterdam


More tips for in and around Amsterdam here

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