The town of Gouda may be known for its delicious cheese, but it has a lot more going for it, which makes Gouda the perfect spot for a day trip*.
There’s charm around every corner and delicious sweet and savory scents wafting through the air.
*We visited Gouda back in August 2020. I’ve been sitting on this post since lockdowns keep getting extended. But it’s time for it to see the light of day. Please check before visiting any of these places for current regulations and hours.
A Gouda Day Trip with Kids
We loved taking out kids with us on this day trip to Gouda.
There were plenty of things for all of us to enjoy, and like most places we visit, we easily could’ve stayed more than a day.
WHAT TO DO
The town of Gouda is cute, and definitely walkable.
Gouda is surrounded by canals, h,as a picturesque city center, and oozes fun.
The Gouda Cheese Experience
Say, “cheese,” at this The Gouda Cheese Experience. This fun, interactive tour, and discover what makes Gouda cheese so darn….good-ah. (Sorry, that was a little cheesy, wasn’t it?!)
Seriously though, we loved this tour and I wouldn’t mind going through it again sometime.
Plan about an hour and a half for the experience, plus some time to get your cheese at their shop, and maybe a beer to wash it all down.
Syrup Waffle Factory Tour
Now that you’ve had something savory, it’s time to head over to the Syrup Waffle Factory for a little something sweet.
Get your sweet tooth ready for this tour! You’ll get a fun mouthful on how these syrup waffles originated, plus tasty bites of the actual cookie itself.
Tasty tip: don’t forget to pick up more syrup waffles than you think you’ll need. They make excellent gifts. (Also, the syrup waffle liquor is to die for in coffee…)
Sint Janskerk, a stunning Gothic cathedral, was built during the 15th and 16th centuries, and is the longest church in the Netherlands.
Another cool fact is that it’s dedicated to John the Baptist, who just so happens to be the patron saint of Gouda!
But the really cool part about this church is the stained glass.
The glass, all 72 large windows, was created and installed in the 16th century, survived wars and reformations.
It depicts scenes from St John the Baptist’s life, other famous biblical scenes (I loved the Last Supper scene) and important events in Dutch history.
Pro tip: if you want to do the three things mentioned above and save money, look into the “museum karrt,” which can be purchased at any of those locations.
The Gouda Cheese Market
Typically, every Thursday you can enjoy a cheese market in the Markt Square. Unfortunately they are cancelled until further notice. I’ll update this when they’re occurring again.
The Dino Experience Park
This place is on our list for next time! The park is just on the outskirts of Gouda, and once inside you’ll come face to face with more than 70 dinosaurs!
Largest LEGO Store in the Netherlands
Need a shopping break? Hit up the largest LEGO store in the Netherlands right here in Gouda!
A Canal Tour
I mentioned above that Gouda is surrounded by canals. What better way to see the city than on a canal tour?!
WHERE TO EAT
I looked online before we left for good places to eat in Gouda, and thankfully I didn’t see any horrible reviews; everything looked great.
If you don’t pick a place before visiting, no worries.
There are seriously tons of places in the markt, and they all had outdoor dining—our particular choice when traveling with kids since they can be louder outside.
We hunkered down for lunch at Lunchcafe Juuls, and not only was the view fabulous, but I loved that their website says they employee those who have a disability.
The food was great—we got open-faced sandwiches and enjoyed every bite, especially after washing it down with a crisp, cold bee.
*As of publishing this, their website mentioned that they are unfortunately closed because of Covid.
Need a pick-me-up? Grab a drink from Prego!.
I could’ve gone for something classic, but I went for a Stroopwaffel Frapp…because, when in Gouda, right?!
The girls both downed some homemade lemonade, and we made some friendly small talk with the employees. They were super friendly, and I wished we could’ve hung out there longer.
Before we left Gouda we also grabbed some meats, cheeses, bread, olives, fruit, and other charcuterie essentials to make dinner at home.
There’s a Coop right next to where we parked (see below), so I grabbed dinner while my husband paid and loaded the kids up in the car.
However, if we were staying a smidgen closer or in Gouda, we would’ve had a picnic along a canal. Everywhere we looked was simply gorgeous.
HOW TO GET THERE
Getting to Gouda from…
Gouda is in the Dutch province of South Holland, making it great for a day trip or a longer stay.
Geilenkirchen NATO Air Base/JFC Brunssum: about 2 hours away
Spangdahlem Air Base: a little less than 4 hours away
Amsterdam: about on hour (by train or by car)
Rotterdam: about 20 minutes by train; 30 minutes by car
The Hague: about 30 minutes by train; 40 minutes by car
Where to Park
It was essential to park close to everything since we were only in Gouda for a few hours. We wanted to maximize our time there.
We parked at the Q-Park New Market, and had the pick of the litter for a spot since we got there early enough.
WHERE TO STAY
Since this was part of a somewhat bigger trip for us, we found a spot central spot in Oosterhout, Netherlands. From there, we just drove to our destinations.
It was only an hour drive from our AirBnB to Gouda, and it made for a great hub, especially if you want to also visit Rotterdam and The Hague, but don’t want to pay the higher prices to stay in those towns.
This place was excellent for a family of five. The kids looooooved their room (there were bunk beds and tons of toys), a garden in the back with a little pond and a place to play.
The kitchen had all the necessities we needed, and the host even left us some goodies—stroopwafels, wine, and other treats!
If you’re looking to stay more central to Gouda, see what’s available during your trip here:
Have you been on a day trip to Gouda?
I’d love to hear about your favorite spots in Gouda, so if you’ve been there, tell me all about it!