Grave is one of the beautiful Dutch villages and towns you have to visit in Noord- Brabant, The Netherlands. The Netherlands has twelve provinces and Noord (North)- Brabant is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful and has many things to do. If you are looking for things to do in the historic Dutch town of Grave, then continue reading.
The Dutch word of ‘Grave’ doesn’t refer to the English word of grave, so the name isn’t as dark as you think it is. Graaf means count in English and Grave means counts.
The fortified city of Grave obtained its city right of the Duke of Brabant back in 1233. The city of Grave became the largest town in its area, as well as the only fortified one. Grave has suffered immensely in its existence. From wars between the duchies of Gelre and Brabant to the 80-year war against the Spanish. And from the occupation by the French in 1672 to the second World War. Grave often had more than five times as much soldiers in its town in Brabant than its own inhabitants.
The city of Grave has a very strategic location: It’s located next to the river the Meuse and on the road between ‘s-Hertogenbosch (or Den Bosch) and Nijmegen. So its location was very good for their economy. Around the 1850s a lot of people in Grave worked in the textile industry, in beer breweries or in a gin distillery.
In my humble opinion, Grave is one of the places you have to visit in The Netherlands. Mainly because there are not much tourists to be found, as a matter of fact, when I was there I only saw a couple of cyclists. As well as the fact that the surroundings of this cute Dutch town are incredible. During summer and very beautiful weather I suspect that you will definitely find a couple more tourists in this town. But there are endless possibilities if you like to cycle or walk to spend a full day or two in the area of Grave, The Netherlands.
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What to do in Grave, The Netherlands: A perfect day trip from Nijmegen
I wouldn’t spend an entire day in the Dutch city of Grave as it’s very small. However, there are still plenty of things to do in Grave, The Netherlands, so you can easily spend half a day in the beautiful Dutch town of Grave. You can spend at least one full day in the surroundings of Grave. Go for a long walk or grab some bicycles to create a full day trip from Nijmegen.
Many towns in The Netherlands have plenty of attractions, but even walking through this medieval city in Noord-Brabant is enough. I’m really glad that Grave isn’t such a big tourist destination, nor is doing hundreds things to attract them, because this town is great as it is. A little sleepy, but incredibly charming and one of the must visit locations and towns in, Noord- Brabant, The Netherlands.
What I love about the province of Noord- (North) Brabant is that there are many points of interest and cities to visit in this part of The Netherlands. From some of the best small towns you can visit in The Netherlands to a typical Dutch landscape. Noord- (North-) Brabant is only a short train ride away from Amsterdam and so are the many places you must see in The Netherlands. You definitely won’t be disappointed when you visit Brabant, that’s for sure.
Continue reading to discover where to go and what to see in Grave, as well as for finding free things to do in this Dutch city.
Best hotels and accommodation nearby Grave, The Netherlands
Unfortunately, as of now, there are no hotels, hostels, B&B’s or other forms of accommodation in the town of Grave. However, if you’re looking for hotels or B&B’s in the area of Grave, I can recommend you the following places:
B&B Pastorie Gassel, book your stay near Grave now
Emmausklooster, book your stay near Grave here
Both are relatively near the old town of Grave, the B&B Pastorie Gassel is around 4 km from Grave and the Emmausklooster is located at around 2,2 km from Grave. So it’s an easy bike ride to one of the most beautiful places and historic cities in The Netherlands. Just stay in a typical Dutch village or town and you can quickly cross one of the best places to visit in The Netherlands from your travel bucket list for Noord-Brabant and The Netherlands.
Best restaurants and cafes in Grave
Eat Italian ice cream at Sabor. If it’s one of those warm days, you’d want to get your butt over to Sabor for some delicious ice cream. I would also visit Sabor in the middle of winter, but who am I? If you’re looking for the best ice cream shop in Grave, The Netherlands, then Sabor is your place to be. Also, Sabor is not only a great place to visit for ice cream. You can have some great baked sweets and some sandwiches here as well. Markt 4, Grave
Eat your lunch at Moeders. Moeders is one of those typical cosy places. You will get a living room feeling in combination with great food. Now if that isn’t what you’re looking for, then I don’t know what you want. Hoofdwagt 6, Grave
Visit the Graafs museum
One of the things you have to do in Grave is to bring a visit to the Graafs museum. The Graafs Museum has several locations, the most popular location is the museum in the Hampoort, which is the only city gate of Grave that is still standing. The building dates back to 1688 and it is exactly the same as it was back then.
