Dordrecht, delta city with a rich history
Have you always wanted to know what it is like to live with the water? You can experience it in the oldest city of Holland and the delta: Dordrecht. A place where the big rivers meet and where you will be immersed in old stories about impoldering and floods, about shipbuilders and merchants, and flourishing trade, disaster and reconstruction. With over 1600 monuments, several historic harbors, and multiple authentic hofjes (courtyards) , the city has much more to offer than its history alone. Are you eager to explore the city? Plan your visit and expect to be amazed!
First Dutch city with city rights
Dordrecht was founded around 1120 as a peat extraction settlement in a vast peat bog, in a location where wide sea currents transition into inland waterways. In the past, this is where seamen had to shift their cargo from seafaring ships to inland shipping vessels. The young settlement was, among other things, a toll collection center, making it vital for William I, Count of Holland. It was one of the reasons for granting the settlement city rights in 1220, the first city in Holland.
A little different
If you love adventure and would like to discover Dordrecht from the water, join a sup tour! It’s a unique experience where you will explore the inner city via the harbors on a surfboard. You will see a variety of highlights and pass underneath bridges on hands and knees. A unique experience suited for young and old. Want to know more about this sup tour or book the experience? Go to Board Academy.
You can also discover the city center on an electric boat, which takes you to historic buildings and underneath dark bridges in perfect silence.
Naturally you can also explore Dordrecht on foot. Rondje Dordt is a city walk with signage through the beautiful historic center! You will pass centuries-old inner harbors and monuments like the Grote Kerk (Great Church) and Het Hof. The Groothoofd is also on the itinerary, a beautiful spot by the water to relax and enjoy a drink and a bite by the water.
You can download the Dordtse rondje for free in the izi.TRAVEL app. You can easily plan your visit via VVV.
Lots of boats on the waters near Groothoofd
When you walk through the Groothoofdspoort city gate from the inner city, you will enjoy the stunning view of the three-river point where the Meuse, Noord and Beneden Merwede rivers join. With around 150,000 ships passing this point every year, this is the busiest river junction in Europe.
In the past, it was also one of the most important mooring places for ships. Counts, kings and other dignitaries landed in this extraordinary location when visiting the city. Even Napoleon once set foot on land here, so you can literally walk in the footsteps of historic heroes.
Feel at home at Villa Augustus
Extend your visit with an overnight stay nearby.
In addition to spending the night in the Garden or Lantern Room, you can also order dinner at Villa Augustus, a former water tower in the center of Dordrecht. The restaurant serves seasonal dishes prepared with organic produce.
Nature within cycling distance
If you are in Dordrecht, nature is within easy reach. It is a short bicycle ride from the city to De Biesbosch National Park, where you can rent a canoe or boat at Biesboschcentrum Dordrecht to experience the unique freshwater tides. Discover where beavers and other wild creatures live and see a range of stunning bird habitats. The bird population is as dynamic as the landscape itself, which includes fantastic willow floodplain forests and creeks.
You can rent bicycles in different places in the city, such as Central Station and VVV Dordrecht.
If you are not much of a cyclist, take the water bus from Merwedekade. It will take you out of the city in just 12 minutes. If you board the water bus on the Hooikade, it will take about 30 minutes more.
Worldly art and culture around the corner
If you prefer to explore art and culture instead of fresh forest air? Take the water bus to Rotterdam. From the Merwekade stop in Dordrecht, it is just an hour to ‘Manhattan by the Meuse’, where you will admire the modern architecture and explore world-class museums. You can also get your culture fix at De Molens van Kinderdijk, a world heritage site. It is just 30 minutes by bicycle away.