17 not-so-cheesy things to do in Gouda in 2024

A 'lekker' wedge of culture

Nestled in the heart of the Netherlands lies a charming town brimming with cheese, delightful walks, a jaw-dropping city centre, and heaps of things to do — Gouda!

An ideal spot for refuge from the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam, and an embarkation point for a foodie pilgrimage (including sampling the most authentic cheese at the market), Gouda will not disappoint.

The city even clinched a spot in the New York Times’s Best Places to Visit in 2022 list!

1. Follow your tastebuds and browse the Gouda Cheese Market

You’ve probably encountered Gouda cheese at your local market or your supermarket; everyone seems to want a “slice” of the glory Gouda has brought to the Netherlands. 

Start your day in Gouda by stuffing your face with its famous dairy product. Image: Depositphotos

Go right to the source at the Gouda Cheese Market, where local makers and traders can tell you about the process (and provide a free sample)!

For hundreds of years, the people of Gouda have participated in the ritual of trading cheese. The modern market features costumed vendors and horse-drawn carriages to transport you back in time. 

TIP: In Dutch, “Gouda” is pronounced “How-dah”. Make sure to put some guttural emphasis on the “h”; if it sounds like you are clearing your throat, you are doing it right.

💰 Price: Free
⏰ Opening hours: Thursday mornings (until 1:30 PM), April through August
📍 Location: Markt 35, 2801 JK Gouda

2. Take a tour and enjoy a siroopwafel at Kamphuisen Bakery

A little-known (but tasty!) fact about Gouda is that the syrup waffle originated here, and has evolved to become a Dutch dessert staple. Enjoy the original — with a Gouda twist — at Kamphuisen Bakery.

Here, you’ll learn about the history of this tasty treat, and how the original Gouda siroopwafel differs from its mass-produced cousin, the stroopwafel. You can be the judge with an included taste test. 

Don’t bother asking the folks at Kampbuisen Bakery for the recipe for their famous treat — it’s been safely kept in a sealed envelope since 1810. 

💰 Price: €9.95 for adults, free for children under 3, tickets include a guided tour of the factory and a taste test
⏰ Opening hours: 10:00 AM until 6:00 PM, Monday to Saturday, closed Sundays
📍 Location: Markt 69, 2801 JM Gouda

3. Admire the Old City Hall

Constructed in the mid-15th century, this historic city hall served as a meeting location and event space for hundreds of years. While city council meetings are no longer held here, this beautiful building can be booked for weddings and other private events. 

We like to call this “Gouda Gothic” 😉. Image: Depositphotos

While you may be perfectly content to snap some pictures of its intricate Gothic architecture, tours are available to the public on most weekdays. With a tour, you’ll get access to the renovated interior, complete with furnishings and decor from the 17th and 18th centuries. 

💰 Price: €7.50 per person; book online
⏰ Opening hours: 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM, Monday to Friday 
📍 Location: Markt 1, 2801 JG Gouda

4. Wander down Looierspoort

Dutch architecture is most recognized for its tall, narrow buildings, strategically placed alongside canals to maximise space. 

With a squish and a squeeze, you can enjoy Gouda’s incredible narrow street. Image: Jan Dijkstra/Wikimedia Commons/CC4.0

On Looierspoort Street, you’ll not only find the famous narrow buildings, but narrow streets to match. Once designated as housing for the city’s leather tanners during the industrial period, this street in Gouda is famous for being the narrowest in the Netherlands, with some places only as wide as an adult arm span.  

READ MORE | The narrowest house in Amsterdam: everything you need to know

Take your camera and duck into Loorierspoort to snap a few photos to show what makes Gouda a special Dutch city. 

💰 Price: Free
⏰ Opening hours: open to the public all day, every day 
📍 Location: Looierspoort, 2801 LT Gouda

5. Watch your weight at Goudse Waag

Watching over the Gouda Cheese Market stands the Goudse Waag building. Built in the 15th century, the Goudse Waag served as a location for farmers and cheese vendors to weigh their cheese before selling their wares at the market.

If you attend the cheese market on a Thursday, you’ll get to see this process in action! Don’t worry if your trip doesn’t coincide with the market schedule — it’s open to the public on most weekdays. 

The Goudse Waag is just a LITTLE old. Image: Depositphotos

The museum also features clog-making and candle-making demonstrations, in addition to wine and cheese tastings.

💰 Price: €7.50 for a guided tour for adults, free for young people up to 18 years
⏰ Opening hours: varies
📍 Location: Markt 35, 2801 JK Gouda

6. Learn the anatomy of a windmill at the Roode Leeuw

Get your grind on at the Red Lion Windmill, one of the country’s oldest windmills that is still in service. Visitors can watch this artisanal grain grinding process in action, unchanged for hundreds of years.

