Edam's name is synonymous with Dutch cheese, and there's plenty of it to be found there. Among the city's 17th-century buildings are a cheese-weighing station and many places where you can taste or buy the famous cheese.

A visit to Edam can be combined with a stop in nearby Volendam, one of the most picturesque fishing villages in the country. Walk the dike, eat raw herring and observe people wearing the area's traditional clothing: women in old-fashioned dresses with aprons and big white-winged hats stroll alongside men in black woolen pants flared at the bottom, wooden shoes and round caps who look as if they just walked off a Dutch Boy paint can.

In summer, a passenger ferry connects Volendam and Marken, another photogenic fishing village. Marken sits on land that was once an island. The fishing industry has died, and today Marken relies on a daily catch of tourists. Spend an hour strolling along the shore, looking at the houses (all painted green with white trim). Edam, Volendam and Marken are about 15 mi/25 km northeast of Amsterdam.

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