Thankfully, it escaped much of the widespread destruction of the second world war. Consequently, it is brimming with interesting old architecture and displays an old-time sense of wealth that belies the peaceful and laid back character of its modern-day economic relaxation. The locals are educated and generally proud of their city, which is the sort of place to wander around and explore leisurely, rather than rushing in and out.
phone: +31 900 4636888address: Spuiboulevard 99
By railDirect rail service from Rotterdam Centraal and Rotterdam Blaak takes about 15 minutes. There is a direct service from Amsterdam Centraal via The Hague and Rotterdam Centraal with the terminus in Dordrecht.
By boatThere is a fast ferry (waterbus) from Rotterdam, which is part of the public transport system and costs the same as the train.
There are two important highways that goes to and through Dordrecht. A16 from Rotterdam to Belgium border and N3 from Papendrecht to the A16 in Dordrecht self.
address: Lange Geldersekade 2A church in the Brabantine Gothic style with an unfinished tower. Also known as the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe-Kerk ('Our Dear Lady Church') or simply the Grote Kerk ('Great Church') was built between 1285 and 1470. The 65 m tower contains a carillon with 67 bells including one weighing 9.83 tonnes, making it the heaviest bell in the Netherlands. Be sure you're in shape to climb the tower and not afraid of close spaces. The steps are steep and there is only one way up... or down. You can see the medieval clock in operation. In the church, see the brilliant stained glass windows and especially the modern window dedicated to the guilds of Dordrecht.
Grote Marktaddress: Northeastern end of Varkenmarkt.The larger synagogue of the city used to stand here, which presumably formed the centre of the local Jewish population (apparently over 300 people prior to the war), but it was heavily damaged by the Nazis, sold in 1947 and razed in 1965. Nothing at all now remains except out of character new buildings... quite distinct from the surrounding old architecture.
phone: +31 78 7708708address: Museumstraat 40Loads of locally affiliated oil paintings, mostly pre-modern and of impressive quality. These are interspersed with occasional bits of decorative metalwork, furniture and such. A dedicated gallery houses temporary exhibitions which are often very well presented. The impressive garden outside offers a cafe/restaurant with an extensive menu.
address: Hof 6Het Hof was a former Augustinian monastery where in 1572 a notable meeting was held of representatives of the "Free States" which were revolting against King Philip II of Spain. From 2015 it's a museum.
AugustijnenkerkBuilt around 1293, and is owned by the Dutch Reformed Church. The church was part of the Augustinian Monastery Het Hof (see above).
address: Nieuwe Haven 29The former house of a banker and collector Simon van Gijn.
phone: +31 78-6130172address: Nieuwe Haven 27-28Everything you ever wanted to know about the Second World War in or around Dordrecht, plus a large display of items such as weapons, improvised mills and cooking equipment, and variously sourced period products and ration packs. A whole section is devoted to the history of Merwestein Park (then Merwepark), which was used as a regional Nazi communications bunker. A group of older local residents act as volunteer guides. Some speak English.
GroothoofdspoortA former city gate located at the confluence of the 3 rivers: Merwede, Oude Maas and Noord.
AlmshousesAlmshouses were built in 17 and 18th centuries for poor women.
Arend MaartenszhofAnother almshouse.
NieuwbrugA cast-iron bridge over the Wijnhaven/Voorstraatshaven built in 1851.
address: Wolwevershaven 9The late 18th-century rich residence with many original period features.
Munt van HollantBetween 14th and early 19th centuries, it was a mint court of Holland and Zeeland
address: Wijnstraat 113Built around 1495, it is one of the oldest houses in the county. Now it's a conferences venue.
Kyck over den DyckIt is the only remaining mill in the city
Merwesteinpark19th-century park in which a building stood until its eventual destruction by allied bombardment in 1944. The bombing was due to the Nazis developing a significant bunker system throughout the park (apparently using Jewish slaves) which they then used as an important regional military communications hub during the war. Many local citizens lost their lives in the bombing, which also killed children when an adjacent school was accidentally bombed. This history can be explored in more detail at the 1944-1945 museum: nothing of significance is displayed in the park, which today features many large trees, some sculpture (including a tall column at the former location of the building pictured), a children's play area, significant stock of waterbirds, and a reindeer enclosure.
