|Waterland and Zaan Region, North Holland, Netherlands. It is known for its characteristic wooden houses and traditional costumes. It's a peninsula in the IJsselmeer lake, but connected to the mainland by a causeway.
This picturesque little village was originally situated on an island. Floods were regular and often disastrous. To protect their belongings and themselves from the water, the inhabitants created artificial dwelling hills on which they build their houses. As fishery became the main economic activity, the population grew rapidly. When the Afsluitdijk was finished in 1932, and the Zuiderzee became the sweet water IJsselmeer with no access to the sea, fishery activities came to an end. When the dike between Marken and the mainland was closed in 1957, Marken wasn't even a real island anymore. Nevertheless, the village still has the looks and feel of a fishermen's town and an island. For over a century, it has drawn in visitors who wanted a glance at its traditional costumes and picturesque houses.
In the main tourist season, 24 March - 6 November in 2011, there's also a ferry connection to Volendam, which leaves about once in 30 to 45 minutes.
By bike: The Marken Cycle Route (51 or 45 km) takes you from the back of Amsterdam Central Station to Marken and back.
Marken is a village and you can easily get around on foot. Alternatively, you can rent a bike via:
Volendam and Monnickendam have a larger number of bike rental options, and are a comfortable biking distances from the peninsula.
Marken's main attraction lies in its lovely old wooden houses, traditional atmosphere and folklorist elements.Traditional costumes are now rarely worn, and usually for tourist purposes, but are still fun to see. Many of the wooden houses are listed as National Heritage Sites and some are placed on wooden poles, to protect them from the water. The main sights include:
Wandelroute rond Marken over de dijk is a pedestrian/cyclist path that goes all around Marken. It gives access to a wide open landscape view, birds, farms, small settlements and off course the famous lighthouse of Paard van marken. Visiting Marken is also a great opportunity to visit the fishermen harbor of Volendam. This can be done by taking a ferry from the Harbor of Marken.
Marken has been a popular tourist destination for decades and souvenirs are all around. You'll find a good range at the Sijtje Boes house, which is the oldest souvenir store in town. Marker Folklorestoffen (Buurt II 5) sells the typical fabrics that you the traditional Marker costumes were made of. On Rietland 4 there's a shop that sells the actual costumes.
There are a few restaurants. As Marken is originally a fishermen's town, there's a lot of sea food around. Hotel Hof van Marken also has a restaurant.
Accommodation is limited on the peninsula, and most people stay in Amsterdam, Volendam or Monnickendam. There is a hotel though, and it gets good reviews.
Amsterdam city centre is about a 30 minute drive away. Nearby villages include: