Are you looking forward to visiting one of the best destinations in Gelderland? Then Lichtenvoorde needs to be on your list. Explore things to do in one day in Lichtenvoorde and discover why the east of The Netherlands is a perfect region to spend some time. Whether you want to go on a day trip from Enschede to Lichtenvoorde, or you’re already in the area, there are plenty of things to see in Lichtenvoorde and its surroundings.
Explore cool activities to do in Lichtenvoorde, find landmarks, places to see and why Lichtenvoorde is worth visiting. There is barely any tourism in Lichtenvoorde. During summer you can find some tourists (mainly cyclists who are exploring the area), but that’s honestly it. I hope that this Lichtenvoorde city guide shows you what there is to do and see, as well as where to go in the Dutch countryside in The Netherlands. Enjoy sightseeing in Lichtenvoorde and explore its must-sees.
What to do in one day in Lichtenvoorde, The Netherlands
Whether you’re thinking of spending 24 hours in Lichtenvoorde, or even a weekend, this article will show you everything you need (and want) to do in Lichtenvoorde. Think of exploring beautiful streets and buildings, visiting hidden gems in the East of The Netherlands and tons of other unusual places. This Lichtenvoorde travel guide will show you everything you need to know about one of the small towns in the province of Gelderland.
History & facts about Lichtenvoorde
The old town centre in Lichtenvoorde isn’t the biggest, that’s why most of the population of Lichtenvoorde lives outside the city centre. The population of Lichtenvoorde is currently around 12.000. This small town is found near the German border in the province of Gelderland, which is located in the east of The Netherlands. Do remember that Lichtenvoorde is not found in the Holland region.
At the beginning of the 14th century, a Lord of Bronckhorst assigned the building of castle Lichtenvoorde near the manor of Borculo. The castle was first written down in 1312. Then in 1496, another member of the van Bronckhorst family, founded a chapel near the castle. Later near the castle and chapel, the current village of Lichtenvoorde was founded.
In 1616, Lichtenvoorde became an independent region and even had two manor houses. On the 27th of December 1776, Lichtenvoorde was bought in its entirety by Stadtholder Willem V. Until the Batavian Revolution in The Netherlands in 1795, this region belonged to the Royal Family. After this revolt, only the title ‘Lord of Lichtenvoorde’ was kept. This is also the reason why one of the current titles of King Willem-Alexander is ‘Heer van Lichtenvoorde’.
Lichtenvoorde has been named as a city in old documents, but the exact date of when Lichtenvoorde obtained city rights isn’t known. However, back in the days, Lichtenvoorde did have a canal and gates to protect the city.
The town of Lichtenvoorde was part of the diocese of Münster, which is why Lichtenvoorde and its surroundings are still overwhelmingly Roman-Catholic, instead of Calvinistic. The Johanneskerk dates back to 1648, which is the oldest church in Lichtenvoorde, is a protestant church since protestant government troops captured Lichtenvoorde during the 80-year-war.
The reason why Lichtenvoorde looks the way it does right now, with not as much as historic buildings as you’d expect from an old Dutch town, it because of a devastating city fire on the 5th of September 1735. During a funfair, Lichtenvoorde burned down almost completely. It also destroyed the city archive of Lichtenvoorde. Then on the 18th of September 1868, another fire broke out. This fire burned down the rectory and several neighbouring houses.
What is interesting to know is that the massive boulder in the main street (Markt) was placed here on the 15th of March 1874. ‘Why would anyone place a 20.000 kilograms boulder here?’, you might ask. Well, it was dragged from the Vragenderveld, around four kilometres outside Lichtenvoorde, by 99 shoemakers from Lichtenvoorde for the 25th anniversary of the ruling of King William III. This is also the reason why Lichtenvoorde is sometimes named ‘Keistad’, or boulder city. And the inhabitants are nicknamed boulder draggers. In 1880, two shoemakers took a bet whether they would be able to move and drag a bale of hay of 1500 kilograms. They succeeded. Then, to celebrate this, a laying lion was placed on top of the boulder, this lion was part of the coat of arms of the van Bronckhorst family.
