Are you wondering how to get from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans?
Then you’re in the right place. I’ve visited Zaanse Schans countless times in my life, with customers, with overseas friends, and by myself. The last time I was at Zaanse Schans was in August 2023. It’s a great day trip from Amsterdam.
This article is all about how to get from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans.
There are five different ways to take a day trip to Zaanse Schans from Amsterdam:
- Organized Tour (including my recommendations)
- Bus (Public Transport)
- Zaanse Schans by train
- Car (including tips)
- Bicycle (really a fun option; details in the post)
The benefit of a tour is that everything is taken care of. There are no transport tickets to buy and no worries about getting off the wrong bus or train stop. With a tour, you get on the coach, and they will do the rest. Plus, you get commentary and a host whom you can ask questions.
I secretly enjoyed my recent trip with a tour company. It was included in my Amsterdam Go City Pass (it’s a steal; here is my full review).
But public transport will be cheaper and more flexible than a tour with set times. Thus, keep on reading if that is of interest to you.
Also, don’t rule out going by bike. I know I advise against bike rental in Amsterdam (it’s dangerous), but outside of the city, it’s lovely. If you have an e-bike, its distance is easy to cover, and there are pleasant routes you can take. More about that is below.
And, of course, if you have a car, you can get to Zaanse Schans by car quite quickly. But parking is not cheap. It’s not worth renting a car to go here. But if you plan on visiting more nearby places and making the Zaanse Schans one of your stops, then a car can be convenient.
Short on time? This is what I recommend:
I recommend this organized tour (the one I was on) if you’re okay with set travel times. Or I would take the bus (or train) if I want to be in charge of my own time.
But keep reading for more tips.
PS: A visit to the Zaanse Schans area is a super touristy place, but at the same time, it’s a lovely open-air museum to see windmills. It’s the closest place to Amsterdam to see Dutch working windmills. Most are historic windmills.
And there is a lot more to see and do. You can see how clogs are made (and buy a pair while you’re there). Or why not try a traditional Dutch Stroopwafel (syrup waffle) or pancake?
You can also visit the cute first Albert Heijn store, then a small general store, now a huge supermarket chain in the country. It’s the largest supermarket chain in the Netherlands.
And best of all, it’s small and super easy to walk around. Are you ready to explore the history of Dutch customs?
It’s a beautiful spot to learn more about the history of the Netherlands, one of the top places to visit, and chosen by 2 million visitors a year.
I wrote a complete guide on what to do in the Zaanse Schans, including tips like why not to buy cheese here.
Table of Contents
1. Pros and Cons Choosing A Zaanse Schans Tour
You might wonder why go on a Zaanse Schans tour if it’s so easy to get there by bus or train on your own time.
That is a good question, and the answer is, if you want complete flexibility over your day, I would travel on my own by bus or train. But…
There is a convenience to a tour company that can’t be beaten. You don’t have to worry about getting off at the right stop. Everything is taken care of for you. There is a tour guide on board giving you more background information and is there for you to answer questions.
A benefit for the Zaanse Schans is that the free cheese and clog demonstrations can fill up quickly, while a tour company always has pre-booked demonstrations just for them. Direct entrance is guaranteed.
While on a guided tour this summer, I felt the balance between free time and the group activities (the two demonstrations) was good. The demonstrations took less than an hour, and we had about 2 hours of free time to walk around.
That is enough time to visit a windmill, take photos, shop, and eat. And that is what most people come here for.
But that’s also the downside. There is much more to do at Zaanse Schans Park, like museums, if you want to do it all, you need more time. If that is the case, getting there by public transport, bicycle, or car is a better choice.
What’s Included in a Tour?
- Transportation to and from Amsterdam
- Short Guided tour of Zaanse Schans
- Demonstrations at Clog workshop
- Cheese-making demonstration (read shops for both)
How Long Does It Last?
The tour lasts 5 hours.
How Much Does It Cost?
I recommend this half-day Zaanse Schans Windmill tour. It cost around €30-€35, and it’s the tour I was on myself and enjoyed a lot. The tour guide, Fleur, was terrific.
PS: this tour is also included (and thus free) with the Go City Amsterdam Pass. You might want to check this out if you plan more activities in Amsterdam. It’s a real money saver. This is my Go City Pass review. If you want to book one, you can get your Go City Amsterdam Pass here.
Tip: Consider a full-day tour.
This Charm of Holland tour (full-day) is the most complete day trip I know and includes a visit to the Zaanse Schans, Volendam, Marken, and Edam.
