If you want to explore another city besides Amsterdam or Utrecht in the Netherlands, I can highly recommend to visit Amersfoort. It’s only a 30 minute train trip away from Amsterdam and only 15 minutes away from Utrecht Central station. It’s great for a day trip or to spend a couple of days at.
If you didn’t know, Amersfoort is a historical city and a lot of the history is still visible in the architecture of the city. There is lots of history to discover but also lots of fun activities, good food and shopping to do. In this Amersfoort city guide I’ver rounded up my favorite things you should do & see, where to eat, shop and stay. And I’ve added my two favorite places to get work done — because sometimes you want to catch up on things when you are on holiday.
WHAT TO DO & SEE
Even though Amersfoort is not the biggest city, there is still a lot to do and discover in either a day trip to Amersfoort or when you visit the city for a couple of days. I’ve categorize different things you can do in the city. From free things to do to activities that can take a big part of your day.
GO FOR A WALK
When you plan a day trip to Amersfoort you want to see as much of this historical city as you can. Luckily everything is close together and it is easy to see everything in one day. You can go on a guided tour or plan a walk through the city on your own — a great free option. A guide can tell you more about all the historical buildings this city has. However, you can probably get an Amersfoort city guide at the local VVV Amersfoort.
I would suggest going on a walk through the Muurhuizen. This is the first wall that protected the city in the middle ages. They taken down the original wall when they had to expand the city and build houses in its place. Along the Muurhuizen you’ll see a lot of historical buildings and some newer buildings. I personally love shooting for the blog here. It is a beautiful part of Amersfoort.
You can start your walk from the Lieve Vrouwentoren — which you can also climb to the top and see the whole city — and walk from the Breestraat to the Muurhuizen. You will walk by the Kamperbinnenpoort — one of the gates into the inner city — the old jail, the Kortegracht with a view on the Monnikendam and you end up at the Lieve vrouwenplein.
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Another free walk you can go on is through the many parks surrounding the city that still has a couple of standing city walls from the expansion. You will also walk by the other gate of the city, the Koppelpoort. You can also take a guided tour into the Koppelpoort.
We have several museums in Amersfoort. One of them is the Mondriaanhuis that is located in the former home where the famous painter Piet Monderiaan was born. There are different interactive tours you can take.
The other famous museum in Amersfoort is Flehite. This museum is located in the Breestraat so you can go in before you walk through the muurhuizen and is located in a historical building. There are different exhibitions about the history of Amersfoort.
In the newer part of Amersfoort, at Eemplein, you will find KADE. KADE has exhibitions and activities all about modern art, architecture and design.
Around the city you can also find lots of art galleries. Amersfoort is a creative city so there are lots of smaller galeries you can visit.
If you are staying longer in Amersfoort there are also day activities you can do. One of them is visiting the zoo Dierenpark Amersfoort. It’s fun to go to even when you don’t have children to just walk around.
Another thing you can do is take a canal tour through Amersfoort. You can take a guided tour or not, it is up to the group. You go to the dock in the Krommestraat and buy a ticket.
If you love more active activities, you can sub through the canals or rent a step to discover the city.
SPECIAL TO DO’S
A Amersfoort city guide would not be complete without also putting focus on the different festivals and special activities the city has. Especially in the summer there are special activities. You should always check out the local activities agenda.
A couple of favorites that are worth checking out are the food festival. My personal favorite to go to with friends is Lepeltje & Lepeltje — which is in June. For food but mostly because of the atmosphere. In August you can also watch movies under the Lieve Vrouwentoren. You can check here https://lievevrouw.nl/film/filmspecials/ what they are going to show.
In the winter there is Mirakels Amersfoort that focuses on a different historical story about Amersfoort. This year (2019) it will be about the story of Johan van Oldenbarnevelt. It’s an audio guided tour that takes you through the city and its history.
If you are staying during the weekend, you can also visit the local market located on the Hof. You can buy fresh bread, fruit, fish and more to take to your Airbnb or hotel. But you can also buy something to eat and sit in one of the local parks. Surrounding the market you have many different cafes and restaurants with terraces to sit and relax.
OUTSIDE THE CITY CENTER
About 5-10 minutes outside the city center of Amersfoort you have the Eemplein square and the Nieuwe Stad (new city) if you want to discover more.
Around Eemplein you will find different stores like a drugstore and supermarket. There is also a cinema — I think the Vue cinema feels more like an experience than the Pathé on Eemplein. In the Nieuwe Stad you’ll find het Lokaal where you can drink coffee & eat or visit the store next door for local products. You can also go for a night out at Fluor. My favorite party — and really the only one I’ve visited in the last year — is the RGB silent disco.
WHERE TO SHOP
So even though I run a style blog, I don’t shop a lot in Amersfoort. We have the bigger high street fashion shops — H&M, ZARA and Mango — and a lot of smaller shops. You have Roots in the Krommestraat that sells brands like Fabienne Chapot, Just Female, Alix the label and more. If you are already in the Krommestraat, check out the other stores there as well. There are many small business owned by locals like Las Lunas or chain stores like Dille & Kamille or Velvet Music.
