8 Things to Do in Weesp: Things to See, Practical Tips & Where to Eat

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Author:  Caroline

When thinking of storybook towns, Weesp pretty much ticks all the boxes. The little city on the outskirts of Amsterdam has been around for over 670 years and was forged on a legacy of beer, jenever, chocolate, and some very well-placed forts to defend the nation’s capital. Let’s explore the 8 best things to do in Weesp.

After sliding into relative anonymity – I dare say it was a “hidden gem” – Weesp catapulted back into the spotlight as the municipality merged with neighboring Amsterdam in 2022. The museums are included in the I amsterdam City Card, while getting there is free with the Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket.

Located an easy 15-minute train ride from Amsterdam, bursting with equally charming, though much more tranquil canals, peppered with impressive forts, windmills, and colorful wooden houses, Weesp offers the quintessential Dutch experience. The little city is the perfect getaway in the Netherlands for slow travelers, I have been lucky enough to visit Weesp on two separate occasions and would happily go back for thirds.

On my last visit, I booked two nights in Weesp and opted to use Weesp as a basis to visit the neighboring towns of Naarden, Muiden, and Fort Pampus. There are plenty of things to do in Weesp itself mind you, time to delve into this little town.


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8 Things to Do in Weesp

Before delving into the various activities of the city, it is noteworthy to mention this little town is part of the
Dutch Water Defence Lines. An impressive 200 km stretch of land designed to keep intruders out by means of flooding and with the help of no less than 100 forts and two castles. It’s not just me who thinks it’s impressive, in fact, this little feat of ingenuity is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

1. Visit Weesp Museum

Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 1:30 pm – 5:00 pm
Entrance Fee: €7,50 (adults)

Start your visit to Weesp by popping into the Weesp Museum. The beautiful 18th-century building has the dual purpose of city hall and city museum. The museum is worth visiting as it paints a picture of Weesp, both in history and today. We popped in on a weekend and were told “you can visit everything in the building”.

This “everything” includes an 18th-century jailcell, the office of the mayor with paintings by a local artist who was the contemporary of Rembrandt (they shared the same teacher), a small exhibition on porcelain in the Netherlands, and how production started right here in Weesp, a brief history of Weesp and the famous Vanhouten Chocolate as well as a small art gallery with paintings of Weesp.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM YOUR VISIT: The museum is tiny and can be visited in under an hour. There is an audioguide for those who want. We opted to visit without an audioguide, which proved the right choice as the ladies running the museum turned out to be fountains of knowledge and more than happy to regale us with their stories of the city.

2. Drink a craft beer in a desacralized church

Opening Hours: Tue-Thurs 11.30 am – 11.00 pm; Fri-Sat 11.30 am to 12.00 pm; Sun 11.30 am- 10.00pm.
Address: Herengracht 16, 1382 AE Weesp

As a born and raised Belgian, who travels the world for a living, I have had my fair share of unfortunate beer tastings. Do not get me wrong, I am anything but patriotic, except when it comes to beer, chocolate, and fries. I was therefore very hesitant to try a “Dutch craft beer”, but the allure of the desacralized church proved too great to resist.

The Wispe brewery is spearheaded by three brothers looking to revive the age-old tradition of beer brewing in Weesp dating as far back as 1333. This little town once held no less than 30 breweries, producing a whopping 500.000 liters of beer yearly. This lucrative industry was possible thanks to the clean water of the nearby river Vecht.

The last brewery however closed its doors in 1920 and thus the curtain fell over 587 years of brewing history. Cue 2009, the brothers make a small batch of Wispe beer which sells out even before the beer is bottled. One thing led to another and today you can taste the fruits of their labour in the Wispe Grand Café located in the desacralised Saint Lawrence Church. The gods are now worshipped with an impressive array of local beers, neon lights, and shiny, gargantuan fermentation vessels.

WHICH BEERS TO TRY: They have no less than 15 to try, my favorites include Wispe Blond and Wispe Trippel.

TIP: Not a fan of beer? The brewery is also used by Anker Weesp. Authentic jenever is distilled in the brewery as it was drunk in the 17th century. In addition to jenever, Anker Weesp also produces various liqueurs and gin.

GOOD TO KNOW | No time to pop in and taste a fresh beer. The brewery has a small store next to the Grand Cafe or you can purchase their products on the website.

8 Things to Do in Weesp: Things to See, Practical Tips & Where to Eat
Windmill De Vrienschap in Weesp as seen from the river Vecht

3. Purchase flour from an age-old windmill

Opening hours: Saturday from 10.00 am to 04.00 pm
Address: Utrechtseweg 11a, 1381 GR Weesp

If there is one thing that is synonymous with the Netherlands, aside from Tulips, it is windmills. Around 1100 windmills are still sprinkled across the country and Weesp is home to no less than 3: Windmill De Vriendschap en d’Eendracht (by the river Vecht) and Windmill ‘t Haantje (by Smal Weesp).

