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Listed under Historic Towns and Villages in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

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Millions of tourists per year visit the beautiful city of Amsterdam. Only very few take a look at the countryside around the city, and that sure is a missed chance. Because here you can experience that classic Holland of rivers and canals, farms and grazing cows, castles and old fortified towns.

Amsterdam is not really a big city. Easily within half an hour you’re way out in the countryside.

Like for example to the south east, the small town of Weesp, only 15 minutes by train from Amsterdam Central Station (timetables Surrounded by the wide open space of green polders.

In the fortified centre narrow streets and old houses. A gothic church with a 12th Century tower. A City Hall built in 1776. Three windmills in town and more around.

This cute little town is a good and practical starting point for more.

Just 2 km north of Weesp along the river Vecht, another fortified town : Muiden, with its impressive medieval castle (

8 km east of Weesp, on the other side of a natural reserve : Naarden, one of the best preserved fortified towns in Europe. With a great fortress museum (

By the way, both Muiden-castle and Naarden-fortress are great for families. During school vacations (July and August) and in the weekends there are generally extra activities for children.

An ideal way to explore these towns, and the countryside in between, is the bicycle which can be rented at the train station in Weesp.

The towns can be visited by car, of course. But you must expect driving limitations and parking problems in the towns, while touring by car on the narrow country roads is certainly no fun at all.

Cycling is more practical, with plenty of bicycle paths and roads closed to car traffic.

By bike, count half a day for Weesp and Muiden. A whole day and about 30 km cycling for a trip Weesp – Muiden – Naarden. The best time of year for a cycling trip being between April and October.

More information on routes and things to do and see in this region from Gui.

Written by  Edmond Van Putte.

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