I used to think of myself as a big city girl, but after moving to the Netherlands, I fell in love with the smaller quieter cities in the Netherlands. One of my favorite cities in the Netherlands, which is an easy day trip from Amsterdam, is Delft. I’ve been living in the Hague
for some months now and I routinely visit Delft each month. Delft has one of the most prestigious universities in the Netherlands, so despite the history, Delft feels like a young town if you know where you’re looking. This itinerary for Delft is a mix of historic sights and new modern shops/restaurants, so you get to experience both sides of this beautiful city. Keep reading for things to do in Delft in a compact one day itinerary for Delft.
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If you’re visiting Delft for a day trip, I recommend starting off early (let’s be reasonable
and start around 9:30am). I have a full day in Delft planned for you all although I’d recommend spending a night in Delft if you can as hotels in Delft are more affordable than Amsterdam and
you’ll love the cafes here. There’s plenty to do in Delft and this Delft itinerary is a start. This itinerary focuses on locally owned businesses and cafes as that’s my jam and if you’re going to visit a place, I firmly believe in giving back to the local economy. There’s a map with this Delft itinerary at the bottom!
Start off at Delft Centraal.
You can easily get from Amsterdam to Delft by train. It takes forty-five minutes on a direct train (often with a destination going somewhere else). The train from Amsterdam to Delft costs 26 euros (ish) as of 2018. (The fare may increase.)
From the Hague to Delft, you can take the Tram 1 (€ 3,50 each way with buying a ticket on the tram as of 2018), which takes about 25 minutes. You can save time by taking the NS train from Den Haag HS or Den Haag Centraal to Delft. The train ride costs 5 euros round-trip (2018 prices) and takes only ten minutes.
It only takes fifteen minutes to get from Rotterdam to Delft as well!
Explore along Oude Delft canal
From there, enter the old city. People fall in love with Delft for the canals. Do you blame them? Although many people go crazy over theStads-Koffyhuis for Dutch breakfast with a coffee, I recommend walking just a little down the canal to get a pastry (or a coffee) at Galerie ‘Uit De Kunst’. This hybrid cafe/art gallery has a unique flair and delicious pastries with an unforgettable view.
Thrift store lovers will want to browse the thrift store across the way. You might find a steal or a good tip about the stock market from the friendly owner who is really into the stock market.
Optional: Oude Kerk (The Old Church in Delft)
Note: If you’re only interested in the best view of Delft and not the church, skip the Old Church and skip ahead in the Delft itinerary. You’ll save a couple euros this way and if you’re coming in time for the flea market, you’ll have more time to explore.
From there, be sure to visit the leaning Oude Kerk (sometimes called Scheve Jan (“Skewed John”)) and to buy the combination ticket for both churches in Delft that gets you into the Old and the New Church. If you’re a student, be sure to show your ID to save money. Save this for later, so don’t lose it. In case you’re wondering about the origin of the name Delft, ‘delf’ is an old canal.
Explore the historic city center of Delft
The old church was built along an older canal, however when the tower was erected, a canal was in the way. So, the architects filled in the canal to make room for the church tower. Unfortunately, canals aren’t the best foundations for large stone towers…so the tower leans about two meters. The church building as it stands today is said to date back to the 1200s-1300s and it’s considered to be the oldest building in Delft. Enjoy the beautiful organ, the stained glass windows, as well as the massive bell. Here, you can see the grave of Vermeer. The church is a must-see if you’re into gothic cathedrals.
One of the things that I LOVE about Delft is how compact it is. You can walk across the historic city center of Delft in 25 minutes flat, so city wandering is a must although you’ll end up going a lot slower than you realize you’re walking as you’ll be just enjoying the atmosphere. Once you leave the Old Church, be sure to pass by Stadsbakkerij de Diamanten Ring, the oldest bakery in Delft with a gorgeous interior, Before you spoil your appetite, keep in mind that lunch will be huge and delicious, so maybe save that bread/pastry for the way home.
As you turn the corner, note De Winkel, an eccentric local shop specializing in random toys, stationary, and sewing supplies. Perfect for a unique gift. Take in the scenery along the canal and turn towards Voldergracht, one of the prettiest canals in Delft. (For some reason, I always read Voldemort whenever I see the sign…) I absolutely love the backs of the Delft shops with tower of the New Church rising behind them.
Personally, I have chosen to skip the Vermeer Centrum Delft as they don’t have any originals from Vermeer, but if you’re interested in learning more about Vermeer’s paintings as well as his life (in the city that inspired him), it might be interesting to you.
Have lunch in Delft
Take it all in—and stop off at Kek. Kek is one of those restaurants in Delft that everyone loves. It’s instagrammable, vegan-friendly, healthy, and delicious. I’m low-key obsessed with their Salted Caramel Latte with real caramel pieces. I’ve had a lot of different sandwiches/desserts and the portions are always huge. Be warned that it’s quite popular on the weekends (especially for lunch), so it’s best to walk by to put your name on the list if there’s a line. Otherwise, there’s plenty of other good places to eat in Delft, including the ‘t Postkantoor with more traditional Dutch food (tostis, uitsmijters, pancakes, sandwiches).
