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Are you searching for the perfect city to visit in the southwest of the Netherlands? Middelburg would be the perfect city if you love picturesque-looking places in an amazing place. I will make it a lot easier for you to find your way around the city in this day guide to Middelburg!
Middelburg is a picturesque city in a province called Zeeland in the Netherlands. It’s known for its cosy cafes, cute streets and lovely houses along the waterside. Middelburg is perfect for city lovers and water lovers, with a great escape to smaller picturesque towns next to this city in Zeeland. You’ll be able to spend a fun day in Middelburg with this guide!
As a small side note, many tourists search for “Middleburg” while in fact it is “Middelburg”. Just a little heads-up! The pronunciation is pretty much the same though.
A DAY GUIDE TO MIDDELBURG IN THE NETHERLANDS
How To Travel To Middelburg
Middelburg is located on the lowest of the three islands in Zeeland. This lowest island used to be called Walcheren and Middelburg is the main town of this island. If you travel from Amsterdam, there are two options to visit Middelburg.
How To Drive To Middelburg
The entire car journey – outside of rush hour – will take a little over 2 hours. It is around 171 km from Amsterdam to Middelburg. You will drive down the A4 along The Hague, along Rotterdam and eventually drive over the other two islands to reach Middelburg. It is a very nice and scenic drive where you’ll cross multiple different landscapes. Even though the Netherlands is completely flat, aside from the dunes, it’s nice to see the transition from city – to the country side – to the city – to the country side and eventually to the sea side.
You will cross Rotterdam which is on the list of my 5 Dutch cities to visit besides Amsterdam blogpost! Definitely consider this city for your future trip.
Where to park?
Middelburg has a small centre but many parking garages for you to choose from. Whenever you drive in Middelburg, you’ll see signs that say “P route”. This is the parking route and eventually you’ll see multiple signs with names and a green light that says “vrij” meaning there’s space to park or you’ll see a red signs that says “vol” which means there aren’t any parking spots available.
I’d say most of them are always free but it is always busier on the weekends. Something to keep in mind, just in case! At the map above, you see all the red dots marking the parking garages. I recently parked in the parking garage called “Parkeergarage Geere” and that was absolutely fine!
How to get here by using public transportation
The Netherlands has a really good infrastructure so it’s easy to get to Middelburg by train. It is a long journey from Amsterdam but you can just sit back and enjoy the view. The biggest plus is that you only have to take one train. There’s one from Amsterdam to Vlissingen and this one will stop in Middelburg. If you’re on – you’re on!
The entire train journey is around 3 hours. There are other options if you want to shorten your journey. You can take the Intercity Direct from Amsterdam to Schiphol Airport and take the Intercity to Vlissingen from the airport. This will save you about 15 minutes. I always love to use the app called Citymapper to plan out my train journeys abroad so I’m sure you can use this one in the Netherlands too.
Things to do in Middelburg
Middelburg has an extensive history that’s interesting to read about if you’d like. If you’re not so much into the history stuff, I would suggest to walk around and just see where you will end up. The centre has a nice shopping street with a lot of (local) stores and you will pass a few nice buildings as well! I’m personally not usually a fan of shopping when I’m abroad but this street does have a lot of cool and small local stores to visit.
Enjoy the architectural buildings
I passed a few amazing buildings during my day here like the town hall, the church and other more local buildings such as the Rotary Club building. Middelburg does display the Netherlands in an authentic way and it is in a way comparable to Amsterdam with the canals and the old buildings!
This country house is nowadays located in the centre of Middelburg but it just to lay outside of the centre. During all those years, Middelburg became busier and they built a lot more houses. Huize Toorenvliedt was one of the main headquarters for the Germans during World War II. It got damaged during and after the war but they managed to save it and it’s now a gorgeous building to admire.
Kasteel Ter Hooge
The Netherlands isn’t very well known for it, not like Belgium or Germany, but we do have castles! Not a lot, but definitely a few to check out. Like this one called Kasteel Ter Hooge. “Kasteel” means “castle” in Dutch. The castle was originally built in the 13th century but had to be rebuild in the 18th century.
You cannot visit this castle because people actually live here. However, you can take one of the walking tours that will take you along the building and the ponds. It is a small bike ride and an about 10-15 minute walk from the park called “Toorenvliedt”. Google Maps would be your friend in this case!
