Arnhem is one of those fascinating Dutch cities where you find an exciting combination of old and new. The town is lively and has a pleasant atmosphere. Usually, in cities like these, you can find many things to do, and Arnhem is no different. Whether you’re looking for things to see and do in or near Arnhem, The Netherlands, or the best activities and landmarks to see, this one day Arnhem itinerary takes you to the best places in the city.
Arnhem is found in the Dutch province of Gelderland, which is the largest province in The Netherlands. One of the things you need to do in Gelderland is to visit Arnhem. There are many things to do in Arnhem when you have just 24 hours. But there are also a lot of things to do around Arnhem, so if you want to spend 48 hours in Arnhem or more, that’s easily done.
Think of shopping in Arnhem to the war museum. And learn more about the battle of Arnhem or look for free and cheap things to do in Arnhem. This city blog about the town of Arnhem brings you all the tips you need for spending one day, or two days, in Arnhem.
What to do in one beautiful day in Arnhem: Enjoy things to do near & in Arnhem, Gelderland, The Netherlands
The town of Arnhem has a lot to offer, and the Dutch open-air museum might be the most famous attraction in Arnhem. However, beyond that, there are plenty of more things to do in Arnhem. Think of enjoying the nightlife in Arnhem or visit a festival in Arnhem. Or what to think about explore a walking route in Arnhem
Visiting Arnhem is a great experience. It’s one of the greenest Dutch cities in The Netherlands, which also has a National Park near Arnhem. The best time to visit Arnhem is any season. However, if you want to visit The Netherlands open-air museum in Arnhem, then I would recommend you to visit between the beginning of April until the third week in October. It’s one of the great museums in Arnhem, but there are more must do’s in Arnhem. Think of exploring more of operation Market Garden in Arnhem and discover the liberation route in Arnhem.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect Arnhem itinerary or one of the great Arnhem tours, this travel blog for Arnhem brings you everything you possibly want and need to know.
History, things to know and facts about Arnhem, The Netherlands
In the current area of the town of Arnhem, there were signs found of human habitation that dates back to 70.000 years ago. Which seems that Neanderthals had populated the area. The oldest remains of the modern human in the area of Arnhem dates back to 5000 years before Christ. In the towns of Warnsborn and Schaarsbergen near Arnhem traces were found from farmers, which means that they had a permanent residence there, that date back to 2400 before Christ.
The city of Arnhem was first named as Arneym in a register of properties from the Abbey of Prüm in 893. Back then, Arnhem was not much more than a church and some surrounding lands. Arnhem was not built on the shores of the Rhine river, but in the higher part near the Sint-Jansbeek. Arnhem was found on the place where the road between Nijmegen, Utrecht and Zutphen got divided. Seven streams of water took care of the supply of the city and only when the people of Arnhem changed the route of the Rhine river in 1530, Arnhem was found on the shore of the Rhine river.
Arnhem city obtained its city rights by the Earl of Zutphen, Otto II van Gelre, on the 13th of July 1233. In the 13th century, Arnhem already had 2000 to 3000 inhabitants that lived within the fortified Dutch city of Arnhem. Arnhem has currently a population of around 150.000 people, and this city is the capital of the province of Gelderland since 1813. They call Arnhem in the local dialect often Èrnem.
Arnhem is found in the province of Gelderland and is not part of the region called Holland. The closest airport to Arnhem is Weeze Airport in Germany, however, if you want to know the nearest Dutch airport in The Netherlands, then that is Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Travel to Arnhem, and you won’t be disappointed. This travel blog and guide for Arnhem, The Netherlands, includes all the must-sees.
Best hotels, hostels and other places to stay in Arnhem
Whether you’re looking for cheap places to stay in Arnhem or for luxury stays, here you will find the best accommodation in Arnhem, The Netherlands. From hostels to hotels in Arnhem, The Netherlands, these places to stay in Arnhem are perfect for everyone. There are endless options, no matter if you’re thinking of staying in a hotel in Arnhem or Stay Okay in Arnhem.
