You’ll be passing cities, villages, nature reserves, dikes, plenty of sheep and culture. I will give you a quick summary of why I would visit it and include a link to it’s Wikipedia page for further reading.
Things to see along The No-Nonsense Walk
I don’t really have to explain Amsterdam to you, do I?
Muiden is a cute little village with a nice little lock in the old center and a beautiful castle.
This province is Holland’s biggest “polder” meaning it is drained by putting a fence around it.
Noorder lakes (Almere)
When you’ll be walking on the Oostvaarders dike you will have a nice view on this nature reserve. You can spot many birds and other wildlife here.
No (English) Wiki page.
This dike stretches over almost 30 kilometers, so it is possible that you’ll be walking this dike from start to finish in a whole day.
No (English) Wiki page.
An upgrade of the Noorder lakes. This reserve has wild horses, cattle and several types of deer.
Go check out Batavia stad, where you can see a replica of an old VOC (Indonesia trade company) ship in great shape. Also, this is a good place to get some groceries or find a couchsurfer to stay at.
This 30 kilometer long dike crosses the Marker lake and the Ijssel lake. Just like the Oostvaarders dike, this dike is long enough to take on a whole day of walking.
You’ll love this little town founded in 1355. It has a nice little harbour, lots of fishermen, beautiful buildings and lots of old Dutch culture. It’s a small detour to get to the city center, but it’s worth it!
A bit similar to Enkhuizen, but this town has more characteristics of a city. You’re going more or less through the center on your route, so be sure to get some fresh raw herring if it’s the season (and you’re into fish).
Cheese! The world-renown Edam cheese originates here. This will be the most touristy thing you’ll see (apart from Amsterdam). They have a cheese market in July and August but it’s a cool village to walk around in all year long. Cheese museum, anyone?
Another tourist attraction. Volendam is famous for it’s old fishing boats and traditional women’s costumes. Try their smoked eel.
Like Enkhuizen, this village got it’s city rights in 1355. Expect old houses, cute churches and less tourists than Volendam.
If you’re not sick and tired of Dutch culture yet and/or want to taste some more smoked or raw fish, head over to peninsula Marken.
Additional things to see along The Meaning of Life Walk
There is an overlap in cities you’ll see on the No-Nonsense Walk and the Meaning of Life Walk. Amsterdam, Muiden, Flevoland, Noorder lakes, Oostvaarders dike, Oostvaarder lakes, Lelystad, Enkhuizen, Hoorn, Edam, Volendam and Monnickendam are already described above.
Urk has been around for a while, with historical records dating back to the 9th century. This fishing town has lots of culture and tradition embedded in it’s glorious buildings and residents. Don’t mind the conservativeness of some people here.
Another cool little harbour town. It has a pumping station which is listed as a World Heritage site.
For at least one day you’ll be crossing Friesland. This province has been fighting for independence since I was a little kid. They have their own language (which even the rest of the Dutch don’t speak), some beautiful lakes near Sneek and historical sights dating back to 12BC. Don’t say you’ve been to Friesland; they prefer Fryslân (pronounced Vreeslahn).
In my childhood, when it still snowed every winter, this was the place to be for ice skating enthusiasts. Every other winter or so (whenever the level of frost was right) there was an ice skating race called “Elfstedentocht“, translated “journey of eleven cities”, which ran through Sneek. This was a major event covered live on tv. Every year around January there is hope in the hearts of Holland’s inhabitants that there will be another Elfstedentocht. Unfortunately, the hard facts show that the last race was in 1997 and the ice hasn’t been thick enough to race since.
Another long dike that will take you ages to conquer. This one is 34 kilometers long, and keeps the salty water from the North Sea from flooding the country. You’ll have enough time to feed your brain with new thoughts; let the music in your ears and smell of the sea work their magic. Taking a dive in the summer is recommended.
They have an orphanage and some castles. If you like old buildings stroll around in it’s inner city.