There are plenty of beautiful places to visit in the Utrecht province, from cities to small towns. And Vianen is one of those. In this Vianen city guide, you will find all the things you need to do in Vianen. You will also find reasons to travel to Vianen and explore all the things you can see here. Whether you’re thinking of visiting Vianen in 24 hours or simply want to enjoy this Dutch city on a day trip from Utrecht city.
Things to do in Vianen, Utrecht Region, The Netherlands
I hope you will enjoy visiting one of the more unusual places in The Netherlands that is worth visiting. Vianen is filled with must do’s: Whether you’re looking for landmarks or things to do in Vianen, there’s something for everyone here. From admiring beautiful buildings and streets to hidden gems in the Utrecht province. I can highly recommend you spend one day in Vianen and its surroundings, as both are equally beautiful.
History & Facts about Vianen
Vianen is historically found in an area that was often home to floods. It is said that the first settlement date back to around 3400 years ago. However, due to the constant flooding, inhabitants ended up moving to higher places. Then around the year 1000, the first permanent settlements were created in Vianen.
The Land of Vianen was a free and independent state, but first belonged to the Earldom of Teisterbant which lasted from the 8th century until the 10th century. Vianen was found in the border regions between the Earldom of Holland, the Duchy of Gelre and the Stift of Utrecht. But, the Lords of Vianen were able to stay independent from the 12th/13th century until the 18th century.
The first known Lord of Vianen was Zweder van Vianen in the 13th century. He was a son of Hubert van Beusichem, who was the Lord of Culemborg. The independent state was founded due to the creation of a castle by Zweder around 1200.
In 1336, Lord Willem van Duivenvoorde and his wife Heilwich van Vianen gave Vianen city rights. Willem then assigned Vianen to be further created as a fortified city with city gates, a city wall and more. With these defence works, they could pressure the Bishop of Utrecht. Vianen is also found on a strategic location on the Lek river. Both facts are the reason why Vianen became a competitor of the city of Utrecht.
Besides this family, another noble family was vital for the development of Vianen. The Brederode family turned Vianen into a flourishing city that at the same time became an independent state, called ‘Heerlijkheid Vianen’, or ‘Land van Vianen’ (Land of Vianen). In 1414, Walraven I van Brederode, became Lord of Vianen by marrying. This part of the lineage of Brederode lived in Kasteel Batestein, or Castle Batestein, which was the castle of Vianen. In 1679, Wolfert van Brederode passed away, the last male descendant of the Van Brederode family and final Lord of Brederode.
His duties were passed to his sister: Hedwig Agnes. She died in 1684, and that’s when she was followed by the daughter of her half-sister: Amalia viscountess of Dohna. Amalia was married to count Simon Hendrik van Lippe. That’s the reason why the Land van Vianen became part of the earldom Lippe, which made it part of the German empire. In 1696, Castle Batestein went into flames, with only the Hofpoort left, reminding everyone of the castle.
Later on, the grandson of Amalia and Simon Hendrik was looking for a buyer of the state. The States of Holland and West-Friesland didn’t want to take the chance of a foreign monarch buying the land. So, they bought it in 1725. Although the independent area wasn’t part of the Republic until 1725, everyone saw it that way as it paid a yearly contribution to the Republic. The royalty of Lippe continued to use the Coat of Arms of Vianen and Ameide until 1918 and the title of the viscount of Utrecht.
In 1725, the city of Vianen was bought by the states of Holland and West-Friesland (which is nowadays part of the Noord- Holland province) for 898.200 Guilders. It became a part of the State of Holland. Around seventy years later, Vianen became a part of the region of Holland. Vianen was also an important fortified city in the Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie, a defence line that protects a big part of the Holland region and the city of Utrecht. This construction was in use from 1870 until 1945.
The municipality of Vianen was founded in 1812 and was part of the province of Zuid- Holland. On the 1st of January 2002, the municipality became a part of the Utrecht province, after being part of the Holland region for centuries. On the 1st of January 2019, the municipalities of Vianen, Leerdam and Zederik merged into the municipality of Vijfheerenlanden in the Utrecht region. Vianen is currently home to a population of around 20.000 people.
