Spending one day in Enkhuizen is one of those things you simply need to do once in your life. Not just because the city is truly spectacular, but also because it’s not on the bucket list for most people who visit The Netherlands. Enkhuizen is found in the province of Noord (North)- Holland. Yes, that’s the one province where you can also find Amsterdam. There are plenty of things to do in Enkhuizen, and it’s surroundings are also incredible to visit. So, whether you’re thinking of hidden gems to visit in The Netherlands, don’t forget to visit Enkhuizen.
In this travel blog about Enkhuizen, you will discover everything from the most beautiful streets to great attractions, and the answer to your question ‘is Enkhuizen, The Netherlands, worth visiting?’. Whether you’re looking for things to see in the centre of Enkhuizen, or a bit outside the main sights, this Enkhuizen itinerary shows you everything you need to know.
If you were looking for destinations in Noord (North)- Holland to visit, then Enkhuizen has to be one of them. Travel to Enkhuizen as a day trip from Amsterdam or Hoorn, and explore all the cool landmarks and fun activities that Enkhuizen has to offer. Take photos in front of beautiful buildings, or simply stand still and admire them. Enjoy the history in one of the places to see in The Netherlands.
I hope that this city guide of Enkhuizen shows you not only what to do in one day in Enkhuizen itself, but also things to do in Noord (North)- Holland. I’ve included tons of other unusual places to visit in The Netherlands, that I’m pretty sure you will love. Whether you’re interested in sightseeing in The Netherlands, or simply want to relax for 24 hours in Enkhuizen, it’s a beautiful place to do so.
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What to do in one day in Enkhuizen, The Netherlands
History & facts about Enkhuizen
Enkhuizen is both a city and a municipality in the province of Noord (North)- Holland. It’s located at both the Ijsselmeer and Markermeer lakes in The Netherlands and also found in the region of West- Friesland. Within the municipality of Enkhuizen, you will also find the villages of Oosterdijk and Westeinde. The city is nowadays known as the ‘Haringstad’, as it was the centre for herring fishery in The Netherlands.
People were already living near Enkhuizen in the Bronze Age. In 2009, archaeologists found remnants of farms and a burial mound that date back to 1575 -1200 B.C. However, people weren’t settling for hundreds of years in a row in Enkhuizen just yet.
In the Middle Ages, the city of Enkhuizen was found as a fishing village, like many Dutch towns. On the 27th of January 1356, Duke Willem V gave Enkhuizen city rights written in Dutch. On the 4th of April 1356, the official confirmation document was given to Enkhuizen, which was longer and written in Latin. Enkhuizen was united with the neighbouring village of Gommerkarspel when these city rights were confirmed once again. Just outside of the dyke near Enkhuizen you could find another town, called ‘Oostdorp Enkhuizen’, which was swept away by a storm flood in 1421. Those inhabitants gained permission to create a new church inside the protected area by dykes in 1422. Even though people from three towns (Gommerkarspel, Oostdorp Enkhuizen and Enkhuizen) were living together, there were a lot of differences between the fishermen in Enkhuizen and farmers of Gommerkarspel and surroundings.
The first harbour in Enkhuizen was dug in the 14th century, and the Zuider Havendijk in Enkhuizen is what remains of that. Then in the 15th and 16th century, the harbours in Enkhuizen were expanded, plus the city got fortifications. The town of Enkhuizen continued to grow, and eventually, the fortifications were made more significant as well, they are still in shape today as they were at the end of the 16th century.
The time of the Reformation was a time which left Enkhuizen flourishing. It was one of the first cities in the Holland region that supported the Prince of Orange in 1572. The Prince was more than happy with the support of Enkhuizen as a city, that’s why he gave them the privilege to create markings for boats in the entire Zuiderzee (this used to be a sea floating directly into the Wadden Sea and is now divided into the Flevoland province, Markermeer and Ijsselmeer). So Enkhuizen created those markings and in exchange got to raise taxes on all ships in the former Zuiderzee.
