Marken, a small former island located in the Netherlands, is a unique and enchanting destination that attracts many visitors every year.
Its traditional wooden houses are the postcard of the region, as they were built on stilts to avoid flooding when the water rises.
From scenic boat trips and walking tours, to cultural museums and a wooden shoe factory, Marken is truly amazing.
But it’s not just the tourist attractions that make Marken so special. The village has a strong sense of community and the locals are always happy to welcome visitors and share their stories and traditions.
In addition, there is a picturesque atmosphere common in the fishing villages, which is, in a way, a glimpse of a bygone era.
So, in this article I will highlight what to visit and do in Marken, from exploring its picturesque streets to enjoying its stunning natural scenery. It also includes accommodation tips and places to eat, but if you prefer to visit Marken on a tour, you also have options to choose from.
All in all, prepare to be transported back in time as you discover what this charming Dutch city has to offer.
Best things to do and see in Marken Netherlands
Marken is a truly inspiring destination with its beautiful natural surroundings, rich history and friendly locals.
Here are some suggestions for things to see and do in Marken, including a walking tour, a scenic boat ride on the Volendam Marken Express, a visit to the Marker Museum, the Flood Walk (Watersnood Wandeling Marken 1916), a walk along a wooden shoe factory, the Werf Trail, a visit to the Grote Kerk (Great Church), the Flood Memorial, a stop at Kijkhuisje Sijtje Boes (Sijtje Boes Lookout) and visit to the lighthouse.
Now that I’ve briefly summarized what follows, let’s explore everything this wonderful destination has to offer!
A Walking tour in Marken
A walking tour of Marken is a great way to discover the charming village and its rich history. The village is small, so it’s easy to explore on foot and you can get a good sense of its character and atmosphere by simply strolling through the narrow streets and along the canals.
One option is to join a guided walking tour, which can provide a more in-depth understanding of the village’s history and culture. These tours are typically led by local experts who are knowledgeable about the area and can provide interesting anecdotes and insights as you go.
On a walking tour of Marken, you’ll have the opportunity to see some of the village’s most famous landmarks and attractions, such as the Grote Kerk (Great Church) and the Marker Museum. You’ll also get to wander through the old town, with its picturesque houses and charming squares, and perhaps stop for a bite to eat or a drink at one of the local cafés or restaurants.
Take a scenic boat ride on the Volendam Marken Express
The Volendam Marken Express takes visitors on a tour of the villages of Volendam and Marken, which are located in the Netherlands.
On the boat trip you will have the opportunity to see the stunning Lake IJssel, as well as the opportunity to see these charming villages from a different perspective.
The port of departure and the highlight of the boat trip are both the port of Volendam and the visit to Marken, respectively.
Visit the Marker Museum in Marken
The Marker Museum in Marken is a must-see attraction for anyone interested in the history and culture of this charming Dutch village.
Located in the heart of Marken, the museum offers a fascinating look at the village’s past, from its origins as a fishing village to its present-day role as a popular tourist destination.
One of the highlights of the museum is its collection of traditional costume and clothing, which offers a glimpse into the daily lives of the people of Marken over the past several centuries.
The museum also has exhibits on the village’s fishing industry, with displays of traditional boats and equipment used by the fishermen of Marken.
In addition to its permanent exhibits, the Marker Museum also hosts temporary exhibitions on a variety of topics related to the history and culture of Marken. These exhibitions are a great way to learn about the village’s past and present, and they provide a deeper understanding of the village’s rich heritage.
The Flood Walk (Watersnood Wandeling Marken 1916)
The Flood Walk is a self-guided walking tour that takes visitors through the village of Marken and explores the history of the devastating flood that hit the village in 1916.
I’s a great way to realize the impact it has had on the village, and is a popular attraction for history buffs and anyone interested in the local area.
The Flood Walk begins at the Flood Memorial, located in downtown Marken. From there, follow a signposted route through the village, stopping at a series of information panels that give more details about the flood and its effects. The walk takes visitors through the old town, including some of the village’s most famous landmarks and attractions, such as the Grote Kerk (Great Church) and the Marker’s Museum.
Visit a Wooden shoe factory in Marken
The wooden shoe factory in Marken is a popular attraction for visitors interested in traditional crafts and Dutch culture.
Located in the heart of the village, the factory offers tours that allow you to know the backstage of the manufacturing process of wooden shoes, also known as punches or clogs.
The tour begins with a brief introduction to the history and traditions of making wooden clogs in the Netherlands (Holland). The explanation includes information about the different types of punches that are made, as well as the tools and techniques used to create them.
