Alkmaar is very interesting and something you should see as I think this is unique to Holland. However- it gets quite crowded. You may have to push your way to the front if you want to take pictures. Done in the outdoors- so be prepared for bad weather as you won't be covered. Town is quite nice with outdoor vendors, cheese tastings, and modern shopping. Made a quick stop around 50 minutes-1 hour to a windmill museum. This was plenty of time- you were able to get up close to the windmill and take some great pictures. Was able to climb to the top of the windmill to see how the windmill turns.
Alkmaar is a beautiful village and time there was extremely short. Due to the crowds that arrived prior to our tour bus it was difficult to see much. I would recommend the tour getting started earlier, enabling an earlier arrival and maximizing the experience.
The windmill portion of the trip was very informative, especially the ability to freely tour the inside of a working windmill.
The knowlegable guide's soothing voice lulled me to a restful place during the return commute which was great since traffic prohibited our return at the promised time. A rejuvinating nod was able to be captured during the ride back to de Dam which was great preparation for afternoon events. Glad we booked this tour!
Certainly recommend the tour but a massive let down was the womans voice - i know this sounds petty but after 4 hours of broken englsih from the tour guide, it starts to take away from the joys of the tour.
It was great, bus was comfortable and very organized despite the construction in Amsterdam. Will tour with your company again
The Cheese market was interesting but the time there was very short. I injoyed the day though.
Since the cheese market is only open on Fridays, the market was so crowded you really couldn't see anything. I think every tour operator in and around Amsterdam was there. If you get lucky and see your way through the crowd, it was interesting to see how they sell their cheese.
This was a wonderful side trip. The town was beautiful. Best shopping of the trip. The Schaun Windmills serene and beautiful. The tour guide and driver very good.
We really enjoyed our trip to the cheese market, windmills, and cheese factory although the bus was a bit crowded. As others have pointed out, the cheese market area is quite crowded and it's mostly stage as a tourist attraction, but it is interesting to see. We really enjoyed walking around the town and just wish we would've had more time to do that. The windmill tour was very interesting and the restored windmills in very good condition. We had already seen a cheese making demonstration and had purchased cheese elsewhere so this wasn't as big a draw for us but it was still enjoyable. There are a number of buses leaving in the morning from the same area so it can be busy and get crowded. I encourage you to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to your tour. We would recommend this.
We loved this trip! Alkmaar is a lovely little town and the cheese market is fascinating and fun. Only wish we had more time to explore. Very interesting to learn about the windmills and what they were used for.
I enjoyed this trip but felt it could have been better. Alkmaar is a beautiful little town and enough time isnt allowed for axploring. I feel the trip to the farm at the conclusion(20 mins drive, 40 minute for the visit) could be cut in order to give more time at Alkmaar. Cheese is available in abundance for purchase and taste everywhere, I felt the farm visit was really unncecessary. Our guide was excellent, she probably made up for the shortfall
An interested trip that I am glad I signed up! We saw how cheese auction took place and it was really interesting to see so many cheeses been moved around during the auction. The windmills are beautiful too!
The trip was very good, particularly the amount of time at the market in Alkmaar (though a better explanation would have helped) and the visit to the windmill. However, we were very disappointed in the guide. We subsequently learned that several of the things he told us were not true. First and foremost, he said that we should not buy cheese at the market -- big mistake. Not only was it better there than at the "cheese farm" we stopped at (really a shop with no real opportunity to see how the cheese was being made), it was cheaper at the stalls in Alkmaar than in the shop we were taken to visit. Second, he made a big point that we should expect to pay 30 cents to use essentially every rest room throughout Holland. In our week there we never once had to pay! First and foremost, a guide should be accurate. Massimo was not. And then he made a blatant appeal for tips at the end of the tour.
The trip was very worthwhile and seeing the Netherlands county was wonderful. It would have been even better if lunch was included so for anyone contemplating this very worthwhile trip, take enough money to purchase something to eat. The windmills where particularly interesting and the history talk (short) very informative.
This was a very good tour. My only disappointment was that the market was crowded so I couldn't see the market square as well as hoped.
great tour guide, she was amazing, speaking in english, german, french, and spanish. Caotic in getting on the bus initially (on Damrak) at the tour facility.
Good half day trip. The market is interesting to see, although extremely crowed with tourist since it is only held one day a week. plenty of good Dutch food booths to sample local fare.
Excellent guide and tour however there were huge crowds at the cheese market so that made it somewhat difficult to enjoy. It was more fun at Alkmaar to step away from the crowds and explore the side streets of the town for a little while. There was an extra charge at the Schermerhorn Windmill of €3 per person. It seems like this should be included in the price of the tour because there is not much to do at this stop if you don't pay the €3 to go inside. However going inside the windmill is well worth the €3 and was a highlight of our trip.
The stop at the cheese maker was interesting however it was not really a scenic area and was mainly a sales pitch to buy some of their cheeses. We found that the lowest price on cheese was available earlier in the tour from vendors along the streets of the Alkmaar market. If you want to buy Dutch cheese for the best price I would recommend buying from the street vendors in Alkmaar. The cheese available from the cheese maker is the same brand that is sold all over in shops throughout Amsterdam.