Stayokay Hostel Arnhem: check availability on Booking.com
Hotel Karel: check availability on Booking.com
Bed and Breakfast Raapop: check availability on Booking.com
Design Hotel Modez: check availability on Booking.com
Start your 24 hours in Arnhem with breakfast
You cannot start your day in Arnhem without having breakfast. Or at least a coffee or a tea. There are plenty of great breakfast restaurants, and places to visit in Arnhem but my favourites are Hemels Patisserie en Espressobar and brew2cup. You can find fantastic coffee at both cafes in Arnhem, but if you’re hungry, then I would head to the first option. They usually both open at around 09:00. These are some of my favourite hotspots in Arnhem.
Discover the city of Arnhem on a free walking tour
Arnhem is one of the cities that has a different charm than most Dutch towns. Mainly because of the combination of the historic and modern buildings, the rivers that flow around the city, street art and the colours of buildings. With this free walking tour in Arnhem to its city hall and the Bergstraat in Arnhem. You will discover everything from the most beautiful streets in Arnhem to street art. And from the bridge of Arnhem to must-visit places in Arnhem. And from impressive monuments to visit to facts about Arnhem you need to know. Enjoy this Arnhem walking tour and experience the city from a different perspective.
Experience Arnhem from below
One of the many interesting facts that you should know about Arnhem is that you can enjoy the city from below. There is a part of the city of Arnhem that is home to historic basements that you can visit. Every Wednesday until Saturday – and every first Sunday of the month – these 36 Historische Kelders or historic cellars in Arnhem were restored in 2001 and can be visited from 12:00- 17:00. There are guided walks through the cellars of Arnhem on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 14:00.
Visiting the cellars is one of the best activities you can do in Arnhem, especially if you want to do something unusual and want to discover the history of Arnhem. The guided tour plus the entry fee is 5 euros in total; the general entry fee is 4 euros. As they are medieval basements, they are unfortunately almost entirely not accessible for wheelchair users.
Oude Oeverstraat 4a
6811 JX Arnhem
Go for a great lunch in Arnhem
After both discovering the town of Arnhem by a free walking tour and under the ground, it’s time to eat. And luckily for you, Arnhem is filled with great lunch cafes for everyone. Whether you’re searching for vegan or vegetarian restaurants in Arnhem or simple lunch restaurants to enjoy; Arnhem has it all.
My favourite lunch places in Arnhem are Eetcafe Het Eiland, Enig Alternatief (vegetarian restaurant & organic food in Arnhem), Foodvia (food for everyone and locally grown) and Dudok (plenty of vegan/ vegetarian options plus has the most beautiful courtyard in Arnhem).
Explore one of the best museums in Arnhem
Arnhem, just like any bigger Dutch city, is filled with great museums to visit. Whether you’re looking for art museums in Arnhem or history museums, there is something for everyone here. Even if you’re not a big fan of museums, I can guarantee that you will find some of the best museums in The Netherlands in Arnhem and its surroundings.
Collectie De Groen
Collectie De Groen is one of the best and most special Dutch art museums in Arnhem, The Netherlands. The exhibitions change quite often, and it’s the perfect location to visit when you want to get inspiration to think outside the box.
This museum can only be visited in its entirety with a guided tour that lasts 1,5 hours from Friday- Sunday, and that is 8 euros (they prefer you pay by card). You do need to reserve in advance by clicking on the empty white places for the day that you would like to have this museum tour in Arnhem; you can do that here. What I love is that these groups are tiny, with a maximum of 10 people.
The exhibitions on the ground floor are free to visit from Wednesday – Sunday. And don’t forget to visit their cafe for a quick bite in this museum in Arnhem either. They make some of the best food in Arnhem from fresh ingredients from their garden and seasonal products from local farmers.