Then the 17th century arrived in Enkhuizen, and that was the time when the city became rich. The reason for that is that they had the biggest fishing fleet for herring fishery in The Netherlands, had a chamber (office) of the VOC and the WIC was also found in Enkhuizen. Due to trading with the Baltic countries and England, as well as in West Africa and nowadays Indonesia (you know, the time of colonisation…), Enkhuizen became pretty wealthy. At that time, Enkhuizen had a population of around 25.000 people, which was a lot for that time, and nowadays the population of Enkhuizen is about 18.000.
The prosperity for Enkhuizen didn’t last long, because the end of the 17th century was rough. There were wars with England (those bloody English), the harbour was filled with sand, Amsterdam was a city that took away much of the trading of Enkhuizen, etc. Remember when I said that the city was expanded in the 16th century? Well, because economically things were not going right for Enkhuizen at that time, significant parts of the city (within the fortifications) weren’t built with houses. It got so bad that between 1650 and 1850 the population decreased from 22.000 to only 5400. 1600 houses disappeared as well, which were changed into meadows or kitchen gardens.
Only at the end of the 19th century, Enkhuizen was growing again. When the railway of Amsterdam- Zaandam – Enkhuizen was finished in 1885, the people came back. Especially since the ferry from Enkhuizen to Stavoren and the railway from Leeuwarden to Stavoren were created. Enkhuizen was still prominent in the herring industry, but with the Zuiderzee closed off from the Wadden Sea this was lost in 1932. After the Second World War, the population started growing again, and the city was expanded outside the fortifications.
Where to stay in Enkhuizen
When you’re visiting Enkhuizen, I would recommend you to spend one, full day in this Dutch city in Noord (North)- Holland. I always say this, especially since then you get to know a place in The Netherlands a bit more and get to experience the evening vibe.
If you’re looking for accommodation in Enkhuizen, then these are the places for you. From B&B’s in Enkhuizen to other great places to stay and the best hotels in Enkhuizen, there’s something for you here.
B&B Aan de Haven: Check rates & availability on Booking.com
Hotel De Koepoort: Check rates & availability on Booking.com
SuyderSee Hotel: Check rates & availability on Booking.com
Herberg de Compagnie: Check rates & availability on Booking.com
Best breakfast cafes in Enkhuizen
There are quite a few good restaurants where you can eat breakfast in Enkhuizen. For instance, head to Restaurant Tydloos or Restaurant van Bleiswijk. There are tons of options all over the city of Enkhuizen.
Free walking tour Enkhuizen
This self-guided and free walking tour in Enkhuizen is around 10 kilometres long.
One of the best things to do in Enkhuizen is to go on a walking tour. And if you don’t have any money to spend, or simply like to explore a Dutch city in Noord (North)- Holland on your own, then you’re going to want what I’m giving you here. I’ve created an Enkhuizen self- guided and free walking tour for you.
Discover the most beautiful and hidden secrets in Enkhuizen, learn about the history, walk through some of the most picturesque streets in The Netherlands and explore the ramparts of this fortified city. This free walking tour will show you all the sights and landmarks of Enkhuizen that you need to see.
Discover one of the museums in Enkhuizen
What has surprised me about Enkhuizen the most is the staggering amount of museums that you can find here. From visiting the only 17th-century library left on its original location in The Netherlands to exploring a city prison. And from learning about traditional Dutch culture in this region to ships in bottles. There’s truly something for everyone and more.
The Librije is the only remaining 17th-century public library in The Netherlands that is still found on its original location. And the best part? You can visit it. De Librije library in Enkhuizen is located in the Westerkerk and is a beautiful sight to see.
