Things To Do In Delft

Last Updated: April 18, 2023

Gerrit Vandenberg

Gerrit shares his love for the Netherlands from his home near Amsterdam, helping thousands plan unforgettable trips to the lowlands. Discover his inspiring journey "From a critical health scare to celebrating Holland's charms". If you want to send Gerrit a quick message, you can contact him here.

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Don’t Miss Out On Delft with this One Day Delft Itinerary

I always love visiting this city whenever I can. There are so many things to do in Delft. It’s a joy being there.

Now you might or might not know about Delft. In Holland, it’s famous because of its link to the Royal Family. It also played an essential role in the historical events we learned about in school.

You might know Delft because this city was immortalized by its most famous resident: Johannes Vermeer. His paintings can be found in the Rijksmuseum, The Maurits house, and worldwide.

But still, somehow, Delft is not as popular with visitors as it could have been. It’s always been a mystery to me, but I assume most people don’t realize how beautiful it is.

Delft is a quick hour from Amsterdam by direct train leaving with high frequency from the central station. So let’s explore this gem together to ensure you’re not missing out.

Delft Old Town with a view on the old church.
A view of the Old Church in Delft – Photo: © Hidden Holland

Delft Might Be Small, But You Won’t Be Moving Fast

Around every corner, alley, and tiny street, there are a million different picture opportunities. With its many facades, buildings, cobbled streets, and charming cafes and restaurants. The charm that Johannes Vermeer found hundreds of years ago can still be seen today.

And to add to all this, Delft is home to one of the largest universities in the country. Making it a proper student town and a vivacious city.

Terrace on top of a boat in a canal in Delft.
Terrace on top of a boat in a canal in Delft – Photo: © Hidden Holland

If the sun is out, so are the people. Outside terraces and patios pop up everywhere. Even boat decks will be changed into terraces with chairs and tables.

Friends catching up over a beer or chatting with a good glass of wine, and kids playing in the streets.

When the sun is not cooperative, the Dutch know how to make it “gezellig” (translates roughly as “cozy”) indoors with its many small cafes and restaurants.

​The Best Way To See Delft Is to Get Lost

​The best way to see Delft is to allow yourself to get lost. Just a little bit. With all the signposting in this city for pedestrians, getting lost is pretty much impossible.

Delft is the type of town you’ll instantly love and have this “I could live here” feeling.

Old town Delft terrace at night.
Delft by night with outside terrace in front of a local cafe – Photo: © Hidden Holland

10 Things To Do in Delft For a Perfect Day

You can easily spend an entire day in Delft. But if you’re short on time, you can see a lot in just a few hours.

Use the itinerary below with ten things to do in Delft as a starting point for your own “one day in Delft” itinerary. 

Don’t let it limit you, though, in any way. If you enjoy all the different little streets, give yourself permission to do so or wander from shop to shop. Nobody will blame you for doing so. 

It’s often better to do fewer things and enjoy them more than to try to squeeze everything in.

With the tips below, you easily create your own self-guided Delft Walking Tour.

Delft Railway Station Ceiling

To begin your self-guided Delft walking tour, you don’t have to go far for your first “must-see” sight. It’s right there when you arrive at the Delft Railway Station.

Delft Railway Station Ceiling.
Ceiling Railway station in Delft. A map of medieval Delft – Photo: © Hidden Holland

Its ceiling is for sure an eye-catcher — just lookup. The roof is stunning and showcases a large map of the city of Delft from the middle ages. I love it!

Delft Canals And Its Canal Houses

When you leave the station, you instantly know you’re in Holland. There is a working windmill in view on the left, and trams stop right in front of you. You only have to walk 2 minutes before you reach the historic old town with the classic picture of the canals.

Old Canal Delft with the Old church in the background.
Delft Canal with Old Church in the background – Photo: © Hidden Holland

When I cross from the station to the Old Canal, I always feel like somehow I just left all my worries behind, and I’m entering a different world.

Have a Break at the Stads-Koffyhuis

As one of Delft’s oldest and most beautiful canals, the “Oude Delft” is a perfect place for a break. So why not take the opportunity and treat yourself, even though you just arrived?

Stads Koffy huis Delft.
Front portal of the Stads Koffyhuis in Delft, a favorite – Photo: © Hidden Holland

For generations, locals have come to this old-style cafe. It’s perfect for people viewing, chatting, or reading the newspaper.

A local specialty to try is a cake called “Delftse Donder.” It’s very chocolatey. They are also known for their sandwiches at lunchtime.

