Breda is a city of 180,000 people (2014) in the Dutch province of North Brabant. It has a long history as a military stronghold and army base. Important parts of the Dutch military still reside here. The military character is still at the heart of town, as the national Dutch Military Academy resides in the historic Castle of Breda, right in the centre of the old town.
The VVV has 2 offices in town. The primary one is across the train station, but there's a smaller office with more limited opening hours on the Grote Markt.
- 1 Tourist Information Office (VVV), Willemstraat 17-19, ☏ , email@example.com. M 13:00-17:00, Tu-F 10:00-17:00, Sa 10:00-14:30, Su closed.
- 2 Tourist Information Office (VVV), Grote Markt 38, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. W-F 10:30-17:30, Sa 10:30-17:00.
Breda does not have a commercial airport, but thanks to the excellent public transportation system of the Netherlands, it can be reached easily from numerous airports in the Netherlands and even in Belgium.
- Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS IATA) is the largest in the Netherlands and one of the most important global hubs, with extensive flight connection network across many continents. From the airport's train station (directly underneath the terminal), NS Dutch Railways[dead link] operates frequent Intercity Direct high-speed rail service every 30 minutes to Breda. The journey takes 1 hour and costs €21.40 one-way (including €2.40 supplement for using the Intercity Direct)
- Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTM IATA) is closer to Breda and served by a number of short-haul connections. From there, one needs to take RET's bus 33 to Rotterdam Centraal railway station and continue to Breda by the same Intercity Direct or regular Intercity to Breda. The total journey takes about an hour as well and costs €11 (Intercity Direct supplement does not apply, as it is only required for journeys including the stretch between Rotterdam and Schiphol).
- Eindhoven Airport (EIN IATA) is the country's second-largest airport by number of passengers, served mostly by low-fare traffic from all over Europe. Again, one needs to take a bus from the airport to Eindhoven's railway station and change to an Intercity train to Breda, with a total journey time of slightly above 1 hour and costs €12.90.
- Brussels Airport (BRU IATA) is another international and intercontinental hub close to Breda, with many flights to Africa in particular. It has an integrated train station as well, but trains from Brussels Airport no longer run directly to Breda - one has to change in Roosendaal. The total journey time is 1.5 hours and cost of both train tickets should not come above €20.
Breda is a major railway hub. Two railway lines meet at the Breda station - the north-south line from Rotterdam to the Belgian border, with further extensions to Amsterdam, Schiphol Airport and The Hague, and the east-west line branching out in Breda through Tilburg towards Eindhoven and 's-Hertogenbosch. The latter connects to branches going to Utrecht, Arnhem, Nijmegen and Zwolle. A variety of trains, including frequently stopping Sprinters, traverse those lines connecting Breda not only to those major cities but also many smaller stations along the way, such as Delft. Pretty much all of the Netherlands can be reached from Breda by trains with one train change.
High-speed premium Intercity Direct trains connect Breda to Amsterdam, Schiphol and Rotterdam without intermediate stops. As of 2018, Breda again has direct international connections to Antwerp and Brussels, eliminating the need to change in Roosendaal along the way.
Train schedules and ticket prices can be found on the Nederlandse Spoorwegen website[dead link].
From Amsterdam, Breda can be reached by taking the A2 to Utrecht and then the A27. Breda is less than a 90 minute drive from the three main ferry ports in Holland. From Rotterdam, Breda can be reached by taking the A16 to Breda, which will take about 30 to 40 minutes.
The city centre and most of the sights are easy to discover on foot.
Alternatively, biking is a good option, and bikes can be rented at the train station bike parking.
The city bus is another option, circling through town. Arriva (Bravo)[dead link] operatees buses here.
- 1 Grote Kerk (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk). Built in the Brabantine Gothic style in the 15th and 16th centuries, the church dedicated to Our Lady (as Virgin Mary is most often referred to in the Netherlands) boasts a tower of almost 100 metres and one of the largest organs in the country. Inside you will find the Prinsenkapel, where members of the Orange-Nassau family had been buried until the city of Breda fell to the Spanish.
- 2 Old city hall (Oude Stadhuis). Compared to the large church, the city hall standing at its back in a wall of buildings lining up the elongated Grote Markt is inassuming at best. Apart from being a neat example of Dutch 18th-century architecture, quite ascetic compared to the raging rococo found in many other countries at that time. The building is now a historic monument and home to several works of art as well as tourist information, but the actual municipal facilities have been moved to a modern building on Claudius Prinsenlaan.
- 3 Castle of Breda. The castle originates in the 14th century and was substantially renewed in Renaissance style around 1540. Unfortunately, the castle is not available for visitors as it is home to the Military Academy since 1826, but of course it can still be admired from the outside.
- 4 Begijnhof, Entrance is at the Catharinastraat. Daily 09:00-18:00. Even though it lies right in the middle of the bustling city centre, much of the historic peace and tranquillity remains in this former Béguinage. Although no beguines remain, the small houses around the charming courtyard are still inhabited by single ladies. There's a herb garden and a small museum at nr. 29, which is a side branch of the much larger Breda's Museum. €1 for the museum.
- 5 Sint-Antoniuskathedraal (Cathedral of Saint Anthony). Nestled in a side street (incidentally named after Saint John), the cathedral church of the long-standing diocese of Breda is much less imposing than the Grote Kerk, but quite unique in that it is a 19th-century creation built in neoclassical style, both inside and out, which is a relative rarity as far as cathedrals go, especially in the Netherlands.
- 6 Koepelgevangenis, Nassausingel 26. A panopticon-style prison, whose name refers to the cupola topping the round building with prison cells stacked in rounds on the outside walls around a large covered courtyard. It is this prison that held the "Breda four" – the only German prisoners of war who served their sentences after the Second World War in the Netherlands for war crimes committed. The prison building complex is no longer in use and a national monument, but generally is not open for sightseeing.