You will then have the opportunity to see the process in action as you tour the factory’s production area. Here you will see skilled artisans at work, using traditional tools and techniques to shape, carve and sand the wooden plinths. You will also have the opportunity to experience some of the steps involved in making a wooden clog.
At the end, there’s still time to stop by the factory shop, where you can buy your own pair of handmade wooden clogs or other souvenirs. Keep in mind that the clogs should be bought one size larger than normal so that they are loose on the foot and can be worn with thick cotton socks.
Hike the Werf Trail
Marken is connected to the North Holland Hiking Network, which is a trail system in the Netherlands.
So, you can either create your own custom hike or follow the suggestions of other hikers or tourist organizations.
An example is the Werf trail, a 7-kilometre circular route that is very pleasant to do.
This particular hike is a great way to learn about an interesting aspect of the Marken landscape – the werfs. These mounds, built from manure, peat or even compacted household waste, were used to protect the village from the constant threat of flooding from the Zuiderzee.
The Werf trail is a great opportunity to see Moeniswerf, Rozenwerf, Grote werf and Witte werf up close and understand their importance in the town’s history.
Visit Grote Kerk (Great Church) in Marken
The Grote Kerk is a beautifully designed building, with a Neo-Renaissance architectural style, which is sure to impress visitors.
Although it is not one of the oldest churches in the area, having been built in the early 20th century, it is still an important part of the cultural and religious history of the island.
But what really makes it a must-see is what’s inside the church. This is because the interior of the church is full of relevant historical artifacts. Thus, the pulpit and chandeliers were all created from 1600 onwards, while the copper baptismal font dates from the 18th century.
In addition to these impressive pieces, the church also has several models of traditional boats hanging from the ceiling, allowing visitors a glimpse of the island’s maritime history. These include a 1959 punt, a 1957 botter (sailing barge), a WWII steam lugger and two herring boats, one from the 1600s and one from the 1890s.
The Flood Memorial in Marken
The Flood Memorial in Marken is a constant reminder of the devastating flood that hit the village in 1916.
Located in the center of the village, the memorial is a popular attraction for visitors interested in the history of the village and the event’s impact on the community.
The flood, caused by a storm, caused widespread damage and loss of life in the village. It honors the memory of those who lost their lives in the disaster and serves as a reminder of the power of nature.
The memorial is a bronze sculpture of a woman and child surrounded by a lake and should be on your list of things to see and do in Marken.
The Kijkhuisje Sijtje Boes Viewpoint (Sijtje Boes Lookout)
Kijkhuisje Sijtje Boes (Sijtje Boes Lookout) is a charming and picturesque viewpoint located in the village of Marken, in the Netherlands (Holland).
Enjoy stunning views of the village, landscape and waterways of the IJsselmeer and don’t miss the opportunity to take lots of photos and enjoy this peaceful spot.
The viewpoint is named after Sijtje Boes, a local woman known for her love of the village and its history, so if you’re in Marken, be sure to visit.
Visit the lighthouse
The lighthouse in Marken is a popular tourist attraction as from its top the visitor will have a panoramic view of the entire village and the surrounding area.
Located at the end of a small peninsula, the lighthouse also has stunning views of the Markermeer, the large lake on which Marken is situated.
The current lighthouse was built in 1839 and is one of the oldest lighthouses in the Netherlands (Holland). It was originally used to guide ships safely into port, but today serves as a museum and observation point for visitors.
That is, climbing to the top of the lighthouse is a must-do activity when visiting Marken.
Accomodation in Marken Netherlands
I must say that, in my opinion, it’s only worth sleeping there if you’re thinking of doing the trails, otherwise, the main attractions can be visited in a few hours.
In any case, I stayed in Amsterdam and took a day trip to Marken and I thought the time I spent there was enough.
Tours from Amsterdam to Marken Netherlands
Choosing a tour to visit Marken is a good idea as these types of tours usually include other destinations. If you’re interested in visiting the wooden shoe factory, going with a tour group ensures that experience.
Here are some suggested tours from Amsterdam to Marken:
- 1-Day Trip to Zaanse Schans, Edam, and Marken: Visit three interesting places in one day for around €39.
- Amsterdam Excursion to Zaanse Schans, Edam, Volendam, and Marken: Visit four iconic places in the Netherlands.
- Guided Tour of the Charm of Holland with Lunch: This tour includes stops in Marken, Zaanse Schans, Volendam, and Edam. Also includes a traditional restaurant lunch with two soup options and a main dish of fish, chicken, or vegetarian options.
How to get from Amsterdam to Marken by public transport?
To go from Amsterdam to Marken by bus, you can take bus 315 at Station Amsterdam-Noord, which has a frequency of 30 minutes. In this case, you can expect a journey of approximately 40 minutes to reach your destination.
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