The Netherlands is one of the biggest dairy producing and importing nations globally. Even if you didn’t know, I am sure you have heard of Gouda. (Yes, that melting cheese you just had in your sandwich!)

For that, cheese-loving travelers visit Gouda to pay their homage to the birthplace of Gouda cheese and its famed cheese market.

However, the small cheese town between Rotterdam and Utrecht is not just about cheese. From indulging in Dutch stroopwafels to visiting historical landmarks, there are more things to do in Gouda beyond the cheese market.

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5 Unmissable Things to Do in Gouda beyond Cheese Market | #Gouda #DutchCheeseMarket #theNetherlandsTravel #TravelEurope

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Utrecht Day Trip Series

This article is part of the Utrecht Day Trip series. Be on the lookout for the next ones.

  • Part 1. De Haar Castle: the Largest Castle in the Netherlands
  • Part 2. Woerden the “real” Farmer’s Cheese Market
  • Part 3. Gouda: 5 Things to Do beyond the Historic Cheese Market
  • Part 4. Teahouse Rhijnauwen for Dutch Pancakes in the countryside

How to Get to Gouda

The Netherlands is a great country to travel by train. I highly recommend downloading the NS app [iOSGooglePlay]. You can purchase tickets and get disruption notifications, which happens more often than you expect. By getting a digital pass through the app, you can also save on additional charges for paper tickets (€1 per ticket).

Gouda from Utrecht 

By Train: Take an intercity train from Utrecht Centraal Station to Gouda Station (€7.10). About 20 min via train.

Gouda from Rotterdam 

By Train: Take an intercity train from Rotterdam Centraal Station to Gouda station (€5.60). About 20 minutes via train. ​

Gouda from Woerden

By Train: Take a Sprinter train from Woerden Centraal Station to Gouda Station (€4.10). About 12 minutes via train.

Gouda from Amsterdam

By Train: First, take an intercity train from Amsterdam Centraal Station to Utrecht Centraal Station. Then, transfer to another intercity train to Gouda Station. The journey takes about an hour (€12.70).

By Tour: Take a cheese day trip from Amsterdam. This tour covers the #2-5 Gouda attractions I suggested below.  

>> Gouda is a cozy little town suitable for walking. This 2-hour walking tour gives excellent instruction to the city’s history and culture. But if you are inclined to do so, you may consider exploring the town on a kick scooter.

5 Unmissable Things to Do in Gouda

5 Unmissable Things to Do in Gouda: 1. Gouda Cheese Market | #Gouda #DutchCheeseMarket #theNetherlandsTravel #TravelEurope

#1. Gouda Cheese Market

Gouda Historic Cheese Market dates back from 1198. For centuries, farmers in the surrounding areas brought their cheese wheels by horse and carriage into Gouda’s Markt Square. Here, these cheeses were weighed and sold in the traditional Dutch manner.

Nowadays, real deals are made somewhere else in more modern ways. However, the city of Gouda has kept the Dutch tradition of cheese trades in Markt Square.

Every Thursday from April through August, travelers can see how Gouda cheese used to be traded, weighed and stored through the re-enactments by volunteers in traditional costume.

5 Unmissable Things to Do in Gouda: 1. Gouda Cheese Market | #Gouda #DutchCheeseMarket #theNetherlandsTravel #TravelEurope

At Markt Square, you also can shop for cheese, bread, vegetables, fruits and other products. We purchased 500g of young Gouda (aged 6 weeks) and aged Gouda for €12. It still tasted good at home after being vacuum sealed and tossed in our luggage!

Admission: Free

Location: Markt square [Open Google Map]

Hours: Thursdays from April through August, 10 am – 12:30 pm

If you are interested in seeing the real deal – where farmers and merchants traditionally make deals, head over to Woerden (READ: Woerden Cheese Market>>).

5 Unmissable Things to Do in Gouda beyond Cheese Market | 2. Stroopwafels | #Gouda #DutchCheeseMarket #theNetherlandsTravel #TravelEurope

#2. Stroopwafels in Gouda

A stroopwafel (syrup waffle), or Siroopwafel, is a thin disc-like waffle cookie with caramel filling. The Dutch way of enjoying it is to place it over a hot coffee or tea to melt the caramel.

This most iconic Dutch treat is originated from Gouda. So when in Gouda, you can’t miss treating yourself with the yummy Dutch cookie.

I was not super interested in learning about stroopwafels; instead, I went straight to taste one at Siroopwafels & Banketbakkerij Teamroom [Open Google Map]. This teahouse has tons of original and creative stroopwafel desserts!

If you are inclined to learn more about how stroopwafels are made, you may visit Stroopwafel Factory. The admission comes with a complimentary stroopwafel.

Admission: €9.95 [Book your ticket here] Free up to age 3.

Location: [Open Google Map]

Hours: 10 am – 6 pm (Closed on Sunday)

5 Unmissable Things to Do in Gouda beyond Cheese Market | 3. Gouda Townhall (Goudse Stadhuis) | #Gouda #DutchCheeseMarket #theNetherlandsTravel #TravelEurope

#3. Gouda Town Hall (Goudse Stadhuis)

In the Markt, you cannot miss Gouda Town Hall (Goudse Stadhuis), decorated with red window coverings. Besides functioning as a town hall, it is also an event venue. (That means it is sometimes closed to the public.)

