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One of the sunny days this spring I was in the mood for a day-trip so I opened the map to see where should I go. I like spontaneous trips, and I like them even more when I discover places I didn’t see before. But how could I have not visited Dordrecht before? I thought I crossed all the cities and villages from my “very pretty places in the Netherlands” list! Somehow, this city escaped my radar until now. It’s not that people didn’t talk about it on their blogs, because they did. Maybe I was too busy visiting the well-known places, but I know better now: in the past two years I’ve discovered a few charming villages and cities that are veritable hidden gems.

As the tourism in Amsterdam is reaching a boiling point, maybe it’s worth talking more about the hidden gems, perhaps they could do well with a few extra tourists.

Or should we keep them hidden? Well, my blog is not a big tourism agency and I think I am safe presenting these places to my audience. 

Coming back to Dordrecht. It’s located close to Rotterdam and right next to the national park De Biesbosch (another beautiful place worth seeing). Also known as Dordt, this is the oldest official city in the Netherlands. In the past, Dordrecht used to be an important trading power, given the perfect location at the confluence of a few rivers. It also held an important position in the country’s defence, up to the WW2 (you can learn about this at the Museum 1940-1945).

Nowadays, Dordrecht is a charming, relaxed place, perfect for a short trip. The historic city centre is beautiful, with narrow streets and canals — as most Dutch cities, you would say; but after visiting many of them, you’ll see that each has its particularities. Here, the houses are right next to the canal’s water, with no borders, like in Venice. It’s a pretty sight.

Canals in Dordrecht

I’ve spent quite some time in the area around the Grote Kerk (or The Church of Our Lady). The church bells sang for about one hour, sea birds were flying around the church like in a dance, the trees were casting shadows on the pavement, people were passing by in no hurry. I fell in love with the city right there and then. 

Still, my favourite part of Dordrecht was the harbour area, with the waterfront and the marina. The old houses, some from 1660, the quiet atmosphere, the gezelligheid of the little outdoor cafés, they all charmed me. There are a few amazing bridges and monuments, like the former city gate, Groothoofdspoort, and, if you are in the mood for shopping, a few interesting shops are waiting for you. I liked very much Bluebirds in the Backyard, a cosy shop and restaurant.

I didn’t have time to see the six museums in the city, and I’ve only seen the Grote Kerk  from outside. But it’s OK, I’ll come back for sure to this lovely place!

1 Comment

  1. It’s been a while since I’ve been to Dordrecht but I agree that it is a great city. My wife and I went on one of the canal tours which was a great way to see the place.


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