Airborne Museums Arnhem
Two museums belong to the Airborne Museum. The first one ‘Airborne at the Bridge’ can be found inside the city of Arnhem near the John Frost Bridge. This museum in Arnhem will mostly give you information about the battle on the John Frost Bridge and in this area of Arnhem.
The most significant part of the ‘Airborne Museum Hartenstein’ is located in Oosterbeek, inside an old manor house called Villa Hartenstein. The current house was built in 1865 and was used as the headquarters by the British airborne troops for the battle of Arnhem by Roy E. Urquhart from September 1944. Here you can discover everything you want to know about the biggest battle in The Netherlands and why it was bound to be a failure from the beginning.
The Netherlands Winemuseum in Arnhem is another excellent museum to visit in Arnhem. You will discover everything from the history of wine to how it’s made to how important it is to society. This museum in Arnhem is found in one of the historic cellars of Arnhem, which adds another beautiful atmosphere to this museum. This museum is opened on Saturday from 10:00- 17:00. The admission fee is 7,50 euros.
Do some shopping and buy Dutch souvenirs in Arnhem
If you’re looking for the best boutiques and local shops to visit in Arnhem, then you will like this part of the article. Here you will find everything from regional foods in Arnhem to try to the best shopping streets in Arnhem. Klarendaal is the most fashionable and hipster neighbourhood in Arnhem. Arnhem and shopping go very well together and you will find my favourite things to buy in Arnhem here.
Buy local cookies in Arnhem
At Bakker Hilvers in Arnhem, you can buy Arnhemse Meisjes, that are traditional cookies only made in Arnhem. And in fact, this bakery makes the only original ones.
Get yourself a grofje
At the Arnhemse Bakkertje, you will find something that is called ‘grofje’. This is bread that you can tear apart and is filled with raisins and currants. It was already made before the Second World War, and they luckily brought this delicious bread back.
Visit the best shopping streets in Arnhem
My favourite shopping streets in Arnhem are the Weverstraat, Klarestraat, Kerkstraat and Koningstraat.
Enjoy the Bakbar
The Bakbar in Arnhem is the location in this Dutch town to visit when you want to get some great cookies or pies. If you have a sweet tooth, you must visit this place in Arnhem.
Discover the best chocolate in Arnhem
Arnhem is home to some fantastic chocolatiers. My favourite chocolate shop for chocolates in Arnhem is Olala Chocola. But if you want to visit a chocolate bar where they also serve brownies, milkshake and everything related to chocolate, then Quetzal is a great place to visit.
Enjoy the seven streets in Arnhem
In Arnhem, you can find the seven streets. These streets are located in the central shopping district in Arnhem and are the following streets: Arke Noachstraat, Bentinckstraat, Eiland, Kerkstraat, Pastoorstraat, Wielakkerstraat and Zwanenstraat.
Buy local sweets from Arnhem
The Arnhemsche balletjes are sweets that were first made in 1840, but eventually, the shop that made them was bought by a Belgian immigrant who made a fortune with selling Belgian chocolate in The Netherlands. The shop with these Dutch candies was one of the smallest shops and didn’t have a successor, so the Arnhemsche balletjes weren’t produced for a good forty years.
However, ZUS&JET has brought them back with the help of a former employee and a confectioner. This typical treat from Arnhem can only be bought in the old Dutch candy shop of ZUS&JET in the Netherlands Open Air Museum. Here you can also buy more old Dutch candies. You can also find an old Dutch grocer here where you can buy products that were used in The Netherlands back in the old days and that are currently produced again.
Eat dinner at the best restaurants in Arnhem
Whether you’re searching for the best Surinam food in Arnhem and surroundings, cosy restaurants to visit or where to get the best cheap food in Arnhem, these restaurants below are amazing to visit. Trust me when I say that you will want to go back to these restaurants. Dining in Arnhem is a great experience.
