Zaanse Schans is the perfect day trip destination from Amsterdam. If you’re in Amsterdam for a couple of days or even a week, you should definitely make time to visit Zaanse Schans.
The small town is so picturesque and the perfect place for photographers or social media lovers to go. It is famous for its traditional windmills but the surrounding architecture is just as beautiful.
This blog post will give you transport options from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans, all the reasons as to why you should visit the region and give you a list of things to do there.
About the Zaanse Schans
Zaanse Schans is located just 30 minutes from Amsterdam city centre. It is a beautiful, traditionally decorated town with some of the last working windmills in the country.
Located in Zaandam, the Zaanse Schans acts as a museum that gives glimpses into the cultural heritage of the area. Along with the windmills, the town showcases pretty, traditional houses, some of which display crafts.
Visitors to the Zaanse Schans get the opportunity to explore working windmills that were once vital to the region’s industries, such as milling flour, sawing timber, and producing oil. There is one windmill available to climb that gives some great views across the river.
The picturesque setting allows visitors to step back in time and experience Dutch life from the 18th and 19th centuries. Travelling from Amsterdam to the Zaanse Schans for a visit will be well worth your time to get a glimpse of traditional rural life.
The river Zaan that runs through the town offers a beautiful perspective of the buildings and windmills if you can get yourself booked onto a boat ride, but the government tries its hardest to prevent large tours so as not to disrupt the peaceful landscape.
While there are less than 500 residents, the Zaanse Schans receives over 2 million visitors every single year and there are always coach loads of tourists arriving in the car parks.
Its busiest season is of course summer, like most European destinations. You have to be particularly careful around this time of year as pick pocketing can be quite the issue as the small, confined areas that visitors go through make theft very easy.
Make sure to keep your bag close, or on your front. Never leave any belongings out of sight or dangling from your bag or pockets.
How Do You Get from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans?
Coach with a Tour Guide
The best and easiest way of travelling to the idyllic town is by coach. There is an endless number of tour companies offering half or full day trips to the Zaanse Schans with the transfer included in the price.
This is a good option if you’re tight on time or the public transport timetables don’t line up very well with your itinerary. When you’re with a tour guide you don’t have any worries – just getting yourself to the pick up location at agreed times.
Taking a tour isn’t a bad idea as the guide can give you more information on the coach about the area you’ll be visiting. The comfort of the coach is also worth it, particularly on sunny days in Amsterdam.
The prices for the tours do vary quite a bit, depending on what they include, but they overall aren’t too bad. Just be aware of what you are booking onto as some tours still require you to cover the entry cost of the museum and the working windmill that is available to climb.
Going with a tour group also gives you the opportunity to meet new people. Tours are often full with travellers from all over Europe and beyond and if you’re a solo traveller you’re bound to find someone on the bus that you could tag along with – if you’d like to of course.
There aren’t any other huge benefits of going with a tour company. A lot will try to sell them to you as if you are getting exclusive access to things like cheese tastings or clog making shows but in reality anyone that enters the Zaanse Schans can do these.
The odd craft show like the cheese demonstration is only available to tour groups but if I’m honest I didn’t find it that informative or interesting – just a man standing, pointing at cheeses and saying their flavours while a video played.
I’ve rounded up a few of the best tours that you can take (which include transport from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans) and given their pros and cons below.
|🚍 Tour Name||✅️ Pros||❌ Cons||🎟 Get Your Tickets|
|From Amsterdam: Guided Zaanse Schans & Cheese Tasting Tour||Available in multiple languages|
Cheese and clog demonstration
|Large tour group size||HERE|
|Amsterdam: Zaanse Schans 3-Hour Small Group Tour||Small group size|
Windmill entrance fee included
|Only available in English||HERE|
|Amsterdam: Zaanse Schans, Volendam, and Marken Day Trip||Multiple destination tour|
Full day trip
|Not much time in Zaanse Schans||HERE|
The quickest method of public transport for a day trip from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans is by train. Departing regularly from Amsterdam Sloterdijk and Amsterdam Centraal, there are Sprinter trains that go through Zaandijk Zaanse Schans station. From there, it is a 15-20 minute walk to the Zaanse Schans.
The total journey is estimated to take around half an hour if you use the Sprinter train, which means you are really walking the majority of the time.
