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Delft lies right between two major Dutch cities: The Hague, the capital city of South Holland, and Rotterdam. Easily accessible from nearby cities, Delft is a great location for the perfect day trip or even a full-fledged holiday.
Delft’s two main claims to fame are that it’s the birthplace of both Delft Blue pottery and legendary painter Johannes Vermeer. While you’ll enjoy plenty of opportunities to learn more about both when visiting Delft, you’ll also discover other attractions to explore.
Check out this collection of fun activities to add to your Delft itinerary. Whether you’re planning a short day trip or want to delve into the city’s rich history, you’ll find options to suit a range of interests.
- Fun Things To Do in Delft, Netherlands
- 1. Learn About Delft Blue on the Royal Delft Experience
- 2. See Life in Delft Through the Eyes of Johannes Vermeer
- 3. See Johannes Vermeer’s Most Famous Painting In-Person
- 4. Take a Tour of the Oude Kerk (Old Church)
- 5. Check Out the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church)
- 6. Visit Central Market Square
- 7. Snap a Few Photos of East Gate (Oostpoort)
- 8. Delve Into the Local Beer Scene
- 9. Museum Prinsenhof Delft
- 10. Cruise the Canals
- 11. Say Cheese!
- 12. Visit the Museum Paul Tetar van Elven
- 13. Pop into Drogisterij Salamander
- 14. Look for a Blue Flag at the Windmill de Roos
- 15. TU Delft Hortus Bontanicus
- 16. Check Out the Shops and Restaurants on Beestenmarkt
- 17. Solve Historical Mysteries at Escaperoom De Bagijnetoren
- 18. Dining in Delft
- 19. Take a Day Trip to Keukenhof
- What is Delft famous for?
- How far is Delft from Amsterdam?
- How can I get to Delft from Amsterdam?
|Most significant landmark||Oude Kerk (Old Church) and Nieuwe Kerk (New Church)|
|Best museum||Royal Delft Factory and Museum (De Porceleyne Fles|
|Best free activity||The Thursday Market at Central Market Square|
|Best activity for kids||Canal Cruises|
|Best activity for adults||Beer tasting at Delfts Brouwhuis|
|Best food||Hanno Groot’s Cafe|
|Best place to stay||Hotel Arsenaal Delft|
Fun Things To Do in Delft, Netherlands
1. Learn About Delft Blue on the Royal Delft Experience
Address: Rotterdamseweg 196, 2628 AR Delft, Netherlands
Visiting Delft without checking out its famous Delft Blue pottery is sort of like going to New York City without seeing the Statue of Liberty. Delft Blue is kind of the city’s thing and has been since the 17th century.
Head down to the Royal Delft Factory and Museum (De Porceleyne Fles), the last remaining 17th-century Delft Blue factory. The artists here have been churching out hand-painted masterpieces since 1653, the style was originally inspired by Chinese porcelain imported by the Dutch East India Company.
Not only will you learn all you need to know about Delft Blue, but you’ll even have the opportunity to buy or create your own pieces. The museum offers plenty of workshops for kids and adults alike.
2. See Life in Delft Through the Eyes of Johannes Vermeer
Address: Voldersgracht 21, 2611 EV Delft, Netherlands
Often overshadowed by names like Van Gogh and Rembrandt, Johannes Vermeer is one of the Netherlands’ most famous and celebrated artists. If you’re a fan of Johannes Vermeer, you’re really going to love this city.
In case you’re unfamiliar, Vermeer was a painter from the Dutch Golden Age who pioneered a painting style called the Delft School. Delft School painting was all about capturing images of domestic life, featuring everyday people and places. Today, it’s still possible to see many of the sites that Vermeer depicted in many of his most famous masterpieces.
Some of the best ways to go about it is to sign up for a Vermeer history canal tour or to head down to the Johannes Vermeer Centrum Delft Museum. The Vermeer Center is the best place to learn about the artist and his life and check out reproductions of Vermeer’s paintings.
If you want to really lean into this Vermeer theme, there’s even a cozy hotel called the Hotel Johannes Vermeer Delft that’s situated in a converted cigar factory in the city center. The spacious rooms are decked out in warm colors and plush furniture, making it a great choice for a romantic getaway.
