Named after the Frisian god Stavo, Stavoren is the oldest town in Friesland and was once a prosperous port; it’s now both the end of the train line and the departure point for ferries to Enkhuizen. Strung out along the coast, Stavoren is an eclectic mix of the old and new: the harbour is flanked by modern housing while the shipyards are linked by cobbled backstreets. Popular with yachty types, it’s a great place to admire the carefully restored seventeenth- to nineteenth-century vessels that once plied the Zuider Zee, now moored up and awaiting rental. On a sunny day, watching the old wooden ships go by and listening to the clink of halyards is as an enjoyable pastime as any. At the southern end of town, massive, squat turbines encased in glass can be seen pumping water out of Friesland and into the IJsselmeer.

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