Just remember that Vianen is not found in the Holland region anymore but in the Utrecht province. Vianen is part of The Netherlands, but not Holland. So, now you know the answer to the question ‘Where is Vianen, The Netherlands?’.
Where to stay in Vianen
Vianen is a small town in the Utrecht region, and not home to many places to stay. However, there are a couple of accommodation options in Vianen to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a hotel in Vianen or a B&B, these are great locations to stay in the Utrecht province.
Van der Valk Hotel Vianen – Utrecht: Check prices & availability via Booking.com
Bed en Breakfast in Vianen: Check prices & availability via Booking.com
Best restaurants in Vianen
There are quite a few good places to eat in Vianen. I can highly recommend you to visit restaurants such as De Vrijstad and NOOR. If you want to try some typical Dutch food, you must head to a unique pancake restaurant. That has excellent Dutch pancakes and a stunning view on the Lek river: Pannenkoekenboerderij De Ponthoeve. This restaurant in Vianen is a little outside the city, but worth visiting.
Also, Gasterij De Kloostertuin is fun to visit for a lunch or drink. This old monastery garden is only opened when the weather is pleasant from 12:00-17:00. Eetcafe de Rooie Reiger is another excellent place to eat in Vianen. Cafe ‘t Fust is a typical Dutch brown cafe that serves great drinks and also some tasty food.
What to do in Vianen
Vianen is one of the destinations you must visit in the Utrecht region. This part of the Vianen city blog will show you the must-sees in Vianen itself.
Free walking tour in Vianen
This self-guided tour through the town of Vianen is around 4 kilometres.
One of the best things to do in Vianen is a walking tour. We are starting our tour through Vianen at Lombardstraat, before walking to Brederodestraat, Molenstraat, Achterstraat and Bakkerstraat 8. Here you can see a former synagogue that dates back to 1756. Now, walk to Voorstraat and Voorstraat 106. There you can admire a former postal office from 1910.
After that, you will walk to Voorstraat 110. There you will see the Grote Kerk of Vianen. The first three parts of this church tower in Vianen dates back to the first half of the 14th century. The fourth is a little younger, and the fifth part was created when the city rebuilt a part of the church after a fire.
This tower is 41 metres high, and the church is partly built around this tower. Since 1593, there are three bells in this tower. But, not all of them are old anymore. The smallest bell cracked around 1740, was replaced with a new one in 1758, but didn’t survive the Second World War. The latest replacement is from 1950.
The largest one of the bells had a big crack, patched several times, but finally cracked in 1977. There is now a replica hanging in the tower, which was made in 1990.
I’ve told you in the history part of this Vianen travel blog about the Van Brederode family, which was very important to Vianen. Inside a particular part of this church, the Brederodekapel (Brederode chapel), you can find a Van Brederode lineage mausoleum. This funeral monument was created on Reinoud III’s assignment by Colijn de Nole between 1540 and 1556. The memorial exists out of two floors and is placed above the crypt of the Van Brederode family. The first one who was laid to rest here was Reinoud III in 1556, and the last is Wolfert van Brederode in 1679.
Inside the Grote Kerk of Vianen, there’s a permanent exhibition that showcases the Van Brederode family’s relationship and the Grote Kerk. You can visit this church in Vianen from the 27th of April (King’s Day) until the Wednesday before the second Thursday of October; Saturday 13:30-16:30 and Sunday 13:30- 16:00. You can climb this church tower in Vianen when it isn’t raining, but you have to tell the volunteers you want to climb it.
Then you’re headed to one of the other places you have to visit in Vianen; Korte Kerkstraat 3. This is where you can see a beautiful house created for a wealthy family and dates back to the 19th century.
Then you will head to one of the other places to see in Vianen; Korte Kerkstraat 7. This is where you can see one of the oldest houses in Vianen, which dates back to the 16th century. Up next, we’re going to be continuing our Vianen walking tour to Lijnbaan.
