Time 6 hours
Formerly an island north of Amsterdam, the traditional community of Marken is now connected to land by a long, raised roadway. The culturally-rich town was once an important fishing community and is popular with tourists for its wooden homes painted with unique colours. A scenic lighthouse sits on the eastern tip of Marken, offering a great location to stop and have lunch before biking back to Amsterdam.
This biking route to Marken starts at Amsterdam Central Station and takes you through the east neighbourhoods of the city before crossing the IJ and passing through the community of Durgerdam. The route follows the coastline along the IJsselmeer before heading out along the long, narrow dike to Marken. The return route passes through the countryside of North Holland, including the town of Zuiderwoude and a long stretch of farmland before returning to the urbanized area of Tuindorp Nieuwendam. A short bike ride through Amsterdam's northern district of Vogelbuurt brings you to a ferry that crosses the IJ, returning to Central Station.
Beginning on the South side of Amsterdam Central Station where all of the buses and trams are, ride towards the eastern side of the station, beyond the trams, and make your way towards the red bike routes. Ride just east of the station to the first traffic light and cross the street, then immediately go left on Oosterdokskade. Ride underneath the train tracks to a traffic light on the otherside. Cross the street and immediately go right, following the bike path along De Ruijterkade, with the water of the IJ on your left. Less than 100-meters along this route, the road name changes to Piet Heinkade but just continue heading in the same direction.
After riding along Piet Heinkade for about 2.5km, the street again changes names and becomes Panamalaan. You will have to cross the road and ride along the bike path on the other side and it's best to do this at the intersection with Borneolaan. After crossing the street, go left and continue in the same direction as you were before until you reach a 3-way intersection at a traffic light. Turn left and follow the bike path along Zeeburgerdijk for about 1km until it veers to the right and reaches an intersection with traffic lights at Zuiderzeeweg. You need to turn left onto Zuiderzeeweg but, first, cross the street, then go left on Zuiderzeeweg so you are riding on the right side of the street. Ride up the hill and over the big bridge that passes over the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal.
Ride down the hill on the other side of the bridge until you reach a busy 4-way intersection. You need to go straight through this intersection and continue along Zuiderzeeweg but, this time, you will need to cross the street and ride on the left side of the street. To do so, cross at the intersection twice so you are on the opposite corner (ie. kitty-corner), then continue along Zuiderzeeweg up onto a 2nd bridge. This bridge crosses the busy IJ below and takes you into the North Amsterdam region. Ride down the hill on the other side of the bridge and turn left at the roundabout onto Liergouw Street. Ride to the end of the street where it meets Schellingwouderdijk, where you will turn left.
From this point, you will ride along the route with the coastline on your right all the way to Marken. Less than 100-meters on the Schellingwouderdijk (before passing under the bridge), ride onto the bike path on the left side of the road. Follow the bike path under a bridge, then under a second highway overpass. Continue along the bike path as it veers left and goes up a small hill, merging with the road. Go left on the road, which is now called Durgerdammerdijk, and ride into the small village of Durgerdam. The scenic town has a coastal community feel to it and it's a popular, shorter biking destination. Ride to a 3-way intersection at the end of the town and turn right, riding up a hill onto a dike but staying next to the road down below on your left.
For the next 9km, follow this route, staying so that you are next to the road on your left with the water of the IJsselmeer on your right. When you pass through the small village of Uitdam, the route briefly follows a bike path on the road before separating again onto a path to the right of the road. There are great scenic views along the way as you pedal northward. The openness of the route also means it can be windy which, depending on the direction of the windy, can make the ride a bit more challenging.
After riding along the coast for about 9km, you reach a 3-way intersection with signs pointing right to Marken. Go right and pass the last bit of fields before veering north and riding 1.6km along a narrow dike to the community of Marken. Continue along the main road on the former island as the bike route passes a parking lot and arrives at an intersection with Kerkbuurt. Turn left onto Kerkbuurt and follow this path as it then veers right and takes you into the town center of Marken.
To get to the lighthouse, continue through the town center and follow the road as it becomes Minneweg. Turn right at the intersection with Walandweg and ride for about 500-meters to a bike path on the left called Oosterpad. Turn left and follow this bike path for almost 2km until you reach the end, where the lighthouse is. Called the Paard van Marken ("Horse of Marken"), the lighthouse was built in 1839 and, aside from being a popular attraction, is still in use today.
After enjoying the view by the lighthouse, ride back along the 2km Oosterpad and turn left on Walandweg. Just 150-meters and you pass straight through the 4-way intersection where you were earlier when you first arrived at Marken. Continue riding straight along the bike path, past the parking area, and along the road as you ride out on to the long dike, leaving Marken behind.
Back on the mainland, when you reach the 3-way intersection from earlier, continue straight heading in the direction you have not been as you once again follow the coastline along a raised dike with a road below to your left. Within minutes, the bike path passes some stairs by a parking area. Just 500-meters beyond this parking area, you reach a 2nd set of stairs that goes down to a different road across the street. Walk your bike down these stairs and cross the street to the other road called Dijkeinde. Follow this road as you head away from the water and into the polders and Dutch countryside.
Follow the main road as it veers right and passes through the small town of Zuiderwoude. When you arrive at the Zuiderwoude Church, turn left and ride along the street called Aandammergouw. After a long straight stretch, turn right at the 3-way intersection and continue for another kilometer, again staying on the main road. The road crosses a small bridge and, although it feels as though you are on the same street, the street name becomes Poppendammergouw. A few minutes after riding over the bridge, go left at the next junction where a sign points to Route #42.
After passing the junction pointing to Route #42, the route continues to follow the road called Poppendammergouw for the next 3.5km or so. After a very long, straight stretch, the road reaches a small intersection. Ride straight across the road onto the bike path and turn right, riding less than 100-meters to another small bike path on the left. Turn left and follow this bike path that is on a dike between two small canals. This path weaves its way through more farmland before reaching a bridge. Do not cross the bridge, instead, turn right and follow the bike path (Route #39 on the sign). The straight path eventually curves to the right, then turn left at the road and cross over the bridge. Immediately after crossing the bridge, turn left onto a street called Buikslotermeerdijk as it veers right, then left and under the noisy A10 Highway overpass.
After passing under the highway overpass, ride straight along the street, which is now called Beemsterstraat, as it passes through the town of Nieuwendam. Keep riding for about 1.5km until you reach the end of the road, then turn right onto Nieuwendammerdijk. Follow Nieuwendammerdijk past a marina as it continues along a narrow road between rows of houses. This street ends when it reaches a busy street called Meeuwenlaan. Turn left, cross to the other side of Meeuwenlaan, then follow the red bike path south. Ride straight through a 4-way intersection with a roundabout and continue along Meeuwenlaan as you ride past apartments and busy stores.
Meeuwenlaan eventually ends up at a ferry terminal where the free Amsterdam-IJpleinveer passenger ferry crosses the IJ 24-hours a day. Wait for the ferry to arrive, walk your bike onto the ferry, then enjoy the views as you cross the IJ to central Amsterdam. At the ferry dock on the other side, you are now directly behind Amsterdam Central Station where you began your bike ride to Marken earlier in the day. To get to the south-side of the station. go left and ride along the street De Ruijterkade to the first set of traffic lights. Turn right and cross the street, riding underneath the train tracks. At the intersection on the other side of the train tracks, turn right, crossing a small street and ride towards the trams in front of Central Station.