When one thinks of The Netherlands, Bergen op Zoom is not the city that they associate it with. Or have even heard of. There are a lot of things to do in Bergen op Zoom and taking one day out of your schedule to visit Bergen op Zoom is a great idea. Bergen op Zoom also houses the oldest hotel in The Netherlands, named Hotel De Draak that is located in a building that dates back to 1397.
Bergen op Zoom is a beautiful city in the Southern part of The Netherlands. While Bergen op Zoom isn’t on most peoples bucket list for when they visit The Netherlands, it’s about time that changes. There are plenty of things to do and see in one day in Bergen op Zoom. So what is there to do in Bergen op Zoom? A lot! From visiting the most beautiful city palace (not castle) in The Netherlands to eating local Dutch Bourgondian food. There is even a beach in Bergen op Zoom!
Bergen op Zoom is located in the province of Noord- Brabant, The Netherlands, and will be one of your favourite cities in The Netherlands once you have visited this beautiful town. You will find everything from what to do in Bergen op Zoom, to the best hotels. And from where to eat lunch in Bergen op Zoom, to how to get to this beautiful city in The Netherlands. And from the best activities to the best museum to visit in Bergen op Zoom.
The best things to do in 24 hours in Bergen op Zoom, The Netherlands
Bergen op Zoom is a small city in the province of Noord- Brabant, The Netherlands, and has around 50.000 inhabitants. Historians think that Bergen op Zoom obtained its city rights somewhere between 1198 and 1212. The exact time is unsure because there was a big fire that demolished almost the entire city back in 1397. But because the oldest reference to Bergen op Zoom as a city dates back to 1213, people think this beautiful city in Noord-Brabant got its city rights in the beginning of the 13th century.
One of the things that Bergen op Zoom is famous for is its food, but also for carnaval. The tower of the Gertrudiskerk (church) of Bergen op Zoom is dressed up as a doll with colourful clothes. And the name changes from Bergen op Zoom, to Krabbegat.
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Best hotels and accommodation in Bergen op Zoom
I personally like to get the most out of my stay in another city or town. And in my opinion, the best way to do that is to explore a place for at least a full day. With that I mean from breakfast to drinks and spending the night. In this way you will really feel the atmosphere of the city or town that you’re staying in. Below you will find the best accommodation in Bergen op Zoom. From great hotels in Bergen op Zoom, to B&B’s and even a great hostel (StayOkay) can be found in Bergen op Zoom.
Suite de Noordt, click here to book your stay via booking.com
B&B Op de Brabantse Wal, click here to book your stay via booking.com
B&B Villa Heidetuin, click here to book your stay via booking.com
Grand Hotel en Résidence De Draak, click here to book your stay via booking.com
Stayokay Bergen op Zoom – De Brabantse Wal, click here to book your stay via booking.com
Breakfast in Bergen op Zoom
There are quite a few nice breakfast cafes and restaurants in Bergen op Zoom, but my favourite has to be Inspire Coffee. Not only do you have a great view on the so-called Peperbus (the tower of the Sint-Gertrudis church), it is located in the centre of Bergen op Zoom. They offer a simple, but nice breakfast. And they even have glutenfree or lactose free options for breakfast, lunch and their lattes. Don’t forget to buy some of the homemade cakes. But be aware, not all of them are home-made, but most of them are. And they are to die for!
Zuivelstraat 9, 4611 PD Bergen op Zoom
Self guided walking tour through Bergen op Zoom
We start our walking tour through Bergen op Zoom from inspire Coffee. Walk in the direction of Kremerstraat 20A, then continue your walk to Sint-Catharinaplein 2. From there you head towards one of the most beautiful streets of Bergen op Zoom, Engelsestraat 19. After you visited and walked there, you should continue towards Blauwehandstraat 9 and then walk to Zuivelplein 2A. Start walking in the direction of Koevoetstraat 23, afterwards you have to continue to the Synagoge of Bergen op Zoom.