Visit Makan Swieti for the best and cheap Surinam food in Arnhem (you should order at the bar), Foodhall Arnhem is fun to visit for different sorts of food, and Sugar Hill is perfect for a cosy and special dinner.
What things to do in Arnhem at night
In Arnhem, there are plenty of things to do in the evening. The city has simply a lot to offer, no matter what time of year you arrive here. Visit the Focus Filmtheater, for instance. In this cinema, in Arnhem, you will find both art house films as well as popular movies. And during some summer and winter days, you can enjoy a film on the roof of Focus.
What else is there to do in Arnhem at night you might ask me? Well, one thing I would recommend you to do is to witness the sunset. The time around sunset is the most beautiful of your day in Arnhem. Visit the Sonsbeek park, or take a walk along the Nederrijn river and enjoy a fantastic end of your one day in Arnhem.
Enjoy a drink at the best bars in Arnhem
Your 24 hours in Arnhem aren’t over yet, because before you leave you must go for a drink in one of the best pubs in Arnhem or you can go dancing in one of the cafes in Arnhem during the weekends. Whether you want to drink some alcohol or not, there’s something to drink for you everywhere. My favourite pubs in Arnhem can be found below.
‘t Taphuys in Arnhem is great for trying 80 different wines and 100 beers. Oranje Koffiehuis is a cosy brown cafe in Arnhem. Zafvino is the best wine bar in Arnhem. For the best Dutch craft beer in Arnhem, I would recommend you to visit Cafe Meijers. The cosiest Dutch brown bar in Arnhem is Cafe ‘t Moorgat. Another great brown cafe in Arnhem with amazing craft beer is De Beugel.
Explore the nightlife in Arnhem
If you want to go clubbing in Arnhem, then I would recommend you to visit the square in Arnhem called Korenmarkt. Here you can find many small bars, clubs and cafes. Visit Dollars in Arnhem for performances by bands. And the Piano Bar in Arnhem is also great to visit.
Other fun and cool things to do in and around Arnhem
Arnhem is a city that has so many things to do, so if you want to spend a weekend in Arnhem, then I would certainly recommend you to have a look at these must do’s in Arnhem and its surroundings below. From yet another great Arnhem museum to more information about the battle for Arnhem. When you’re looking for more things to do in Arnhem, The Netherlands, then these Arnhem things to do will help you.
Vist and travel to De Hoge Veluwe National Park near Arnhem
In The Netherlands, there are currently 21 National Parks to visit, and the biggest is De Hoge Veluwe National Park, which is located in the centre of the country. It’s a magical area which is home to many animals such as deers, wolves, boars and many others. There are many things to do in De Hoge Veluwe National Park, The Netherlands. Go hiking, enjoy the heather during the end of summer or cycle around the big park.
Relax on the river beaches in Arnhem
When it’s a beautiful spring, summer or autumn day in Arnhem you must visit the beaches on the side of the Nederrijn river near the John Frost bridge. Many people are also swimming close to the beaches at the river, but do not swim to the fairway as it’s very dangerous.
Visit a tea garden and the floodplain park, or uiterwaardenpark, in Arnhem
When it’s beautiful weather you will see many people who sit along the terraces on the Rijnkade in Arnhem, people go for walks and simply enjoy the sunny days. You can walk to the Uiterwaardenpark in Arnhem by crossing the John Frost Brug or Nelson Mandela Brug, however, during the summer there is a small ferry that can bring you to the other side of the river. From the 1st of May until the 30th of September from 12:00 – 18:00 (Wednesday until Sunday) you can visit a tea garden and terrace on the other side of the river. The trip costs you one euro for a one-way ticket, bikes add an extra 50 Eurocents. The ferry departs from Voetveer Stadsblokkenwerf in Arnhem.
After visiting the tea garden, or before that, you can go for a walk through the floodplain park in Arnhem where you will spot horses, cows and a genuinely spectacular surrounding. Enjoy the area of Stadsblokken-Meinerswijk and discover this beautiful nature reserve in Arnhem.