This is essentially a ‘ships in bottles’ museum in Enkhuizen, but not just any museum. This might be one of the quirkiest Dutch museums you can find in The Netherlands, and it’s worth a visit. Not only can you find sailing ships (with open sails) in bottles, but also modern ships and this museum has the biggest collection of bottled boats in the world. They have over 1000 ships in bottles that come from over the entire world, dating back from centuries ago to now. Besides admiring the ships, you can also learn how they put those darn ships through such a tiny bottle opening and discover different exhibitions.
The city prison of Enkhuizen dates back to the beginning of the 17th century. It’s almost entirely intact, including the cells with old (and pretty disturbing) torture devices. The ground floor and every other floor after that, have two compartments that only give only a little light and air to the prisoner.
During the summer months (July & August) you can visit the city prison in Enkhuizen from Tuesday until Sunday from 13:00 until 17:00. Cool to know is that going inside is free, going outside, however… costs you around one euro. Don’t worry, no torture devices for you.
One of The Netherlands most famous and visited open-air museums is the Zuiderzeemuseum. And with an excellent reason, because it’s simply amazing. The Zuiderzeemuseum shows you the way people lived around the old Zuiderzee area. This includes traditional crafts, clothes, houses, and so much more. Visiting the Zuiderzeemuseum is a must-do in Enkhuizen.
Eat lunch at these restaurants in Enkhuizen
There are plenty of great lunch cafes and restaurants to eat at in Enkhuizen, so no matter where you will end up, it will probably be great. Restaurant Tydloos and Van Bleijswijk are both fantastic options. ‘t Ankertje is a great place to get vegan food in Enkhuizen, as well as gluten-free options.
Go on a canal tour in Enkhuizen
If you want to go on a boat tour through Enkhuizen, then you will love this. Seeing a city from the water gives you a completely different perspective, plus the guide will tell you fascinating information. Explore the hidden secrets in one of The Netherlands oldest cities. You can go on a tour from the 1st of April until the 30th of September from Tuesday until Sunday. The first Enkhuizen canal tour departs on 11:00 (every hour) and the latest at 17:00. It takes around 45 minutes. The departure address is Oude Gracht 1 in Enkhuizen.
Go shopping for souvenirs in Enkhuizen
If you want to go shopping in Enkhuizen, it truly doesn’t matter where you walk, because the entire centre is filled with cool shops that you won’t see anywhere else. And there’s something for everyone. So yes, Enkhuizen is filled with shops, but some of my favourite locations for buying local products are the following:
- Buy fresh bread, pastries and more at Bakkerij ‘t Broodhuys
- Buy the Enkhuizer Krentenmik, opgespoten Jodenkoek and Enkhuyzer pastries as Bakkerij Rood
- Get the best local Dutch alcohols at De Slijterij van Enkhuizen
Go for a good dinner at the best restaurants in Enkhuizen
There are endless of great places to eat in Enkhuizen. Think of visiting Restaurant Tydloos, which not only has great meat and fish options but if you’re looking for vegetarian food in Enkhuizen, then this is also a great spot to eat. The same is for Dinercafe Retro.
The best Italian restaurant in Enkhuizen (with the best pizza) can be found at Da Renato, reserving in advance can be useful. Van Bleijswijk and Restaurant Markerwaard are other great dinner restaurants in Enkhuizen. At ‘t Ankertje in Enkhuizen, you can find vegan options, and they also have a separate menu for the gluten-free peeps. De Enkhuizer Visafslag is the best fish restaurant in Enkhuizen.
Things to do in Enkhuizen in the evening
If you’re looking for what to do in Enkhuizen at night, then this is for you. One of my favourite things to do is to sit at the old sea wall in Enkhuizen, called Wierdijk, to see the sunset. Both sunrise and sunset are my favourite times of the day, and it gives you a magical view on the Ijsselmeer.
