Breda is a lovely town. The streets are lined with interesting shops and cafés, it has some flower-filled parks and its main church is a stunner. Breda's present peace belies its turbulent past. Its proximity to the Belgian border means it has been overrun by invading armies many times. The town centre is a 10-minute walk south from the station through large, leafy park, the Valkenberg.
GWK money exchange
(8am-8pm) In the train station.
(tel 076 - 522 55 20; Willemstraat 30; 9am-6pm Mon-Fri, 10 am-1.30pm Sa)
(tel 0900-5222444; http://www.vvvbreda.nl/
; Willemstraat 17; 1030am-530pm Tue-Fri, 1030am5pm Sat)
Near the train station. There is another branch on Grote Markt 38.
Sights & Activities
(Falcon Mountain) is the huge park between the station and the centre. Hunting falcons were trained here for the royalty. On the south side is the l2th-century Begijnhof
. Breda is a wonderfully preserved example of these homes, which sheltered unmarried women and were found throughout the Netherlands.
is worth a quick look; approach from the south and you'll also see the Spanjaardsgat
(Spanish gate) a reminder of just one of the various incursions the town has endured.
The Grote Kerk
(10am-5pm Mon-Sat, 1-5pm Sun) recently emerged from years of restoration, removing the grime from it’s now-gleaming white stones. It was built from the 15th century to the 17th century and it is considered the Netherlands’s most beautiful church.
Festivals & Events
) is a huge annual parade of gorgeously decorated, multi-coloured floats -constructed entirely from flowers- through the streets of Zundert, 20km southwest of Breda. Early September.
(tel 076 - 514 35 14; fax 076 - 514 65 55; liesdreef 40; sites €13; Apr-Oct) To get to the campsite, take bus no 10 or 111 (direction: Etten-Leur) to the Boswachterij Liesbos stop.Hotel van Ham
(tel 076 - 52152 29;
; Van Coothplein 23; s/d/tr €40/60/85) John and Sylvia van Hooydonk are the proud proprietors of this charming hotel, which is also home to a delightful café-restaurant. It's fabulously 10cated, in a building that's been a prominent meeting point for more than 100 years. The rooms are lovely.Pension Singel
(tel 076 - 52162 71;
; Delpratsingel 14; per person €20.40) Simple though charming singles and doubles. It's a five-minute walk from the station.Hotel De Fabriek
(tel 076 - 581 00 08; Speelhuislaan 150; s/d €55/70). This laid-back, quiet place has comfortable rooms and is in a quieter area; breakfast is €9 extra. It's a five- to 10minute walk off to your left from behind the station.Tulip Inn
(tel 076 - 520 51 73; http://www.hotel-keyser.nl/
; Keizerstraat 5; s/d €73/93) It's part of a chain, but sets itself apart by its attentive staff - its strongest asset. Its restaurant serves lunch and dinner Monday to Friday and dinner on Saturday.
(tel 076 - 514 01 62; Schoolstraat 3; meals €4-6.80; lunch & dinner Mon-Sat). This homey diner has delicious and authentic food at old-time prices. Their delicious stamppot (a thick mash of potatoes and green vegetables) is served drowning in home-style butter-based gravy and served with sausages, Brabant's specialty.Café De Beyerd
(tel 076 - 521 42 65; http://www.beyerd.nl/
; Boschstraat 26; lunch €8; lunch & dinner Thu-Tue) The Beyerd is a highly regarded beer café, with more than 122 brews. The perfect place to try some bitterballen (smalI crumbed, deep-fried balls of meaty delight) or other typical beer-accompanying snacks.Gong
(tel 076 - 521 66 96; http://www.restaurantgong.nl/
; Van Coothplein 24; mains €15-17; dinner) Great Asian and Pacific Rim fusion cuisine. It's cool, mostly healthy, and - better yet - tasty and affordable.Restaurant Bukowski
(tel 076 - 529 75 55;
; Halstraat 21a; mains €18-28; lunch & dinner) This place wouldn't have let the writer and 'dirty old man' it's named after through the doors! Bukowski's slick haute cuisine (tomato risotto and pan-fried lamb with runner beans in a herb and goat cheese sauce) may mean blowing your budget. Do so, heeding the great barfly himself: 'Some people never go crazy; how horrible their lives must be!'
Bruxelles Belgian Beer-café (tel 076 - 521 52 11; fax 076 - 521 55 15; Havermarkt 7) A cavernous (yet somehow cosy) wooden beer hall/eatery with a very popular terrace on the Havermarkt, the Bruxelles has an excellent selection of Belgian beers. Think monasteries and strong, infinite varieties of brewed bubbly stuff. Hang around here for a while and become a Trappist artist.
There's a concentration of places around the Havermarkt, of varying quality. Pick up Uitloper (info line 076 - 5143915), Breda's free weekly entertainment guide, covering cinema, theatre, clubs art exhibitions and more. Anything that looks like it sells a good time will be in de Uitloper.
(tel 076 - 515 66 77; http://www.mezz.nl/
; Keizerstraat 101. café 1200-300pm for lunch) If Swiss artist HR Giger designed a nightclub, it might look like Mezz (is it a headless mechanical armadillo or a giant metal dolmade?). Either way, it's new, super-hip, with a great bar and cool staff to match its eclectic program - everything from drum'n'bass nights to latin swing and rock. It publishes its own guide, widely available around Breda. Prices and hours vary by programs.Kerkplein
) A bangin' club, located right behind the Grote Kerk on Kerkplein, that goes well into the morning offering punters the chance to get up to the kind of ructions they can later confess to across the road.
Breda is also home to the biggest Holland Casino
) in Europe. comfortably ensconced in a beautiful building that was once a military barracks.