There you will see one of the highlights of Vianen: a great view of the city wall. In 1335 and 1336, Heilwich van Vianen and her husband, Willem van Duivenvoorde, gave the inhabitants of Vianen several city rights. Think of the right to organise markets and to built defence works. When the fortifications of Vianen were created, they used the already existing creeks and rivers. And, to save some money, they didn’t use just bricks. They used so-called ‘kisten’, or crates. There exists out of masonry filled with sand, chalk and debris.
Besides the fact that the city wall of Vianen protected the people against enemies, it was also protecting the inhabitants against the water of the Lek river. While there’s a dyke that protects Vianen nowadays, the Northern city walls kept the water of this river out.
Then walk to Buitenlandpoort, Singellaan and Hofplein 43. There you will see the Hofpoort or Hofgate. This is a remnant of the old Castle Batestein, which is used to be a grand castle in The Netherlands. It was founded by Gijsbert van Beusischem, Lord of Vianen. When his granddaughter married a Lord of the Van Brederode family, the castle was then owned by that family. A fire destroyed a big part of the castle in 1696. Most remains were demolished somewhere in the 19th century, except for this gate and a small water pump.
When you’re visiting Vianen in spring, don’t forget to have a look at the water near the Hofpoort. During spring, tulips that date back to when the Van Brederode family ruled the city.
Where to go next in this city in Utrecht? Hofplein 30. Here you can see a former barn with a high roof and a hoisting section. Then head to Kortendijk, Voorstraat and Voorstraat 30. This is the city hall of Vianen that was built around 1425 and expanded in 1473. Interesting to know is that the rear part of this town hall in Vianen was initially a chapel. However, after the Reformation, the chapel was assigned to the Catholics, who weren’t allowed to use the Grote Kerk anymore. In 1725, a Walloon church was created here, a part of the Grote Kerk and used primarily for wealthy people from Vianen.
Above the city hall’s front door, you can see ‘Audi alteram partem’, which means that you should also listen to the other party. On the facade, you can see the coat of arms of towns such as Lexmond, Meerkerk, Ameide, Vianen, Tienhoven and more. These were only added around the 1960s. You are also about to see the coat of arms of essential families to Vianen, such as the Van Brederodes.
Then you’re headed to Kerkstraat 2. This is the former Waag, or weighing house, of Vianen and was built somewhere in the 17th century. Surprisingly, not much is known about this building, even though it’s pretty aged. No one is sure since when the Waag is exactly found here, nor how long Vianen has had a weighing building.
After that, you will walk to Valkenstraat, Varkensmarkt, Koestraat, Kerkstraat, Keizerstraat, Weesdijk, Schoolstraat, Walsland, Langendijk and Lekpoort. This is the only city gate that is left in Vianen and dates back to the 15th century. Above the entrance, the gatekeeper was found. When you go a floor higher, you could find a prison, and the attic was used as a lookout. The big bell in the Lekpoort is made by François Hemony and dates back to 1647. It was used to make people aware of the time and as an alarm that was used when there was a fire or danger of an enemy.
A lot of the city wall and the city gates were demolished because they lost their function due to the arrival of stronger fire weapons. It is said that many gates were mostly seen as an obstacle for passing traffic, thus were destroyed.
I’ve not included the former castle gardens of Castle Batestein just yet inside this Vianen guided tour. There are plans to restore it into its original glory; however, it’s still merely a field with grass right now. The gardens were very famous and even influenced the castle gardens of Het Loo and Versailles.
Do some regional shopping in Vianen
Head to shops such as Zas & fratsen, Winkel van Sinkel and Winkelcafe Flinn, for instance. If you want to see what delicious goods one of the bakeries in the middle of the old city of Vianen has in store for you, then head over to Echte Bakker Steehouder. Your tastebuds will thank you. And, get an ice-cream at De Ijsmeester.
Enjoy visiting markets & events in Vianen
Every Wednesday (09:00-16:00), in the centre of Vianen, you can find the weekly market. It’s located around Voorstraat and is home to around 40 stalls.
Another thing you have to put on your Vianen itinerary is the ‘Paardenmarkt’, translated to horse market. This market has been held in Vianen on Wednesday the day before the second Thursday of October since 1271. There will be markets and stalls with old Dutch crafts, horse races, music, and so much more. It is the most significant event in Vianen and worth visiting.