After a feast, I recommend taking a walk to enjoy the beautiful city center to enjoy the surroundings and burn off that lunch. (Don’t worry, you’re going to be climbing 350+ stairs!) As soon as you follow the alleyways, you’ll end up in the middle of Markt, the epicenter of Delft. On one side, you have the Delft city hall, a stunning building, and the other side, the New Church. There’s tons of Delftware shops in the square and expect this part of Delft to be crowded in April/summer. If you’re into old things, you will definitely want to peek into Drogisterij Salamander to see a functional vintage pharmacy.
Don’t expect a steal, however you still might end up with some beautiful souvenirs from the Netherlands. (Just pack it very carefully!) If you’re visiting Delft on a Thursday OR a Saturday from April to October, be sure to visit the antiques flea market along Hippolytusbuurt and Voldersgracht. The Saturday flea market in Delft is slightly larger than on Thursday, but you might want to look here prior to checking in the Delft shops.
Visit Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) in Delft
The New Church, included in your combination ticket, is the reason that many people flock to Delft and it’s definitely one of the best things to do in Delft. The infamous William of Orange lived in Delft until his murder. At this point he was buried at the New Church, which is now the resting place for members of the Dutch royal family. More generally, people visit the New Church in Delft for the incredible view over the city.
The tower is 85 meters high with a narrow, winding staircase up the tower. Once you’re horribly out of breath, you’ll reach the top for stunning views of the city as well as the nearby cities (if you’re lucky). There are 376 steps each way, so climbing the New Church in Delft is definitely a work out and not for those with bad knees. Be sure to keep your ticket as you need to scan it to get out of the door.
Explore the Beestenmarkt
From here, head towards the Beestenmarkt. This area was first used as a monastery, but with the rise of Protestantism, the monks chose to close the monastery. Starting in the late 1500s, this area in Delft was used as an animal market up until 1972. With more centralized markets and the city becoming more urbanized, the market ceased to exist although there’s a cow statue to mark the historical use of the square. It’s a bit hard to imagine now, however it was revamped in the 1990s into a pleasant square with restaurants and shops. The Beestenmarkt is especially charming at night and you’ll find numerous bars here.
On the square, I recommend Bij Marlies for Dutch fashion and lifestyle goods. It’s just kind of a joy to browse and I am still stoked about the 70 euro skirt that I bought for 5 euros on clearance.
Local Dinner in Delft
Right off the Beestenmarkt, you’ll turn onto another canal and you’ll see one of my favorite places to eat in Delft, another vegan-friendly place, called Hummus. This Algerian-street food inspired restaurant has really delicious vegetarian food, a good craft beer selection, and massive portions. Don’t get over ambitious with ordering as you will not finish your food. It’s also incredibly reasonable for a meal out with a large platter enough for one very hungry person that costs under ten euros. It’s not strictly vegan and for all of you worrying that vegan food isn’t going to be exciting/tasty, I write this as a meat-eater: My dinner at Hummus was one of my most memorable meals in the Netherlands. I’m very fond of Sabich after my time in Israel and they nailed it 100%.
If you’re looking for some other places to eat in Delft, you can head back towards the Beestenmarkt or Markt where you’ll have a ton of great food options to choose from, ranging from Dutch to Eritrean. In the opposite direction, you can visit The Living for a vegetarian/vegan-friendly buffet.
If you don’t arrive too late, you’ll be able to explore Loco Lama, a Dutch design store with a lot of really cool and fascinating decorations. I had a blast looking at all the decorations although my favorite by far was the raven chandelier that I want for my house.
Night in Delft: Have a tea OR Beer in Delft!
Whether you’re solo or traveling together with a significant other, I just love walking around the historic part of Delft at night. Regardless, end your night with a fresh mint tea or a beer. A fresh mint tea is not what you think it is although I guarantee that it’s minty and non-alcoholic.
End your evening with a pint of beer at the oldest beer cafe in the Delft (supposedly). De Klomp dates back to 1651 while the building itself is older than the cafe. The atmosphere instead of the cafe is very Dutch and classic although they have a modern and good beer selection from local Dutch breweries. Game lovers will love the selection of games sitting in the first room although be warned that most are in Dutch. Even if you’re not a beer drinker, you can get a fresh mint tea to enjoy the historical atmosphere. I personally prefer the second room with the hanging Delft plates. It’s close to the train station.
I’m also partial to locus publicus, which has an extensive local beer selection, and is located in the Brabantse Turfmarkt.
Not included on this itinerary
I didn’t include the Royal Delft Factory (and the tour of the Royal Delft Factory) as it’s a bit outside of the city (about one mile) and you can see A LOT of delftware without going to the factory at the various delft stores around Delft as well as the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. It is cool to see the delftware being painted and to learn about the history, but I ended up cutting it to give you a better glimpse into the less touristy side of Delft that most tourists don’t see while showing you more of the city. I’d give yourself maybe 1-2 hours if you want to visit the Royal Delft Factory in Delft.
Where to stay in Delft
This is a lot to pack in a day, however some people are all about a fast pace. Personally, I think the joy of Delft is enjoying the canals at the pace of the water, which is why I recommend staying at least one night in Delft. There’s nothing like enjoying Markt without the crowds in the morning!
Have you been to Delft?