After the synagoge you will walk to Hoogstraat 7, continue to Kerkstraat 1 and then you will walk to see the main church of Bergen op Zoom. The Gertrudiskerk (kerk means church) can be found on the Grote Markt. You can climb the tower of this church in Bergen op Zoom, called De Peperbus. In 2019 from the 27th of April until the 31st of October from Thursday – Sunday 13:00 – 16:00. So I would recommend you to climb the tower of the church either before or after the Grebbe tour. Other buildings you have to see when you’re on the Grote Markt are the Stadhuis (city hall) and Hotel De Draak.
Hotel De Draak is the oldest hotel and company in The Netherlands and has offered accommodation to visitors for over 600 years already! It is also housed in one of the oldest buildings of Bergen op Zoom and dates back to at least the 13th century. Another fun fact about Hotel De Draak in Bergen op Zoom is that it’s one of the only buildings that survived the destructive city fire of 1397. Almost the entire city burned down, except for two buildings. De Draak and De Olifant (the building next to De Draak).
After enjoying the beautiful surroundings of Bergen op Zoom on the Grote Markt, you have to walk to Theater De Maagd. Continue your free city tour through Bergen op Zoom via Fortuinstraat 5, Potterstraat 22, Lievevrouwestraat 9, to end up at the most beautiful monument of Bergen op Zoom. The Gevangenpoort (or prisoner gate) is the oldest monument of Bergen op Zoom and dates back to the 14th century. It is also the only city gate that is still left in Bergen op Zoom.
Now walk towards Rijkebuurtstraat 9, Zuidzijde Haven 7 and Noordzijde Haven 22. Although I can definitely recommend you to walk a little bit further, up until the canal starts. It’s pretty beautiful there. After that you walk via Dubbelstraat 57, Dubbelstraat 4, Moeregrebstraat 86 to the Arsenaal. The Arsenaal of Bergen op Zoom was built in 1764 and transformed into barracks in 1880.
Then you walk via Steenbergsestraat 9, to end up at the most important monument and museum of Bergen op Zoom. The Markiezenhof. More about this city palace in The Netherlands can be found a few paragraphs below.
If you prefer to go on a walking tour through Bergen op Zoom and want to learn more about this beautiful city and its history, then I can recommend you to go to the VVV office of Bergen op Zoom. You can buy a small guide for 2,50 euros at VVV Brabantse Wal and discover the city and it’s facts yourself.
Explore the city palace of Bergen op Zoom and its museum
The Markiezenhof is the oldest city palace of The Netherlands and incredibly beautiful. This city palace in Bergen op Zoom is located in the historical heart of one of the most beautiful cities of The Netherlands. The building dates back to the late middle ages. Within the Markiezenhof you can find several things, not only is the VVV (tourism office) of Bergen op Zoom located here, but there is also a museum that is worth a visit.
In the Markiezenhof museum you will discover the history of Bergen op Zoom and its region, the Markiezen, rooms completely in the style of the middle ages and plenty of more. There is also a large permanent exhibition on the history of fairs, which is cute and interesting to see. You will also find temporary exhibitions that will often feature local artists.
As the Markiezenhof dates back to the Middle Ages, the building is restricted to wheelchair users and disabled people. The ground floor and French garden are completely accessible. There’s an elevator to the first floor, where most rooms are also accessible. The second floor, and some rooms of the first floor, are unfortunately not accessible for wheelchair users and disabled people.
Go for a great lunch at a bookstore in Bergen op Zoom
What I love about Cafe Helene is that it’s small and located in a bookstore, named Quist. When you enter the bookstore you have no idea that there’s a cute and very good cafe located upstairs, but you have to check it out. Not only do they have very tasty cakes, but you will find that the food they offer at Cafe Helene in Bergen op Zoom are perfect for a nice lunch. Not to mention that the staff is so nice and it’s a perfect way to discover and buy new books.
