Delft, just south of Den Haag (The Hague), is a positively ancient town in the Netherlands, forever linked to the legacy of Johannes Vermeer and the Royal House of Orange. Its rich history and timeless charm make it a great destination, and it’s just a hop, skip, and jump from Amsterdam by train. Here’s how to spend one day in Delft to make the most of your experience.
Beautiful Delft is crisscrossed by historic cobbled streets, cute bridges, and winding canals so common around this part of the Netherlands. It is home to architectural treats like the iconic New Church and Stadhuis at the Markt and the cute 17th-century Royal Delft Factory, home of the world-famous Delft Blue pottery.
Embarking on a day trip from Amsterdam to Delft is a breeze. This scenic train ride to Delft Centrum from Amsterdam typically takes about an hour – sometimes more, sometimes less. On a quick single-day Delft itinerary, it’s possible to cover the historic city center in about 30 minutes alone, giving you plenty of time to get to know Delft up close and personal.
This beautiful city is well worth visiting for an entire day – more if you can manage it. It’s a straightforward day trip from Amsterdam and the perfect place to learn more about Dutch history and enjoy some good eats or retail therapy at a classic Delft flea market.
I’ve lived in Amsterdam for multiple years, and after visiting Delft, I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to explore this city. To get the full experience, watch our YouTube travel vlog from visiting this historic city.
What We Cover
- Key Takeaways
- Traveling from Amsterdam to Delft: A Guided Overview
- Metro Connection to Zuid Station
- Rail Travel to Delft
- Discovering Delft
- Markt: The Heart of Delft
- The Stadhuis (City Hall)
- The Nieuwe Kerk (New Church): the Final Resting Place of William of Orange
- The Royal Crypt Family and Mausoleum
- Visit the Treasures of Delft’s Past
- Johan Vermeer’s Lasting Impressions
- The Vermeer Center
- The Oude Kerk (Old Church)
- Exploring Delft’s Waterways
- Prinsenhof Museum
- From Delft to Amsterdam
- Navigate Delft’s rich history with a GVB day pass, allowing easy rail travel to and from Amsterdam.
- The stunning New Church and the beautiful Old Church anchor Delft’s historic treasures and the city’s royal connections.
- Home of Vermeer is among the best day trips for Dutch history and culture enthusiasts.
- Tons of picture opportunities, cute cafes and restaurants, antique shops, and the wonderful Delft Market every Thursday!
Traveling from Amsterdam to Delft: A Guided Overview
For this practically perfect day trip to Delft, start at Visserplein in Amsterdam, take a quick six-minute metro ride to Amsterdam Zuid Station, and hop on an NS train. Consider the convenient GVB day pass for €9, providing unlimited metro rides for easy city exploration.
I only needed to purchase a 1-hour GVB pass. Let me break it down:
Metro Connection to Zuid Station
Once you buy tickets, the journey begins at the typically bustling Vijzelgracht Station. Jump on a quick metro ride to Amsterdam Zuid, the charming city center’s southern hub. This leg of the Delft day trip is pretty straightforward.
Rail Travel to Delft
Upon arrival at Zuid, hop on the Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) train for a comfortable 44-minute direct train ride to the heart of Delft. As the countryside zips by, you’ll find yourself drawn into the tranquility that precedes the excitement of discovery visiting Delft.
Consider your travel needs carefully; various passes are available to cater to your itinerary. Opt for a full-day metro pass at €9 for unfettered travel or a one-hour ticket at €3.50, depending on the duration and extent of your exploration tour.
See Related: Eurail Pass Review
Welcome to South Holland! Your arrival at Delft station places you in the town center. The new train station is pretty spectacular; it is one of the coolest in Europe, with Toledo Metro Station in Naples and Arts et Métiers in Paris.
It’s also across from the old train station, a stunning piece of architecture, but now home to the yummy Pavarotti Delft Italian restaurant. You’ll find the stately Stadhuis (City Hall) catches your eye to the left of Delft station, and directly ahead stands the distinguished Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), the final resting place of William of Orange.
Inside Nieuwe Kerk, you can purchase a ticket, often a combo offering access to the New and Old Churches. Although the crypts are off-limits, you can observe the impressively crafted royal mausoleums. Notably, with its timeline exhibit, the mausoleum of Prince William of Orange illustrates the connection to the other royal tombs in the church.
Walking via Markt and Hippolytusbuur, you’ll find the Old Church, dwarfed by the slim, single-tower New Church but no less impressive. Carrying on the expedition, pay a visit to the House of Vermeer. This little gift shop selling traditional Delft pottery was the house neighboring Vermeer’s before the latter was demolished.
Meandering alongside the Old Canal, the quainter part of Delft unfurls before you, marked by charming bridges and the mishmash of cute canalside houses. If Vermeer’s house didn’t scratch your itch, there are plenty of other adorable stores to visit around here, not to mention cafes and brown bars.
On this day trip to Delft from Amsterdam, you can cover the main attractions in about four hours. I’ll also throw in a few more key sites you can choose from as we delve deeper into this Delft day trip.
Markt: The Heart of Delft
The beating heart of Delft is found at the old Market Square (or Markt). Home to a centuries-old street market held every Thursday, it’s also where you’ll find the old Delft City Hall and the breathtaking New Church.
