• Photo: Nicknickko | Dreamstime.com

Volendam

Assuming that other visitors don't block your view, you can stare to your heart's content at the residents of Volendam still wearing traditional costumes immortalized in Dutch dolls the world over. Yes, indeed, they dress this way for real (even cosmopolitan Amsterdammers stop in their tracks when someone from Volendam or Marken visits the city in full gear). The men wear dark baggy pantaloons fastened with silver guilders instead of buttons, striped vests, and dark jackets with caps. Women wear long dark skirts covered with striped aprons and blouses with elaborately hand-embroidered floral panels. Their coral necklaces and famous winged lace caps complete the picture. Of course, everyone wears klompen. You'll have the most fun in Volendam if you have your photo taken in traditional costume (a real hoot for the folks back home), enjoy a stroll on the dike (or maybe even a swim on one side of it), and explore the narrow streets with their small, nostalgic fishermen's cottages. Don't let the many tacky tourist-oriented businesses—a room wallpapered with cigar bands?—selling souvenirs put you off; head off the beaten track and see the "real" unspoiled Volendam. And be sure to sample the region's renowned smoked eels—they're truly delicious.

Explore Volendam

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