The other option to get to the Zaanse Schans from Amsterdam is to go by car. The town is just a 30 minutes drive from the city centre and there are plenty of parking spaces available.
What Can You do at Zaanse Schans?
Zaanse Schans has plenty of things to do to fill your day trip. The main aim of the village is to showcase traditional crafts and offer beautiful food and drinks, souvenirs to take home and great experiences.
The main attractions at Zaanse Schans are the houses which contain craft workshops. My favourite one to visit was the clog workshop. There were thousands of clogs on display from all over Europe not just the Netherlands and the live demonstration was really fun to watch.
The workers really emphasised the practical use of clogs and made us all aware that they are still used today – they are not just a thing of the past. In fact, the crafter himself was sporting a bright yellow pair.
The gift shop section of the clog workshop was incredible. There was so much on offer including keyrings, fridge magnets and pairs of clogs in hundreds of styles and sizes.
Another great attraction at the Zaanse Schans is the cheese house. If you’re with a tour group then you’ll get the opportunity to watch a short cheese making demonstration but travelling on your own isn’t a disadvantage. The large cheese hall is packed to the corners with hundreds of flavours of cheese in lots of different shapes and sizes.
All visitors will get an opportunity to taste 30 flavours of cheese while visiting the hall, allowing you to make sure you’re only buying the flavours you love. A lovely touch to the experience is that the workers will be wearing traditional dress with beautiful hats and aprons.
A highlight of the Zaanse Schans for most visitors is the opportunity to climb one of the windmills. For a small fee of around 5 euros you are allowed to climb the tower of the windmill and exit onto the platform below the turning blades. You get a great view across the river of the beautifully painted houses from the windmill platform and it is well-worth the money.
There are many other cool things to see at Zaanse Schans such as the chocolate house and lots of traditional shops. You’ll definitely not leave the town empty handed, there are so many great souvenirs available at Zaanse Schans that I think you’d be better leaving your shopping to your visit there instead of getting drawn in to the shops on every Amsterdam corner.
Another great place to get souvenirs of your Amsterdam trip is the floating flower market on the Singel Canal in Amsterdam City Centre.
The Zaans Museum is a must-do for anyone interested in Dutch history and heritage. This museum complements the outdoor Zaanse Schans site by delving deeper into the region’s history, showcasing artefacts, paintings, and exhibits that showcase the area’s cultural significance.
The museum has a focus on protecting the Zaanse Schans site and heritage and has been doing so for over 25 years. If you’re interested in learning about the history behind the site and why it has been preserved then you should definitely give the Zaans Museum a visit.
Entrance to the museum is free with an I Amsterdam card and without one is around 14.50 euros.
FAQs: How to get from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans
How do I get from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans?
There are multiple ways to get from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans but the easiest is by coach with a tour guide. Train and bus connections are also an easy method of getting between Amsterdam and Zaanse Schans.
How much is the train from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans?
The train fare from Amsterdam to Zaandijk Zaanse Schans is typically within the range of €4 to €8 for a one-way ticket. However, train fares can vary depending on factors like the type of ticket, time of day, and the class of travel.
Is Zaandam worth a visit?
Zaandam is home to an impressive selection of attractions and experiences, making it well worth a visit. The most popular attraction is the Zaanse Schans with traditionally painted houses and working windmills.
How much time do you need in Zaanse Schans?
You could easily spend a full day in the Zaanse Schans but I’d recommend a half day tour or allowing around 3-4 hours in the town to allow you to fully explore.
Can I bring my dog to Zaanse Schans?
No! Dogs are not allowed into Zaanse Schans unless they are assistant dogs. Unfortunately your furry friend will have to stay behind! 🙁
Conclusion: Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans
In conclusion, a visit to Zaanse Schans while staying in Amsterdam is a must! The town is so lovely to walk around and seeing the traditional crafts is a great experience. The preservation of the town has allowed for authentic workshops to showcase centuries old crafts and the entire town is wonderful to photograph.
If you’re looking for a hassle-free and enriching experience when visiting Zaanse Schans from Amsterdam, I highly recommend opting for a guided tour rather than relying on public transport.
These tours not only offer convenient transportation but also provide valuable insights and context from knowledgeable guides. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of the history and culture of Zaanse Schans, making your visit even more memorable.
So, consider booking a guided tour to make the most of your trip and create lasting memories of this charming Dutch destination.