3. See Johannes Vermeer’s Most Famous Painting In-Person
Address: Plein 29, 2511 CS Den Haag, Netherlands
If you’re really, really into Vermeer, then you’ll likely want to feast your eyes on one of his most famous paintings in person. Luckily, his masterpiece Girl With a Pearl Earring doesn’t live too far away.
You’ll find her and several other Vermeer paintings minutes away in the Mauritshuis Museum, a stunning 17th-century city palace located in The Hague’s city center. By rental car or ride share, the trip takes about a half-hour at a crawl.
Or you can head down to the Delft train station to hitch a quick ride to Den Haag Centraal. It’s also worth checking out Delft’s shiny new City Hall and Railway Station, which is an architectural masterpiece in its own right.
Me though? I biked, like I do everywhere in the Netherlands. It’s the best way to absorb this beautiful country.
4. Take a Tour of the Oude Kerk (Old Church)
Address: HH Geestkerkhof 25, 2611 HP Delft, Netherlands
Those passionate about history will find no shortage of incredible architecture when visiting Delft. But the Oude Kerk (Old Church) and Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) are arguably among the most magnificent examples.
Located in the old town center, the Old Church is a stunning Gothic church with roots that date back to 1246. Located just a short walk from the Vermeer Centrum, the church is also the final resting place of the legendary Dutch painter.
The church is also famous for its crooked tower, which is sometimes nicknamed the “Leaning Tower of Delft.” The tower got its signature slump after its builders decided it’d be no problem to fill in part of the old canal that flowed in its path and built the structure on top of it – oops!
5. Check Out the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church)
Address: Markt 80, 2611 GW Delft, Netherlands
Your best bet is to snag a combo ticket for both the New and Old Church because both are definitely worth seeing. Ironically, the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) is only about a century older than the Old Church but has risen to fame due to its association with the Dutch royal family.
New Church is home to the tomb of almost every member of the royal house since Prince William of Orange, aka “William the Silent.” William’s tomb is particularly incredible, as it features a stunning Baroque sculpture created by Hendrick de Keyser.
The tombs are also home to famous historical figures like jurist Hugo Grotius (aka Hugo de Groot), whose monument you’ll find in the town square. The interior of Nieuwe Kerk is an architectural marvel, with giant pipe organs, stained-glass windows, and a massive church tower without the leaning issues of its predecessor.
See Related: Best Day Trips from Amsterdam
6. Visit Central Market Square
Right outside of Nieuwe Kerk, you’ll find the city center and Market Square. While there’s never a bad time to visit Market Square, try to head down on Thursday if you want to experience the weekly street market.
Each Thursday, over a hundred vendors set up shop along the square to sell everything from jewelry and souvenirs to cheese and freshly baked bread. But if you aren’t in the city on a Thursday, it’s still worth checking out the many great tourist shops and cafés you’ll find lining the square.
Not to mention that it’s also where you’ll find the (Stadhuis Delft) Old Delft City Hall building, which is quite possibly one of the most gorgeous pieces of architecture in town. Located at the Southern end of Market Square, the stately building has served not only as a town hall but also as a medieval prison.
7. Snap a Few Photos of East Gate (Oostpoort)
Address: Oostpoort 1, 2611 RZ Delft, Netherlands
One of the coolest things about visiting Delft is that there’s always a fascinating piece of history around the next corner. While East Gate isn’t really the type of attraction worth donating a whole day to, it’s a standard part of many of the great historical tours you’ll find throughout town.
Back then, in the 16th century, the only way into the city was through one of its imposing gates. Today, the eastern gate is the only remaining piece of Delft’s original city walls and is a top photo op!
See Related: Things to Do in Weesp, Netherlands
8. Delve Into the Local Beer Scene
Lest you wear yourself out from all that sightseeing, it’s worth working Delft’s beer scene into your itinerary! Best of all, Delft makes it easy to combine the fun of history and beer into a single outing.