WantijparkPark and summertime music venue slightly out of town. Worth a wander.
De BiesboschThe Sliedrechtse Biesbosch, east of Dordrecht, and the Dordtse Biesbosch, south of Dordrecht, together form the Hollandse Biesbosch which is a part of the national park the Biesbosch, one of the largest national parks in the Netherlands and one of the last freshwater tide areas in Europe. The Dordtse Biesbosch has several recreational areas that are used for walking, rowing and swimming.
phone: +31 78 63 56 830address: Stationsplein 6
phone: +31 78 737-03-38address: Achterhakkers 73
There are also many sportclubs and soccer fields you can visit. Dordrecht is a green city that has many parks and recreation areas in the suburbs.
- Many nice restaurants are around the Statenplein and outdoor tables abound in good weather.
- Scheffersplein off Wijnstraat (Wine Street) is also ringed with many restaurants and outdoor tables. Eetcafé Baloe Beer is reasonably priced and tasty.
- Broodje van Willem is a small reasonably priced sandwich shop at 433 West Voorstraat in the shadow of the Grote Kerk.
- Restaurant Centre Ville offers a huge menu with some confirmed yummy options: the goat's cheese salad, and the carrot cake. Opens 10:00, kitchen starts 11:00.
- The Bellevue Groothoofd (Bellevue Hotel) has an extensive menu and a strong wine list, with special all you can eat deals on Sunday. The restaurant at the Dordrechts Museum is of a similar standard but with trees instead of water for scenery (same management).
- In the Sterrenburg quarter is also a Snackbar called Family, which has chips and frikandel.
In townThere is a relative shortage of hotels in the city. Judging from old maps of the town, there used to be more, but they have faded with the regional economy.
There are no real budget options in Dordrecht proper. There are two bed and breakfasts near the central bridge over the harbour behind the big church that are potentially cheaper than the hotels. One reported budget option, unconfirmed, is a Luthier's shop around the corner to the south-east of the Bellevue Hotel.
phone: +31 78 633-2500address: Boomstraat 37This historic hotel was active in the 19th century but descended to bankruptcy in the early 21st. Acquired by a new owner, it was remodelled circa 2010 in a sort of funky modern style. In addition to the main building, the hotel can also provide short to long stay apartments next door. Perhaps the greatest draw is the breakfast lounge which looks out over the confluence of the rivers that brought Dordrecht its historic wealth and remains one of the busiest freshwater shipping points in Europe. In summer, the large terrace between the hotel and the water is a great venue for meals. The hotel offers Sunday specials where a couple gets a night in the hotel, plus dinner for two, for €168. They also offer various package deals related to the Dordrechts Museum, whose café is under the same management (and shares some of the same staff!). Accessible by city bus. Free Wi-Fi.
phone: +31 78 611-9933address: Johan de Wittstraat 35-37Modern. The biggest drawback of this hotel is relative expense and lack of audio privacy. With only 17 rooms, the architects evidently decided to "pack 'em in", and it shows. Still, probably the best option for those minding the budget a little bit but unwilling to sleep out of town. All floors lift accessible. Free Wi-Fi.
phone: +31 78 639 3111address: OranjelaanSlightly outside of town, this designer-hotel is something of an icon for the city. A sort of walled garden complex with a thoroughly post-modern castle tower, visitors are rewarded with views, an excellent garden restaurant, and a quaint theme of dancing rabbits presumably inspired by the neighbouring Energiehaus theatre. Accessible by city bus.
Stayokay Dordrechtphone: +31 78 621 2167address: Baanhoekweg 25Better than standard hostel fare. Clean and modern. Conexxion bus 4 from the central station. About 8 km.
- The historical and picturesque city of Gorinchem is nearby. See the intact bastions.
- Dordrecht is also within cycling distance of the Kinderdijk. Route maps are available at the VVV visitor information bureau.