The city has a number of museums worth noting.
- 7 Generaal Maczek Museum, De la Reijweg 95, Breda, ☏ . This museum is dedicated to the 1st Polish Armoured Division, which under the leadership of General Stanislaw Maczek liberated important areas of the Netherlands in 1944 and 1945. (Military area; identification is required.)
- 8 Stedelijk Museum Breda, Boschstraat 22, Breda, ☏ , email@example.com. Tu-Su 10:00-17:00. City and art/design museum. €12 adults, €6 children 13 to 17 years old, €5 CJP and CKV pass holders or Student card (Studentenkaart), €5 pupils and students in groups.
- 10 Stichting Princenhaags Museum, Dreef 36, Breda, ☏ .
- 11 Bier Reclame Museum, Haagweg 375, Breda, ☏ . Su 11:00-23:00. This museum shows a permanent exhibition of mainly enamel signs (around 1000 pieces) and antique posters of old beer adverts. It is said to be the largest collection in The Netherlands or perhaps in Europe.
- 12 Heemkundig Museum Paulus van Daesdonck, Pennendijk 1, Ulvenhout, ☏ .
- Get a guided tour through the old moats of Breda. There's plenty of stories behind the historic façades. Book ahead via the tourist office. Alternatively, they sell a Dutch language booklet called "Historische Kilometer", which (if you can understand it) allows you to walk around yourself and still read up on the historic backgrounds.
- Visit the old neighbourhood Zandberg and Ginneken, just south of the Wilhelminastraat. It has lots of old merchants' houses and on the south end you will find the Mastbos, one of the nicest forests in the Netherlands.
- Rent a canoe and make your own way through the Breda canals. On Saturday and Sunday you can rent one from the starting point at Spanjaardsgat without reservation. For other days, reservations are required and bookable via the tourist office or via the Beleef Breda website
- Head out for a picnic in Park Valkenberg, a large and pleasant park halfway between the train station and the Grote Markts.
- If you have a smartphone, you can enjoy walking around the city with free audio tours[dead link], published on izi.travel platform.
Breda is a well-known shopping city in the Netherlands. In the old city centre you can find lots of clothing shops. You should visit the Wilhelminastraat. It is located just south of the city centre and hosts lots of exclusive shops. It has a very rich and nice atmosphere
There's a wide choice of restaurants available throughout the centre. The best places to search are around the historic market squares: the Grote Markt, the Havermarkt and the Veemarktstraat all have a number of nice establishments. Some good options are:
- Zuyd, Ginnekenweg 35, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Sa 12:00-14:30, 18:00-22:00; closed Su M. Call ahead, as this ambitious place gets raving reviews and is regularly booked full. It offers fine dining French cuisine in a modern restaurant. The service is good too. Menu's start at €36.50, but if you're out for a splurge, try the 7 course tasting for €67.50. Mains from €26.50.
- Het Smaakwarenhuis, Ginnekenweg 11-13, ☏ . Closed Su M. This place is an interesting combination of a fresh food supermarket and a small restaurant. Virtually all products are produced in or directly around the Netherlands, and many in the region. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, often with a typical Dutch twist. Dinner is a set 3, 4 or 5 course meal with only a few choices. A fun place to discover Dutch produce. Breakfast around €5, from €32.50 for 3 course dinner.
- Restaurant Chocolat, Torenstraat 9.
- Restaurant Dickens & Jones, Grote Markt 40.
Drink real Belgian and Brabants beer on Grote Markt or Havermarkt square. Explore the nightlife on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays around Havermarkt square.
- 1 Hotel Sutor, Catharinastraat 2, ☏ . In the centre of town, in the lively bar district, which can cause some noise at night. For the rest, rooms are simple but good. There's no elevator, so you'll need to carry your luggage up the stairs.
- 2 Hotel Merlinde, Schorsmolenstraat 6, ☏ . A bit on the edge of the centre, this 4-star hotel is quiet and offers free parking. They specialise in hotel stays with health care options, making it perfect for senior or care dependent travellers, although regular guests are just as welcome. From €130 for a double, care is extra.
- 3 Golden Tulip Keyser Breda, Keizerstraat 5. Good quality hotel with friendly staff and spacious rooms. It's just outside the city centre but still at easy walking distance. There's no private parking, so if you come by car, you'll need to park for a fee at one of the public parkings. €140 for a double.
- 4 Hotel Nassau Breda, Autograph Collection, Nieuwstraat 21-25. This luxurious boutique hotel is a part of Marriott's Autograph Collection and is located in a complex of converted historic residential and religious buildings.
- 5 Camping Liesbos, Liesdreef 40, 4838GV, Breda (4 miles WSW fof Breda centre), ☏ , email@example.com. Mainly chalets but area for tents. Site uses cardkey system so you pay deposit on the card plus a pre-payment and deposit/unused pre-pay is refunded (pre-pay used for e.g. showers). Credit cards accepted. 1 person, 1 tent, 1 bike €10.31.
Some nearby destinations of interest are:
- Tilburg, student city famous for its 10-day-long fun fair in July, which is the largest in the Benelux.
- Kaatsheuvel, equally famous for fun, as it is home to the Efteling theme parc.
- Dordrecht, major historic trade port with a well preserved medieval old town and hundreds of monuments.
- Antwerp. This historic Belgian town is less than 45 minutes from Breda.
|Routes through Breda|
|Rotterdam ← Dordrecht ←||N S||→ Antwerp → Brussels|
|Almere ← Gorinchem ←||N S||→ END|
|Vlissingen ← Roosendaal ←||W E||→ Tilburg → Eindhoven|