Fortuinstraat 24, 4611 NP Bergen op Zoom
Brownies & Downies
Another fun place to get lunch in Bergen op Zoom is Brownies & Downies. This lunch restaurant in Bergen op Zoom is run by people with disabilities and offers a great lunch in a cosy spot. The people are friendly, the food if good and the atmosphere is very warm and welcoming. Combine that with its location and a building that is one big open space with big windows, and you won’t want to leave.
The Old Bakery is also a cute lunch spot that has the best high tea of Bergen op Zoom.
Discover the Grebbe below the city of Bergen op Zoom
The Grebbe is a restored waterway and sewage system. It was dug in the 13th century. Mainly to transport peat to the harbour of Bergen op Zoom. Painters, tanners and other craftsmen took water that they needed from the Grebbe for their work and later on beer brewers did the same.
But with work there comes waste. And this was also dumped in the Grebbe, not only by craftsmen but also by the ever growing population of Bergen op Zoom. You can visit the largest monument of Bergen op Zoom with a guide from Stichting Bezichtiging Monumenten. Nowadays only the rainwater from Bergen op Zoom comes in here, so when it rains hard no tours are given. The tours will be given in 2019 on every Saturday from the 27th of April until the 26th of October at 13:00 and at 15:00.
You can reserve a spot at for the Grebbe tour at this link. Choose a date/ time (datum/ tijd) and press ‘bestel’ which means order. For more information or to book a tour on the day itself (it’s possible that it’s full or that there is still a spot left) you can go to the Tourist Office of Bergen op Zoom, that can be found inside the city palace.
Buy some typical souvenirs in Bergen op Zoom
Bergen op Zoom is a city that is known for its Bourgondian food. This city has its own specialties and one of them has to be bought as a souvenir. Bergen op Zoom has some traditional cakes and cookies. And one of them is this kind of pudding cookie that is called ‘platte tieten’, or (literal translation) flat boobs. For the real platte tieten you’d have to visit Bakker Groffen. You can usually find the platte tieten in different colours and with different toppings.
When you visit the market of Bergen op Zoom (every Thursday around the Wouwsestraat, Van der Rijtstraat, Stationsstraat, Korenbeursplein), you have to buy worstenbroodjes as well. These are traditional for the province of Noord- Brabant and it’s a sausage inside bread. But so much better than you can imagine.
When you’re visiting Bergen op Zoom during the asparagus season (end of April – end of June) you have to buy some fresh one from the market as well. Together with strawberries, but these will arrive a little bit later on the market. Bergen op Zoom is well known for it’s three A’s: Asperges, Aardbeien & Anjovis, or asparagus, strawberries & anjovis. That’s why you should at least buy one thing of that list.
Eat dinner at one of the best restaurants of Bergen op Zoom
There are plenty of great restaurants to be found in Bergen op Zoom. So if you’re looking for great places to go for dinner in Bergen op Zoom, then you’re in the right place. I’ve included two great restaurants below, but of course there are plenty of other great places to eat in Bergen op Zoom.
If you’re interested in eating and discovering some of the food of several continents, then you’ll love ‘t Zusje. They serve tapas from several European and Asian countries. And the food is, in my opinion, very good. Although I know some people who don’t like different flavour combinations. I personally am a huge fan of discovering new flavours. Be aware that this restaurant is very busy, especially during the weekends. So if you want to dine here during the weekend, I can recommend you to reserve a spot up front. What I also love is that there are a lot of vegetarian options in this restaurant in Bergen op Zoom, not to mention that the staff is very nice.
Blokstallen 2, 4611 WB Bergen op Zoom
‘t Geheim van Bergen
Another great restaurant in Bergen op Zoom is ‘t Geheim van Bergen. They have a relatively small menu, which is something that makes choosing way easier. The restaurant itself is ver nice, but what I mainly love is that this restaurant works together with local farmers to get the best ingredients for their customers. And that is something you can taste. I would recommend you to at least take the asparagus and the oysters at this restaurant as those are the most local and traditional dishes that you can get. With oysters from the province of Zeeland and asparagus from just outside of Bergen op Zoom.
