Zaanse Schans is a picturesque conservation area that can be described as an open air museum. Its local charm is provided by little green wooden houses, as well as numerous windmills, craft stores and museums.
This beautiful and intimate area can be reached by boat, bus or train, all means of transportation that can be accessed from Amsterdam. The distance between the latter and the area of Zaanse Schans is relatively small, and the most recommended way to travel to this region is by boat, where you can ask the captain for a short history speech along with taking a lovely meal on board.
Since Zaanse Schans is a pretty small place, you can explore the whole area by foot or rent a bicycle in Amsterdam and paddle your way through the surroundings. Don’t worry if you don’t have much money to spend visiting the place as the charming green houses can be admired for free (they are normal living residences after all), and you will be required to pay only a tiny fee to explore the majority of the windmills. Craftman’s workshops include a clog workshop and a cheese farm, both offering live demonstrations of their shoe, and respectively cheese making processes. Gift shops are numerous in Zaanse Schans, so if you are particularly willing to go back home full of souvenirs, do visit local boutiques, as well as Hip aan ‘t Glop, a 19th century building where you’ll be able to choose from ceramics, jewellery, watches, bags and other small items.
If you fancy a cup of coffee or tea, you can go do just that whilst admiring the view at the Museum Café. A local pancake house is also highly recommended for its deliciously made Dutch pancakes.