It was changed to a sitting lion, with the coat of arms of the former municipality of Lichtenvoorde under its front paw, in 1897. Unfortunately, this lion statue was damaged by vandalism and weather-beaten, that a new lion was needed. So, the current figure of the lion was placed on the Markt on the 15th of October 1966.
Where to stay in Lichtenvoorde
There’s one hotel in Lichtenvoorde that is found in the centre of this Dutch village in Gelderland. There are also several accommodations on the outskirts of Lichtenvoorde. Still, to keep it easy for you, I decided only to list the best, and only, hotel in the centre of Lichtenvoorde.
Hotel Restaurant ‘t Zwaantje: check rates & availability on Booking.com
Best restaurants in Lichtenvoorde
If you’re looking for some good food in Lichtenvoorde, then I would recommend you to visit Het Blok, Drank- en Spijslokaal Markant, Down Town and Markt 5. This way, you can visit Lichtenvoorde and its surroundings without going hungry.
Things to do in Lichtenvoorde
Free walking tour in Lichtenvoorde
This walking route is only a few kilometres long, as Lichtenvoorde is a small town. All in all, you will probably only spend a few hours in Lichtenvoorde, and from there on continue with discovering the rest of this stunning region. We start our tour through Lichtenvoorde at Markt and will then walk to Molendijk, Patronaatsstraat and the Sint-Bonifatiuskerk. This Roman-Catholic church was built in 1912-1913 and designed by Wolter te Riele in a neo-gothic style. Since 1819, there was a Roman-Catholic church again in Lichtenvoorde, before that, only the protestant church was found here due to the history and the government. This older church was replaced by the Sint- Bonifatiuskerk at the beginning of the 20th century.
Then continue your Lichtenvoorde tour to Rapenburgsestraat, Katharijnesteeg, Bleekwal and Varkensmarkt 7. Here you can see an old farm, which is made in the style of this region. This building used to be a smithying in the 18th century. Now walk to Rentenierstraat 9. This is the location of the oldest church (Johanneskerk) in Lichtenvoorde and dates back to 1648.
Interesting to know is that this protestant church is built on the location of a former chapel. However, that chapel was severely decayed, and too small, in the first half of the 17th century. After years of collections, through the entire country, a new church was built. The plaster only took place in 1904. During the Second World War, the church bells were taken by German troops and melted. After the war, three new bells were made.
Then continue your walk towards ‘t Hof 4. This is a part of the estate of former castle Lichtenvoorde. The only remaining building, as the castle was broken down in 1790, is the so-called Richtershuis or Het Hof. This is the former carriage house of Castle Lichtenvoorde and dates back to 1675.
You will finish one of the things to do in Lichtenvoorde via Dijkstraat, Rentenierstraat, Krabbenplas and Dijkstraat.
Get the full walking route in Lichtenvoorde
Markets in Lichtenvoorde
There is one weekly market in the town of Lichtenvoorde. It takes place every Saturday from 08:00- 12:30 and has around 26 stalls. It was even voted the best market in The Netherlands at the beginning of this century! Also, one of the things I love about markets is that you can find items and foods here (mainly local and regional delicacies) that you won’t find anywhere else.
Buy cool souvenirs at shops in Lichtenvoorde
One of the best places to do some shopping in Lichtenvoorde is the shop called Stenen Museum Winkeltje. It has things like minerals, crystals, books, candles, fossils and plenty more. Cool to know is that the minerals, crystals and gemstones come from all over the world, which isn’t something you often see in this Dutch region.
Rapenburgsestraat 24A, 7131 CZ Lichtenvoorde
Lichtenvoorde flower parade
The Netherlands is home to incredible flower parades or bloemencorso’s as we call them in Dutch. And Lichtenvoorde is one of the towns that host one of the magical events with stunning flower floats. I cannot recommend you enough to travel to the flower parade in Lichtenvoorde to experience a beautiful day with colourful flowers.