Volendam and Marken are two iconic fishing villages, and the boat tour is included. Edam is known for its cheese-making. And it’s super cute.
- Transportation to and from Amsterdam
- Guided tours of Zaanse Schans, Volendam, Marken, and Edam
- Lunch at a local restaurant in Volendam (I had lunch here (at full price) and enjoyed it a lot)
- Boat ride between Marken and Volendam
How Long Does It Last?
Expect to be out for about 8-10 hours. It’s a full day.
Cost and Booking
This tour costs €99 and includes everything: transportation, tours, boat ticket and lunch! You can book this Charm of Holland ticket here.
PS: These tours often sell out in the primary tourist season (April-September)—book in advance to secure your spot.
Prefer a Private Tour to Zaanse Schans?
You can also book a private tour with me as your personal tour guide. I accept one private tour customer per week. To learn more and make a booking request, please go to my private tour page.
2. How to Get from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans By Bus
Direct bus 391 from Amsterdam is a convenient and low-cost way of traveling to the Zaanse Schans Windmills. The line was also referenced once as the industrial heritage line, but you can quickly forget that since there is no reference elsewhere.
Buses depart frequently and are safe. The downside is they take longer than the train, but the upside is the stop is at the village entrance, while by train you need to walk 15 minutes.
Buses leave 4x an hour. The bus takes 40 minutes. Check the screens to see from which platform your bus departs.
In summer, there is also express line 891: there is no extra cost, but you’ll get to Zaanse Schans 20 minutes faster since it’s direct. This bus departs less frequently than the regular buses, but you can plan for that.
All buses depart from the Amsterdam Central Station bus station (at IJ-side), the station’s north side, towards the ferry and the water, not the city center exit. Buses depart from platform E or L, but check the screens for the specific location since it changes.
Cost and Tickets
Contactless Payment: you can pay with a contactless debit or credit card (Google Wallet and Apple Pay also work) to pay for your fare. Even overseas cards work. TIP: Make sure to remember to tap when you enter but also when you leave! The cost is about €5-€6 for a one-way ticket.
Travel Pass: I recommend using the Amsterdam + Region Travel Ticket (ARTT) instead. This is a one-day or multi-day ticket that covers all bus, train, and metro journeys in the Amsterdam region. It’s a steal if you plan to explore more than just Zaanse Schans. It also includes transport in Amsterdam on GVB, like trams and the metro, and local trains, for example, to and from the airport! Prices start at €21.
PS: The I amsterdam Card (Amsterdam city card) only provides free transportation in the city of Amsterdam with the city operator called GVB. This does not include regional transit to the Zaanse Schans.
3. Travel By Train from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans
Why Choose the Train?
I prefer to take the train, stops are less frequent, it’s more direct, there is a toilet on board, there is the option to travel in a separate 1st class area, and you can move around. Another plus about taking the train to Zaanse Schans is the trip from Amsterdam by train takes less than 20 minutes.
The downside of choosing the train over the bus is that the NS train station is a 15-20 minute walk from the train station to the Zaanse Schans park.
I prefer this compared to sitting on the bus for 20 minutes longer. But if you don’t like the idea of an extra walk, then the bus is a better alternative.
Direct train services run every 30 minutes, and the train ride takes between 17 and 20 minutes.
Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans Train Price
A roundtrip train ticket from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans costs €7.20 in 2nd class (2023 price).
TIP: You can use your contactless card just like the bus. But if you book a few days in advance on the railway’s website, you can get up to 20% discount on these prices if you travel off-peak (after 9 a.m. and not between 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on weekdays and the entire day on weekends. Tickets can be booked directly on the railway’s website here.
PS: booking can be a little confusing, here are some tips:
- First, you search for the route (Amsterdam Centraal to Zaandijk Zaanse Schans)
- Then select a random train around the time you want to go
- If you choose a train during off-peak hours and book at least four days in advance, you’ll see a discount.
- Tickets are not connected to a departure (even though you selected a train on the screen). You can take any train, but if you have an off-peak discount, you must travel during off-peak hours. That is the confusing part.
- Once booked, you can quickly load the ticket in the NS app to use it.
Trains depart from Amsterdam Central Station. Look for trains heading to Uitgeest and get off at Zaandijk Zaanse Schans station.
Here is more information about train travel in The Netherlands.
PS: The Amsterdam + Region Travel Ticket (ARTT) is also valid on this train journey. So, if you plan to travel more, this is a steal compared to a single ticket.