For instance, you might choose to check out Bierhuis De Klomp, a local cafe and tavern that’s been around since 1652. Enjoy a selection of over 80 beers as you explore rooms like the Secret Annex, which holds a cupboard full of games, or the Blue Room, which is filled with Delft Blue decor.
Or head over to Delfts Brouwhuis, where you can enjoy a beer tasting in a Medieval cellar. The ancient setting is now home to an on-site brewery and a restaurant with a full menu.
If you’re looking for a home base, then check out The Social Hub Delft, a great choice for students or friends who are looking to extend an epic day trip. The hotel offers a fun, colorful vibe, not to mention an on-site restaurant, fitness center, bar, and lounge.
9. Museum Prinsenhof Delft
Address: Sint Agathaplein 1, 2611 HR Delft, Netherlands
If you want to learn more about the rich history of Delft, then look no further than the Museum Prinsenhof. The museum itself has a fascinating history that dates back to the earliest days of the Dutch Republic.
Before the building became the last home of William of Orange, who was assassinated in its walls (you can still see the bullet holes!), it first served as a monastery. Today, the Museum Prinsenhof is home to different three sections dedicated to the history of the Dutch royal family, Delft Blue, and the Dutch masters.
See Related: The Ultimate Guide for Visiting the Rijksmuseum
10. Cruise the Canals
While the name Delft is now widely used interchangeably with delftware ceramics, it originally meant something along the lines of “canal.” Like many cities in the Netherlands, Delft is lined with canals that people still use for transportation.
From the Oude Delft Canal, the oldest in the city, to its many offshoots, you’ll now find plenty of friendly cruise operators who will be happy to take you out on a voyage. It’s even possible to float all the way up to The Hague or other nearby cities!
11. Say Cheese!
When it comes to cheese, the Dutch do not play; cheese is serious business and a core of the national character! If you’re looking to experience some of the best cheese in Delft, head to the Delft Cheese Shop of Henri Willig or try the award-winning Gouda at ’t Kaas Lokaal.
See Related: Things to Do in Alkmaar, Netherlands
12. Visit the Museum Paul Tetar van Elven
Address: Koornmarkt 67, 2611 EC Delft, Netherlands
The Museum Paul Tetar van Elven is not your average art gallery but a unique historical attraction right in the city center. While the house dates back to the 16th century, its fate as a future museum began when it was purchased by (you guessed it) Paul Tetar van Elven in 1864.
Back in his day, Paul was an artist and teacher at the Polytechnic School, which is now known as TU Delft. But he was also an enthusiastic collector of paintings, antiques, Chinese porcelain, books, and all kinds of other amazing objects.
Upon his death, he specified that his beautiful home should be turned into a museum, which you can now visit today. The intimate museum houses the artist’s vast collection of treasures amid beautiful rooms, which are still decorated just as he left them.
13. Pop into Drogisterij Salamander
In Delft, you’ll find plenty of Dutch history outside the city’s many museums. Check out hidden gems like Drogisterij Salamander, a vintage pharmacy that’s been operating since 1782.
To this day, the drugstore has managed to maintain its historic charm, complete with candy jars, polished wood, and shiny gold trim. It’s also got you covered if you’re in the market for anything from vitamins and supplements to soap and cologne!
14. Look for a Blue Flag at the Windmill de Roos
Back in the old days, there were 18 traditional windmills throughout the city of Delft. Today, the Windmill de Roos is the only one that remains standing, let alone fully operational!
While actual milling usually happens on Thursdays, traditionally, the mill would fly a blue flag whenever it was open for visits. These days, the mill’s website also lists the opening hours, which makes it a lot easier to plan your visit!
15. TU Delft Hortus Bontanicus
Address: Poortlandplein 6, 2628 BM Delft, Netherlands
If you’re an outdoor lover, then you’ll find a slice of heaven at the Delft University of Technology botanical garden. Also known as the TU Delft Hortus Botanicus, the 2.5-hectare garden is home to over 7,000 exotic trees and plants.
Part university research garden and part public attraction, the garden is divided into four distinct sections. From the Tree Garden and Greenhouses to the Middle Garden and Technical Garden, Hortus Botanicus offers a beautiful escape from the surrounding city.