Things to do in the surroundings of Lichtenvoorde
Walk and cycle in the surroundings of Lichtenvoorde
One of the things that you can find in The Netherlands are kerkenpaden, or church paths. In the early days, people had to walk incredible distances to reach a church. To save some time, and because direct roads weren’t a thing, people crossed meadows, bridges, forests, etc. They walked on the land of other people, but everyone had the right to walk there. Nowadays, you can walk or cycle on those paths again and get to explore the hidden parts of The Netherlands again. At the local tourist information centre in Lichtenvoorde (VVV), you can buy the specific and detailed routes in the Kerkenpadenfietsbundel. These routes are between 20-42 km, so you could either walk them or go by bike, whichever form of transportation you prefer.
At the VVV of Lichtenvoorde, they also have other beautiful routes that you can buy, such as Bloemenroutes. These stunning walking and cycling routes in the area of Oost Gelre will guide you to the most stunning locations, along with endless flowers, nature and plenty of other things to see. This guide is a few euros, the first one I mentioned is around seven euros or so. You can rent a bike at Knippenborg Fietsen which is found in Zieuwent, but they can also bring your rental bike to you in Lichtenvoorde.
Buy all the Dutch cheese at Kaasboerderij Weenink
This cheese farm is found in the east of The Netherlands, near Lichtenvoorde. They have a great shop that sells local products (like jams, mustard, wines from the region, cookies and more) and especially incredible cheeses that come straight from the cheese farm. Whether you want to buy garlic cheese, rosemary, mustard or even lavender Dutch cheeses, this is the place to be!
You can find them at:
7137 HG Lievelde
Discover Openluchtmuseum Erve Kots
One thing I always love is when there are open-air museums near towns in The Netherlands. Every Dutch open-air museum is different and showcases another part of Dutch culture and on regional traditions. This is also the case at Openluchtmuseum Erve Kots, located in the town of Lievelde. You can discover a Dutch windmill, old buildings, machines, crafts and more. It’s the perfect entrance to the local Dutch culture in the eastern part of The Netherlands.
Interesting to know is that this museum has been an official outdoor museum in The Netherlands since 1936! The website of Erve Kots open-air museum is currently only in German and Dutch, but again, a translating tool is going to help you out here.
Experience the beauty of Natuurgebied Koolmansdijk
If you’re one of those people that is a fan at looking at wild orchids (yes, LOOKING, do not pick them people), then this is the perfect location to do so. In June, the orchids in this Dutch natural area are blooming, but in the other months, it’s also worth a visit. Near the town of Lievelde, you can find a beautiful area with rare flowers, insects and grass. Around, and inside, this nature reserve you can find a cycling path (which you can also use to walk on, of course). It’s located between Lievelderbeek and Nieuwe Beek.
Visit the Brouwhoes Bier Experience
At around a 15-minute walk from the train station of Lichtenvoorde- Groenlo, you can find a beer brewery. And one of the great things that you can do here is to do the Bier (the Dutch word for beer) Experience. Here you will learn about the beers are brewed in this brewery, plus discover tons of other fun beer facts. At the end you will finish at a bar to taste some of the newly discovered Dutch craft beers, this bar can also be visited without a ticket to the Bier Experience. The (Dutch, so use a translation tool) website of Brouwhoes Bier Experience can be visited here.
This brewery is found at Eimersweg 4, Lievelde.
Buy the best local products at Ekoboerderij Arink
Honestly, if you’re looking at tasting real Dutch products, then visiting this ecological farm is a great idea. Whether you want to buy fresh milk, cheese or other Dutch foods from their sustainable farm, they will all taste simply incredible. And that’s not even all. You can visit their shop every Saturday, sit down on their terrace every Friday & Saturday and can even stay at their biohotel in this part of the countryside in The Netherlands! I mean. It’s perfect. There’s nothing else left to say. This farm is found at Gasteveldsdijk 6, 7137 PD Lievelde.