Bosstraat 20, 4611 NC Bergen op Zoom
Retire your day in Bergen op Zoom with a drink
Oase is a restaurant in Bergen op Zoom, but I think it’s a great location for a drink as well. Get to the basement or outside on the terrace, order a wine or one of their greats beers and just enjoy the final hours of your day in Bergen op Zoom.
Fortuinstraat 3, 4611 NM Bergen op Zoom
Biercafe ‘t Locomotiefke
The best cafe of Bergen op Zoom is in my opinion Biercafe ‘t Locomotiefke. Not only is is a typical and authentic Brabants (the province where Bergen op Zoom is located) cafe, but they have the best beer of Bergen op Zoom. They have lots of different craft beers and it’s the best place in Bergen op Zoom to go for drinks.
Grote Markt 11, 4611 NR Bergen op Zoom
Have a look at their opening times at the Facebook page of Biercafe ‘t Locomotiefke here.
Other fun and/or free things to do in Bergen op Zoom
There are many other unusual things you can do in Bergen op Zoom and its surroundings. With these tips below it’s easy to stay one weekend in Bergen op Zoom. Or if you have already visited Bergen op Zoom for 24 hours or longer, then I hope these activities make it on your Bergen op Zoom bucketlist. Discover Noord- Brabant at its best!
Just South of Bergen op Zoom you will find Landgoed Mattemburgh. This estate is surrounded by one of the best preserved gardens of The Netherlands. The estate was founded by a major of Bergen op Zoom, called Petrus Cuypers. His son, Louis, created the gardens. The major named the estate after his mom, Maria van Mattemburgh. As of now the 400 hectares is owned by Brabants Landschap. The forest at the Eastern side of the A58 is the oldest forest reserve of The Netherlands. The best time to visit Estate Mattemburgh is between June and mid-October, as many plants are blooming, which makes the area more magical.
You will discover both English and French styled gardens. You can also find restaurant De Orangerie here when you’re in need of some refreshments and food. The park of the estate and the gardens are opened when the De Orangerie is opened.
Fort de Roovere
Fortress De Roovere is the largest fortress of the West-Brabantse waterlinie and is located 4,6 km from Bergen op Zoom. It was restored back in 2010 and is mainly famous for the Mozes bridge. The Mozus bridge is located in the water, but when you walk over it, your feet stay dry. The entrance of the fortress is located at the Ligneweg, however pedestrians can enter the fortress via the Mozesbrug which is located on the Eastern side of the restored fortress. Don’t forget to climb to the top of the newly built tower for the best view of this fortress in Noord- Brabant, The Netherlands.
On the last Sunday of May you will find demonstrations on Fortress De Roovere. You will discover how the fortress looked like during the 80-year war against the Spanish.
Visit Halsteren and estate De Hertgang
In Halsteren you can also visit the estate called De Hertgang. They have beautiful gardens that are opened during the summer. Click here for the opening times of estate De Hertgang. The green dates mean that it’s opened from 13:00 – 17:00 and there is a tour with a guide at 14:00. The red data means that the gardens open from 11:00 – 17:00 and there is a tour with a guide at 14:00. The entry fee to the gardens of the estate is 4 euros.
Relax in a park
Bergen op Zoom isn’t home to many parks, whether that’s because there are many estates and forests in the surroundings of the city or not, it’s a fact. But if you want to relax in a park in Bergen op Zoom, then you have to bring a visit to the Anton van Duinkerken park. It’s not the biggest, but it will definitely help you relax at least a little.
Get your tan on at the beach
While the centre of Bergen op Zoom doesn’t lay next to the beach, a little walk towards the Western part of the city will lead you to the beach of Bergen op Zoom. So whether you’re interested to explore the beach, or just want to cool down during the hot days, visiting the beach in this beautiful Dutch city is always a good idea.
