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19 Best Things to Do in Delft, Netherlands

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When it comes to the Netherlands, major cities like Amsterdam have a habit of hogging all the glory. But don’t overlook historic gems like Delft, Netherlands, on your next Dutch adventure!

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 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.

Check out this collection of fun activities to add to your Delft itinerary. Whether planning a short day trip or wanting to delve into the city’s rich history, you’ll find options to suit a range of interests.

TL;DR

Category Our Pick
Most significant landmark Oude Kerk (Old Church) and Nieuwe Kerk (New Church)
Museum Royal Delft Factory and Museum (De Porceleyne Fles
Free activity The Thursday Market at Central Market Square
Activity for kids Canal Cruises
Activity for adults Beer tasting at Delfts Brouwhuis
Place to eat Hanno Groot’s Cafe
Place to stay Hotel Arsenaal Delft

Fun Things To Do in Delft, Netherlands

1. Learn About Delft Blue on the Royal Delft Experience

Couple exploring Delftblue Factory and Museum
Royal Delft “De Porceleyne Fles” / GetYourGuide

Address: Rotterdamseweg 196, 2628 AR Delft, Netherlands

Visiting Delft without checking out its famous Delft Blue pottery is 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 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.

See Related: Places to Visit in the Netherlands

2. See Life in Delft Through the Eyes of Johannes Vermeer

Vermeer Centrum Delft
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

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 Johannes Vermeer fan, you’ll 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 about capturing images of domestic life, featuring everyday people and places. It’s still possible to see many of the sites that Vermeer depicted in 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 lean into this Vermeer theme, there’s even a cozy hotel called the Hotel Johannes Vermeer Delft situated in a converted cigar factory in the city center. The spacious rooms are decorated in warm colors and plush furniture, making it a great choice for a romantic getaway.

3. Take a Day Trip to See Johannes Vermeer’s Most Famous Painting In-Person

Front of Mauritshuis, The Hague
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Plein 29, 2511 CS Den Haag, Netherlands

If you’re really into Vermeer, 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 far away.

You’ll find her and several other Vermeer paintings minutes away in the Mauritshuis Museum, a stunning 17th-century palace 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, 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.

See Related: Rembrandt House Museum Review

4. Take a Tour of the Oude Kerk (Old Church)

The Leaning Tower of the Oude Kerk in Delft
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

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 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, sometimes nicknamed the “Leaning Tower of Delft.” The tower got its signature slump after its builders decided it’d be no problem to fill 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)

Nieuwe Kerk and Markt Square in Delft with Gothic church and Dutch houses
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

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 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: Day Trips from Amsterdam

6. Visit Central Market Square

Hugo Grotius Statue in Markt, Delft
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Outside 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 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 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 as a town hall and medieval prison.

7. Snap a Few Photos of East Gate (Oostpoort)

Oostpoort or East Gate in Delft, Netehrlands
Christian / Adobe Stock

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 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.

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

Front of Bierhuis De Klomp
Bierhuis De Klomp / Bierhuis De Klomp

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 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

Front of the Prinsenhof in Delft
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

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 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

Delft, Netherlands canal view
SkandaRamana / Adobe Stock

While Delft is now widely used interchangeably with delftware ceramics, it originally meant something like “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 up to The Hague or other nearby cities!

11. Say Cheese!

Front of Henri Willig Kaas Delft Shop
Henri Willig Kaas Delft / Facebook

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.

You might even consider going on a food tour of the best local cafes’ and hidden gems. In addition to cheese, you’ll discover Dutch dishes like poffertjes, bitterballen, and delectable chocolates.

See Related: Things to Do in Alkmaar

12. Visit the Museum Paul Tetar van Elven

Exhibit in Museum Paul Tetar van Elven
Museum Paul Tetar van Elven / Facebook

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 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

Interior of Drogisterij Salamander
Drogisterij Salamander / Facebook

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 dating back to 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!

See Related: Essential Amsterdam Souvenirs to Buy on Your Next Trip

14. Look for a Blue Flag at the Windmill de Roos

Windmill de Roos in Delf, Netherlands
Alexander – stock.adobe.com

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, making it much easier to plan your visit!

15. TU Delft Hortus Bontanicus

TU Delft Hortus Bontanicus building
TU Delft Hortus Bontanicus / Facebook

Address: Poortlandplein 6, 2628 BM Delft, Netherlands

If you’re an outdoor lover, 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 of the university research garden and part public attraction 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, check out the Hotel Arsenaal Delft, 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!

See Related: Best Weekend Trips from Amsterdam: Top Getaway Options

16. Check Out the Shops and Restaurants on Beestenmarkt

Cafe in Beestenmarkt, Delft, Netherlands
Wietse / Adobe Stock

Delft Public Square, known as Beestenmarkt, literally means “Animal Market,” is another location with a fascinating history. 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 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, just a few minutes walk from Delft Central Station. The hotel offers bike rentals, board games, and a fabulous breakfast, making it a solid choice for families.

17. Solve Historical Mysteries at Escaperoom De Bagijnetoren

Buidling of Escaperoom De Bagijnetoren
marijn893 / TripAdvisor

Addresses: Phoenixstraat 85, 2611 AK Delft, Netherlands and Oude Delft 205A, 2611 HD Delft, Netherlands

If you love unraveling a good historical mystery, check out Escaperoom De Bagijnetoren! The company offers two 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

Breads in Stadsbakkerij de Diamanten Ring
Stadsbakkerij de Diamanten Ring / Facebook

Dutch food is one of my favorite cuisines, and there is no shortage of yummy treats! Delft isn’t short on great places to grab a delicious bite, from pastry shops to upscale dining establishments. 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 passersby into the establishment over the last 225 years!

Galerie ‘Uit De Kunst and Koffie & Zo are great lunch spots for 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

A rainbow of tulip flowers at the entrance of Keukenhof Gardens in The Netherlands
Woodrow Matthews / ViaTravelers

Address: Stationsweg 166A, 2161 AM Lisse, Netherlands

If you’re visiting Delft between mid-March and mid-May, leave 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) to get plenty of photos as you wind through over 9 miles of stunning footpaths. If you’re not into trekking along on foot, you might sign up for a local bike tour or even zip 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. You can take the Keukenhof Express bus 854 to the gardens from there.

FAQs

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 the home of the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), an outstanding school 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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