Visit the stunning small town of Bredevoort
Bredevoort is only around 7 kilometres from Lichtenvoorde and is one of those idyllic Dutch towns in the east of The Netherlands that you need to visit. It’s authentic, has elegant and cosy cafes, the best shops for buying cool souvenirs from your The Netherlands trip and even a brewery. Don’t forget to check out the incredible galleries in this town in Gelderland either; you can thank me later.
Enjoy the nature reserve Vragenderveen
One of the most special natural areas in The Netherlands is the reserve of Vragenderveen. Here you will find a unique peat moor area, with peat that is still growing and alive. In The Netherlands, this is very rare, as we don’t even have 100 hectares living high peat bog left in the country. This region has been protected for at least sixty years and is a remnant of a former swamp region that covered a big part of the Achterhoek region and a part of Germany.
There are several ways to explore this peat nature reserve. You can either explore the outskirts of this reserve by yourself or walk with a guide inside the sanctuary on peat. When you’re going to discover this natural area in the east of The Netherlands by yourself, you always need to stay on the paths and leave the animals that you will see alone. The trails are only for pedestrians, scooters and bikes aren’t allowed. Horses, dogs, etc. aren’t allowed to enter this nature reserve either. You can get the exact walking routes for this destination in Gelderland at the VVV, or tourist office, in Lichtenvoorde.
If you want to walk with a guide within this nature reserve, then there are special excursion days that you can make use of. You need to reserve at the VVV office in Lichtenvoorde for a spot (this can be done by phone or by email). There aren’t always guided walks in this region; you can find the agenda of Lichtenvoorde here. When you see ‘Veenexcursie Vragenderveen’, this is when these activities near Lichtenvoorde are held. You are advised to wear at least high shoes (preferably boots), a shirt with long sleeves and long trousers (plus bring some extra clothing for when you might get a bit dirty).
There’s a small visitors centre, which is the perfect location before you’re going to explore this Dutch nature. It’s free to enter, has an interesting exhibition (don’t forget to have a translation tool on your phone for this) and is usually opened during the opening hours of Restaurant Beneman. It can be found at the following address:
Pastoor Scheepersstraat 1 A
7134 RE Vragender
How to get to Lichtenvoorde
From Utrecht: To visit Lichtenvoorde as a day trip from the city of Utrecht, you have to take several forms of transportation. I would certainly recommend you to check 9292.nl/en to see the exact route. It can take anywhere from 2 to 2,5 hours.
From Enschede: To explore Lichtenvoorde from Enschede, you’d have to take several buses. I would highly recommend you to check 9292.nl/en to see the precise route to get from Enschede to Lichtenvoorde. It takes around 1,5 hour.
From Nijmegen: To get to Lichtenvoorde, as a day trip from Nijmegen, there are several options. They all include several train transfers. I would recommend you to check 9292.nl/en to see the precise route to get from Nijmegen to Lichtenvoorde. It can take anywhere from 1,5 hours to two hours and 15 minutes.
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Other Gelderland travel blogs and guides you’ll love
I think that by now, you’ve figured out that visiting Lichtenvoorde is one of the things to do in the province of Gelderland. Spending one day in Lichtenvoorde itself is a lot of time, that’s why I gave you the other tips for exploring the region around Lichtenvoorde. Plus, I always tend to provide you with tons of extra tips, simply because I want you to make the most out of your experience and not miss out on anything.
If you add Lichtenvoorde to your itinerary, I can guarantee that you will have a great time. The beautiful countryside that is found all around this small town in Gelderland is perfect if you’re searching for a relaxing feeling. The few sights in Lichtenvoorde are pretty cool to see, and the surroundings are filled with free things to do in The Netherlands.
I hope that you’ve learned at least the answer on ‘Where is Lichtenvoorde, The Netherlands?’ and that this city blog on Lichtenvoorde has shown you all the must do’s. I genuinely hope you enjoyed this article on one of the unusual places to visit in Gelderland and that Lichtenvoorde and its attractions will surprise you. Share this post!