By harnessing the power of the wind, an expert miller can grind, crush, and sieve grains into fine flour, which is then sold to bakeries in the area (this is still done today!). 

Perched by the water, this is a classic Dutch icon that can’t be missed on a trip to Gouda! Image: Depositphotos

Feeling inspired to get your hands dirty in your own kitchen? Take a bag of artisanal flour home with you when you visit the shop. 

💰 Price: Free
⏰ Opening hours: Thursday from 9:00 AM until 2:00 PM and Saturday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
📍 Location: Vest 65, 2801 VE Gouda

7. Marvel at Sint Jan Church

Watch the history of the Netherlands unfold as you gaze through the stained-glass windows at St. John’s Church, which hosts the biggest collection of original windows in the Netherlands.

This historical Gouda church is a feast for the eyes. Image: Depositphotos

Recounting the religious history of the Netherlands, the windows tell the story of the country’s Protestant past, and its Catholic connections with Spain. Trace how the techniques evolve from the medieval style to the refined style of the Dutch Golden Age. 

While it’s the stained-glass windows that may put Sint Jan on the map, the church also boasts a beautiful organ and has a special tour available for organ amateurs for an hourly fee.

💰 Price: €10.00 for adults, family rates available, free entry with Museumkaart
⏰ Opening hours: Open Monday through Saturday, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
📍 Location: Achter de Kerk 2, 2801 JW Gouda

8. Check out the fish market at Visbanken

Visbanken translates to “fish banks” in Dutch and is where fish markets and trading typically take place. Gouda’s Visbanken was established in 1588, and the structures are still standing today on either side of Gouda’s main canal. 

With all that old-world beauty in Gouda, you can almost smell the fish! Image: M.H.Top/Wikimedia Commons/CC3.0

While the original fish market may be long gone, the stone pillars remain as a reminder of Gouda’s rich trading history. Take a stroll across the bridge, and you’ll find plaques explaining the historical and cultural importance of the site. 

TIP: Grab a table at a nearby café and imagine the hustle and bustle of the fish market in its glory days.

💰 Price: Free
⏰ Opening hours: open to the public all day, every day
📍 Location: Lage Gouwe 1, 2801 MA Gouda

9. Become a cheese connoisseur at the Gouda Cheese Experience

If simply tasting all of the free cheese samples at the Gouda Cheese Market isn’t enough to appease your cheese cravings, take a deep dive into the cheese-making process with the Gouda Cheese Experience. 

On your tour, you will learn how Gouda cheese is made, from what the cow eats, to milking, to ageing, to the recognizable and delicious product you consume today. 

💰 Price: €16 for adults, €14.50 for children aged 5-15, and free for children under 4
⏰ Opening hours: 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM, Monday through Sunday (every day)
📍 Location: Agnietenstraat 21, Gouda

10. Take a walk through history at the Gouda Museum

With a variety of rotating collections and several permanent installations, there is something to pique everyone’s interest at the Gouda Museum. 

The museum hosts classic religious works of the Middle Ages, modern impressionists, and Dutch pottery, all located within a historic building that dates back to the 14th century. Make it a family outing and attend a workshop or book an interactive children’s “mini-tour”.

💰 Price: €14.50 for adults, free for children under 17, free entry with Museumkaart
⏰ Opening hours: 11:00 AM until 5:00 PM, Tuesday through Sunday
📍 Location: Achter de Kerk 14, 2801 JX Gouda

11. Support the fair trade market at Lange and Korte Groenendaal

You won’t find any chain stores here, making this area in Gouda a unique shopping experience. This shopping centre is located just off the beaten path in Gouda, and is the first shopping street in the Netherlands to be designated as a “fair trade street.” 

Lange and Korte Groenendaal hosts several shops owned by a diverse group of small entrepreneurs that specialise in fair trade. 

Fairtrade products are handmade or artisan items that are sourced, created, and shipped sustainably. Shops include boutique clothing stores, wooden toy shops, and florists. 

TIP: Conclude a day of shopping with a meal at one of many restaurants in the shopping district. Enjoy diverse cuisines from a range of cultures and regions. 

💰 Price: Free
⏰ Opening hours: varies by shop
📍 Location: Lange Groenendaal

12. Grab a pint at a local brewery

The Dutch are famous for loving beer, and Gouda is no exception. Image: Depositphotos

While you may have heard of wine and cheese, beer and cheese are also a great combination! Take inventory of your fresh cheese purchases at a local brewery, and pair it with a flight of flagship beer at a local Gouda brewery.

Enjoy a cold one at Gouda’s first brewery, Stadsbrouwerij de Goudsche Leeuw, a household name in the Netherlands with tours and tastings available. 

