L&A HQ is located in America’s Dairyland, and we eat our (more than) fair share of cheese. As the old saying goes, “It’s not a meal without cheese.” Wait, that’s not an old saying? Must be something we just say. Maybe it’s on our license plates. We seek out cheese when we travel, looking for the best of our favorites as well as something new. Is cheese tourism a thing yet? About 13 miles north of Amsterdam lies Edam, where the eponymous cheese originated. This town of 8000 makes for a great biking excursion for those looking to stretch their legs escape the noise of the city.
Your trip begins and Centraal Station and the MAC Bike Rental there. They are located on the east side of the station and you can see it from the outside. They are open daily from 9am to 5:45pm, and a regular bike can be yours for a day for 9.50 euro. Everyone in the Netherlands is super nice, and the folks at MAC Bikes are no exception. Tell them you plan to bike to Edam and they will give you a map and point the way. If you can’t get a map from them, get it at the VVV (Dutch Tourist Information) across from the station. After you pay for your bike (and the 50 euro deposit), you are on your way.
Walk north underneath all of the tracks to the far side of the station. Follow the signs with a picture of a boat and the word “boot” next to it. This is the free ferry that will take you and your trusty bike across the Ij river to Noord Amsterdam. The ferry ride is about 10 minutes long and it offers a view of the old city few tourists ever see.
Though only a short distance away, Noord Amsterdam feels worlds apart from its southern counterpart. It is quiet and spacious over here, and even more bike-friendly. Make your way northeast through the city until you reach the flat pastures filled with grazing sheep. Follow the roads through Broek in Waterdam, Monnickendam and Volendam until you reach Edam.
Edam looks like a postcard. With its impossible cute canals and buildings, it is nearly impossible to take a bad photograph here. Consider grabbing a bite or a beer at L’Auberge Hotel located on the damplein in the center of town. This is the perfect place to sit and relax and watch the passersby in this sleepy little town. After you have filled up, walk around town and sample some cheese. If you are looking to bring large amounts home, stop by Henri Willig (they also have a location in Amsterdam) and have them ship the cheese home to you. It will save you a lot of hassle at the airport.
Remember, your bike is due back before 5:45, so plan accordingly.
Biking in the Netherlands is always a delight, and heading to Edam is the perfect trip from Amsterdam.