Sailing in West Friesland: Medemblik

Medemblik: Pekelharing Marina

Medemblik is a small town on the West Friesland side of the Ijsselmeer. It used to be the governing center of the autonomous region of West Friesland, but now it is part of the province of North Holland (while Friesland on the other side of the water stays a province of its own). Probably not a lot of people have heard of the place, but it’s a popular port with sailors. Situated strategically between the North Sea and important ports along the IJsselmeer and Markermeer, the town has strong and lively nautical traditions going back for more than 700 years.

In season, the town hosted many sailing races and regatta, while casual sailors and their families flock into their 3 marinas and enjoying themselves around town. Despite its popularity, there are plenty of berthing options in Medemblik, with its three yacht marinas:

  • Westhaven Marina: located directly downtown. It’s the smallest and usually the most crowded in good weather, but you moor directly in town center.
  • Pekelharing Marina: has its entrance just outside of the town, but situated next to the picturesque Radboud castle with the town centre within easy walking distance away.
  • Regatta Centre Marina is the biggest and newest marina in town with over 500 berths. It lays a bit outside of the town, and it has more facilites to offer compared to the others, as well as their own swimming beach.

In and around the marina

Because of the ideal location, we always go to the Pekelharing Marina. The berths assigned to smaller boats (which ours is one, being 8.5m long) are on far end of the marina, but we’ve also been lucky to be able to moor directly by the entrance, just around the corner from the castle.

Marina facilities includes the basics such as shower, laundry facilities, free drinking water and electricity. There’s also a small restaurant attached to the marina building.

Beside Radboud castle, Koningin Emmapark (Queen Emma Park) is 50m away from the marina. The park has lovely tree-covered paths, small canals, and a walk-in children farms. The children farm is The Kid’s favourite spot, being an animal lover. She loves walking among the goats (unless they’re actually blocking the way, like this), or plucking weed to feed the other tame herbivores. Closer to the entrance of the park, there is a playground, a mini-golf and a cafe between the two. It’s an ideal place to sit with something to nibble on while watching the Kid playing.

The town centre

Medemblik town centre is small, compact, a good number of restaurants, supermarkets, and small locally owned shops. I always love to sit on terrace of one of the restaurants by the drawbridge, watching the water traffic goes by, pancake and beer on the table. Other things to do in Medemblik:

  • The Old Bakery Museum: where one can see how old-fashioned bakery make their wares. Children can also try their hands in making bread, pastries or chocolates.
  • Steam Train Ride to Hoorn: Medemblik doesn’t have a working railway station, but you can take a one way or round trip to the closest big town of Hoorn in an old-school steam train. The old rail station also houses the Steam Train Museum.
  • There’s a weekly outdoor market every Monday

Reaching Medemblik by land

Away from the main countryside tourist routes, the town’s only served by buses connected from the bigger towns around it. From Amsterdam, the most efficient way is to catch a train or bus to Hoorn Station, and from there to catch a bus to Medemblik centre.


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