Feel like a bite to eat on the side? De Brouwloods is a microbrewery/gastropub with small-batch brews and borrel delights. Otherwise, Bunnik’s BierBrouwerij has standard classics and “beers of the moment” on offer just outside the city centre. 

💰 Price: cost of food and drink
⏰ Opening hours: by appointment only; call or reserve a time online
📍 Location: Nieuwe Gouwe Westzijde 4A, 2802 AN Gouda, Overtocht 6, 2411 BV Bodegraven, Gouderaksedijk 32, 2808 NG Gouda

13. Visit Gouda’s sinking street

Water goes up, and the ground goes down! The Netherlands has been sinking for a while, but Gouda is a place you can really see it.

See the bricks on the side of the canal starting to cave in? No one in Gouda is safe (unless you’re on another street). Image: Samantha Dixon

Annually the soil in Gouda drops by three millimetres — and in this 700+-year-old city, that makes a big impact. 

Take a stroll along the Turfmarkt and watch where the once-contained canal water snaps at the heels of passersby. 

💰 Price: free
⏰ Opening hours: all day and night
📍 Location: Turfmarkt, 2801 GV, Gouda

14. Cruise the canals on a stand-up paddleboard

Stand-up paddleboarding (or SUP) is a unique way to navigate Gouda’s classic canals, and is great exercise! You can rent one for the day (or by the hour) from a SUP shop during the summer. 

Young people paddleboarding through the canals of Gouda, Netherlands. Image: Depositphotos

Take your time leisurely paddling the canals, pause for lunch and a drink, and enjoy your unique perspective on the historical city. 

💰 Price: €27.50 per 2.5 hours, €55 for 1 day
⏰ Opening hours: by appointment only; call or reserve online
📍 Location: Turfsingel 59E, 2802 BD Gouda

15. Book a bike tour of the surrounding Cheese Valley

Looking for a way to spend a day in Gouda cheese country? Look no further than a guided bike tour through Cheese Valley, lovingly dubbed “the Green Heart of the Netherlands.” 

Cheese and bike — how Dutch! Image: Depositphotos

Cruise by happy cows munching on sweet grass, enjoy views of the lake, and learn about historic city centres on your journey. 

Bike tours include a guide to explain the cheese-making and selling process, as well as important historical events in each town (Gouda and Woerden) in English, Dutch, or German. 

The tour will stop frequently to rest, take pictures, and explain significant points of interest, including a tour of a cheese warehouse. 

Not sure you (or your kids) can commit to a full day of cycling? Check out the 3-hour Holland Classic Tour for an abbreviated version and a discounted price.

💰 Price: €48 per person; e-bikes available for an extra charge; bring your own bike for a discount!
Opening hours: vary; see Green Cow Bike Tours Calendar for the schedule
📍 Location: All tours depart from the city centre of Gouda OR Woerden

16. Take the quickest cruise of your life to Gouda’s ex-industrial side

All aboard Pontje Gein! This 1930s ferry spends its weekends chugging across Gouda’s Hollandsche IJssel to the ex-industrial site GOUDasfalt and will cost you a mere €1 (okay, €2 if you also want to get back). 

Once you’re on the other side, take a walk among the industrial wilderness in the process of urban reclamation.

You’ll find breweries, shops filled with quirky antiques, local artists and crafters, laser tag, and even a city beach where you can wiggle your toes in the sand. 

💰 Price: €2 return for the ferry, cost of food, drink, and activities
⏰ Opening hours: varies
📍 Location: Gouderaksedijk 32, 2808 NG Gouda

17. Get outside with a self-guided walking tour

If you are looking for some leisure time on your trip to Gouda, consider an organised self-guided walking tour. With a unique route, who knows where some individual exploration will lead you?

A wander through the streets of Gouda is always a delight. Image: Depositphotos

Self-guided walking tours are organised by theme, emphasising specific points to fulfil a variety of interests, including historical routes, maritime and harbour routes, children’s routes — even local flora and fauna!

💰 Price: €5 for the map at the tourist office (or download it online for free)
⏰ Opening hours: 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM, Wednesday through Sunday (tourist office)
📍 Location: VVV Gouda, Markt 35, 2801 JK Gouda

And there you have it — 17 things to do in Gouda in 2024! Gouda has so many more dimensions than “just cheese” (although delicious)! Find something for the entire family in gorgeous Gouda!

What is your favourite activity to enjoy on a day trip to Gouda? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Megan Witkin
Megan Witkin
Previously never living more than an hour away from her home in Colorado's Rocky Mountains, Megan's quick immigration to the Netherlands left her saying "Bring on your (rook)worst." A woman of many talents, Megan is not only a former English teacher but is fluent in memes, TikTok, and (now) writing about the Netherlands.

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