Being known does mean this cafe is popular. At lunchtime, it can be difficult to find a table. I advise going in for an early lunch at 11:30/noon when it’s not as busy.

PS: You can even have a Dutch pancake here, so why not try one? My favorite is “Kaas en Spek met stroop en poedersuiker”. It’s a cheese and bacon pancake with thick syrup and powdered sugar. The combo may sound odd, but I think it’s the best :-). Do you have a sweet tooth instead? Then you might like the apple with cinnamon better.

Delft Boat Tour

Next up is a boat tour on the canals of Delft. The city is beautiful from the water. Seeing something from the water always gives a unique angle. It’s no different in Delft. And thankfully, it’s so easy to hop on a canal tour. I always find this a welcome break from a lot of walking :-). 

Delft Boat Tour.
The departure point for boat tours in Delft – Photo: © Hidden Holland

Boats usually depart about hourly and take about 45-50 minutes in season (April-October).

A Quick Lunch at the Stadsbakkerij de Diamanten Ring

Before exploring the rest of Delft, why not enjoy a sandwich (and get a snack for later) at the Stadsbakkerij de Diamanten Ring, the oldest bakery in Delft?

Did you know this bakery has been in business since 1789? The interior feels old fashion but in a good way. It’s pretty. The store is not large, but they have an incredible selection.

It’s also an excellent spot to purchase gifts for your loved ones back home.

Bakker de Diamanten Ring Delft.
The City Bakery the Diamond Ring – Photo: © Hidden Holland

What to get here? Oh, difficult to say. I’m just a mess inside a bakery like this because I like it all. If I were in your shoes, I would try a Dutch favorite.

Something you don’t know, like a “Mergpijp” (scrumptious). Or a Tompouce (be prepared for some mess). Or just a good old-fashioned “krentenbol.”

Another great snack and a local specialty from this bakery is a bread called: “Delft Bruggetje.” It’s a luxurious sweet bread filled with dried apricots, candy pieces, and hazelnuts rolled in cinnamon sugar.

They are called Delft Bruggetje (Delft Bridge) because their shape reminds you of the many bridges you’ll see spanning over the canals of Delft.

The Holidays are a Special Time at this Bakery

If you’re lucky enough to be in Delft during the Holiday season (October – December), you’re in for a treat.

Their “Pepernoten” (Chewy Gingerbread) wins prizes! Get a bag if they have them. Another seasonal items well worth trying are an “Amandel Letter” (Flaky puff pastry filled with almond paste). But honestly, it’s best to have an oven to heat this.

Seasonal specialities at the Stadsbakkerij de Diamanten Ring Delft.
An “Amandel Letter” and award-winning “Pepernoten” – Photo: © Hidden Holland

Or get an “Oliebol” or “Appelflap,” which we (the Dutch) eat only officially during New Year and in secret months before.

Oliebollen are fried sweet bread with or without raisins and topped with powdered sugar. Try one, their flavor is difficult to describe, but it’s so good. 

Appelflappen can be soft (beignets) or flaky (turnovers). Both are filled with apples. Of course, I think about your vitamins too. They have a separate stall outside selling these treats.

Delft Market Square: City Hall And The New Church

Another of my favorite things to do in Delft is visiting the central Market Square. Prepare yourself: it’s touristy here.

I did say most visitors skip Delft. But many tour buses make a quick stop for the Delft market square; thus, here, it feels a bit different than in the rest of the city. 

All the shops on the square seem to be owned by one (souvenir) company. But this is still a fascinating place. It always takes my breath away with the Delft Town Hall on one side and the very tall Delft New Church on the other (which you can climb).

View on the Market Square in Delft.
Delft Historic City Hall – Photo: © Hidden Holland

The New Church is beautiful inside and is well known in the Netherlands as where the Dutch Royals are buried. Unfortunately, though, the royal tombs are not accessible.

Oh, and don’t let the name of the “new” church fool you. The building for this church started in 1396, and it was completed in 1496. New is quite relative here! But it’s newer than the old church.

There are a few different ticket options available if you want to visit the new church:

  1. Just visit the church
  2. Just climb the tower
  3. A combination ticket for the New and the Old Church, including climbing the tower
Delft New Church Tower to climb.
Delft New Church, will you climb it? – Photo: © Hidden Holland

Climbing the tower of the New Church is something I highly recommend. It’s the second-highest church tower in the country after the Domtoren in Utrecht. The views are breathtaking.

