Situated in the western part of The Netherlands and about an hour train ride away from Amsterdam, sits the charming canal ringed Dutch city of Delft. Delft is also famed for its beautiful handcrafted blue and white painted ceramic Delftware, which almost everyone’s grandmother is familiar with and also home to Dutch master painter, Johannes Vermeer. In its Old Town square, you’ll find a stunning Town Hall and Nieuwe Kerk dominating opposite sides with shops and restaurants surrounding the massive square. Everything flows at a slower pace in Delft (except the Dutchies whizzing by on their bikes, of course), which is why I decided to spend a day exploring its small canals and quiet streets. There weren’t many tourists around at all and the locals were as friendly as could be and always sported a smile while speaking to me. Delft was definitely a place I wanted to visit during my 10 day jaunt through the Netherlands and I’m glad I made it there. My only regret? Not staying for two days. I loved it so much! Here’s what I got up to in 24 hours while visiting this quaint Dutch gem!
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Arriving in Delft
Delft is easily reached by train and takes approximately an hour from Amsterdam, so it makes for the perfect day trip. I do suggest staying for a whole day to fully appreciate all that Delft has to offer. I chose to take the train from Leiden and stay for an entire day and book a hotel, which was also easily reached by foot and took less than eight minutes to walk to from the main train station. Once you arrive in Delft, you’ll find that it’s very easy to get around on foot and see all the attractions, which are mainly situated within the Old Town. For all train fares and schedules, visit the Dutch Railway website for more info.
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Exploring Delft – Things to See & Do
Given the fact that Delft is a small and compact city, it is easy to explore by foot and wander at your own leisure. Most of your time will be spent walking along the picturesque canals, hanging out in the Old Town square, stopping in at restaurants for a bite to eat and a drink and snapping many photos along the way. Delft is one of those picture perfect towns that you’ll easily fall in love with. Make sure to stop into an authentic Royal Delftware shop within the Old Town square. I popped into one shop and spoke to the employee as he lovingly hand painted some pieces of ceramic with those infamous blue and white colours. His family has owned the shop for over 37 years and he was learning to master the technique that has been in his family for many years before the shop was opened. You’ll pay a hefty price for authentic Delftware, but remember the painstakingly long hours that it takes to produce each piece and you’ll definitely have a unique souvenir to bring home. Other must see attractions to see in Delft are the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), a 15th century Gothic cathedral, which is located on the north side of Delft’s beautiful Old Town square and is the burial place for Willem of Orange. The square is also called “de Markt”, or market and is also home to the visually pleasing Town Hall on the south side of the market square. The nearby Oude Kerk (Old Church), which is two centuries older than the Nieuwe Kerk, is the final resting place of Johannes Vermeer.
Places to Grab Food, Drinks & More
Don’t let Delft’s small town size fool you. This place is definitely not short on places to eat, drink and be merry! With so many places to choose from, here were some places I went to while wandering the city.
Coffee and Snacks – Coffee places are everywhere in Delft, so the only trouble you’ll have is choosing where to park your butt for a bit to enjoy a hot cuppa. Fun fact, when I went to visit the Nieuwe Kerk and Oude Kerk (which I didn’t make it to due to the 5pm closing time), I was given a pamphlet to get a free coffee at one of the participating coffee house listed in de Markt area. I wandered over to Doppio Espresso, which is tucked in behind the Town Hall on Hippolytusbuurt along the canal. The coffee was pretty delicious and much needed after walking around in the cold, breezy weather. It’s a cozy place that is fairly large in size and has polite staff and some treats and food to nibble on as well.
Hearty and Filling Eats – One of my favourite meals in Delft and maybe even my entire trip, was at the Belgisch Bier Café Belvédère right in the heart of the city at the Beestenmarkt. This old school Belgian bar and restaurant is the perfect place to cozy up on wooden benches with a table view of the bustling market outside. The beer is plentiful and the portions are massive, so make sure to bring an appetite. I ate the schnitzel and fries and washed it down with a couple of tasty Belgian beers before setting out to explore and walk those calories off. Definitely a must visit while in Delft.
Healthy and Fresh Breakfasts – If it’s healthy, colourful and fresh smoothie bowls you are looking for, look no further than Kek. Located right along a canal behind de Markt on Voldersgracht is a smoothie bowl heaven. This place is jam packed with people at any given time of day and it’s not hard to see why. With a few dozen scattered private tables surrounded by a large wooden communal table, it’s a place where you can see yourself hanging out and sipping coffee for hours. Fresh fruits and veggies are on display as soon as you enter Kek and you’ll instantly fall in love with the menu. I grabbed a seat at the communal table and ordered up a bright pink smoothie bowl and bravely ordered up a beetroot red velvet latte, which was delicious, albeit a little too sweet for my taste, but I’m glad I tried it. The whole place is highly Instagram worthy, as most people were taking photos of their artsy looking plates, me being one of them. 😉
Visiting this quintessentially Dutch city is a definite must while visiting The Netherlands. Make sure you book a full night’s stay, or two in Delft to really enjoy meandering around it’s quaint streets and canals. Have any of you guys heard of, or have been to Delft? Does anyone in your family own any Delftware? 😉 Let me know in the comments below! xo