The Town Hall
The Town Hall is located in the centre of Middelburg on a big open space full with restaurants and cafes. If you walk on the shopping street, just continue going to walk into the centre, away from the canals. You’ll notice it right away because it is one of the biggest buildings in the area.
Go on a boat tour
Like I said, canals. If you want, you can go on a little boat tour to enjoy the water in and around Middelburg and explore it from a different angle. Definitely suggest to do this during the summer or spring when the weather is pretty warm and sunny. Personally, I think Middelburg is perfect to walk around instead of doing a boat tour but it can be fun if you want to see outside of the centre without having to walk!
Enjoy all the streets
Middelburg is a picturesque town with lots of small streets and courtyards. This is one of the many reasons why walking around is so perfect here. Every street shows you something different and has a special feeling to it. Many cafes and shops are quite hidden in these streets. If you want to find a good hidden gems – walk through these streets and I can almost guarantee you will find one!
Get into the history of Middelburg
Sadly, Middelburg got hit hard during World War II and bombings almost destroyed the entire city. It is remarkable that they managed to rebuild the city and still hold on to those historical buildings that did survive the bombings like the town hall.
The city has a lot of monuments reminding visitors, locals and tourists of the war. There’s a big monument called “Monument Middelburg de explosie” and “explosive” is Dutch for “explosion” which in this case means the bombings. This particular monument reminds people of the bombing on May 17th 1940. This monument has fourteen façades in the city. Find them on these streets: Onder den Toren, Walplein, Koorkerkhof, Balans, Plein 1940, Lange Delft, Groenmarkt, Stadhuisstraat, Bachtensteene, Zusterstraat, Dwarskaai, Hagepreekgang, Sint-Pieterstraat and Rotterdamsekaai.
It’s even possible to have a walking tour through the city if you want to visit all of the façades.
Another great way to learn about the history is by visiting this museum. This museum holds treasures and tells the incredible past of the city and takes you through all the different decades and century’s. The museum has exhibitions from the 16th century, traditional Zeeuws costumes and art pieces from the 12th century.
Parks in Middelburg
If you are visiting this town in spring and (late) summer, a park could be the perfect spot to wind down for a moment. Buy some groceries in the centre and have a picnic in the park. Enjoy the greenery and silence, or go on a little hunt to find the bunkers from World War II. They’re still everywhere in the city.
One of the biggest parks in the city and one with lots of bunkers. One of the bunkers is open for public and has turned into a museum. You need to email them for a tour to get in though, so if you want to – email them 2 weeks before and schedule a meeting. It’s closed until November 2020. The park is obviously open and ready for you to enjoy!
A perfect park to relax the afternoon. It’s just a park like all other parks, it’s a great one to cycle through if you have bike. Perfect to sit down if you’re legs are hurting from all the walking and discovering!
Where to eat and drink
Drink coffee and eat cake at Honeypie
Honeypie is a local favorite for coffee and brunch. The café is located along a canal, the interior is very colorful and the coffee and cakes are always served in a gorgeous vintage crockery. Enjoy a nice coffee here at the end of the day or start your day here with a nice book while eating cake!
Have lunch at Jells Lunch Café
Jells Lunch Café is located right next to the big square where the town hall is. This place has a big courtyard as a café garden which is perfect for the warmer days and it is very cosy. The inside is nice as well, cosy too and it feels very homey. They have a lot of lunch options, there’s honestly something for everyone.
Dinner at Kloveniersdoelen
This is such a pretty building right next to the canals. It is in front of you when you walk the shopping street from the town hall straight ahead to the canals. Simply just walk at the end of this street and it’s right in front of you. The large garden terrace is opened on nice and warm days. This is a spot for coffee, lunch and drinks as well. There’s a cinema in this building by the way.
I hope you enjoyed this day guide to Middelburg! Let me know if you would like to see a full on guide with itineraries for multiple days. Are you looking for other inside guides within the Netherlands? Read my Insiders Guide To Rotterdam to know what to do in Rotterdam. When I started this blogpost, I was planning on combining it with a small trip to another village but I’m going to do a separate blogpost about it.
Would you like to visit Middelburg?