Breda is a city in the Southern part of the Netherlands (in the province North Brabant) and the perfect destination for a city trip! Besides its rich history, it’s also a really nice city when it comes to restaurants, terraces and shopping possibilities. Furthermore, in the direct environment of the city you can find some beautiful nature. A few weeks ago, I spent a weekend in Breda and in this article I’d like to tell you some more about the must do’s.
How to reach Breda
There are several ways to get to Breda. I’ll take Amsterdam as a starting point ‘example’, because that’s where most travellers start their journey in the Netherlands. If you have a (rental) car you can take the highway A2 towards Utrecht and after Utrecht you need to take highway A27 until Breda. Breda offers many parking possibilities: we parked our car in the parking garage ‘De Barones’, which is located in the middle of the city center so perfect for exploring the center of Breda.
If you’d like to use public transport: there are direct trains going from Amsterdam Central Station to Breda Central Station which take you there in, approximately, one hour. Take a look on the 9292 website to get the actual information for the public transport.
Wander around the Begijnhof
One of the historical sites of Breda is the Begijnhof, located near the Valkenberg Park. Here you can wander around and have a look at the beautiful houses which were built in the 16th Century and which are still inhabited. At the Begijnhof you can also find a museum, which shows environment of the beguines. Furthermore, there’s a beautiful garden with 300 different kinds of herbs and a Roman Catholic church.
Relax a while in the Valkenberg park
If you’re traveling to Breda by train and you’re walking towards the center, you’ll also walk through the Valkenberg Park. All year round it’s a beautiful park to walk around, but especially in Summer it’s the perfect place for a relaxing afternoon with a picknick or just to chill with your friends and family.
Explore the Church of Our Lady
The Church of Our Lady probably is thé image of Breda. With its impressive architecture and magnificent interior, it’s belongs to one of Breda’s most important monuments. You can visit the church for free: the church is open each day from 10:00 AM until 05:00 PM and on Sundays from 01:00 PM until 05:00 PM. Normally, you can also climb the tower of the church against a small fee of € 6,- per person. However, due to the Corona crisis, it’s not possible at this moment.
Sometimes, there is an exhibition in the church. In that case, you cannot enter the church for free but you need a ticket for the exhibition to take a look inside the church. During our time in Breda, there was an photo exhibition in the church with the theme ‘China’.
Have lunch at the Foodhall
If you would like to go to an unique spot for your lunch and to try out several world cuisines, you’re at the right place at the Foodhall of Breda. From Italian to Vietnamese food and from Indonesian to Dutch food: there’s something for everyone!
At time of writing this article, the Foodhall is opened from Tuesday until Sunday from 12:00 PM until 08:00 PM. It differs per organization (stall) what time they’ll open and what time they’ll close.
Walk the Blind Walls Gallery route
This will probably be the highlight of your Breda trip! I loved it by all means, as the route shows your more than just the city center. The Blind Walls Gallery is thé museum on the street of Breda. It features more than 80 murals, made by international artists. Each mural has its own story.
If you would like to walk the Blind Walls Gallery route you can simply download the mobile app Blind Walls Gallery (Android or iOS) and search for a suitable route (there’s a walking route of 1,5 kilometer, one of 3 kilometers and one biking route of 10 kilometers). After choosing your route you can start walking and search for the morals pointed out on the map. Of course you can also chose your own route if you’d like to. At each moral you’ll get, you can click on the number on the map and read more about the specific moral (the story behind it and its artist).
Have diner at restaurant De Botanist
Before we went to Breda for the weekend, I already looked up some restaurant possibilities and read a lot of positive reviews about Restaurant de Botanist. We decided to make a reservation and we definitely didn’t regret it! The interior and atmosphere of the restaurant is amazing but most importantly: the food was delightful! You can chose to go for Shared Dining, but you can also just take a three course diner. We used the shared dining theme and enjoyed every dish we had. Besides, the Botanist also has a really nice cocktail bar with a wide range of cocktails you chose from. The restaurant absolutely is a recommendation!
Breda is the perfect city for a shopping day. There are all kinds of (inter)national shops, located in the main shopping street but also in the side streets. You can enjoy yourself for hours.
Pay a visit to Bouvigne Castle and the Mastbos
At a driving distance of, approximately, 10 minutes from the city center of Breda you can find Bouvigne Castle and the Mastbos. It’s nice to pay a visit to Bouvigne Castle, as it has a beautiful exterior (which is very photogenic!). Although you cannot enter the castle, you can walk around in the beautiful gardens of the estate. You can enter the gardens free of charge from 09:00 AM until 04:00 PM each day.
Near Bouvigne Castle, you can find the Mastbos: a magnificent piece of nature where you can enjoy some amazing hikes! This nature reserve consists out of forest, heathland and small lakes. Hiking routes are well indicated all over the Mastbos, but of course you can also chose to walk a bit on your own. We used the mobile app Maps.me for our own personalized route.
Enjoy a drink on one of the many terraces
In the center of Breda you can find many nice terraces where you can enjoy a drink or something to eat. There are several atmospheric places. I really liked the terraces along the ‘Nieuwe Mark’, which are located between the ‘Hoge Brug’ (high bridge) and the Tolbrug (toll bridge). Furthermore, there are some really nice terraces around the Church of Our Lady.
Accommodation tip: Hotel Nassau
Still looking for an accommodation for your trip to Breda? Hotel Nassau is an absolute recommendation! We stayed here one night and definitely enjoyed it. The special aspect of this accommodation is the fact that the hotel is built in a former monastery. The staff is very hospitable, the rooms are comfortable and the location of the hotel is perfect.