Culture Day trips

Day trip from Amsterdam: Muiden

Day trip from Amsterdam: Muiden | Your Dutch Guide

If you’re visiting The Netherlands, staying in Amsterdam and thinking about taking a day trip. I can highly recommend going to Muiden for the day. This laid back Dutch town hasn’t been discovered by the tour bus crowds yet but has some lovely sights to explore. In one day you can easily have a look at the fortress island Pampus, medieval castle Muiderslot and the adorable town centre along the water. 

The history of Muiden is a military one. It was given city rights in the 12th century and given to count Floris V, by Henry V, who then started to build the castle that Muiden is now so famous for. To defend the town, and Amsterdam, fortresses and bastions were built from the 16th century on and these became part of the 85 kilometres long defence line (from Amsterdam in the north to Biesbosch in the south of the Netherlands): Hollande Water Linie.

Day trip from Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Muiden | Your Dutch Guide

Day trip from Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Muiden | Your Dutch Guide

Day trip from Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Muiden | Your Dutch Guide

Explore Muiden

Muiden is one of those unhurried old towns and you basically can’t believe that the busy and noisy centre of Amsterdam is only a 20-minute drive away. The tiny city centre is a collection of pretty typically Dutch houses, pretty gables and all, divided by the Vecht river that flows into IJmeer at Muiden. The biggest attraction in the centre is watching the busy lock where giant historical boats try to make their way through. There are a couple of cafés with outdoor seating right at the lock, for the best show.

Fort Island Pampus

The island of Pampus is situated just off the Muiden coast and it has made its way into the Dutch dictionary. ‘Voor Pampus liggen’ (to lay in front of Pampus) means to be very lazy or to be completely exhausted and the expression dates back to the 17th century when trading ships from the Dutch East Indies, loaded with spices, coffee and silk, would anchor off Pampus. They were often far too heavy to sail into the shallow port of Amsterdam. So at Pampus, they’d have to wait until they were offloaded or lifted higher out of the water.

Fortress island Pampus, day trip from Amsterdam | Your Dutch Guide

Fortress island Pampus, day trip from Amsterdam | Your Dutch Guide

Fortress island Pampus, day trip from Amsterdam | Your Dutch Guide

Fortress island Pampus, day trip from Amsterdam | Your Dutch Guide

At the end of the 19th century, the fortress on the island of Pampus was constructed as part of the 42 fortresses that formed the defence line of Amsterdam. Two large canons would keep invaders at bay. When warplanes were used more than war ships, the fortress of Pampus pretty much lost its function, but (like most other fortresses and bastions in The Netherlands) it was still used in wartime. After the fifties the fortress was unused for decades when it was saved from disrepair and placed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

You can take a ferry to the island of Pampus, which runs about 5 times a day in summer. Audio tours are available in English and German or you can also download the free app on your phone to take the tour, there is free Wifi at the pavilion. Inside the fortress, there is an exhibition about all the fortresses along the Amsterdam defence line, but also the different chambers that were used for storage and by staff. I particularly loved climbing on the fortress and looking towards the skyline of the outskirts of Amsterdam to the west and IJmeer and Markermeer on the north and west, with lots of old Dutch sailing boats whooshing by.

Castle Muiderslot

The well-preserved fortress castle Muiderslot, with moat, round towers, water shield and falconry is one of the most popular castles in The Netherlands. It was built by Count Floris V in 1280, who was later imprisoned for being a French sympathiser and murdered when trying to escape, and the castle was popular with famous Dutch poet PC Hooft in the 17th century who entertained some great artists and scientists there.

Muiderslot castle, a day trip from Amsterdam | Your Dutch Guide

Muiderslot castle, a day trip from Amsterdam | Your Dutch Guide

Muiderslot castle, a day trip from Amsterdam | Your Dutch Guide

Muiderslot castle, a day trip from Amsterdam | Your Dutch Guide

Muiderslot castle, a day trip from Amsterdam | Your Dutch Guide

Nowadays there is a 30-minute guided tour that you can join to explore the castle’s interior, but since all signs are in both Dutch and English, you might as well go in and see all the towers, halls and rooms at your own pace. The room and halls house a collection of armour and weapons from the 13th century and a collection of furniture, clothing and jewellery dating back to the time when Hooft used the castle for entertaining.

But most of all, I would really advise you not to skip the gardens, as they are simply stunning. A covered walk divides the ground into a vegetable garden and a flower garden. If you see volunteers working on the garden, they will be happy to tell you about all the plants and flowers growing there. Also, take a walk around the castle for some beautiful views across the lake and a peek in the plum orchard.

Muiden: where to go for lunch?

  • Graaf Floris V van Muyden
    The outdoor seating, just next to the lock, simply can’t be beaten. A perfect place for people and boat watching.
  • Bakkerij P&E Stricker
    If you’d like a coffee to go or a quick lunch, this simple bakery offers a couple of seats inside and outside, along the water. You can also take everything to go.
  • Fort H
    A little outside the city centre, right by the water. Great views. You can order great salads or seafood dishes, the wine list is also pretty good.

Plan your day trip to Muiden

  • From Amsterdam IJburg you can take a ferry to both Muiderslot and the Pampus fortress. You can get a discount on your I Amsterdam City Pass.
  • Plan your trip to Amsterdam using my Alternative guide to Amsterdam.
  • You can get to Muiden from Amsterdam by hopping on a train or metro to Amsterdam Amstel station. There you can take a direct bus to Muiden (P1), which will take about 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can take a train to Weesp, where you can either grab a rental bike for €3,85 (an OV fiets) or take a bus to Muiden. Use website to plan your trip. The same routes apply if you travel from Utrecht.
  • If you have a (rental) car at hand, that’s even more convenient, as Muiden is only a 20-minute drive from Amsterdam. I recommend parking at Mariahoeveweg (P2) as that is a lot cheaper than parking at the castle or in town.