Museums in Vianen
Stedelijk Museum Vianen
One of the main attractions in Vianen is their museum. The Stedelijk Museum in Vianen is the place to learn and see more about the art, culture and history of Vianen and its surroundings. So, whether you’re interested in seeing incredible paintings or want to admire any of ever-changing exhibitions, there’s something to enjoy for you here.
More things to do in Vianen & its surroundings
Cycle in the surroundings of Vianen
You can rent bikes in Vianen at Jansen Tweewielers; I recommend you to reserve them online in advance, so you know you have a bike.
There are tons of bike routes in this part of the Utrecht region that you can follow, but one of my favourites is to follow the ‘Lekdijk’ to the fortress of Everdingen or further. Cycling on this dyke you will see the most beautiful and typical Dutch views and get to admire tons of nature. You can also cycle to an icecream farm near Vianen, called IJsboerderij Middelbroeck.
If you want to know more cycling routes around Vianen, I recommend you visit the tourist office for information about Vianen at Voorstraat 13. They have many tips about this part of the Utrecht region and excellent walking and cycling routes, and they sell local and regional souvenirs.
Walk in the surroundings of Vianen
Vianen is located near the Lek river and in the beautiful countryside of the Utrecht region. One of the best walking routes you could do in the Utrecht province is along the floodplains of Vianen, such as Pontwaard and to then walk to Recreatieplas De Put. This is a stunning area and will help you fall in love with The Netherlands even more. You could also visit the Recreatieplas Everstein.
Enjoy visiting nature reserves in the Utrecht region
One of the things I love the most about the Dutch countryside is how there’s greenery everywhere. And near Vianen there are tons of places to see Dutch nature. Think of visiting the ‘Viaanse Bos’. But you can also head to the ‘Viaanse polders en uiterwaarden’. This is a nature reserve just south of Vianen. The polders Bolgerijen and Autena, are home to some of the most significant willow growing areas in The Netherlands. But you can also find meadows, bushlands and poplar forests here.
Jump on a ferry over to Vreeswijk
Vreeswijk is a former village in the province of Utrecht and is nowadays a neighbourhood in Nieuwegein as it practically swallowed the place. But, it is also home to a few charming parts. One of the things I would recommend you to do in Vreeswijk is to walk along the Oude Sluis, this is the most historic part of the old Dutch village and looks fantastic. And don’t forget to visit the Museumwerf in Vreeswijk. This museum shows you everything about the inland shipping industry that you want to know. To see when the ferry from Vianen to Vreeswijk runs, click this link.
Go on a boat trip from Vianen
If you want to see this part of the Utrecht region by boat, then you’re going to like this. The ship departs from the harbour of Vianen, called Passantenhaven, and the boat is called Domani. It’s found at the part of Sluiseiland. The route is the following: Vianen, Vreeswijk, Jutphaas, oud Vreeswijk and Vianen. It departs from the harbour of Vianen at 11:00 and returns to Vianen at 14:30. The boat company prefers you to reserve a spot for this boat cruise from Vianen in advance. It costs around 14,50 per person and if you want to have some food (sandwiches) and drinks (coffee/tea) included, then the price sits around 24,50 euros per person.
Visit a Dutch cheese farm in the Utrecht region and do a tasting
At Kaasboerderij Van Rossum, you can not only visit their farm shop to buy all sort of regional products, such as their cheeses, honey, jams, juices and so much more. But, when you visit their shop, you’re also allowed to have a little look at the farm. And it gets better. If you’re travelling on your own, or with a small group of people, you can make an appointment, and you’re able to do a little cheese tasting at this Dutch farm. You can only book this activity in the Green Heart region on Friday and Saturday, and costs around 6,50 euros.
Explore a fortress in the Utrecht region
Fort Everdingen is one of the many fortresses you can visit in The Netherlands and a vital fort. It’s located on a strategically important place of the Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie, a defence line of 85 kilometres long with fifty forts and several fortified cities. It was used to protect a part of the Holland region and the city of Utrecht. And, nowadays you can visit this fort in the province of Utrecht. The fort was built in the 19th century and is part of a 12 hectares complex surrounded by nature.
