Things to Do in Gouda
The peaceful town of Gouda offers a quintessential Dutch experience without the crowds of nearby Amsterdam, making it the perfect destination for a relaxing break. Of course, the town is just the spot for foodies too – offering the chance to sample the very best the region has to offer.
Gouda has been famous for its cheese for hundreds of years, and with the same time-tested methods still in use today, you can enjoy the freshest local delicacies right at the heart of their origin. As well as a gastronome’s dream, this Dutch town offers quaint scenes wherever you turn - from dreamy walks past canals and historic cobble squares, to diverse markets just perfect for picking up quirky souvenirs.
Whatever your holiday style, you’ll never run out of things to do in Gouda.
Wander through Historic City Streets
The historic centre of Gouda offers up a plethora of stories to keep you entertained as you wander through the winding streets. Transformed from a swamp in the 15th century, the Grote Markt is known for being the best spot for purchasing local cheese.
The town hall takes centre stage – its magnificent façade has stood tall since 1450, and every half hour mechanical dolls emerge to chime the time. Gouda’s oldest inn, De Zalm (The Salmon), is also nearby, as is the stunning Grote Kerk, the longest church in the Netherlands, which is home to a renowned series of beautiful stained-glass windows.
When you’re ready for a wander, take a walk down to the Museumhaven on the edge of the old town centre, where private historic ships rest in port as part of an open-air museum or join a walking tour to explore the hidden gems and find the best places to tuck into a fresh stroopwafel the world-famous caramel wafer was first created in Gouda.
Food and Drink in Gouda
If you’re visiting between April and August, you can’t go without a visit to the Gouda cheese market, held on the Markt square every Thursday morning. The produce is brought on traditional horse-drawn wagons, then stacked on wooden frames or thick paper outside the Waag (or weigh house).
The building, where taxes used to be decided for traders, is now a national icon, as well as home to a fascinating cheese museum. Once you’re ready for dessert, tuck into a fresh stroopwafel - the world-famous caramel wafer was first created in Gouda. Beer, too, was another top product from the town – in 1470, there were around 200 brewers producing 15 million litres every year.
Today, you can still find hundreds of different types of the amber brew within the old bars and bottle shops that flank the centre.
Markets and Festivals in Gouda
Cheese isn’t the only thing you’ll find pedalled through the Markt. Along with giant reels of Gouda, you’ll also find stalls at the Thursday market selling locally made handicrafts such as Goudse kaarsen (traditional candles) and earthenware.
Those with a love of fine handmade goods will want to time their visit with the Gouda Ceramics Days, a two-day event generally held in the spring where over 100 artists come to sell their wares and demonstrate their skills. If you’re visiting between June and September, you can also pick up traditional Dutch goods from the Monmartre flea market, held every Wednesday next to the town hall.
For a really cosy pre-Christmas treat, mark your calendar for Gouda by Candlelight, the town’s magical night of singing, lights and festive cheer that attracts thousands of visitors every December.
Want to experience these things to do in Gouda for yourself? Book your crossing from Holland to Rotterdam today.