Attending a concert in Utrecht this April resulted in a prolonged stay in the Netherlands. Since I was already there, I decided to discover new cities. Last year, I got well acquainted with the delightful Utrecht, so I added Leiden and Dordrecht to my list this year. In all honesty, I chose Dordrecht only because I had high hopes for one museum. However, I ended up loving this charming little city!

Quaint and quiet, it’s the perfect day trip from bustling Rotterdam. The train only took 15 minutes and instantly transported me to a peaceful town with canals. On the whole, Dordrecht is probably the smallest city I’ve visited in the Netherlands so far.

gingerbread houses in dordrecht

However, it’s extremely pretty and has quite a lot of Art Nouveau houses you can admire. Not to mention the usual Dutch architecture, which is often adorable. What’s more, Dordrecht is known as the oldest city in the Holland region. It received its city rights back in 1220. And for such a small city, it has an impressive number of seven churches!

Years ago, I saw photos of House van Gijn and immediately knew I had to visit one day. Historical homes that preserve their original interiors are one of my favorite places to visit anywhere. I love feeling like I’ve traveled back in time and this museum certainly felt like that. It’s one of the best preserved 19th-century homes I’ve ever seen. And you can count on a future blog post for more details and photos of this wonderful place!

I spent an hour and a half inside this beautiful museum and walked around the city some more. House Van Gijn is right next to the harbor and that’s one of my main suggestions. Stroll alongside all the canals in the city for beautiful views and pretty houses. It’s more than doable in one day since Dordrecht is rather small!

canal in dordrecht

Where to eat in Dordrecht

While in Dordrecht, I chose Bluebirds in the Backyard as my lunch spot. Its unique interior grabbed my attention and the food was delicious. However, it was their values and company policy that impressed me. They focus on inclusivity, giving a chance to everyone in the job market who faces prejudices and bias.

Aside from the restaurant, the remainder of the space is available for rent. You can book it for various events, including weddings! Naturally, I had to check out those rooms and I found them to be enchanting. On the ground floor, you’ll find a cute store with a bit of everything on sale. From slow fashion, and sustainable jewelry, to plants, home accessories, and new and vintage books. On the whole, this cafe and restaurant is one I would definitely recommend if you’re visiting Dordrecht!

In addition to that, I wholeheartedly recommend the Patisserie van der Sterre. Founded in 1891, this bakery has every possible thing you might need. I only grabbed a few pastries to go but you can also sit down and eat here. Not only amazing homemade pastries but also a seasonal lunch. Equally so, Bakkerij Samen delighted me with their array of products. I tried a handful of Dutch pastries and loved all of them!

beautiful bookstore in dordrecht

If you have a few extra days in Dordrecht, you can explore its surroundings. Those include the Biesbosch National Park and the famous Kinderdijk windmills. Or simply savor in the absence of crowds while enjoying the canals and gingerbread houses. Either way, you should visit this underrated Dutch city!

Because I was busy discovering Art Nouveau buildings in the residential area of Dordrecht, I ended up seeing much more than your average visit. This also meant that I discovered hidden parks with adorable deer. Even more surprising was seeing a house with a thatched roof in the Netherlands!

thatched roof house in dordrecht

All things considered, I ended up loving Dordrecht even more than I expected to. Not only because of the magnificent House van Gijn but also because of its cute streets and delightful architecture. During the course of one day, you can see everything and fully experience this city. I was glad to have left Rotterdam for the day and focused on what turned out to be the perfect day trip. So if you’re wondering where to go in Holland, give Dordrecht a chance and let it charm you away!

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