When I announced that I was going to Bergen op Zoom, I was looked at strangely. Bergen op Zoom is known as a direction when you drive to the Netherlands, not as a destination that you punch into your GPS for a touristic city trip. What follows was a big surprise to us.
Bergen op Zoom is a thirty minute drive from Antwerp-North. This means you reach Bergen op Zoom faster than Antwerp-South. Travel time is unseen for someone that lives in Antwerp looking for a quick city trip!
5. The Grebbe – taking a look under Bergen op Zoom
The Grebbe is the old city sewer that is still intact for the residents of Bergen op Zoom. No, we didn’t stand with our rubber boots plodding in human droppings, but we did enter the sewer. Nowadays there is a large pipeline that drains all the nasty stuff in the middle of the ditch that used to be outdoors.
It’s a thirty minute walk and the guide gave us some interesting facts about Bergen op Zoom throughout the hike. He showed us how some drains still pass through the wall. Luckily they are closed
Prepare yourself for a good dose of history told by one of the enthusiastic locals. Coffee and biscuit are included!
4. The Markiezenhof – the pearl of Bergen op Zoom
A national monument of the Netherlands and the oldest of the city palaces in the Netherlands, the Markiezenhof is pretty unique in The Netherlands. The location is used for all kinds of exhibitions. Perhaps the best known feature of the Markiezenhof is its use as a wedding location. If you’re interested, you’ll have to be quick. There are waiting times that go beyond a year!
If you take a walk through the beautiful garden, it immediately becomes clear why so many wedding photos are taken here. You can also enjoy a coffee in the cafeteria or a small snack while enjoying the nice view of the garden.
3. The Beach – yes, even in Bergen op Zoom!
As if culture, nature and shopping aren’t enough, Bergen op Zoom has yet another surprise in store to convince you to visit. They even have a beach! The beach is a ten minute bike ride from the old historic centre and makes the city very dynamic.
So don’t forget your bikini and swimming trunks (like we did) and enjoy your last hours of your citytrip in the sun at a beach bar or at Emma’s ice cream parlor where you can enjoy a delicious and affordable lunch.
The mass tourism of the Belgian coast is nothing for you? Well, jump into your car and within half an hour you’re getting a tan in Bergen op Zoom (yes, Bergen op Zoom, it still sounds strange to me).
2. Fort De Roovere – experience nature in Bergen op Zoom
One of the nature reserves of Noord-Brabant. You cycle out of town in about five minutes and you’re amongst the trees. After a pleasant bike ride of fifteen minutes, you arrive in Fort Ter Roovere.
What do you do there?
You climb a tower! At the top you may be surprised how green this region is. So green even I’m curious what kind of nature reserves there are in the Brabant area! I’ve already put it on my to-do list when we come back here. After climbing the tower you have a five minute walk to the bridge of Moses
The bridge of Moses! Crazy Dutch people, instead of letting the bridge dangle above the canal they built a bridge in the canal. They fill up the bridge with a bit of water. Now it seems like you walk on water from above. Nice idea and of course an ideal Instagram moment.
So if you prefer nature, you can nest in the old town and cycle to the nature reserves around Bergen op Zoom. We’ve only done Fort De Roovere, but definitely look for other surrounding areas.
1. Historical Centre – Bergen op Zoom or Bruges?
You’ll be surprised here, just like us. From the moment we entered the old town, we were embraced by the old, atmospheric buildings. From the Markiezenhof to the “Jail Gate”, to the Grebbe, you can fill a whole weekend here. Just like the popular Belgian city of ‘Bruges’, you can imagine yourself in a medieval fairy tale.
The great thing about Bergen op Zoom is that it is not (yet) touristy here therefore you can enjoy here in absolute peace. If you walk a little further than the city centre, you will enter the shopping area of the city. Bergen op Zoom is certainly not inferior and houses all major shops combined with local shops. If you look up when it’s a shopping Sunday, you can come here for a whole weekend of shopping as well!
Bergen op Zoom has every aspect of a city trip. Culture, Culinary, Shopping, Nature and Beach. If you’re convinced to visit this city, be sure to check out the article about the culinary secrets of Bergen op Zoom here.