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  • Reply
    July 28, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    What a lovely cyber tour. Your country is so beautiful.

  • Reply
    July 28, 2017 at 6:35 pm

    Wow this place looks stunning! I love your photos. I think I might have to put a visit here on my travel list 🙂

    • Reply
      July 28, 2017 at 7:14 pm

      Thank you, Sheree! I hope you’ll get there someday. It’s not too touristy just yet, like other day trip destinations from Amsterdam.

  • Reply
    July 28, 2017 at 7:27 pm

    What a great day trip. Amsterdam is gorgeous in itself but if you want to get away from the city for the day, Muiden looks like the place to do it!

  • Reply
    July 28, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    Beautiful location!

  • Reply
    July 29, 2017 at 9:19 am

    Love discovering other towns besides the capital. This looks like an adorable town I would definitely visit! Pinned!

  • Reply
    Paul and Carole
    July 29, 2017 at 10:25 am

    This sounds like a great option away from the crowds. Really informative post.

  • Reply
    July 29, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    Sounds like a lovely Dutch city – I haven’t actually been to Amsterdam yet but sounds like there are lots of great day trips!

  • Reply
    Sandra Nachlinger
    July 29, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    Thanks for sharing your photos from Muiden. Looks like a lovely place to visit. The castle is especially interesting to me.

  • Reply
    July 29, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    I’ve never been to the Netherlands but Amsterdam is definitely on my list – made friends with some really awesome Dutch girls in South America! Will definitely check Muiden out when I go. It looks so pretty and seems to have quite a bit of historical significance. Can’t believe it hasn’t been discovered by many tourists yet! Also, your Instagram feed is just gorgeous 🙂

    • Reply
      July 29, 2017 at 7:06 pm

      Wow, thank you Michelle! I am also quite surprised that Muiden isn’t more visited by tourists from Amsterdam. I visited this week (July, high season) and sure I heard some other languages around me, but nothing extraordinary. Yet, it is so close to the city and easy to get to. But I guess it’s not advertised as much as other places for a day trip. Hope you’ll get to see it some day. Thank you for stopping by.

  • Reply
    July 29, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    This is unbelievable! I live in Netherlands for 2 years now and nobody mentioned Muiden to me yet!

  • Reply
    July 29, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    What wonderful photographs. You obviously have a real talent. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Obligatory Traveler
    July 30, 2017 at 4:44 am

    Great info. What a fantastic place full of history. Your pictures are lovely.

  • Reply
    Kathy Marris
    July 30, 2017 at 8:35 am

    Such a charming place for a day trip. Any place with a magnificent castle is always a bid drawcard for me!

  • Reply
    July 30, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    Your beautiful pictures make Muiden look very attractive and I’m sure it is. This area reminds me a lot about Södermanland, in Sweden. The same kind of scenery, castles… very beautiful! I’d love to visit Amsterdam sometime in the near future and hope to make it to Muiden too.

  • Reply
    Bryna | Dotted Line Travels
    July 30, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    I’ve never heard of Muiden but I’d love to visit to see the castle! I love Amsterdam and I’m sure I’ll find my way back there. When I do, I’m adding Muiden to my to-visit list!

  • Reply
    July 30, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    What great pictures! I visited Amsterdam when I was 14, but I would love to go back and see some of these less-traveled places.

  • Reply
    July 31, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    Beautiful photos! It looks like a lovely place to visit.

  • Reply
    August 1, 2017 at 6:11 am

    Love learning more about The Netherlands from you. All these places are lovely. I really like that castle and know I have to visit it one day.

  • Reply
    August 1, 2017 at 8:54 am

    I’ve been to Amsterdam a few times but had no idea about Muiden! It looks a great place to visit, I always like to take at least one day trip out of any city I visit, so this is on my list for our next visit.

  • Reply
    August 2, 2017 at 11:00 am

    Wow Esther, that castle is amazing. I have never been to Amsterdam. It’s always great to check out the not so touristy cities. Lorelle 🙂

  • Reply
    August 3, 2017 at 2:10 am

    This looks like a beautiful place for a day trip and somewhere that I haven’t heard of before. Plus, I love your closeup flower shots – they are stunning! 😀

  • Reply
    August 3, 2017 at 10:02 am

    Stunning photos. Love the castle and the architecture.

  • Reply
    August 3, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    Love that castle! Not being very familiar with the Netherlands, this was a great and educational post for us. Looks like this would be a fantastic day trip or longer; something we’re definitely making note of.

  • Reply
    August 6, 2017 at 2:06 am

    This looks like such a cute little town! I can’t believe it’s only 20-minutes from Amsterdam. Looks like it’s way out in the country. I’ve been to Amsterdam a few times, but never done a day trip to another town in the area. Little Dutch towns are the cutest though! Will definitely keep this in mind for next time I’m in the area 🙂

  • Reply
    August 6, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    I love the boat wreck and the castle is super cool


  • Reply
    August 7, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    Muiden and that castle look fantastic, despite having never heard of them before! I really want to make a trip to the Netherlands next year as I somehow keep missing it.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    Oh how cool that this little gem is just 20 minutes away from Amsterdam. I love that the Pampus island even has it’s own saying now!

  • Reply
    Janine Good
    August 9, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    What a great day trip! I need to remember this when I go back to Amsterdam!

  • Reply
    August 9, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    I love the way you organized this guide, along with photos and lunch spots! I love Amsterdam but haven’t traveled outside of it – so hopefully someday!

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