Visit the local market in Bergen op Zoom
When I’m visiting a new city I love it when I planned it accordingly, so that I can visit one of the weekly markets. Every Thursday from 09:00 – 16:00 you can find a market in the centre of Bergen op Zoom. The market is held around the Wouwsestraat, Van Der Rijtstraat, Stationsstraat and on the Korenbeursplein (square).
Buy the freshest cheese, stroopwafels, bread, fish, meat, clothing, fabrics and plenty of other things. Don’t forget to buy one of the three AAA’s during their season.
Explore the food festival in Bergen op Zoom
Every last weekend of May there is an amazing food festival in Bergen op Zoom, called ProefMei. During this time of the year you can order the entire AAA menu (strawberries, anjovis & asparagus) and the whole town is celebrating. You will find music, dancing, many stalls with bites and plenty of more. The festival is held around the Markiezenhof (city palace) in Bergen op Zoom. So, if you happen to visit Bergen op Zoom during the last weekend of May, make sure to visit this festival.
Eat freshly harvested food in the middle of asparagus fields
This is one of the best experiences you can have in the surroundings of Bergen op Zoom. Every year there’s a pop-up restaurant created in the village of Wouw. You will eat your lunch or dinner in the middle of asparagus fields. The restaurant is opened for only three weeks. This is the time period that the white asparagus are harvested. In Dutch we call them ‘het witte goud’, or the white gold.
From the second weekend of May until the first weekend of June you can have the best asparagus dishes of The Netherlands in Wouw. The chefs make the white and green asparagus taste even more heavenly than they normally do. You can reserve a spot, most often, from the first Monday or Tuesday of January. But be aware, many people are interested in those tickets.
Lunch is served between 11:30 and 14:30. Dinner is served between 17:00 and 21:00. The restaurant itself is opened until 23:00. A three course meal is 30 euros and a 4 course meal 37,50. Keep in mind that this is the price of 2019.
Click here for more information about eating in the Dutch asparagus fields. But remember the site is in Dutch, so you’d probably have to use Google Translate.
How to get to Bergen op Zoom, The Netherlands
Bergen op Zoom is home to a train station and other forms of public transport. The city is easy to reach from the train station of Bergen op Zoom, as you walk straight from the train station into the centre.
From Amsterdam: If you’re looking at travelling to Bergen op Zoom from Amsterdam by train, I would recommend you to take the direct intercity train from Amsterdam central train station in the direction of Vlissingen. Get out at Bergen op Zoom. This will take you around 2:10 hours.
From Utrecht: To get from Utrecht to the city of Bergen op Zoom by train you’d have to change trains at least once. Take the train from Utrecht Centraal in the direction of Rotterdam Centraal. Change at Rotterdam Centraal to the intercity in the direction of Vlissingen. Get out at Bergen op Zoom train station. This will take you around 1:42 hours.
From Middelburg: Although Middelburg is a beautiful city that is worth a visit, so is Bergen op Zoom. It’s very easy to visit Bergen op Zoom on a day trip from Middelburg. Take the intercity train in the direction of Amsterdam Centraal from Middelburg train station. Get out at Bergen op Zoom. This will take you around 43 minutes.
Bergen op Zoom can be visited as a day trip from Eindhoven, Tilburg, Breda, Den Bosch and other cities. However, I always recommend you to spend the night in a city. This way you are able to completely discover the city, during every moment of the day. Bergen op Zoom is a beautiful Dutch city in Noord- Brabant that can be visited during spring, summer, autumn and winter. No matter what time of the year it is, Bergen op Zoom is beautiful. However, keep in mind that autumn and winter are low season. Thus, the places you can visit in Bergen op Zoom and the landmarks are mostly opened for a shorter time.
I hope you enjoyed this article about all the things you should do in Bergen op Zoom in one day. As you’ve noticed there are many must sees, points of interests and tourist attractions in Bergen op Zoom. Some are more known than the others, but all of them are worth a visit. As the city of Bergen op Zoom is relatively small, it’s easy and quick to go sightseeing and to explore the best of Bergen op Zoom with this travel guide.
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