The Stadhuis (City Hall)
Delft is extremely pretty, and the Old Delft City Hall building (Stadhuis Delft) is easily one of the most gorgeous pieces of architecture in town. Riding the line between Barbie’s dream mansion and something out of a European fairytale, this Renaissance masterpiece is unmissable. It’s also right across from the next attraction on this list!
The Nieuwe Kerk (New Church): the Final Resting Place of William of Orange
Already famed for it’s beauty, the towering 15th-century New Church holds great significance in Dutch history. It’s where the legendary Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer was baptized. But more importantly, within the New Church’s holy walls lies the tomb of William of Orange.
Also known as William the Silent, this particular Prince of Orange was the figurehead of the Dutch revolt against their Spanish oppressors. This revolt led to the Eighty Years’ War, which resulted in Dutch independence from Spain.
The church tower is the second tallest in the country. The beautiful stained glass windows dedicated to William of Orange are a brilliant work of art, casting colors around the church interior. Intricately crafted, this monument commemorates his life from 1533–1584 and acts as a centerpiece for the grand mausoleum.
The Royal Crypt Family and Mausoleum
Venture further within the New Church, and you’ll find a network of crypts known as the Royal Crypt, reserved for members of the Royal House of Orange.
Divided into the “Old” and “New Vaults,” they’re not accessible to the public but visible from above. The crypt map — available for your perusal — lays out the resting places of royal members, juxtaposed against the liveliness of Delft’s city life.
Separate from the Royal Crypt, you can also see the tomb of the famed Dutch Renaissance man and local Delft boy, Hugo the Great, Hugo Grotius. Hugo the Great’s tomb is a unique burial site.
Unlike members of the Royal Crypt, Hugo’s is not linked to the House of Orange. But considering his contributions to the arts, sciences, philosophy, and the advancement of international law, it makes sense that the Delft-born lawyer earned a spot – not to mention the statue outside.
Visit the Treasures of Delft’s Past
Off we go on a detour of some of the city’s other historical hotspots! As well as it’s association with the assassination and burial site of William of Orange and its Royal Blue pottery, Delft was once also home to many famous Dutch artists.
These include Leonard Bramer, Emanuel de Witte, Carel Fabritius, Pieter de Hoogh, Gerard Houckgeest, Jan Steen, and Johannes Vermeer. Yeah, “Pearl Earring” Vermeer.
Johan Vermeer’s Lasting Impressions
You can feel a bit of Vermeer throughout the city, although you won’t find his house. To get the real feel, wander the alleyways where Vermeer once lived and search for the small plaque that estimates where his house used to be.
You should also check out the nearby House of Vermeer. Honoring the legendary painter, this lovely little gift shop sells fun little trinkets and local artwork with a lot of traditional Delft pottery.
The Vermeer Center
The Vermeer Center (aka Vermeer Centrum Delft) is located on bustling Voldersgracht, not far from here. This is one of the greatest repositories of artifacts and information concerning Vermeer and what life was like in this old city during his lifetime.
It’s housed in a rebuilt version of the city’s old Guild Hall of St. Luke. This is super appropriate since these old guilds were historically refuges for city artisans. The building is another beauty, too!
The Oude Kerk (Old Church)
The last stop on the Vermeer leg of this Delft day trip takes us to the Oude Kerk (or Old Church). Super apt since this medieval masterpiece is Johannes Vermeer’s eternal resting place.
While literally and figuratively overshadowed by the New Church, the Old Church is still pretty famous. Dating back to the 1200s, it’s also the final resting palace of Dutch naval hero Piet Hein.
PRO TIP: If you’re peckish, you might want to visit nearby Stadsbakkerij de Diamanten Ring, the oldest bakery in Old Delft. Their macarons are top-notch.
See Related: Museums in The Hague to Visit
Exploring Delft’s Waterways
Like most of Holland, Delft is dripping with canals. Now, you might think a canal is a canal – but Delft feels different. See what I mean and spend the rest of your trip wandering along some of these stunning waterways, maybe even take a Delft boat tour!
Strolling along the Old Canal (Oude Delft), you’re enveloped by the air of quaintness unique to Delft. First carved out of the land in the 1100s, this is the oldest canal in Delft.
If you have the time, you might see if you can book a canal tour. Each side of the canal has delightful storefronts and boutiques that beckon with local crafts and souvenirs.
Take time to traverse the cobbled paths crisscrossing Delft’s old town, where the picturesque bridges further highlight the unique serenity of this town.
With William the Silent/Orange being a theme of this trip and still finding ourselves in the old part of this historic Dutch town, you might want to check out the Museum Prinsenhof Delft (aka the Prinsenhof Museum).
Just a stone’s throw from the Old Church, it first served as a monastery but would become famous as the last home and assassination site of William of Orange – the first head of state to be assassinated by a handgun. You can still see the bullet holes framed to this day.
The museum presents a fascinating history of Delft and the Netherlands that dates back to the earliest days of the Dutch Republic. It has three different sections dedicated to the history of the Dutch royal family, Delft Blue pottery, and the Dutch masters
.See Related: Best Weekend Trips from Amsterdam
From Delft to Amsterdam
After an immersive four hours in Delft brimming with discovery, you return to the train station for the short ride home to the Dutch capital city. Retrace your steps – and maybe consider checking out a bar or restaurant before hopping on the train.
Delft is certainly an interesting city and a great place to explore if you’re thinking about day trips from Amsterdam, The Hague, or even Rotterdam. But if you want to extend your trip to this unique Dutch city, consider staying the night and embarking on a city tour the next day.
Where to Stay in Delft