It’s home to a great brewery, named Duits & Lauret. And here you can try the best beers and enjoy a nice bite. There are also guided tours at Fort Everdingen usually every Sunday, that you need to reserve a spot for via the link. This is the only way to explore the fortress more from the inside, beyond visiting the brewery. It’s definitely one of the things to do in the Utrecht region.
Enjoy a traditional English high-tea in the Dutch countryside
In the village of Everdingen (yes, the same location as where the fortress is found), you can find The Pheasants. Here you can, not only, eat a delicious high-tea, but also buy their chutneys and jams. And, you can explore their stunning garden. You must reserve in advance for this high-tea in Everdingen.
Visit the city of Culemborg
Just 40 minutes by bus, south of Vianen you can explore the city of Culemborg. This is one of the best places to visit in the province of Gelderland and home to many things to do. From seeing a fantastic museum to exploring its beautiful streets. And from having a drink at one of the best cafes in Culemborg to admiring the view on the city wall and the rest of this historic Dutch city.
Admire the beautiful town of IJsselstein
IJsselstein is one of the best day trips from the city of Utrecht and Vianen. In 50 minutes by bus, you can reach the old town of IJsselstein from Vianen. IJsselstein is one of those magical destinations in the Utrecht region. It’s an old town that was founded somewhere around the 12th/ 13th century. From admiring the castle in IJsselstein to climbing the church tower of the Oude St. Nicolaaskerk (on special occasions only). And from walking through its picturesque streets to sitting down at a local restaurant to enjoy the atmosphere of this rarely visited Dutch city.
Discover the capital city of the Utrecht region
The city of Utrecht is also the Utrecht province’s capital, which makes it easy to remember. As one of the biggest Dutch cities in the country, there are also tons of things to do and see. Admire the Miffy (Nijntje in Dutch) museum or head into one of the many local shops in Utrecht. Or enjoy a walking tour in Utrecht. This city is filled with must do’s, so you’re going to enjoy your visit no matter what time of the year you visit Utrecht. I can highly recommend you to visit De Landgoedkeuken in Utrecht for a great breakfast or lunch; they get all their products from their estate, which you can visit and will read about next.
Head over to a beautiful estate in this Dutch region
Estate Mariënwaerdt is a century-old family estate in the Betuwe region in The Netherlands. It exists out of more than 900 hectares and has been in the same family since 1734 (9th generation manages the estate right now). It is officially called ‘Heerlijkheid Mariënwaerdt’, in which ‘Heerlijkheid’ refers to the significant rights that the owner of the estate would get with its purchase, such as hunting, renting, fishing rights and the task of managing roads and waterways. The name ‘Mariënwaerdt’ means the island of Maria; as the word, ‘waard’ is the old name for a piece of land that is surrounded by rivers.
What I love the most about visiting Mariënwaerdt is that there are many things to do and see on this Dutch estate. Not only can you explore a beautiful piece of land which is filled with nature, but around the (approximately) third week of August, there’s a Landgoedfair (estate fair) on this estate in The Netherlands. You can participate in many festivities, buy the best local products from regional companies, and so much more.
But, that’s not all that you can do here. You can head into their ‘Landgoedwinkel’, or estate shop, where you can buy their organic cheeses, jams, soups, honey and so much more products that were created on this very same piece of land.
You can also enjoy a delicious Dutch pancake at their Pannenkoekenhuis (or pancake restaurant) De Stapelbakker. But they also have excellent salads, soups, sandwiches, warm dishes, etc.
And, if you then haven’t had enough of visiting this estate in the Utrecht region, then you can also spend the night on this Dutch estate! They even have a vacation home and a B&B on Estate Mariënwaerdt.
Admire the city of Wijk bij Duurstede
The town of Wijk Bij Duurstede is one of those dreamy places to visit in The Netherlands. It’s home to castle ruins, stunning streets and buildings, and is found on the location of one of the most wealthy and flourishing cities in North-Western Europe: Dorestad. You can also visit a windmill, enjoy a river cruise and so much more. There are simply a lot of things to do in Wijk Bij Duurstede.