Something else that is great to do in Enkhuizen in the evening is to sit at great bars and cafe; in fact, Enkhuizen has plenty of those. Visit beer brewery, Brouwerij De Werf in Enkhuizen for some fantastic brewed Dutch craft beer and go for a tasting. Then, if you’re interested in getting the traditional Dutch experience, I would recommend you to visit a brown bar in Enkhuizen. Think of going to Wapen van Urk (also nicknamed Café Bok) or ‘t Kleine Cafe.
The nightlife in Enkhuizen can be bustling, depending on where you go. Around the cafes and bars in the old harbour (Oude Haven) region, as well as the Torenstraat and Westerstraat, there’s always something to do.
More things to do in Enkhuizen and its surroundings
Discover the best events & markets in Enkhuizen
Every year during July the Westfriese Waterweken takes place throughout the West- Friesland area, as well as in Enkhuizen for one week: Waterweek Enkhuizen. Enjoy the atmosphere, see demonstrations, sail on old historic boats, taste local foods and so much more!
Every year during October the Klipperrace is organised in Enkhuizen. This is a race with old ships. On Saturday they sail the three cities race: From Enkhuizen to Medemblik, Stavoren, Urk and back to Enkhuizen (Krabbersgat). On Sunday, they sail in lines, next to each other.
At the beginning of June, you can find one of the best Jazz festivals in Europe in Enkhuizen. It takes place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and is called Jazz Festival Enkhuizen.
Every year in the Zuiderzeemuseum you can find an old Dutch fair in summer and the beginning of autumn. This ‘Oud Hollandsche Kermis‘ is an event you shouldn’t miss out on, simply because it’s a lot of fun and cool to see.
Taandagen is another event in Enkhuizen that takes place in either July or August. During these days, historical ships will sail from Enkhuizen to the former island of Urk.
There’ also a weekly market that takes place in the city of Enkhuizen. Every Wednesday from 09:00 until 16:00 you can buy the freshest, local products.
During Lichtjesavond or Enkhuizen Bij Kaarslicht, the city of Enkhuizen will be even more magical than before. Every year, one day during December, the street lights in Enkhuizen won’t shine. Instead, candles are lit up everywhere throughout Enkhuizen. The route starts at the Westerkerk.
Visit the city of Hoorn
A perfect day trip from Enkhuizen has to be travelling to the city of Hoorn. Not only can you visit incredible museums and see beautiful picturesque streets in Hoorn, but it’s found at the shores of the IJsselmeer lake as well, which is perfect when you’re looking to go sailing in The Netherlands. If you’re looking to rent a sailboat in for the Ijsselmeer lake, then I can recommend you to have a look at Kaaphorn Charters. And you can also join a trip on a sailing boat as an individual in The Netherlands.
Explore nature reserve De Weelen
Nature reserve De Weelen is found between the town of Andijk and Enkhuizen and is 350 hectares. Dogs aren’t allowed here. It’s filled with small creeks, reed, forests and meadows. Plus, there are river beaches, and it’s also a bird reserve. Please take the hardened walking/ cycling path, as the other areas are a resting site for birds.
This area was created due to dikes that were breaking in the 14th century, that creates ‘wielen’, or wheels. These are water-filled holes. In this area, you can find the Klookeweel, Ruiterweel, Lutjebroekerweel and Zuidmeerweel where you can see those holes.
You can start the walking route through this nature just outside Enkhuizen at Noorder Bolwerk in Enkhuizen, and the path is one way around 4 kilometres.
Go on a boat from Enkhuizen to the Frisian town of Stavoren
The ferry from Enkhuizen to Stavoren has been running since 1886. Back then, this was the quickest way to reach the Friesland province from Noord (North)- Holland as the Afsluitdijk has only been created in around 1932. It runs from around June until October. Not only does it make it really easy to get a feeling of both Noord- Holland and Friesland in one day, but the 80-minute boat ride will show a beautiful view of the Ijsselmeer lake and its surroundings.
