All sailing trips to the Gouwzee take a full day and start in the centre of Amsterdam with a sightseeing tour over the IJ. Then you will pass the Oranje locks and the Schellingwouder bridge before continuing to the Markermeer. There the skipper will set the sails! On the Markermeer we take a northerly course to the ?Horse of Marken?, a special lighthouse that marks the proximity of the island Marken.
The Gouwzee is a shallow bay between the island Marken and Volendam. Slightly north of the Gouwzee is Edam. Optionally we can stop in Edam, Volendam or Marken so you can explore one of these destinations at your own convenience before heading back to Amsterdam. The exact schedule is agreed en route with the skipper.
This gem of the former Zuiderzee is less touristic then Volendam and Marken. Picturesque Edam is still a quiet little village. Besides many lovingly maintained canalhouses it has a leaning carillon tower, a townhall and an authentic marketplace. The famous ?Edammer?, a delicious little cheese sphere, is being manufactured in the area since the 14th century.
In 1574 Edam received the eternal right for a regular cheese market. The historic ?Waaggebouw? from 1778 contains a cheese shop nowadays. The traditional Edammer cheese markets also takes place there. Usually on wednesdays in July and August.
The Fort in Edam is worth a visit as well. It was built in the beginning of the last century as part of the Defence Line of Amsterdam.
Volendam is a very beautifull old fishing village that was founded in the 15th century. It looks very friendly and inviting from the water and it really is. There are many caf??s and restaurants around the cosy harbour. The atmosphere and views there are enjoyed by hundreds of tourists every day. The hotel Spaander opened in 1881, it can be found at the harbour too. Just like the remarkable and original fish auction that is not in use anymore.
Directly behind the harbour the narrow streets and authentic houses form a true maze that has already inspired many painters. You can also have your picture taken wearing the elegant folkloric costume of Volendam, many well-known dutchmen have preceeded you. A stroll over the Dyke, with it?s alternating views across the former Zuiderzee, is an experience you shouldn?t miss before getting back on board.
Strictly speaking Marken is no longer an island. Since 1957 Marken has been connected to the mainland by a dam. This friendly fishing village preserved it?s original character nevertheless. With it?s green painted wooden houses and many little white bridges it seems like time has stood still here. The island Marken was embanked with a dyke by monks in the 13th century.
At the highest ground they built a monastry, the church still stands there now. The lower areas of the island were regularly flooded, for that reason the inhabitants built their houses on mounds. Until the closure of the Zuiderzee the population of Marken lived on agriculture and fisheries. Early last century Marken still had a fleet of 137 fishing boats. In the Museum Marken you can learn more about it.