Right in the middle of the Netherlands, you will find the charming town of Amersfoort. It’s not too big, not too small and perfectly suited for an exciting day trip. I recently visited the city myself and had a great time. In one day, you won’t have seen it all, but you will have gotten a good idea of why this city is absolutely worth your time. Prepare yourself for a peaceful atmosphere, plenty of stunning architecture, adorable shops, and seriously good food. Here is how to spend one day in Amersfoort.
One Day in Amersfoort
Be Blown Away by the Majestic Koppelpoort
A pretty spectacular way to start your day in Amersfoort is a visit to the majestic Koppelpoort gate. The Koppelpoort is the most iconic architectural feature in the city of Amersfoort. Actually, I would say it is also one of the most impressive historic monuments in the Netherlands as a whole. The gate was part of the (second) medieval city wall and helped repel several attacks.
Twelve or more professional wheel-turners used to open and close the gate every day, which was an exceptionally dangerous job. If anyone tripped while turning the wheel, they would often drag other wheel-turners down with them. This usually resulted in broken bones, but could also be a fatal event. In short, a lot has happened at the Koppelpoort, and it’s an amazing place to experience the scope of Amersfoort’s rich heritage sites.
Take a Look at the Tower of Our Lady (and Climb it if You Dare)
The 15th-century Tower of Our Lady, or Onze Lieve Vrouwetoren in Dutch, is a bit of a remarkable case that you won’t want to miss. The third highest church tower in the country is an impressive architectural highlight in Amersfoort. Yet, it hasn’t always been a lonesome tower. There used to be a church attached to the tower, but it was blown to pieces in an explosion in 1787. At the time, the church was doubling as a grenade laboratory. Unfortunately, somebody had a ‘little’ accident with the gunpowder. The tower is a beautiful sight to behold, but you can also join a guided tour (from April to October) and climb the tower’s 346 steps to see a cityscape vista.
Time for Lunch (or Cake) at The Blueberry
After walking around the city for a little while, you’ll probably be thinking about lunch (or cake). At least, I know I definitely was. One of the best hotspots to fetch a snack is The Blueberry, a small and snug breakfast and lunch place in central Amersfoort. The interior is just the right amount of casual chic and, thanks to its “American twist”, their cheesecake, milkshakes, and all-day breakfast options are top-notch. The ambiance was nice and mellow, perfect for a little break from exploring the streets.
Take a Few Photos at the Historic Hof
The Blueberry is situated right on the historic Hof, the biggest square in central Amersfoort that dates back to the 12th century. Step outside, have a look around, and take a few photos of the beautiful historic facades and the Sint-Joris Church. There are also markets on every Friday and Saturday, which makes the square even livelier than usual.
Marvel at the Medieval Muurhuizen Street
Dutch cities might be relatively small, but most of them still possess their stunning medieval character. This is certainly also the case for Amersfoort. Next, you should head to the circular Muurhuizen street. It runs around most of the historic town center, so this is the place where you’ll find the most beautiful medieval houses in town. You’ll feel like you’re centuries back in time, walking along the cobble-stoned street, crossing historic little bridges, and admiring the gorgeous canals.
Explore the Charming Shops in the Krommestraat
The Krommestraat (‘Crooked Street’) is bursting with the most charming shops, cafes, and restaurants you will find in Amersfoort. With such a concentration of boutiques and all kinds of other unique stores, it is best to just take your time for the afternoon. Have a look inside the shops and find a few knick-knacks you’ve always wanted. Since this street is situated right next to the canal, it used to be a place full of breweries. In spring and summer, it is still especially cozy to sit and relax at one of the sidewalk cafés. Nonetheless, it’s a delightful spot to spend a few hours in autumn and winter as well.
Pick a Place for Dinner, like Grand Café De Kromme
As you may have guessed, the Krommestraat is also a prime location to pick a nice place for dinner and end your day in Amersfoort. There are plenty of restaurants that serve excellent dishes, and we personally chose a table at Grand Café De Kromme. This homey restaurant has a classic interior and looks out onto the canal. Even better, the restaurant’s exterior includes a waterside terrace for warmer days. The chefs source their ingredients from local suppliers and serve both Dutch and international dishes (for very reasonable prices). A big thumbs up from me.