If you’re looking for a chic, historic aesthetic, then check out the Hotel Arsenaal Delft, located within walking distance of the gardens. The hotel’s meeting spaces and on-site bar make it a great choice for business travelers, but pretty much anyone will appreciate the great location and room service!
16. Check Out the Shops and Restaurants on Beestenmarkt
Delft Public Square, known as Beestenmarkt, which literally means “Animal Market,” is another location with a fascinating history. Back in 1499, it was the site of a Franciscan monastery, which was forced to close up shop when the Reformation rolled around in the 16th century.
So, in 1595, the area transformed into a venue for the local cattle market, hence its telltale name. For centuries, the market was an important center of Dutch trade and regularly drew buyers from Rotterdam and The Hague.
While you’ll no longer find cattle or any other animals for sale at Beestenmarkt, the area still has plenty to offer. These days, the beautiful square is surrounded by great shops, cafés, and bars.
Beestenmarkt is also home to several top hotels like Hotel de Koophandel, which is located just a few minutes walk from Delft Central Station. The hotel offers bike rentals, board games, and a really fabulous breakfast, all of which make it a solid choice for families.
17. Solve Historical Mysteries at Escaperoom De Bagijnetoren
Addresses: Phoenixstraat 85, 2611 AK Delft, Netherlands and Oude Delft 205A, 2611 HD Delft, Netherlands
If you love unraveling a good historical mystery, then check out Escaperoom De Bagijnetoren! The company offers two different mysteries to unlock, each set in an actual historic city building.
Head to a tower that was part of the old city wall to see if you can puzzle out the famous mystery surrounding the murder of Prince William of Orange. Or head to an old patrician house along the Oude Delft canal, where you’ll set into a Hobbit-themed world of magic and mayhem!
See Related: Best Cities in the Netherlands to Visit
18. Dining in Delft
Dutch food is some of my favorite cuisine, and has no shortage of yummy treats to choose from! From pastry shops to upscale dining establishments, Delft isn’t short on great places to grab a delicious bite. Start your day with coffee, pancakes, and pastries at Stads-Koffyhuis, a cozy cafe with a gorgeous view of the canals.
Or find out why Stadsbakkerij de Diamanten Ring still reigns supreme as the oldest bakery in Delft. The smells of freshly baked bread and shop specialties like Delft Blue Whipped Cream Cake have lured many a passerby into the establishment over the last 225 years!
Galerie ‘Uit De Kunst and Koffie & Zo are both great lunch spots to grab lunch, coffee, or both! Head to Loetje if looking for a great steak or try the delightfully diverse menu at local favorite Hanno Groot’s Cafe.
19. Take a Day Trip to Keukenhof
Address: Stationsweg 166A, 2161 AM Lisse, Netherlands
If you’re visiting Delft between mid-March and mid-May, it’s worth leaving the beautiful city behind for a few hours to see the legendary tulips of Keukenhof Gardens. Each spring, 7 million tulip bulbs blossom across the 79-acre gardens, creating an otherworldly experience you’ll never forget.
Be sure to take your camera (or a fully charged smartphone) so that you can get plenty of photos as you wind through over 9 miles of stunning footpaths. If you’re not into trekking along on foot, then you might look into signing up for a local bike tour or even zipping along in an electric rental car.
If you don’t have a rental car, your best bet is to take a train from Delft to Leiden Centraal station. From there, you can take the Keukenhof Express bus 854 right to the gardens.
What is Delft famous for?
Delft is globally renowned as the birthplace of Dutch golden age painter Johannes Vermeer and Delft Blue ceramics. Locally, it’s known as the home of the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), an outstanding school that was first founded as a royal academy in 1842. TU Delft even offers free online classes, in case you’re interested!
How far is Delft from Amsterdam?
Delft is located roughly 48 miles (77 km) southwest of Amsterdam. Depending on your mode of travel, the journey usually takes around an hour.
How can I get to Delft from Amsterdam?
Dutch Railways offers easy transportation to and from the Amsterdam Centraal to the Delft station. There are also Delft trains available to and from Den Haag HS or Den Haag Centraal in The Hague.
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he’d heard.
Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he’s learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.
He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.