Also, at around Meginhardweg 55 in Arnhem, which is in the area of Meinerswijk, you can find the remains of the only Roman fortress in the province of Gelderland. People first thought that it was named Castra Herculis, but now they say that the name of this Roman fort in The Netherlands was Levefanum and that it was created around the year 15.
Enjoy The Netherlands open air museum in Arnhem
The most popular museum in The Netherlands, beyond any of the museums in Amsterdam, is The Netherlands open-air museum in Arnhem. Here you will go back in time and will discover the way Dutch people generally used to live from two centuries ago to today.
Explore a city kitchen garden in Arnhem
In Stadstuin Kweekland, nearby Park Sonsbeek, you can admire a kitchen garden starting from the middle of May (it’s closed the entire winter and most of the autumn period). When you visit, you must have a seat at this tearoom in Arnhem where you can get the best tea, cake and even ice cream. Everything is organic as it comes out of their garden.
Rent a bike and explore the surroundings of Arnhem
The area of Arnhem is lovely for cycling. You can cycle to the Hoge Veluwe National Park or The Netherlands Open Air Museum, for instance. But cycling along the Nederrijn river is also a perfect idea. Or what do you think about cycling to the Doorwerth castle that is near Arnhem? There are plenty of great options to choose from. Renting standard city bikes in Arnhem can be done here (10 euros a day, there is also always a deposit which must be paid in cash, and you need to bring an id/passport).
Walk the bridge to bridge route in Arnhem
Every September there’s a running event in Arnhem that is called the ‘bridge to bridge’. You can participate in this running event that exists out of several routes, but if you’re not there during that time, or don’t want to break a sweat, why not simply walk?
To walk the bridge to bridge route in Arnhem you have to walk from the John Frost Brug to the Nelson Mandela Brug, or the other way around. I would recommend you to walk a full route and walk on the side of the centre of Arnhem one way and along the park on the other side the way back.
Go for a ride on the trolley bus
Trolleybuses in The Netherlands are very rare Arnhem is the only city in The Netherlands and the Benelux that still has a trolley bus network. It’s one of the biggest networks of trolleybuses in Western Europe. If you want to know more about the trolley bus, then you can visit the Trolley Bus Museum in Arnhem. This is one of the free things to do in Arnhem, and it can be visited every Thursday from 13:00- 17:00 unless it’s a national holiday. You can find the museum at Remisestraat 4.
Discover the best walking routes in Arnhem and its surroundings
Arnhem is one of the greenest cities in The Netherlands, which means that you always have the choice to walk in beautiful surroundings. Walk around on estate Warnsborn for instance. Or visit the Moscowa cemetery in Arnhem (it sounds a bit weird, but honestly it’s gorgeous to walk there). Walk around in the neighbourhood of Klarenbeek in Arnhem, where also the cemetery is located. Don’t forget to visit Mariendaal, either. There are simply endless options.
Get to know Dutch castle Doorwerth near Arnhem
Arnhem is located in a beautiful region, but also in an area where you can find quite some beautiful Dutch castles. That’s why I would recommend you to visit Castle Doorwerth when you have the time. Explore the history of the surroundings of Arnhem and go back in time inside this fantastic castle in The Netherlands.
Explore more museums in Arnhem
When you’re a fan of museums, then Arnhem is the perfect city to visit because it’s stuffed with museums. Besides the ones I’ve mentioned earlier in this article, you can also visit the following museums:
- Museum Vliegbasis Deelen
- Erfgoedcentrum Rozet
- Museum Bronbeek
- Museum for Modern Art Arnhem
- Netherlands water museum
Enjoy the best festivals in Arnhem
Arnhem is a lively city, and like any town that has a pleasant atmosphere, it is filled with celebrations during the summer. Whether you’re interested in theatre or live music, there’s truly something for everyone here. On your trips to Arnhem, I would recommend you to visit one of these Arnhem festivals.