5 Unmissable Things to Do in Gouda beyond Cheese Market | 3. Gouda Townhall (Goudse Stadhuis) | #Gouda #DutchCheeseMarket #theNetherlandsTravel #TravelEurope

While this 15th-century Gothic building is pretty from the outside, I recommend peeking at the inside if you can. And make sure to pick up a handout in English to learn about each room (no audio guide provided).

5 Unmissable Things to Do in Gouda beyond Cheese Market | 3. Gouda Townhall (Goudse Stadhuis) | #Gouda #DutchCheeseMarket #theNetherlandsTravel #TravelEurope

The wedding hall features 16 stained glass windows made by Henri Baart. The story is about love based on the Corinthians, chapter 13, verses 4-8. Well-fitting for the occasion, I guess!

5 Unmissable Things to Do in Gouda beyond Cheese Market | 3. Gouda Townhall (Goudse Stadhuis) | #Gouda #DutchCheeseMarket #theNetherlandsTravel #TravelEurope

The second-floor room used to host town council meetings until it was moved to the attic in 1952.

Admission: €3.50 [Book your ticket here] Free under age 4

Location: [Open Google Map]

Hours: 10 am – 4 pm (Closed on Monday & Friday)

5 Unmissable Things to Do in Gouda: Gouda Cheese Museum (De Goudse Waag) | #Gouda #DutchCheeseMarket #theNetherlandsTravel #TravelEurope

#4. Gouda Cheese Museum (De Goudse Waag)

Goudse Waag is a 17th-century cheese weighing house in Markt Square. Before the cheese products were sold at the market, farmers brought their cheese wheels to be weighed at the Waag. All goods more than 10 pounds were taxed.

This traditional weighing house is now converted to a cheese museum, where you can learn about the Dutch cheese-making process and explore the history of the Gouda cheese market.

The first floor is a museum shop where you can find the Waag, real cheese, cheese knives and other Dutch souvenirs to take home.

Admission: €6.50 [Book your ticket here] | €6 for students or seniors (65+) | €8.50 Combo ticket with Stadhuis

Location: [Open Google Map]

Hours: March 21 – Oct. 10 am – 5 pm | Nov. – March 20 10 am – 4 pm

5 Unmissable Things to Do in Gouda beyond Cheese Market | 5. Saint-John Church (Sint-Janskerk) | #Gouda #DutchCheeseMarket #theNetherlandsTravel #TravelEurope

#5. Saint-John Church (Sint-Janskerk)

Sint-Janskerk (Saint-John Church) is an iconic Gothic cathedral majestically standing in the city center. It is the longest church in the Netherlands.

Visitors mainly come here to see the stunning 72 stained glass windows. But the pipe organ and other decors also will make you gasp.

Admission: €9 with audio guide [Book your ticket here] or free with Museumkaart

Location: [Open Google Map]

Hours: 10 am – 4 pm (Closed on Sunday)

Traveling around the Netherlands? Consider buying a city pass to save money and time. Here is a thorough comparison of 5 most popular Dutch tourist saving cards >>  

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5 Unmissable Things to Do in Gouda beyond Cheese Market | #Gouda #DutchCheeseMarket #theNetherlandsTravel #TravelEurope

Where to Stay in Gouda

​I stayed in Utrecht for a few days to travel around the nearby towns. No doubt, Gouda is an excellent day trip location from Utrecht. But if you choose to stay overnight in Gouda, here are a few of my recommendations.

Relais & Châteaux Weeshuis Gouda [Book here] is a high-end hotel near Museum Gouda in the city center. While the exterior may resemble the 15th-century Gouda Town Hall building, the facilities inside are pretty modern. The hotel has a restaurant, bar, lounge, garden and terrace.

Apartment 1586 Gouda [Book here] is a new apartment with views of the canals and Sint Janskerk. This shabby chic one-bedroom apartment is bright and cozy.

Apple Tree Cottage [Book here] is a historic house along the canal that has been renovated to comfortably accommodate guests. If you want to experience a countryside cottage in the city center, this cute little garden house is an excellent choice.

Best Western Plus City Hotel Gouda [Book here] is a simple yet comfortable hotel. It is only a 10-minute walk away from Gouda train station.

Where to Go Next in the Netherlands

>> Amsterdam Itinerary for the First-time Visitors: Explore the charming, liberal Dutch capital in just 4 days

>> 5 Best Amsterdam Museums

>> Rotterdam: A hip, modern city with funky architecture

>> Delft: Imbibe in artisan Delftware and Vermeer’s masterpieces like The Girl with a Pearl Earring

>> De Haar Castle: The largest castle in the Netherlands with rich history, lavish decor and well-groomed gardens

>> Utrecht: A small laidback college town in South Holland with a 2,000-year history

Bon Voyage!
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