Currently, the only windmill open to the public is Windmill De Vrienschap. Built in 1900 after the previous windmill burnt down after an unfortunate lightning storm. The windmill was eventually bought out by the city in 1974 and to this day is still used to produce small batches of flour.

Every Saturday the windmill throws open its doors for visitors, free of charge. Pop by the little Molenshop (loosely translated as the windmill store) to purchase a variety of locally made goods including various types of flour, special grain mixes, almond paste, honey, rice, pulses, and other tasty products. A visit to this old windmill is an absolute must thing to do in Weesp.

GETTING THERE | You can easily walk to the windmill from the city center (10-minute walk). The walk takes you past some of the beautiful historical wooden houses of the vuurlinie (see below)

4. Watch the sunset over an old fort

The fortress city of Weesp became a part of the Stelling van Amsterdam or Defence Line of Amsterdam in 1982. This Defence Line consists of 46 forts, batteries, sluices, and dams and is now a Unesco World Heritage Site. As you can see from the image above it formed a neat circle around the city, protecting it from intruders coming by land. Weesp has two forts, one of which can be visited, the other one of the best spots to watch the sunset in the city.

FORT UITERMEER

This 19th-century fort was built to protect the lock, the ‘s-Gravelandse Vaart, roads, and railway. Currently, it cannot be visited, but it’s still worth heading over to as right next door you will find a little restaurant (Porterhouse) perched atop the river with spectacular sunset views. It serves a selection of dishes (mostly meat-based) and tasty homemade cocktails.

How to get to Fort Uitermeer: A comfortable 15-minute bike ride along the river Vecht brings you from Weesp to Fort Uitermeer. We used Google Maps to guide us from point A to point B. You can also take the car if you prefer, ample parking area is available 100 meters from the Fort.

FORT AAN DE OSSENMARKT

This fort dates back to 1861 and was one of the last structures built to strengthen the Defence Line of Amsterdam. Inside you will find a selection of little shops and a little exhibition area showcasing a selection of images/objects of historical Weesp. The entrance is free of charge.

4. Explore the colorful Vuurlinie houses

The Defence Line had another ace up its sleeve. Aside from an impressive array of forts and batteries that would scare the bejesus out of anyone, it made use of an ingenious system of “temporary housing” e.g. the so-called vuurlinie (loosely translates into the line of fire).

In the area surrounding the forts, a decree was issued stating no houses may be built as it impedes the troops from keeping an eye on the intruders, as well as getting in the way of any cannonballs that might get fired. A few smart locals figured out a way around this rule and built little wooden houses that could easily be burnt down should the need arise.

A couple of these little 18th-century colorful cookie-cutter houses have not only survived but are still in use to this very day.

BEST PLACES TO GO: Utrechtseweg and Molenpad

8 Things to Do in Weesp: Things to See, Practical Tips & Where to Eat

6. Hit the water in a colorful boat

Most definitely my favorite thing to do in Weesp, by a long shot! This little wooden boat was built in the shape of the 18th-century Vuurlinie houses. The boat is run entirely by volunteers, and we were lucky enough to have our boat captained by a pair of charming gentlemen with extensive knowledge about Weesp.

We sailed from the city centre of Weesp to Fort Uitermeer along de river Vecht, past the Ossenmarkt Bridge, Windmill De Vriendschap and Windmill d’Eendracht. As the urban sprawl transformed into bucolic landscapes, brick-and-mortar houses made way for some of the most spectacular houseboats along the river Vecht. I would not mind living here, although I believe my bank account is sorely lacking a few hundred thousand euros.

As the weather was spectacular, we opted to take our bikes on board the little boat and disembarked at Fort Uitermeer to grab a spot of dinner and catch the sunset. We had booked the boat ride in advance and therefore were able to tailor the journey to our needs.

PRACTICAL INFO | This activity needs to be booked in advance. The boat can be rented for a fee of €150/hour with a minimum of 2 hours rental. It can seat up to 12 people. Bookings can be done online).

GOOD NEWS | During the summer the boat runs every Tuesday and you can simply hop on for a small fee of €10, to be paid in cash. It will only leave if there are a minimum of 6 people. Bookings need to be done in advance. Find out more info online.

7. Stroll around the little center

Weesp it the size of a pocket square and absolutely impossible to get lost in. Trust me, I have a master’s degree in the art of hopelessly starting at Google Maps and realizing I am utterly lost, once again. Pocket your phone and disconnect as you take in the many little streets.