In the museum in the Hampoort you will find several exhibitions. Some of them are permanent and others change. One of the permanent exhibitions is one that tells and shows you the story of the development of the fortified city of Grave.
The downside of this museum in Grave is that it’s mainly focused on Dutch tourists, as Grave is not well-known at all with foreign tourists. That’s why you won’t see English translations anywhere just yet. If it has changed, please let me know. So make sure to have Google translate at your side and have the photo option ready. This way you’ll understand everything you need to know. But the museum is definitely one of the things you have to see and a must do when you’re one day in Grave.
The museum can be visiting from Wednesday – Sunday: 13:00 – 17:00.
Admission fee: 3 euros
This museum in Grave is accessible for wheelchair users.
Enjoy a walking tour to discover the secrets of Grave
‘What do I have to do in Grave, The Netherlands?’, you ask me? Well one of the best ways to discover a new city of town in The Netherlands, or anywhere, is to go on a walking tour. This will be a self guided walking tour through Grave, although you could also just wander around Grave and find places to see and other interesting things to do. But to make sure you don’t miss out on the best parts of Grave, I would recommend you to follow this walking tour.
We will start our walking tour through Grave at one of the must sees of Grave: the old city hall, that can be found at Hoofdwagt 2 in Grave. The current city hall of Grave dates back to 1650. What is interesting is that the city hall was expanded several times.
Between 1620 and 1650, the city hall gets three extra houses added directly to it. But, times change and so does the economy. In the 19th century the city hall was incredibly decayed and it was renovated. However, it wasn’t renovated in the original style. This only happened in 1966-1967.
After admiring the city hall of Grave we will walk to Bagijnestraat 1, where you can find an old protestant church that dates back to the 15th century. Now you will walk through the Hoofschestraat and a bit of the Maaskade to discover the remaining part of the bastions of the fortified city of Grave as well as the cannons that are placed there. Plus, you have a nice view of the Meuse river here.
Now it’s time to head into some of the streets that make the city of Grave so beautiful. First we visit the Oliestraat. Then we continue and walk to the Gasthuisstraat, before making our way to the Graafs Museum which can be found in the only remaining city gate of Grave. There used to be three city gates, but the Hampoort (which is what it’s called in Dutch) is the only one that didn’t get demolished.
Now walk to the Sint Elisabethstraat, Boreel de Mauregnaultstraat and Het Kasteeltje. These streets are all nice to walk through, but they get better. Continue your walking tour through Grave to enter the most beautiful streets of Grave through the Sint Jorisstraat, Klinkerstraat, Hamstraat, Brugstraat, Rogstraat and finally your end destination: Markt.
Almost every city or small town in The Netherlands has a street or square that’s named Markt. This was and still is the location where everything happened in the cities: markets, punishments, etc. You name it and it was probably shown on the Markt.
Other interesting, cheap and fun activities to do in Grave
Discover old shops and interesting galleries
What I love about Grave is that there are quite a few cute shops and cool galleries that you can visit. From De Tierelantijn second hand store to Atelier 276. Wander through the century-old streets and find the perfect souvenir from Noord- Brabant, The Netherlands.
Explore the Kazematten Museum
You can find another museum, that is part of the Graafs Museum and that is the Kazematten Museum, or The Casemates Museum. The entry is 1 euro and there are two casemates to explore called Noord and Zuid. Here the story of operation Market Garden and the liberation of Grave from the Germans during the Second World War is told.
The only downside is that, yet again it’s all in Dutch. However, just walking through the three story casemates is very interesting in its own already. You will see uniforms and other things that were used. It’s a bit of a walk to get there though, as the casemates are located outside of the city of Grave. But if you don’t mind going for a walk, then you’re good to go. Remember that the casemates aren’t suitable for wheelchair users.
An interesting thing to know about the bridge is that is wasn’t damaged during Market Garden at all. So it’s still the same bridge as back in 1944.
It’s opened on Saturday & Sunday from 13:00 – 17:00.
Kazematten museum Grave: 5361 CS Grave
Another interesting activity in Grave is the re-enactment of the liberation of Grave and the recapture of the John S. Thompsonbridge which happens yearly on the 17th of September.
Visit the weekly market of Grave
Another fun thing to do in Grave is bringing a visit to the weekly market. Every Friday there’s a weekly market around the Hoofschestraat in Grave from 08:30 until 12:30.