The medium-sized town of Delft in the province of South Holland (Dutch: Zuid-Holland) is a great choice for a (short) trip to the Netherlands. Here is all you need to know if you’re planning on visiting the charming town that has served as the main setting of the period drama Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003)…
1. A brief introduction to Delft:
The picturesque town of Delft still features a range of – lovingly restored – historic (canal) houses. It is also not as pricey as the Dutch capital city Amsterdam or nearby The Hague. Thus, Delft makes for an ideal destination for history buffs, art fans and budget travellers alike.
Delft is just a 30 minute tram ride or a 5 minute train ride away from The Hague – the political heart of the Netherlands as well as the seat of the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court. Cities like Rotterdam, Dordrecht, Gouda and even Amsterdam are also quickly reached by train.
Thus, it makes sense for budget-conscious travellers to book accommodation in Delft and then go to other Dutch cities on day trips.
For more info on how to get around in the Netherlands, check out my Netherlands Travel Guide for Film Fans.
2. Spotlight on Delft: Famous Films that have been set or shot here
The most famous film associated with Delft is certainly the period drama Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003). Even though it has mostly been shot elsewhere (namely Belgium, Luxembourg and Amsterdam), the city of Delft is the main and real-life setting of the story about the Delft painter Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) and his most famous portrait painting.
Read more about how you can trace the film’s settings and the footsteps of Johannes Vermeer in my post 7 Fun Ways to Trace the Settings of “Girl with a Pearl Earring” in Delft, the Netherlands.
3. How to get around in Delft
Delft’s historic city centre is small and compact and can thus be easily explored by foot.
You could also get a day card for 6,50 € from Delft’s tourism information point VVV Delft (Kerkstraat 3). With this card, you will have unlimited 24h use of all busses and trams in Delft as well as nearby The Hague.
Or do as the locals and rent a bicycle!
4. Things to Do in Delft
Visit the Churches – The so-called New Church and Old Church both feature exhibitions about their important history
Get the Vermeer Combiticket – the best choice if you’re a budget-conscious fan of the painter, the film or both
Go on a (Historic) Walking Tour – Happy Day Tours Delft offers several different themed walking tours
Go on a Canal Boat Tour – a fun and relaxing way to see the city and so quintessentially Dutch!
Go on a Food Tour – Get to know the Dutch town of Delft through its varied cuisine
5. If you get hungry in Delft…
… go to the Beestenmarkt – a typically Dutch market square with several restaurants and bars. On my first night in Delft, I had dinner (and a delicious dessert) at the “De Beerenhof” – a bear-themed restaurant located right on the square (Beestenmarkt 26).
Furthermore, the Italian restaurant “La Fontanella” (Verwersdijk 30) offers a 10 Euro meal deal for a main course (choose between several pizzas and pastas) and a drink for early diners on weekdays.
Want some history to go with your lunch or dinner? Just join one of several Food Tours offered by Happy Day Tours Delft. If you happen to be in town on a Friday night and you like beer or wine, check out the High Wine or High Beer Food Tour.
6. If you need a place to stay in Delft…
You could stay at the Johannes Vermeer Hotel. But if your budget doesn’t stretch that far (mine didn’t either), I would recommend the Hotel Coen. The rooms are small and simple, but the hotel is reasonably clean and offers a good buffet breakfast for 10 € extra.
Location is king here as Hotel Coen is located right in front of Delft’s main train station and the tram stop to The Hague. It’s also pretty close to the historic centre of town. Walking there will only take you about 10 minutes.
Unless otherwise credited, all photos by © Sonja Irani | filmfantravel.com
Disclosure: In order to write my review, I received a complimentary Vermeer Combiticket by VVV Delft, complimentary museum entry by the Mauritshuis Museum as well as a complimentary ticket for the Delft City Tour by Happy Days Tours Delft. The views expressed in this blog post, however, are entirely my own and thus reflect my personal, unbiased experience.