But I have to make a fair warning: Going up the tower is not for everyone.

There is no elevator. It’s 376 steps up and the same 376 steps to get down. They tell you at the bottom that you should be able to get up there in 12 minutes.

I don’t know what kind of fitness level you need for an Olympic achievement like that, but I don’t have it.

It takes me 20 minutes to climb one way, and I use all stops in between to catch my breath. 

Staircase in the tower of the New Church Delft.
Steps inside the New Church in Delft. There are 376 steps in total – Photo: © Hidden Holland

You might be about to abandon the idea after reading this but don’t. The view makes it all worth it. And here are some time tips to make it a more effortless experience:

  • Get there early! The church opens at 10 am. Be there at 10 am. When you go up, nobody is coming down!
  • The tour groups usually will not arrive until noon. You’ll also have a pretty clear run going down, making it feel far less claustrophobic. (Don’t take run literally. Walk carefully, safety first).
  • Use the rooms in between to pause. Catch your breath. This is not a marathon. This also ensures you’re not the person holding up others while catching your breath on the stairs.
View from the 2nd floor tower New Church Delft. towards the Old Church.
View from the 2nd level towards the Old Church in Delft – Photo: © Hidden Holland

The view at the top is just incredible. It truly is unreal. Delft is beautiful. And from above, you can see it all. When I felt uncomfortable during the climb, the idea of the view kept me going.

From here, you’ll see the old city hall, the Old Church, the canals, the houses, and the cobbled streets, like a picture-perfect miniature world.

You can see for miles on a clear day if you’re lucky. The skylines of both the Hague and Rotterdam are easy to recognize.

A final word of caution: both outside areas are entirely open. No safety fences or nets like on the Eiffel Tour. Perfect for picture taking. There are no obstacles. Not so ideal if you have a fear of heights.

There is a railing up to about elbow height. But if you’re tall like me, it doesn’t feel that high.

You can buy your ticket for the old and the new church here (including the tower at the new church)

The Delft Market on Thursdays And Saturdays

Stroopwafel stall at market in Delft.
Stroopwafels at the Market in Delft – Photo: © Hidden Holland

If you are in Delft on a Thursday, there will be a fresh market on Market Square. If you are in Delft on a Saturday, the market is spread out over the city center along the Brabantse Turfmarkt and the Burgwal.

Make sure to get a fresh and warm Stroopwafel (caramel waffle). It’s the best version you’ll have ever tasted. Make sure NOT to go for the prepackaged ones or the decorated waffles, but buy an original Super Wafel instead that comes freshly prepared and warm of the plate. It’s the best!

It’s Always Time For Ice Cream

Ice cream with Dutch flavors at Otelli Ice cream on Market Square Delft.
Ice Cream at Otelli on Delft Market Square – Photo: © Hidden Holland

If you are at the Market Square during a beautiful warm day (or any day really, who am I kidding), one of the best places to get ice cream is Otelli. They have so many different flavors; it’s impossible to choose from. All are good.

If you want to try something new, go for the Dutch flavors, like Vlaflip (a pudding/yogurt dessert in real life but now made into an ice cream flavor). Or Engelse Drop (English licorice, but there is nothing English about it, and not very licorice-like either, but very Dutch and tasty). And there is Speculoos (cookie butter), Stroopwafel (caramel waffles), and others (ask!).

You probably have to opt for the four-scoops option :-). Thankfully scoops are smaller than in the US. Keep that in mind.

When I travel to Delft, I tell myself I will get two scoops. If I chose one, I would feel like I was on a diet, so two is good. But then I enter the shop, and all is lost. Four scoops it is. Or is that just me? And it comes in a yummy fresh waffle cone.

Another excellent choice for ice cream is close by at “De Lelie.” If you’re lucky, they have “Delftse Donder” ice cream. If you like chocolate, then go for it! You won’t regret it. It’s chocolate heaven.

The Delft Old Church and its tilted tower

You don’t need to visit Pisa, Italy, to see a tilted tower. Delft has its very own. After a visit to the New Church, you can visit the Old Church with its crooked tower. It’s just a few minutes away.

The Old Church dates from 1246 and is also called in Dutch the “Oude Jan” or the “Scheve Jan,” which means the Old Jan or the Crooked Jan. Jan is a common first name in this country. And it’s called crooked because, well, it is.

The tower was renovated in 2018 to secure the building. But you can still not climb the tower of the Old Church.

