Delft is one of the most famous villages in the Netherlands due to its fairytale-like streets, its charming canals and all the beauty Vermeer captured in some of his most famous creations.
Delft is one of the most beautiful villages in the Netherlands. There you will be able to enjoy all the scenes from Vermeer’s paintings, in real life. On Saturdays and Thursdays, there is an antique market. It has restaurants by the canals, historic buildings, and an amazing main square.
Besides having beautiful cities such as Rotterdam and Amsterdam, the Netherlands has many small villages that are just as lovely, less crowded, less popular and little hidden gems to discover on a day trip or a weekend away. If you want to know why Delft is one of the nicest villages to visit in the Netherlands, keep reading to discover my experience.
What to See in Delft
I have to be honest, I knew about Delft since way before I moved to the Netherlands due to my passion for art history and Vermeer’s famous paintings. After two years living in the Netherlands and after having visited half of the country on my free time, I still was missing a visit to Delft. It wasn’t until a friend of mine convinced me to go to Delft that I decided to go. And this is what I thought:
How could I have taken so long to visit such a beautiful little city? It has all the charms of the Dutch cities, in a small version, fresh, friendly, historic and fun. Delft is definitely worth visiting if you are in the Netherlands. Here there are some of the reasons why:
Did you know that Delft has the best university in the country? The Delft University of Technology has been for a couple of years now the best Dutch university according to the QS World University Ranking.
Delft is a historic city and a rather small one, but that doesn’t mean it is boring or only for elderly people. A large amount of students and the innovative ideas the university brings over to the whole community all the positive sides of younger energy and international vibes.
One of the most famous features and creations of Delft is Delft Blue, the most famous pottery in Europe since the Dutch Golden Ages. This pottery started to be produced in the 17th Century with the higher income and the knowledge of Chinese pottery after all the Asian trading Dutch people were experiencing, they decided to create their own pottery.
Delft pottery suddenly because of the number one choice for the Royal family and an inspiration for the rest of Europe. Nowadays, its production is reduced, but it is very famous in the Netherlands (and the rest of the world) and you can experience it in the Paauw Delft Blue Museum, where you will be able to join the workshops to do your own, learn more about the history of the pottery, view some pieces at the museum and more. Of course, in Delft
Paintings Vermeer-Where to Find Them
Johannes Vermeer is one of the most famous Baroque Dutch Painters. He is most well known because of its painting Girls with the Pearl Earring but also because of its landscaped of Delft, his hometown.
View of Delft is probably his most famous landscape. The city has suffered a big evolution since the 17th Century, it has changed its structure, added concrete, and modern buildings. However, in the city center, you will be able to compare the old Delft with the new one and bring back to life all his paintings.
While visiting Delft, you will see that most cafes and restaurants are decorated with some nod to Vermeer, who is part of the identity of Delft. If you are interested to live Vermeer’s Delft, the city proposes 5 activities you can do: Visit the old Centrum, visit the Old Church, visit the Harbor Hooikade and more here.
If you have visited the Rijksmuseum while being in Amsterdam and you are considering a day trip somewhere else, visiting Vermeer’s hometown would definitely bring back some of the amazing paintings the Rijksmuseum has in the Flemish-Dutch Golden Ages Hall. Definitely a good idea.
One of the biggest charms of the Dutch cities is the many markets that take place all year round, no matter the weather conditions. These are of different types and Delft is no exception:
- On Thursday is market day in Delft. Between the City Hall and the Nieuwe Kerk, with over 150 stalls. This is a typical city market where you can do your grocery shopping of fresh products (fresh bread, cheeses, fruits and veggies, meats, cold cuts) plus some gadgets, clothing items, bike accessories and so on. The Delft version of the Albert Cuyp Market in Amsterdam.
- Also on Thursday, there is a flower market that can be found on the Brabantse Turfmarkt, right next to the bigger market. This same market also happens on Saturday, with a reduced amount of stalls (around 50).
- On Saturday the flea market takes place. This is a personal favourite of mine, a way to understanding the Dutch culture in a deeper way and maybe buying some actual cool and original souvenirs. This market features second-hand items as well as antiques.
Day trip: from Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, Amsterdam
Another great reason to visit Delft is that it is a great day-trip idea if you are in any of the cities on the Randstad. Delft it is a maximum of an hour away from the bigger cities and in 4-5 hours you can have a great visit of the city, go there for a walk along the small canals, visit some of the markets, go for lunch at a cute restaurant or just take some photos and breath the history.
- Amsterdam: coming from Amsterdam it is only a 45 minutes train. You can take it from the central station, calculate your trip at NS.NL and buy the ticket online or at the station. Trains go every half an hour, at least and every day of the week. You will have to go to The Hague or Rotterdam and from there take a train to Delft.
- Rotterdam: if you are in Rotterdam, within 10-20 minutes you can be in Delft. You can also cycle from there, which would take you around 1 hour (15 km) and then you can enjoy the fields, mostly if you are doing it during spring.
- The Hague: same as Rotterdam, going to Delft is a direct train that would take you 10-15 min. Since The Hague is closer to Delft, you can cycle there and be in Delft within 30 min (approximately 8km). It is once again a great idea.
- Utrecht: going from Utrecht is like going from Amsterdam, an hour trip by train passing through Rotterdam or The Hague. Once again, tickets in NS.NL. If you are going through Utrecht my tip would be to also stop in Gouda on your way there or coming back and enjoy from the city of cheese!
There are many unique shops and items you can get if you happen to be visiting Delft, as well as many cute restaurants. Some of my personal recommendations are:
- The Blue Tulip: buying Delft blue in Delft is definitely a wise decision. The Blue Tulip is one of the official shops where you will be able to find handmade pottery pieces with the typical Dutch designs. You can even personalize your goods and get them to send to your home country for safer transportation.
- Art shops: if you are into purchasing some art, Vermeer’s hometown is a great place to find other inspired local artists. Some of the cool shops you can check are Milo Design Gifts, House of Vermeer or Kunstsuper Delft. On the flea markets every Saturday you will also be able to find crafts, art pieces, and antiques.
- Chocolate and Sweets: this can definitely be your shopping destination city of special treats. In places like Van der Burgh Chocolaad you will find homemade chocolate, especially good as a souvenir, Leonidas and more.
- Alcohol: if you are interested in trying some Dutch productions or finding some exotic products, Delft also has the ideal shops. Van Kleef and Zon is a distillery where you will be able to buy some homemade liquors and get a taste of them taking an aperitivo.
- Interior and Fashion: for cool design pieces, Loco Lama is an original concept store where you will be able to find both fashion and interior pieces that would satisfy the original minds.
- Souvenirs: if you are looking for out of the ordinary souvenirs, you can swing by The Dutch Souvenir Cafe, get caffeinated and check out their original creations.
Besides enjoying from the shopping, the cultural and artistic experience and all the markets, what you must see when visiting Delft is:
- Nieuwe Kerk
- Centrum Delft (Vermeer’s Delft)
- Museum Princenhof Delft
- Oud Kerk
- City Hall
- Botanical Garden
- Eastern Gate
- Royal Delft
- Windmill De Rose
- Science Centre Delft