Rent a boat in Enkhuizen
In the city of Enkhuizen, you can usually rent boats from the beginning of April until the end of October. Not only can you sail through the harbours and canals of Enkhuizen, but you can even head into a recreational area called Het Streekbos and nature reserve De Weelen. There you will see small creeks, meadows, a bird reserve and so much more. Of course, as always, take care of nature, so don’t disturb animals and keep your trash with you (plus take trash with you if you see it).
You can rent boats in Enkhuizen at several locations:
Enjoy the Ijsselmeer lake
The Ijsselmeer is The Netherlands largest lake and people take full advantage of that. One of the things you can do at the Ijsselmeer is to go supping. Work out, while you’re enjoying the beautiful surroundings. Of course, you need to stay near the coast, as otherwise, it can be dangerous due to boats, but it’s still worth it. At Supcentre you can rent sup boards, but I would recommend you to email them in advance, so you will know whether the boards are available. When the warm weather has arrived, those boards are rented within no time.
Cycle in the surroundings of Enkhuizen
Enkhuizen is a great place to visit, but its region is also more than worth exploring. You can rent bikes in Enkhuizen at Dekker Tweewielers and also at Smit Brandhoff Tweewielers. And don’t forget to bring an id or passport when you rent things in The Netherlands. Otherwise, you won’t be able to rent bikes, and that would be a shame. Cycle to the lighthouse of Oosterdijk, to Medemblik, along the cycle paths of the Ijsselmeer, or even to Hoorn. There are endless possibilities.
Visit the beach of Enkhuizen
At a walking distance of around ten minutes from Enkhuizen, you can find a small beach which is surrounded by grass and trees. Nearby the beach you have a restaurant, called Strandpaviljoen Enkhuizen, that is excellent to visit, especially when the weather is lovely.
Sail on historical ships from Enkhuizen
At another part of this article, I will tell you about a ferry boat that runs to the former island of Urk, but you can also sail on an original historic ship (called Willem Barentsz) to Urk. Between the middle of July until the beginning of August you can sail on an old boat from the harbour of Enkhuizen to Urk. The ship runs once a day (From Urk & Enkhuizen), and it doesn’t sail on Sunday, and you can buy these tickets at the VVV (tourist office) in Enkhuizen.
Enkhuizen is also home to charter ships (brown fleet) that can be used during vacation. These are historic Dutch sailing ships that were used for transportation purposes. Nowadays you can go on holidays with these historic ships from Enkhuizen (yes, even if you’re a solo traveller in The Netherlands) explore the Wadden Sea, the Ijsselmeer and more!
Experience tulip season near Enkhuizen
Tulip season in The Netherlands can be witnessed near Enkhuizen in the best possible way. A perfect cycling route from Enkhuizen to see tulip fields is to go to the town of Venhuizen and its surroundings. It’s a magical area. You can rent bikes in Enkhuizen at Dekker Tweewielers and also at Smit Brandhoff Tweewielers. Don’t forget to bring an id or passport, when you rent things in The Netherlands. Otherwise, you won’t be able to borrow items, and this is standard over here.
Admire the Westfriese Omringdijk
The Westfriese Omringdijk is one of the most incredible monuments in The Netherlands. This 126-kilometre long dyke protects the West-Friesland region. Explore a part of it by foot, bike, scooter or car and admire a traditional Dutch landscape, endless windmills, traditional farmhouses from the region, culture from the area, local products and a ton of beautiful Dutch towns and villages.
Go on a ferry from Enkhuizen to the former island of Urk
The former Dutch island of Urk can now be found in the province of Flevoland, but it was an island before the Zuiderzee was closed off and the Flevoland province was created. The Dutch province of Flevoland is generally found 5 metres below sea-level, but at the island of Urk, the highest point is 8,5 metres above sea level. The ferry used to be the only connection to the mainland, and it’s kept alive during the summer months in The Netherlands. Explore the old traditions of Urk and discover a completely different Dutch culture. When you’re on the ferry, you can sign up for a tour through the town of Urk. You can buy tickets for the ferry Enkhuizen- Urk online or at the boat.