Sonsbeek Theateravenue: This theatre festival in Arnhem takes place during the second week of August (13-16 August 2020). Discover circus acts, admire incredible dancers, listen to amazing performances and plenty of more.
World Street Painting Festival: During this yearly street art festival in Arnhem, the best national and international artists will visit Arnhem during this five-day festival. It takes place during the end of the first week of July. Those are the five days where you can watch artists create the most spectacular art. Then these creations will stay on squares in the centre of Arnhem for another two months.
Remembering Operation Market Garden: The Airborne memorials take place in and near Arnhem from Thursday the 17th – Sunday the 20th of September 2020. On the 17th of September, there is a short ceremony at the Airborne monument De Naald in the town of Oosterbeek near Arnhem.
On the 18th of September, there is a memorial at the Airborneplein in Arnhem where all lost allied soldiers during the battle of Arnhem are remembered for their work. Before the ceremony, there is a so-called ‘March over the Bridge’ with marching bands and flag bearers that walk over the John Frostbrug. This is followed by a concert and light show in Arnhem, which is called Bridge to Liberation Experience.
On the 19th of September, you must visit the Ginkelse Heide near the town of Ede. Here you will find the Airborne troops every year. There is a ceremony, but the most incredible part of this day is that hundreds of paratroopers from The Netherlands, the UK and other NATO countries jump out of aeroplanes to give the people an impression of what the mass drop looked like in 1944. This is the only memorial in The Netherlands that has something like this. You can find more information here.
How to get to Arnhem
From Amsterdam: If you want to take a train from Amsterdam Centraal to Arnhem then there are two trains an hour that go in the direction of Nijmegen. To travel to Arnhem from Amsterdam takes you around one hour.
From Rotterdam: When you want to use public transport from Rotterdam to Arnhem, you’d have to transfer at Utrecht Centraal. From Utrecht Centraal, there are four direct trains in the direction of Nijmegen that you can take every hour. To get from Rotterdam Centraal to Arnhem takes you around 1 hour and 20 minutes.
From Eindhoven: To get from Eindhoven to Arnhem by train you’d have to transfer at the train station of ‘s-Hertogenbosch. From here you can either take a sprinter train (blue/white) or an intercity train (yellow/blue) to Arnhem. There are four options every hour. The train from Eindhoven to Arnhem takes you anywhere between 1 hour and 10 minutes to 1,5 hour.
From Schiphol: When you are flying into Amsterdam Schiphol Airport and want to take the train from Schiphol to Arnhem, then I would recommend you to to take the direct train in the direction of Nijmegen that departs twice an hour. The nearest Dutch airport to Arnhem is Schiphol.
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Day trips from Arnhem
I hope that you enjoyed this one day in Arnhem itinerary. Whether you’ve already been to Arnhem or not, these activities in Arnhem are perfect for everyone. You can easily stay a weekend in Arnhem in any season as Arnhem is filled with things to do in spring, summer, autumn and winter. This city guide of Arnhem has shown you what to do and see in Arnhem when you’re visiting. Including museums in Arnhem, you must visit, as well as the best restaurants in Arnhem and hotels in Arnhem.
There are many things to see in Arnhem, The Netherlands, which is why I recommend you to stay at least one or even two days in Arnhem. Don’t forget to check out the surroundings of Arnhem, as they are perfect for discovering the beautiful Dutch nature.
I hope you learned a lot about things to see in Arnhem and if you’re interested in learning about the liberation and 1st airborne division in Arnhem, then there are many places to visit in this Dutch town. But don’t think that just because A Bridge Too Far is a movie about the war in Arnhem, doesn’t mean that all Arnhem has to offer is things that are related to the Second World War. Because this town in The Netherlands, Arnhem has a lot of things to do. Share this post!!