The main arteries of the city are the Herengracht, Hoogstraat and Nieuwstraat. The former two have a host of little bars and restaurants nestled by the waterfront while the latter has plenty of stores for those looking to purchase souvenirs from their visit to Weesp.

The best views over the harbor of Weesp (Kom van Weesp) can be found from the Zwaantjesbrug while those looking for a quiet stroll will want to head to the Achtergracht en Wilhelminastraat. Walk across the Ossenmarkt Bridge to the little island containing the Weesp fortification on the Ossenmarkt. Right behind the fort lies the quiet Theetuin Noot where you can grab a homemade lemonade surrounded by a lush garden.

GOOD TO KNOW | Every Tuesday a local food market is held in the morning in the Nieuwstraat

8. Rent a bike and cycle to the nearby towns

I am an utter menace on a bicycle, with no sense of balance to speak of and the aforementioned lack of orientation, it takes a lot to get me on a bicycle. That is, unless I am in the Netherlands where cycling paths are wide enough to accommodate my swerving, cycling routes are super well-indicated and there is a healthy respect for cyclists. Renting a bicycle and visiting the surrounding towns is something you absolutely have to do in Weesp!

PRACTICAL | We opted to rent an electric bike from Hart voor Weesp. Electric bikes start at €30 for a full day while a regular bicycle rental starts at €12,5 for a day

NAARDEN

The fortified town of Naarden is a 30-minute bike ride from Weesp (10 km). This beautiful bike ride takes you through one of the oldest natural reserves in the Netherlands, Naardermeer. The town itself is renowned for its well-preserved star-shaped fortified historical center.

Founded in the late Middle Ages, Naarden’s strategic location near the Zuiderzee made it vital in the defense line of Amsterdam. We headed here for a day from Weesp and took a boat ride along the star-shaped moat, visited the vestingsmuseum or museum dedicated to the fortress and the town’s military past and popped into the impressive Church of Naarden (wowza!).

TIP FOR LUNCH | Grab a bite to eat at the Vestiging Hotel Naarden. They serve a range of sandwiches, salads and the quintessential Dutch Krokket (vegan options available)

MUIDEN

The town of Muiden is a quick 15-minute bike ride from Weesp (4 km). Granted the route there is not the most picturesque, but trust me it’s all worth it for a chance to visit the Muiderslot. I have been twice, and would go back in a heartbeat!

Muiderslot, a stunning medieval castle around Amsterdam, dates back to 1280, built by Count Floris V. Destroyed in 1296, it was rebuilt in 1370 and played a crucial role in regional defense. Both the castle and the gardens have been beautifully restored and can be visited. Please note the castle is not suitable for travelers with limited mobility as it involves a fair amount of stairs.

PRACTICAL | Tickets to Muiderslot are included in the I amsterdam City Card; If you do not have the card, simply purchase your ticket at the entrance for €17,5.

TIP FOR LUNCH | There are a lot of tourist traps in Muiden. Upon local recommendation, I headed to Fort H for lunch. The restaurant is a 15-minute walk from Muiderslot.

PAMPUS

Fort Pampus, situated on an artificial island in the IJmeer near Amsterdam, was constructed in the late 19th century as part of the Defense Line of Amsterdam. Completed in 1895, the fort was designed to protect Amsterdam from naval attacks, controlling the strategic Pampus channel, a critical maritime route.

A couple of years back the island was fully restored and has transformed from a slightly eerie and dilapidated fort into a very cool interactive museum showcasing the history of both the Defense Line of Amsterdam and the fort itself.

What is very cool is the fact this island is fully self-sufficient in terms of energy. It is solar and wind-powered! On the island you will find a couple of places to grab a bite to eat, ingrediënts are farm-to-table, many of them grown on the tiny island. The dishes served are Dutch cuisine and vary according to the season.

GETTING THERE | Requires catching a ferry from Muiden. Pre-book your tickets in advance online. Tickets for the fort and the ferry cost €19.5. Both the ferry ride and the entrance tickets for the fort are included in the i amsterdam City Card.

8 Things to Do in Weesp: Things to See, Practical Tips & Where to Eat

Where to eat and drink in Weesp

Where to eat in Weesp

BAKERY: A typical delicacy of Weesp is the Weespermop, an almond-based biscuit that can be purchased in one of three bakeries in the city. Bakery Wesselman (Breedstraat 23); Bakery Muhl (Nieuwstad 64); Bakery Abbekerk (Slijkstraat 45).

NELIS IJSSALON: Winner of the prize for best ice cream parlor in the Netherlands.

