The odds are that you’ve probably heard of Gouda, even if only in reference to its famous cheese. Gouda is not only a real town in South Holland but one that’s certainly worth adding to your Netherlands travel itinerary.
Gouda, roughly pronounced how-dah, is located about an hour southwest of Amsterdam by train or about a half-hour train ride from The Hague or Rotterdam. This makes it easy to visit Gouda on a day trip or use it as a home base to explore the many other major cities nearby.
First founded along the River Gouwe by the Van der Goude family, Gouda scored its official city charter from Count Floris in 1272. It’s since become a charming city of around 70,000 citizens, offering everything from gorgeous historical landmarks and museums to seriously amazing cheese.
If you think Alkmaar is cheesy, you’re in for a shock. I’m not going to sugarcoat it; Gouda goes hard for this hard cheese, and you’ll have to make peace with that.
|Most significant landmark||Stadhuis Gouda (City Hall)|
|Best museum||Museum Gouda|
|Best free activity||The Gouda Cheese Market|
|Best food||Gouda Syrup Waffle Factory and the CHEESE|
|Best activity for kids||Open-Air Museum Archeon|
|Best activity for adults||The Gouda Cheese Experience|
|Best place to stay||Relais & Châteaux Weeshuis Gouda|
Best & Fun Things To Do In Gouda
1. Visit the Gouda Cheese Market in Markt Square
In the city center of Gouda, you’ll find Markt Square, a great place to start if you plan to visit Gouda for the first time. The city’s historic center is where you’ll find some of its most incredible landmarks, like St. John’s Church, Stadhuis, and the Goudse Hout – but more on those later.
If you’re visiting Gouda between April and August, head down to Markt Square on Thursday morning between 10:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. That’s when the square transforms into a traditional cheese market, complete with cheese-toting horse-drawn wagons and appearances by the Gouda cheese girls.
Aside from the massive flood of cheese, the cheese market also features plenty of street vendors who create and sell everything from traditional clogs to candles. The Gouda cheese market is a chance unlike any other to experience the history of Gouda live and in action.
Consider booking a room at the Relais & Châteaux Weeshuis Gouda, a gorgeous hotel in a historic building in the city center. With a blend of…