As someone who grew up in Breukelen, I might be a little biased writing this article, but if you want to visit something different than the overcrowded city of Amsterdam, which everyone already knows from it’s coffeeshops, prostitutes and canal tours, then visiting Breukelen is definitely worth a visit.
Breukelen is a small village, exactly between Amsterdam and Utrecht. It is known for its authentic city center, through which the river Vecht crosses. There are several large castles along the Vecht that are perfect for a beautiful bike ride along the quiet wooded areas. Within this article, I like to share 5 exciting things to do in Breukelen, how to get to Breukelen from Amsterdam, what the best time visiting is, and where to eat and sleep in Breukelen.
Fun fact: did you know that the Brooklyn neighborhood in New York is named after Breukelen? Well now you do! 🙂
5 Exciting things to do in Breukelen, near Amsterdam
1. Visit the city center of Breukelen
Breukelen’s town centre houses some charming shops, art galleries and restaurants, and there’s a weekly market held on Fridays – all year around. Here you can try authentic Dutch food, like stroopwafels or haring. But not for Amsterdam prices. 🙂 The center of Breukelen has some beautiful churches, like the 15th century Pieterskerk. The Sint-Johannes de Doperkerk was built in the 18th century and is perhaps the biggest and most impressive church of Breukelen.
2. Visit Neyenrode Castle
Special to the banks of the Vechtstreek, and home to one of the most prestigious business universities in the world, Nyenrode Castle has quite a unique history and it is just a beautiful castle to see. Because Nyenrode Business University wants to guarantee an optimal and undisturbed learning environment for its students and guests, it is not possible to open the estate to everyone at any time. There are a few exceptions during the year, such as Heritage Days in September. Find more about visiting Neyenrode Castle here.
3. Explore the Vecht river
You can discover the Vecht on foot or by bike. This route will take you via the beautiful Vechtbrug to Maarssen and Oud-zuilen. Along this route you will come across various country estates and castles.
4. Rent a boat to sail on the Loosdrechtse Plassen
The Loosdrechtse Plassen is a 15-minute car drive away. There are numerous boat rental companies where you can rent a small boat with a motor. Take a nice lunch with you (or lunch somewhere at one of the dozens of restaurants) and enjoy the lovely area! I recommend that you only do this in the summer, because the Netherlands is not really known for its warm and dry climate. 🙂
5. Explore Kasteel de Haar
At a distance of less than 10 kilometers you will find Castle de Haar. This castle must be the most beautiful castle in the Netherlands. You can find more about this castle here. This 23 KM route takes you along the highlights of Breukelen and takes you past small picturesque villages such as Maarssen and Vleuten.
How to get to Breukelen
If you take the train from Amsterdam Central, you can be in Breukelen in less than 30 minutes. A two-way ticket from Amsterdam Central costs around 12 euros. From here you can rent a public transport bicycle (called OV-fiets in Dutch) and cycle to the center of Breukelen (you can read how to rent a OV-fiets here).
What is the best time to visit Breukelen
As a (former) resident of Breukelen, I would like to give you the tip to visit Breukelen at the end of September till October. These days there is a ‘poffertjes’ stall in the Boom en Bosch park called Poffertjeskraam D. van der Steen. The ‘Poffertjeskraam’ is a superlocal tradition that has been kept for more than 100 years. I remember going there since I was only 4 years old. And even now, at the age of 29, I visit the Poffertjeskraam at least once a year these days. For a portion of poffertjes you pay between 4 and 6 euros and you get a plate full of mini pancakes, enormous amounts of powdered sugar and a generous pat of butter. Don’t be surprised when you queue up between Dutch families, this is way much more Dutch than the pancake shops in Amsterdam. 🙂
Where to eat when you’re in Breukelen
Other than the Poffertjeskraam, Breukelen has a few lovely restaurants. There is one for every budget. Do you want to enjoy Dutch gastronomy? Then you certainly should pay Restaurant Maan a visit. This restaurant can be found in the center of Breukelen. Another option is Restaurant Slangevegt, where you can eat outside with a view at the Vecht. If you’re on a budget, you can eat lovely Italian food at Ponte d’oro or Pizza Beppe, both located in the center. And do you feel like you want a good steak? Then you can eat a delicious steak at Loetje or at de Taveerne de Danne.
Where to sleep when you visit Breukelen
I can imagine that this will be a one-day trip where you depart from amsterdam. But if you want to get to know the area even better, it is best to sleep in the large Chinese-looking hotel near the train station, called Van Der Valk Breukelen. This hotel has luxurious rooms and a lovely spa.
After you visit Breukelen, you can visit other cities, like Utrecht or Gouda, with just as many canals and boat tours as Amsterdam, but with fewer tourists. Utrecht is just a 15 minute train ride away from Breukelen and Gouda will take you 20 minutes.
I hope you enjoyed this little guide to Breukelen. If you need any other tips or information, feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below!
Guest author: Tessa