Explore the small city of Medemblik
Medemblik is one of those smaller towns in the Holland region that comes not first to your mind to visit, but it should. Not only can you find one of The Netherlands most beautiful Dutch castles here, but it’s very easy to explore Medemblik on a day trip. And when it’s warm in The Netherlands, you can even go to a recreational area near Medemblik called De Vooroever, where you can find a beach. Travel to Medemblik and discover the old harbour, the beautiful streets and enjoy the welcoming atmosphere.
Travel the historical triangle in The Netherlands
Visiting this historical triangle is a must-do in The Netherlands, but what is it? The historical triangle exists out of three amazing cities to visit in the province of Noord (North)- Holland, that are all located on the former Zuiderzee: Hoorn, Medemblik and Enkhuizen. From Enkhuizen to the town of Medemblik there’s an old boat that sails from around April until November, called the M.S. Friesland. Then from the centre of Medemblik, you can travel by traditional steam tram in The Netherlands to the city of Hoorn. After exploring Hoorn, you can go back to Enkhuizen. It’s a perfect way to discover small towns in The Netherlands in a fast, or slow pace. Whatever you prefer. You can buy tickets for exploring the historical triangle in The Netherlands here.
Walk in the surroundings of Enkhuizen
If you’re interested in walking routes from Enkhuizen, then this is for you. Enkhuizen is located in a beautiful area, with plenty of scenic views you can find in The Netherlands. Walk from Enkhuizen to the village of Oosterdijk, for instance. You can walk on the dyke along the Ijsselmeer lake from Enkhuizen to enjoy a magical surrounding.
You can also start one of the long-distance walking paths in The Netherlands here, called the Zuiderzeepad. Plus, the Groot- Frieslandpad also crosses the centre of Enkhuizen.
How to get to Enkhuizen
I would always recommend you to use 9292.nl/en to plan your current trips by public transportation in The Netherlands. This is only used to give you a quick idea on the arrival time and how you roughly can travel to Enkhuizen.
From Amsterdam: It’s effortless to travel on a day trip from Amsterdam to Enkhuizen by public transport. You simply need to take the train from Amsterdam Centraal Station in the direction of Enkhuizen, get out at Enkhuizen. This train runs around twice an hour, and it will take you about 1 hour to get to Enkhuizen from Amsterdam by train.
From Utrecht: To reach Enkhuizen on a day trip from Utrecht city, you’d have to take a train that will take you to Amsterdam Centraal train station. From there you need to transfer to the direct train that runs to the city of Enkhuizen. It will take you around 1 hour and 45 minutes to get from Utrecht to Enkhuizen.
From Rotterdam: There are several options to get to Enkhuizen city from Rotterdam. I would recommend you to take the intercity in the direction of Amsterdam and to get out at Amsterdam Sloterdijk. From there you can transfer to the train in the course of Enkhuizen. It will take you a little over 2 hours to get from Rotterdam city to Enkhuizen.
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Other Noord (North)- Holland travel blogs and guides you’ll love
I hope that you’ve found the best things to do in Enkhuizen in this city blog. And that all your questions, such as ‘Where is Enkhuizen, The Netherlands’ have been answered. Whether you’ve been looking for the best food in Enkhuizen, free things to do or must-sees, this one day Enkhuizen itinerary has shown it all. From where to go in Enkhuizen to what to see. This travel guide for Enkhuizen will definitely come in handy when you are exploring Enkhuizen one day.
Don’t be afraid to spend a bit longer, such as a weekend, in Enkhuizen either. There are so many amazing and fun things to do that it’s incredibly easy to add a few days in Enkhuizen to your The Netherlands itinerary. And Enkhuizen is undoubtedly one of the cities and places you need to visit in Noord (North)- Holland. Share this post!