If there is one place which is vividly etched in my memory for its picturesque wallpaper sight, it is Zaanse Schans. If you are in Amsterdam, you cannot miss visiting this postcard perfect Dutch village!
From Amsterdam central station, local trains run daily to Zaandijk – Zaanse Schans and take 15-20 minutes to reach. From the station, the walk towards the six wind mills is around 15 minutes and the stroll is worth the beautiful skyline dotted with floating clouds on a clear sky, sparkling Zaan river lined with brick-layered houses and striking windmills visible from far.
As you begin inching closer towards the windmills, you will breathe chocolate aroma in the air as you can sight chocolate factory in the vicinity.
Passing by the lanes of this beautiful village, carefully restored historic houses with lovely gardens, flower pots hanging by the balconies and cosy cafes serving hot chocolate and coffee will make you love every bit of soaking the ambience of this place. Undoubtedly, it is the World Heritage site which offers the experience of visiting the Dutch countryside dating back to 17th centuries as the houses and windmills are carefully restored in their glory.
Crossing over the bridge that oversees the windmills, the sparkling clear blue water of the river Zaan, symmetrical outline of the houses by the riverside, lush green farms and tiny brooks having small bridges over them will take your breath away.
The best time to visit this is on a clear sky or sunny day as the colors of the natural beauty contrast well to offer a memorable sight.
Whatever time you would spend here would appear less for the beauty Zaanse Shans is. Most of the houses are have a small pond with ducks and a bridge which make them ideal for a photo-shoot.
After crossing the bridge, the way to the windmills has the river to the left and farm to the right. One can sit by the river and enjoy playing with ducks, watch the cruises pass by or simply admire the beauty of the slowly moving rotors of the windmills.
Once you reach the first windmill, you can go up to the balcony and watch the running mill up from a close with a ticket of 4.5 euros apart from enjoying the view from the top. The entrance to the windmill also houses a small souvenir shop selling hot chocolate drink which you must have to enrich the flavour of your experience of being in the village that produces chocolate in its backyard.
The peaceful atmosphere with the sight of farms with animals grazing on a sunny day with ducks flapping in the streams is a rejuvenating feeling.
There are museums (entry free) and shops which you can visit to learn more about the history of the place and take back the memories with you in the form of souvenirs of windmills and wooden dutch shoes.
Once you leave this place, you will go back feeling happy and high for the beauty of the place which will attract you to come back for the second visit!