The Netherlands

The best things to do and see in Zierikzee

This month I wandered through the streets of Zierikzee, the most picturesque town of Zeeland that counts over 500+ historical monuments. I not only walked along tourist spots, but also passed many beautiful buildings, churches, mills, city walls, defenses and other beautiful historical sights, all within the former city walls of Zierikzee. From the cobbled streets to the boats floating in the canals, you will find that it is as Dutch as Dutch gets.

This post introduces you not only to Zierikzee’s main tourist attractions, but also to other interesting sights and places to see in Zierikzee. Meet the prehistoric and medieval history, famous fishery, delicious specialities and today’s coziness of Zierikzee! Enjoy this list with the best things to do and see in Zierikzee, The Netherlands!

How to get to Zierikzee

Zierikzee is located 50 kilometers from Rotterdam. It is situated in the municipality of Schouwen-Duiveland and is mostly visited by Dutch and German tourists. It’s a 2-hour drive from Amsterdam and about an hour drive from Rotterdam. You can park for free, just outside the old town of Zierikzee. If you travel to Zierikzee by public transport, you will have to travel a large distance by bus. You can take a bus from the train station in Goes or Rotterdam to Zierikzee.

Highlights of Zierikzee

  • Visit the old port with its historic ships
  • Photograph the impressive city gates
  • See the 568 historical monuments
  • Climb the Sint-Lievensmonster tower and enjoy the view of the city
  • Explore Montmaertre square and Harbour square
  • Go on a seal safari boat trip
  • Enjoy Zierikzee’s delicacies

Things to do and see in Zierikzee

There are loads of things to do in Zierikzee. With the list below you not only get to explore Zierikzee’s main tourist attractions, but also other interesting sights and places that I discover along the way.

See the 568 Historical monuments

In Zierikzee you can find 568 historical monuments within the old city walls. Walking through Zierikzee really feels like being in an open-air museum. Everywhere you watch, you see beautiful monuments. Some of the famous monuments are Gravesteen, Burgerweeshuis and Sint Lievensmonstertoren. Don’t look for the large monuments. Instead get lost in the old cobbled streets to see the smaller unique monuments. From the port to the squares, Zierikzee is a perfect place to spend a quiet day.

Photograph the impressive city gates

In Zierikzee you can find two large town gates that were built as part of the waterfront defence: the Zuidhavenpoort and the Noordhavenpoort. The gates are beautiful to see and can’t be missed. Nearby the gate you can find a small harbour. It’s nice to watch the authentic boats and ships at their moorings. Make sure to walk down the ramp and walk at the side of the docked boats.

Visit the weekly market at Havenplein

At the large central square of Zierikzee,‘Havenplein’ (translated: Harbour Square), you can find some historical buildings, terraces, and each Thursday a weekly market where you can buy fresh food and drinks. The square is a great place to relax while watching the historical buildings around you.

Explore Montmaertre square

The Montmaertre square is a cute little square in the historic centre of Zierikzee. It’s a secluded spot where you can find some unique shops, lovely cafes, beautiful street art, and a fountain.Definitely don’t miss this square during your weekend break in Zierikzee!

Climb the Sint-Lievensmonstertoren

If you visit Zierikzee, you should go and see the 62 metres tall tower Sint-Lievensmonstertoren, also called the Dikke Toren which means ‘fat tower’ in Dutch. The free-standing church tower was once attached to a church which was burned down. The tower itself never really completed. Nowadays it’s a ‘Rijksmonument’, a national heritage in the Netherlands. You can climb the 279 steps and enjoy the views over town, the bridge and the island.

Visit the Nieuwe Kerk

Next to the Sint-Lievensmonsterkerk (fat tower) you can see the ‘Nieuwe Kerk’ (translated: New Church). Remember I spoke about the church that burned down? Well, the Nieuwe Kerk is the replacement that was built in the neoclassical style. I unfortunately did not get a chance to enter the church as it was closed at the time. Which one impresses you more?

Go (vintage) shopping

Zierikzee is a city where you can shop well. You can find a variety of modern shops, boutiques, vintage stores, and antique shops.

Visit a museum in Zierikzee

If you like to visit a museum in Zierikzee, you should try one of the list below:

  • Museumhaven (Maritime Museum, collection of historical ships in the Old Harbor) 
  • Stadhuismuseum (City hall museum, located in the former 16th century Town Hall, the building in itself is really beautiful)
  • Gravensteen (located in the oldest prison of Zeeland)
  • Cameramuseum (about how cameras evolved over time)
  • Sint-Lievensmonstertoren (mainly exhibitions) 
  • Burger Weeshuis (former orphanage, limited open to public)

Try a Zierikzee speciality

Your day out in Zierikzee isn’t complete if you haven’t tried a specialty from Zeeland, such as a Zeeuwse bolus pastry. It is a rolled up twist of white bread dough, coated in brown sugar. Sweet and sticky! You can get a Zeeuwse bolus at any bakery in Zeeland. Another delicious Zierikzee speciality is a Schouws palingbroodje (eel roll). Also most cafes have them on their menus. If you love seafood, Zierikzee is also the perfect place to try some. Zeeland is famous for it’s delicious Oosterschelde lobster. The best restaurants are located along the harbor and for fresh fish, I recommend you head for Brasserie Maritime. This is one of the best seafood restaurants in Zierikzee, with a nice extensive menu.

Go on a seal safari boat trip

If you have seen everything in Zierikzee, it might be fun to go on a seal safari boat trip. The boats leave from the harbour. During the trip, you’ll see the beauty of National Park Oosterschelde, lots of birds, some seals and if you’re lucky, you can even spot some small whales.

Have you been to Zierikzee before? Which was your favourite attraction in the town? Let us know in the comments below.

Author: Daphne

This article is part of the GPSmyCity iOS app. You can download it, read this article offline and obtain travel directions (by foot, car or bicycle) to the places mentioned in this article. Click here to download it.

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