Explore the Waterlinie Museum in Bunnik
The Waterlinie Museum is a great museum to visit if you’re interested in seeing how The Netherlands has defended itself against enemies from the 16th until the 20th century. This museum (which is located in the second largest fort of the defence line) tells you the story of water as an ally and will show you how the New Dutch Waterline was working. You can even have a look at a 50-metre long model of the New Dutch Waterline and operate it yourself. This way, you can see how inundation and dry pumping works. Visiting this museum is one of the things you need to do in Bunnik.
Get to know the city of Oudewater
Oudewater is the Dutch town in The Netherlands that’s famous for its witch scale. And, you can even visit a museum that is dedicated to the weighing process of witches as well as standing on the scale in Oudewater to see whether you’re a witch or not. Besides that, there are plenty of more things to do in Oudewater. Think of going on a free walking tour or buying incredible local products.
Find things to do on the Eiland van Schalkwijk
The Eiland van Schalkwijk, or the island of Schalkwijk, is a polder area found near Vianen. It’s surrounded by the Lek river, Amsterdam-Rijn channel and the Lek channel. This Dutch island is also a part of the Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie; a defence line between Muiden and the Biesbosch.
You can find fortresses on this island, such as Fort Honswijk, Werk aan de Korte Uitweg, Werk aan de Waalse Wetering and Lunet aan de Snel. You can cycle or walk around the island, and I can also recommend visiting the ‘Verdronken Bos’, or drowned forest. Here you can see how an area would’ve looked like when it was inundated to keep the enemy out.
You can find a tourist office on the Island of Schalkwijk. Here you can find more things to do on the Eiland van Schalkwijk, including walking routes and more. It is located at Provincialeweg 1, 3998 JE Schalkwijk.
Travel to the Dutch glass city of Leerdam
The town of Leerdam is one of the places you must visit in the Utrecht region. Interesting enough, this fortified city was found in the Zuid-Holland province until 2019. But, due to the merging of three municipalities, Leerdam is now located in Utrecht.
There are many things to do in Leerdam, such as visiting the National Glass Museum. You can also explore a market, go on a tour, do a cheese tasting, etc. While it’s a small town in this part of The Netherlands, Leerdam is more than worth visiting.
Head over to the city of Gorinchem
Gorinchem is one of those cities in the Zuid (South)- Holland province you must visit. Not only is it filled with beautiful and empty streets like these, but there are also plenty of things to do in Gorinchem. From walking onto the fortifications to visiting a windmill (which has the most fantastic view on the Boven- Merwede river that flows along Gorinchem). And from exploring the Gorcums Museum to discovering nature reserves nearby.
How to get to Vianen, Utrecht, The Netherlands
I would always recommend using 9292.nl/en to plan your current trips by public transportation in The Netherlands. This is only used to give you a quick idea on the arrival time and how you roughly can travel to Vianen.
From Utrecht: You can easily reach Vianen from Utrecht by taking a bus from Utrecht Centraal train station. To travel from Utrecht to Vianen takes you around 40-45 minutes.
From Amsterdam: To get from Amsterdam Centraal station to Vianen, you must take a train to Utrecht Centraal. From there you need to transfer to a bus that will take you to Vianen. It will take you around 1 hour and 20 minutes to reach Vianen from Amsterdam.
From Rotterdam: To get to Vianen from Rotterdam Centraal, I highly recommend taking a train to Utrecht Centraal. And from there, you can transfer to a bus that will take you to Vianen. It will take you around 1 hour and 20 minutes to get from Rotterdam to Vianen.
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I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know the city of Vianen a little bit, and that you now know what to do and see in Vianen. Whether you’re thinking of travelling to Vianen for a weekend or simply want to do some sightseeing, Vianen is more than worth visiting. There is some more tourism in Vianen during the summer months (July & August), but that’s everywhere in The Netherlands. I genuinely hope this travel guide for Vianen will help you enjoy this beautiful city, its sights and its breathtaking surroundings. Share this post!