4. Travel to the Zaanse Schans by Car
Why Choose to Drive?
If you’re traveling just between Amsterdam and Zaanse Schans, traveling by car makes no sense. There are plenty of more convenient travel options available.
But if you love the freedom to explore at your own pace and visit multiple destinations on the same day or plan a multi-day trip, then driving to Zaanse Schans makes a lot of sense.
It’s perfect when combining multiple nearby villages like Volendam, Edam, Marken, go to the beach, and more.
How to Get There
The drive from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans is pretty straightforward. You take the S116 road to the A10 ring road from Amsterdam, followed by the A8. The journey takes 20 minutes.
Google Maps is an easy tool to navigate. You don’t need a separate GPS. But ensure you have a local data package for your phone to use the internet.
I recommend getting an eSIM card. They’re super affordable, can be used on most modern phones, and avoid high roaming charges or travel packages from your home provider.
Here is my article on eSIM cards and which one I recommend for whom.
I promise you will save a lot of money.
Once you arrive, park your car at the large parking area near the entrance. Parking fees are between €11 to €15 for the day, depending on the season. If you see €10 rates on other sites, you know they have outdated information.
You can park for free in the town, but you’ll have to walk 10-15 minutes, and of course, locals will be less than thrilled if you do this in their streets, so be mindful of where to park.
Car Rental: If you don’t have your car, rental prices start at around €50-€100 per day, depending on the model. I always recommend checking out rates at Rental Cars and Discovery Cars. I usually find the best deals at Rental Cars, but check them both!
5. Can you bike from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans?
Surprisingly, yes, this is a pretty good idea. The distance is doable on any bike. It’s 20 kilometers (13 miles) one-way. But I recommend renting a comfortable bike with gears, preferably an e-bike.
You might have seen my post where I say don’t rent a bike in Amsterdam. And I do stand by that advice. The city center of Amsterdam is too busy for comfort. But taking a trip to the countryside is a great idea. You’ll experience your surroundings much more.
You have multiple options. If you’re using Google Maps, alter the route to make it pretty. Otherwise, you’ll get a boring direct way through build-up areas that are not pretty.
Instead, go west via the free ferry at Hembrug, and you’ll pass the Dutch Kissing Couple Statue XXL. This is an enormous statue of the famous Delft Blue souvenir where a boy and a girl kiss.
On the other side of the ferry (in Zaandam), you have Boer Geert for the best sandwiches in the country.
From there, you can follow the river Zaan with all the historic warehouses and factories along the water, and closer to Zaanse Schans, you’ll pass some cute local Dutch houses and little streets.
Another route is via NDSM (take a free ferry, also free of charge for your bike or scooter) from Central Station to NDSM and then cycle north via the nature area ‘t Twiske. Offering you great Dutch countryside views and stopping points along the way.
If you want, you can combine these routes.
Cycling will take an hour and a half. With stops a little bit more. Plan a full day if you want to do this.
Where to Rent
I recommend checking out bicycle availability and prices here, especially if you book in advance. It saves significant money. And they offer besides comfortable bikes also scooters.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the fastest way to get from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans?
The fastest way to the Zaanse Schans is the express bus 891 in summer. The journey will take 20 minutes. Traveling by car can be just as quick, but traffic in Amsterdam can be all over the place, so it’s very likely the trip will take (much) longer. I would say the following fastest way is by train. That takes less than 20 minutes, but you must walk for 15 minutes to get to the Zaanse Schans.
What is the easiest way to reach Zaanse Schans?
The easiest way to get there would be traveling on a group tour. They’ll take care of everything. If you want to travel on your own then the answer is the bus or train.
What is the distance from Amsterdam to the Zaanse Schans?
The distance is about 11 miles (18 kilometers), depending on where in Amsterdam you depart. But it’s close. The journey from Amsterdam takes between 20 minutes and 40 minutes, depending on the mode of transportation you choose and how much traffic there is. That is why it’s so easy to visit the Zaanse Schans.
What is the Zaanse Schans Address?
1509 AW Zaandam
I hope this post has helped you plan your trip. It’s an easy day-trip destination from Amsterdam. For tips on what to do once you get there make sure to check out my other page on things to do at Zaanse Schans.
You might also be interested in my day trip to Volendam post, which you can find here.
Find A Place To Stay In Zaandam
Update your (intended) travel dates for accurate prices. TIP: Zoom out on the map (-) in the bottom right corner. This will show more options and availability.