Top things to do in Delft

As one of the prettiest towns in the Netherlands, this small city offers everything from antique markets to lazy day outings by the canals

A centuries-old town with fairytale canals, Delft is filled with historical buildings and is home to Holland’s Tower of Pisa.

A relaxing weekend city break, explore the enchanting winding streets or gaze at Johannes Vermeer’s famous art works.

A trip to the Delft Blue factory is a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours to find out about the famous earthenware, still made to this day using centuries-old tradition.

This canal-ringed city is just a 50-minute train journey from bustling Amsterdam and offers canal-side houses with extraordinary facades, pretty markets and delicious craft beers.

Getting there:

Flying: Transavia handles the majority of flights at Rotterdam The Hague Airport. The airport is only a 15-minute drive from Delft. If coming from the largest airport in the Netherlands – Schiphol Airport – Delft is 35 minutes away. From Schiphol you can easily travel to Delft by train in 40 minutes or by car in 50 minutes.

Train: Delft is centrally located between The Hague and Rotterdam, with trains running regularly to and from the city. It only takes 10 minutes to get from Rotterdam and/or The Hague to Delft by train, 45 minutes from Amsterdam, and around three hours from Groningen and Maastricht.

Delft has two train stations – Delft Zuid and Delft Center. From Delft Centrum station you can walk to the city center in a few minutes.

Bus: Transport company EBS offers a direct bus from Delft to Rotterdam The Hague Airport. Bus line 37 runs to the airport twice an hour. It takes around 21 mins to reach the airport via bus.

TIP: To be able to travel on public transport, tourists need an OV-chipkaart. There are two types: the anonymous or personal OV-chipkaart. You can use the OV-chipkaart to travel on GVB vehicles as well as other transportation companies in the Netherlands. This card also works on trains.

Visitors can buy single tickets at one of the NS vending machines at the train station for a small extra charge.

TIP: If arriving by car, parking is not allowed in the center of Delft. Follow the P-route to one of the underground car parks. From there, it’s a five-minute walk to the city center.

Things to do and see:

Take a tram

Two tram lines run from the public transport company HTM: Tramline 1 and Tramline 19.

Tramline 1 runs from Scheveningen beach to Delft South. This route enables you to get great highlights of both The Hague and Delft. This is the best route if visiting the Municipal Museum, Mauritshuis, the Oude and Nieuwe Kerk or the Vermeer Center.

Tramline 19 runs from Leidsenhage to Delft Station. Get off at the Prinsenhof stop to cross directly to Museum Prinsenhof Delft. If visiting the historic city center, stops Prinsenhof and Station Centrum allow you to walk straight into the center.

Explore the canals

The city’s famous canals served dually as a defence system and also as a lifeline throughout the city, delivering goods and supplies. The word ‘delft’ itself is derived from ‘delven’ or ‘to dig’.

The oldest canal line is the Old Delft, with the city expanding around it over the past 750 years.

Three north-to-south canals are the oldest in Delft: Old Delft, New Delft and Derde hoofdgracht.

Dug in 1100, the first canal – Old Delft – mainly runs through Noordeinde. This canal was used for draining the land at both sides. It went on to serve as a transport waterway.

The New Delft canal was dug through part of the settlement that had grown around the Old Delft. It runs through the Geer, Koornmarkt, Wijnhaven, the Hippolytusbuurt and the Voorstraat.

Lastly, Derde hoofdgracht, which was dug in the 13th century, connects with the moat around the marketplace, and outlines the eastern city border. The canal runs through Achterom and the Brabantse Turfmarkt.

TIP: You can rent a canal taxi boat to take you to the main tourist spots, flagging one down on the canals, or ordering by phone. If you want to avoid the hassle of picking them up after every stop, you can rent one for up to eight people for an hourly rate.

Stroll through the city

All sights in Delft can easily be reached on foot. Moreover, walking paths and pavements throughout the city are accessible especially for pedestrians.

Walk through the old town and enjoy the many beautiful sights the city has to offer.

TIP: Why not take a hop-on-hop-off tour? The Delft City Shuttle enables you to visit many of the city’s highlights. You can also choose to take the hour-long tour among all the must-see hotspots. A daytrip costs €4 per person. The shuttle runs around daily from 10am – 5pm.

You can leave every 20 minutes at one of the following locations: Aula TU, Botanical Garden, Market / VVV Delft, Holiday park Delftse Hout, Delft Station, Restaurant Swing / Hampshire Hotel, Delft Center, The Koningshuys, New church, Old church, Royal Delft Science Center, City-cafe house and Westcord Hotel.

Visit the churches

Delft’s inner city is dominated by two big churches: the Oude Kerk or Old Church that has a leaning tower (so-called Holland’s Tower of Pisa) and beautiful stained-glass windows, while the Nieuwe Kerk or New Church has a connection to the Royal Family.

The New Church is located on Delft’s Market Square and opposite the City Hall. The church has a permanent exhibition that explains the city’s rich history and its link to the Royal House.

William of Orange lived in Delft from where he fought against the Spanish occupier. When he was murdered at ‘Prinsenhof’ in 1584, he was buried in the New Church.

The Old Church contains beautiful stained-glass windows and two organs. The church originally started life as a wooden church in 1050, but then grew to be a 75-metre high building with a gothic tower.

The church also holds several mausoleums and graves, such as admiral Piet Hein and painter Johannes Vermeer (master of light and creator of ‘The Girl with the Pearl Earring’.)

Both churches are within easy walking distance of each other.

Location: New Church: Markt 80, 2611 GW Delft, Netherlands / Old Church: HH Geestkerkhof 25, 2611 HP Delft, Netherlands.

Entry costs: an adult ticket costs €5,50. Visiting the tower of the New Church is not included in the ticket price. Tower tickets can be bought on location and costs €4.50. A combination ticket costs €8.50.

Opening hours: Click here for monthly visiting hours.

TIP: With one entry ticket, you can visit both the New and Old churches.

See Delftse Molen de Roos

In the past, there were 18 mills spinning in Delft. Now, only one remains. Molen de Roos is not the only last remaining mill in the city, it is also a working mill used as a flour mill, whereby grain is processed to flour.

On Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, you can climb the stairs in the mill to see the process and discover the mill from the inside.

On the afternoons that the mill is open to the public, you can shop for biological flour and other regional products, like honey and Delftse elderberry syrup.

The mill is located where the city wall used to be.

Location: Phoenixstraat 111, 112, 2611 AK Delft, Netherlands.

Entry costs: Free tour.

Opening hours: The windmill is openWednesday – Saturday from 10:00 – 16:00pm. The windmill shop is open from 10:00am – 17:00pm.

Wonder at Delft Blue ceramics

The world-famous earthenware has been produced in the city of Delft since 1602.

Established in 1653, the last remaining original Delft Blue factory from the 17th century in Delft still hand makes Delft Blue according to centuries-old tradition.

Discover the history, craftsmanship and innovation of this royal company during a 1.5 hour visit tour at the museum.

The tour allows you to watch master painters and craftsmen at work, while also exploring the extraordinary monumental building and garden.

Royal Delft works with 10-minute timeslots, in which six people can access the museum.

Location: Rotterdamseweg 196, 2628 AR Delft, The Netherlands

Entry costs: an adult ticket costs €12,75 – €14,00.

Opening hours: Monday – Tuesday: 11.30am -17.00pm / Wednesday – Sunday: 10.00am – 17.00pm.

Checking out C & J.

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