As much as I love Amsterdam as the next person, there’s something to be said for taking the road less travelled and exploring a less well-known city. Step forward Den Bosch. Well technically it’s called ‘s- hertogenbosch but that’s just a mouthful, so most call it Den Bosch.
It’s a city in the south of The Netherlands that’s really, really easy to get to and a great place for a day or two, especially if you want to pair it with a visit to the iconic city of Amsterdam.
How to Get There
We flew with the Dutch airline, KLM, from Birmingham as it’s a lot closer (and cheaper) than the London airports, straight to Amsterdam. There are plenty of different flight times to choose from and it’s a super short flight so it was perfect for Nova’s first one – he’s only two months old.
From there it’s a really simple hour’s train ride. You can get the train straight from the airport and they run every thirty minutes for the direct option. Easy peasy, right? Just make sure you look for s’Hertogenbosch rather than Den Bosch on the timetable.
Once you’re in Den Bosch everything is walkable. It’s ideal for family travel as you don’t need to worry about a car seat for taxis. Simply use a baby carrier, or a sling in our case.
Where to Stay
There are quite a few hotels in the city, with many smack, bang in the centre. We opted to stay in an apartment, partly because it looked more stylish than the hotels that had availability for our dates, and partly because we thought an apartment would be easier with a baby (more space and stuff like that).
We booked Bossche Suites through Booking.com. It’s just a ten minute walk from the central station and three minutes from the main shopping street (Hinthamerstraat).
Our block was made up of just four suites and we lucked out with the loft room. It has exposed beams that kept Nova entertained, as well as things that you and I want, such as a fancy coffee machine, double sink and a super comfy bed.
What to See and Do
Den Bosch isn’t primarily a tourist spot, but that makes it all the more appealing. Cute streets are filled with small coffee shops and sweet little bistros. The bars spill out onto the cobbled streets, with most of them offering outdoor seating. Fluffy blankets lay waiting for you to snuggle under with a beer in hand. Despite it being cold enough to snow, the outdoor heaters really do keep the chill at bay. Teamed with the twinkly lights, I’d definitely recommend allowing a few hours to sit back with the locals. We loved it.
When you need warming up head to De Dry Hamerkens (Hinthamerstraat 57) for a hot chocolate with a twist. Pick your very own chocolate block of a spoon and order a cup of hot milk or coffee, then use your chocolate block as your spoon to stir it. The result is pure indulgent heaven. This spot is adorable, with the cute tables in the loft offering the most charm.
For a more budget, but equally delicious experience head to the supermarket to pick up some Stroopwafel. Brew a coffee in your apartment/hotel room and pop one of them on top of your mug. After a minute or two you’ll have an extremely satisfying piece of gooey goodness ready to eat. Just be warned – it’s incredibly hard to stop after one!
Although there are a few museums in Den Bosch, I think it’s more about walking down the lanes, browsing in the main market square and soaking up the atmosphere. The Dutch are big on their snacks, so you’ll see lots of stalls and little spots selling all kinds of meal fillers.
If you want a bit of an architecture fix head to Sint Jan Kerk (Torenstraat 16). Even if like me you’re not religious, it’s still a beautiful building to admire.
Come dinner time we headed to Sitio (Korenbrugstraat 16). It’s near some of the nice bars I mentioned and attracts a mixed crowd from couples to groups of all ages. Nova was the only little one in the place, but no one seemed to mind. In fact it was quite the opposite!
They serve a good range of options from the hefty burger to the more refined salmon fillet. It was ideal for our group. Book ahead if you have your heart set on a particular restaurant, even if that is only an hour or two before you’re planning to eat, as they get quite busy.
Everything I’ve mentioned is completely walkable and all pretty central, so it’s perfect for a short break.
Of course the great thing about visiting Den Bosch is that you can easily team it with a visit to Amsterdam, even if you only have a weekend to play with. Click to read my seven recommended things to see and do in Amsterdam or this page if you need a bit more help planning your trip, and of course, feel free to ask any questions.
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This post is in collaboration with KLM.