What helps make backpack traveling easy and convenient is when a place has at least an almost excellent network of transportation connections. And definitely, this is the case with the Schiphol International Airport in Amsterdam. With just 5-10 minutes of train time from the central, southern and western parts of the city, you will arrive at the airport very conveniently, just in time for the security and passport checks without necessarily being at the airport a couple of hours before your flight. And this gives us a good intro into a great site which one can definitely hop into while having a layover in Amsterdam or having a flight later on in during the day.
One of the best stop over places very close to Amsterdam and specially if one is just the type of traveler who prefer to go a bit off the beaten path is Zaanse Schans. Located around 30 minutes by train north from Amsterdam, Zaanse Schans is a collection of well-preserved traditional windmills and houses along the Zaan river.
Although this site is now one of the most famous tourist attractions in the Netherlands, and arguably one of the busiest especially during weekends, the Schans is still a personal favorite of mine both when I lived in Amsterdam as well as afterwards, when I still visited North Holland. Whether the weather is cloudy or sunny, the Schans is a relaxing place to visit. Walking from the parking lots available on the other side of the main bridge towards the site, the 10-15 minute walk gives one a windy atmosphere that on some occasions, if one is lucky, one would also smell either a bready or a chocolate milk scent coming from nearby food factories.
Within the Schans, aside from being welcomed into the site’s museum, which stands there since the mid-90’s, one could enjoy a couple of house strolling and taking photos of the mills, which offer differing angular views of the place; souvenir-shopping; cheese tasting and shopping; spending time just relishing on the views and the atmosphere or as for my case, taking a cold chocolate beer from one of the mills and sat outside, feeling refreshed with panoramic views of the area.
I couldn’t help still feeling full of that experience even during my train ride to the airport. That’s definitely a place worth visiting over and over again. I did it again with a visiting friend when I still lived in Amsterdam. I did it again during the first lockdown due to Covid-19 when I moved to South Holland. And definitely, I would do it over and over again either just to relax or to tour some friends to the site. This is a must do while traveling to the Netherlands.