Delft museums: Museum Prinsenhof and the Vermeer Museum

There are two pretty well-known museums in Delft. The first is the Prinsenhof Museum, a beautiful monumental building across from the old church.

The Prinsenhof Museum has a diverse collection of different types of art, including Delft Blue pottery. Here you’ll also learn a lot about the history of Delft.

PS: This is also where you can see the bullet holes in the wall from when Willem van Oranje was killed in 1584.

Vermeer Museum Delft

The other museum is the “Vermeer Centrum Delft” or the Vermeer Museum. Here they don’t have any actual Vermeer paintings.

Authentic artworks are scattered around the world. In the Netherlands, you can see a few of them at the Mauritshuis in The Hague and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

But there is still an excellent reason to visit this museum in Delft, even though the artworks are high-quality reproductions. This is the only place where you can see the 37 works at the actual scale all in one place.

Elsewhere they may be original, but you can only see one or two at a time. Here at the Vermeer Museum in Delft, you can see them all.

Together with a lot of background information about each painting. You’ll also get a glimpse into the life of Johannes Vermeer himself and his work methods.

Your fee includes an audio tour (or a live guide every Sunday at 10:30 am in English). You can buy your tickets here.

Visit a Real Working Delft Porcelain Factory

If you want to visit a working factory creating Delft Blue, then you are in luck. Because you can, by visiting the Royal Delft factory.

Delft Blue Factory still in operation in Delft.
Royal Delft Experience painting by hand – Photo: © Get Your Guide

Royal Delft is the last remaining original Delft Blue factory, which dates back to the 17th century. Here they still manufacture Delft Blue by hand according to a centuries-old tradition.

It’s beautiful to see this level of detail and handwork. If you like Delft Blue porcelain, I highly recommend a visit for a behind-the-scenes look. Tours take around 90 minutes.

Delfts Inner Courtyards

Delft inner courtyard Entrance to Hofje van Almonde.
This is the hofje van Almonde. Yes, you can go in! – Photo: © Hidden Holland

One common theme in many old Dutch (and Belgium) cities is “hofjes.” These tiny homes are built around a garden to create an inner courtyard.

The houses are the courtyard wall; usually, they are only accessible by an entrance gate.

These gates are often hidden from the main streets, making them even more secretive and quiet.

The gateway might provoke the feeling of “Am I allowed to go in here?” All this creates a tranquil and peaceful area amidst the busyness of the city, like a green oasis.

And that is why I love them so much. It’s a retreat from the busyness. I said it before. Delft feels to me like entering a different world.

Usually, there used to be a relationship between the inhabitants of these courtyards—for example, single women, members of a church, or a group. More often than not, there was a social aspect to why these courtyards were built.

In Delft, there are quite a few of these inner courtyards left. And some are open to the public.

The following courtyards are accessible to the public:

  • Het Klaeuwshofje (Oranje Plantage 58-77)
  • Het Hofje van Pauw, also called Hofje Van der Dussen (Paardenmarkt 54-62)
  • Hofje van Gratie (Van der Mastenstraat 24-38)
  • Hofje van Almonde (Bagijnhof 10-22) > this is the most hidden of them all.

Frequently Asked Questions For Things to Do in Delft

What are the best things to do in Delft?

The must-visit attractions in Delft include the Old Church (Oude Kerk), New Church (Nieuwe Kerk), Royal Delft (For Delft Blue Pottery), and Markt Square, and take a boat tour around Old Town. Also make sure to try some Dutch treats.

Are there any museums worth visiting in Delft?

The Vermeer Centrum Delft and Museum Prinsenhof Delft are the two most important museums. Visiting the Old and the New Church and the Delft Blue factory is also enjoyable.

Is Delft suitable for a day trip from Amsterdam or Rotterdam?

Delft is easily reachable from both cities by train, making it an ideal day trip destination. It’s approximately an hour by train from Amsterdam and just 10 minutes from Rotterdam.

How to get from Delft to Amsterdam by train

Train at platform at Delft station.
Train platform Delft Station – Photo: © Hidden Holland

Traveling between Delft and Amsterdam by train is straightforward. It’s the preferred mode of transport because it’s from the city center to the city center. You’ll have no parking issues, and you’ll avoid congestion. The journey is non-stop and takes about 1 hour.

Amsterdam to Delft train times and prices:

Two trains an hour travel directly between Amsterdam Central Station and Delft Station. There are two more departures if you’re willing to transfer once (very easy in Leiden on the opposite side of the platform). Bringing the total to 4 trains an hour. Travel times are the same (direct or with transfer). For extra comfort, I advise a 1st class ticket.

