BLOKZIJL, some 5km north of Vollenhove, is just as comely as its near neighbour, its cobweb of narrow alleys and slim canals surrounding a trim little harbour. Formerly a seaport, it now finds itself pushed up against the Vollenhover Kanaal with a thumb-shaped chunk of wild(ish) moorland behind. The town boasts dozens of restored seventeenth-century houses, but its pride and joy is the Grote Kerk, which, with its splendid wooden pulpit and ceiling, was one of the country's first Protestant churches. Blokzijl also makes a good base for exploring the National Park De Weerribben, a chunk of protected canal and marshland starting about 3km to the north of town. The VVV can suggest cycle routes through the park and has details of the summer boat trips that leave Blokzijl to explore its waterways.
Buses to Blokzijl drop passengers on the north edge of town, a five-minute walk from the harbour. There are three hotels here, the pick of which is Kaatjes Résidence, a smart, four-star place in a substantial old house not far from the harbour at Zuiderstraat 1 (Tel:0527/208 580, Web: www.kaatjesresidence.nl ; Price: 125-150).
The town is stuffed with restaurants, including the Kaatje bij de Sluis, close to the harbour at Brouwerstraat 20 (closed Sun, Sept– April also closed Mon; Tel:0527/291 833), where they serve outstanding French cuisine with mains from 25.