In the Langestraat you have KLOOS that sells Selected Femme, Studio Anneloes and more. When you take a 10-15 minute bike ride to Hoogland you can shop at Best of Deb. I haven’t visited the store yet but they sell some of my favorite brands like Anine Bing, Iro and Isabel Marant.
If you are looking for small gifts, you might want to visit Blur in the Mooierstraat. They sell items from small businesses. All the products that they sell make a contribution to a better world in their own way.
Sissy Boy is a chain store located on the Sint-Jorisplein is a clothing slash homeware store. I personally like their homeware election better and always check it out when I walk by and have time. They usually have the trinkets that are in style at the moment.
WHERE TO EAT
So food is a big part of my life and luckily Amersfoort has a lot of places to get delicious food. I will share my favorite down below but if you are staying for longer than a couple of days, there are still other restaurants and cafes to discover.
I’m a sucker for sweets so when I leave my house for breakfast or brunch I like to go to The Blueberry. This breakfast & lunchroom is located on the Hof and service American based dishes. You can get sweet treats, pancakes, sandwiches and more. There is also a special menu that changes for time to time. I personally always go for the banana pancakes. The Blueberry has vegan and gluten-free options.
If I’m getting takeaway lunch I will walk to the Corazon Bakery in the Krommestraat. I love their chocolate croissants for breakfast. Other favorites are the banoffee muffins and caramel shortbread.
For lunch I wil either go to Barista Cafe, also located on the Hof, or Lunch & Borrel, located in a side street of the Langestraat called the Mooierstraat.
Barista Cafe has different lunch options — club sandwhiches, melts, quesadillas, salads and more. I always go for the Veggie wrap. They also have a specials menu that changes every now and then.
The fun thing about Lunch & Borrel is that they have smaller lunch options that you can combine. You can go for mini sanwhiches, tosti’s, soups and more. You can choose three different options and create your own little lunch spread.
Both have vegetarian and gluten-free options.
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COFFEE & TREATS
My go to place for coffee has always been Bagels & Beans Amersfoort — I’ve even dedicated a post about them here. You can find Bagels & Beans all over the country but every location is a franchise mostly owned by locals. You can also have lunch here but I mostly go here to get coffee with a friend or work. They also have different cakes and treats to eat with your coffee.
Another place where I’ll get coffee & work — the two just always go together for me — is The Chocolate Company. You can also read a dedicated review here.
In the summer you can also get ice cream from the two longest standing ice cream shops — Mazzoli or San Marco. Both are good but most Amersfoorters have a favorite. I usually go to Mazzoli.
If there is one thing in Amersfoort that we have more than enough of, it’s restaurants. My favorite one is Sally’s Kitchen — an Indonesian restaurant that is located a little outside the city center on the Utrechtseweg. Great food, atmosphere and staff.
Second favorite — and I might be biased because it is owned by my parents — is Italian restaurant Da Luca, located in the Bloemendalsestraat. Our restaurant is focused on simple, Italian food. You can only get pasta’s or pizza’s. My parents have been in business for over 30 years right now and I’ve personally worked there for 12 years. Recently we were nominated as one of the best places to get pizza in Amersfoort.
Another restaurant I like to go to is Jackie Brown, located on the Hof. Even if it is just for the boa bun, chicken bits and cosmopolitans disguised as the Woo Woo.
For takeaway dinner I usually get Thai food at Toko Semerang at Hooglandseweg-Zuid — the chicken meatballs are the best! — or I’ll get snacks & fries at Patatas on the Eemplein.
Want to go out for a drink? There are many terraces you can go to on the Hof or Lieve Vrouwenplein. My favorite place at the moment is Jackie Brown on the Hof because they are the only place that does a cosmo (plus the chicken bites!). However, if you are not into cocktails or love gin & tonics, you can go anywhere.
WHERE TO STAY
I personally live here so I never had to stay anywhere in the city but I’ve gathered some options that look great and are located in or around the city center of Amersfoort.
First up is the bed & breakfast boat Vita Nova located in the docks at Eemplein. It’s located only 5 minutes from the city center and a minute walk from Eemplein and the Nieuwe Stad. It’s been newly renovated with bright, modern rooms with small boat details. If you are looking for something different than this is the one you will want to book. It’s definitely not your average stay!
Second option is this luxury apartment located in the muurhuizen. Not going to lie, I could live here. It is beautifully renovated but still has original wooden details.
If you are looking for a hotel that is located more centrally but not in the middle of the buzzing city, you should stay at boutique hotel de Tabaksplant. It is located around the Kamperbinnenpoort where you can stroll into the city center.
If you are in Amersfoort on business or want a more traditional hotel, you can book yourself a room bath the Mercure hotel. It’s located across from the Eemplein and near the train station (12 minute walk from the hotel). It has a bar, gym, meeting rooms and more inside the hotel.
WHERE TO WORK IN AMERSFOORT
If you are like me and want to do some work during a trip, there are a couple of places that I can recommend:
Bagels & Beans — Like I said, I’ve already dedicated a post here on why this is a great place to work from. But to summon it up: free wifi, great coffee and dedicated space to work.