RESTAURANT DE KRUIDENIER: Mediterranean cuisine with a lot of vegetarian/vegan options available. If the weather is good, snag a spot on their sundrenched terrace and indulge in some prime people-watching. If you are looking for a quintessential Dutch snack, try the bitterballen here. We tried the vegan version and they were divine.

PORTERHOUSE WEESP: Located next to Fort Uitermeer, overlooking the river Vecht. The perfect spot to grab a cocktail or dinner while enjoying the sunset. The specialty of this restaurant is meat, if you are a vegetarian there is significantly less choice on the menu.

CAFE RESTAURANT DE EENDRACHT: The perfect spot to grab breakfast or brunch in Weesp. Our hotel was located just above the restaurant so we had breakfast here every morning. Delish!

Where to grab a drink in Weesp

WISPE GRAND CAFE: Wispe Brewery offers a selection of locally brewed craft beers. In the summer their beer garden is super nice to sit and relax.

THEETUIN NOOT: A great place to get homemade lemonade in a super tranquil setting surrounded by a lush garden.

CAFE AALTJE: A very cozy spot to grab a local jenever or a beer. In summer you can sit outside on their terrace by the water.

Where to Stay in Weesp

8 Things to Do in Weesp: Things to See, Practical Tips & Where to Eat

WHERE WE STAYED: Boutique Hotel Weesp

This cozy hotel smack in the center of Weesp is the perfect place to spend the night. The bed is huge (and so soft), the shower piping hot, and the breakfast finger-licking good.

8 Things to Do in Weesp: Things to See, Practical Tips & Where to Eat
Source: Booking.com

CENTRAL LOCATION: Hart voor Weesp

On my very first trip to Weesp, I stayed in this centrally located hotel. The beds are comfortable, rooms are soundproof and it is also the location of the tourist office of Weesp. Additionally, you can rent bikes at this hotel, making it a convenient pick if you intend to bike around the area.

8 Things to Do in Weesp: Things to See, Practical Tips & Where to Eat
Source: Booking.com

UNIQUE ACCOMMODATION: The Clock Tower

Located in the clock tower right above the Wispe Brewery. This is the most unique place to stay in Weesp, the views are absolutely staggering. This 5-star hotel is a splurge, no denying it, but worth it for a special occasion.

Practical Tips for Visiting Weesp

How to get to Weesp

TRAIN | Weesp is a 15-minute train ride from Amsterdam. Multiple trains connecting Weesp to Amsterdam Centraal run hourly. If you purchased the Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket, your train ticket to Weesp is included.


CAR | There are various parking areas scattered in and around the city. Most of them are paid, but a handful of areas are still free. Find an overview of all the parking areas on the official city website (NL only).

Where to rent a bike in Weesp

We rented bikes at the hotel Hart voor Weesp. Electric bikes start at €30 for a full day while a regular bicycle rental starts at €12,5 for a day.

How long should I stay in Weesp

There are plenty of things to do in Weesp to keep you busy for one to two days. Personally, I would book two to three nights and use Weesp as a pièd-a-terre to discover the various villages clustered around Amsterdam. Alternatively, you can visit Weesp on a day trip from Amsterdam.

Why visiting Weesp Is Well Worth It

Many a traveler will stick to the well-worn paths when visiting Amsterdam. Exploring the city and its many, many delights, snapping a few shots with the Tulips in Lisse, and perhaps renting a bike and cycling to Zaans Schans to see the windmills.

For travelers looking to delve a little further into Dutch culture or for those who are simply looking for a welcome escape from the crowded canals of Amsterdam, Weesp is the perfect alternative. It is the perfect spot to disconnect and slow down.

That does not mean there is nothing to do in Weesp. On the contrary! We spent two days here, filled with boat rides, windmills, and leisurely bike rides to neighboring towns.

8 Things to Do in Weesp: Things to See, Practical Tips & Where to Eat

MORE TRAVEL RESOURCES FOR VISITING THE NETHERLANDS

Amsterdam: Guide to taking public transport in Amsterdam
Amsterdam: 16 Castles near Amsterdam to visit
Amsterdam: 17 Places to visit near Amsterdam by train
Amsterdam: 15 Weekend trips from Amsterdam
Amsterdam: Day trip from Amsterdam to Brussels
Haarlem: One day guide to Haarlem
North Brabant: Walking in the footsteps of Vincent van Gogh

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Caroline Muller

Thanks for dropping in! My name is Caroline, and I am a full-time writer & photographer. With this blog, I hope to harness the power of travel to do good in the world. Think connecting with local cultures, sustainable tourism, and in-depth guides to known and lesser-known adventures. Adventure awaits!

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