Download the NS app on your phone. It’s available in English and super handy! From planning your train journeys to buying tickets directly in the app (no paper tickets needed).

Schiphol Airport to Delft trains

You can also travel 2x per hour directly between Delft and Schiphol Airport (37 minutes). (4x per hour if you’re ok with one transfer). This is the fastest option to get to the airport. I advise a 1st class ticket for this journey for extra comfort.

Delft to Rotterdam and Delft to The Hague trains

Other handy train connections from Delft are direct services between Delft and Rotterdam and Delft and The Hague. It’s just around 10 minutes to either city and up to 12 departures an hour. Do not get a 1st class ticket for a journey between Delft and Rotterdam or Delft and the Hague. The trip is too short for that. Before you find a seat, you’re there. Buy a standard 2nd class ticket instead.

If you want to travel to other destinations in the Netherlands or Belgium from Delft, use the travel planner in the app

PS: for tips on things to do in Rotterdam, read my blog post about one day in Rotterdam.

Should I take the tram between Delft and The Hague or the train?

You can travel by tram between Delft and The Hague or by train. There are pros and cons to either one of these options. It’s up to you what will work best for your schedule:

Pros Tram

  • Cost-effective if you travel around the Hague as well
  • A day ticket allows unlimited rides within The Hague to Scheveningen and Delft.
  • Perfect if you want to explore the city and the beach

Pros Train

  • Fastest travel time (10 minutes)
  • The cheapest option if you need a simple return journey to central The Hague
  • Most departures per hour – up to 12!

Where to stay in Delft

The itinerary above is enough to keep you busy for one day in Delft. But as I can only imagine, you might want to spend more time in Delft. 

If you plan to see The Hague and Rotterdam as well, Delft is a perfect base. After all, both are only 10 minutes away. And both are worth visiting! Like the Peace Palace, the beach, and top-rated museums in The Hague. Or see the Erasmus Bridge and harbor for yourself in Rotterdam.

Or how about a visit to the windmills of Kinderdijk (A Unesco World Heritage site)? Which is also relatively close to Delft. All perfect reasons to book accommodation in Delft and use this city as your base for the region.

With train connections this good, Delft is a perfect base.

It’s much more relaxed when you don’t have to move house every day. Plus, waking up every morning in a scene like you live inside a Johannes Vermeer painting is not a bad bonus. 

Below are two options that I recommend for your stay in Delft and why I like them:

Bookmark the links in this post and save them to a travel planning folder in your browser. When you’re ready to book, you have all the links conveniently in one place. Open the link and then click Ctrl+D on a PC or Cmd+D on a Mac or the bookmark symbol on your mobile browser. That’s it.

Stay at the Museum Hotel Delft

I have to include the museum hotels Delft as my first pick. What makes this hotel so unique is that it consists of 3 different monumental buildings that together make up this hotel. It’s right in the middle of the historic city center. When you wake up in the morning, you walk straight into a Vermeer painting. This hotel can’t be more central, right next to the Old Church.

The rooms may not be luxurious, but they are all adequate and unique in shape and decorations. A breakfast buffet is included every morning, and they have to-go cups for your coffee (free of charge)- Museum Hotel Delft.

The Johannes Vermeer hotel Delft

My second pick is another unique hotel with a story: the Johannes Vermeer Hotel. This characteristic hotel is in an old cigar factory in the city center of Delft. Have you ever stayed in a former cigar factory before? I haven’t!

The front of the building still has the branding intact, which looks fantastic. This is not a 13-in-a-dozen chain hotel. Inside they did an incredible job with the Vermeer theme, from a wall painting of the “Girl with a Pearl Earring” in the lobby to decorating the rooms in the typical Dutch style.

The location of this hotel is central. All rooms have air conditioning and free Wi-Fi. The rooms are cozy. The suites are just stunning. And a good breakfast is included. Guests are raving about this hotel on Booking.com. I understand why.

Which Delft Activity Excites 🌟 You The Most?

I’d love to hear your thoughts: Which of the highlighted things to do in Delft are you most excited to visit and why? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and let’s start a conversation 💬.

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Gerrit shares his love for the Netherlands from his home near Amsterdam, helping thousands plan unforgettable trips to the lowlands. Discover his inspiring journey "From a critical health scare to celebrating Holland's charms". If you want to send Gerrit a quick message, you can contact him here.

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