Day Trip: Dordrecht and Kinderdijk

Looking for a day out for sightseeing here in South Holland that is inexpensive, easy-to-do and memorable? Consider a visit to Dordrecht and Kinderdijk by the Waterbus…

historical building in Dordrecht

I recently had extended family visiting from Canada and wanted to plan a day of sightseeing that would offer some great landmarks outside of The Hague but not be too far away that it would require starting out at the crack of dawn (they were on holiday after all). It also needed to be relaxed, affordable and not include things they had seen or places they had visited on previous trips. I thought Dordrecht would be a good choice, considering its historical significance as the oldest city in Holland, as well as its easy-to-maneuver old town center. But instead of taking the train (as I had done previously), I thought we would experiment with the Waterbus from Rotterdam.

Off we went, leaving The Hague a little before noon with a satchel full of sandwiches and drinks on our way to Rotterdam. Unfortunately, Mother Nature was giving us typically conflicted Dutch weather; what had been a bright sunny morning was transitioning into a cloudy grey afternoon as we traveled along our Metro E route from Den Haag Central Station to Leeuvehaven in Rotterdam. A short walk brought us to Willemsplein next to the Erasmus Bridge and the Waterbus platform.

It was only a short 10 minute wait before the #20 Waterbus arrived and we boarded for our river excursion to Dordrecht. We purchased full day passes which allow for getting off and on any Waterbus line as often as we wanted. The cost for 4 of us was €50.

A word of warning. Despite the doors to the front of the craft being unlocked, passengers are not allowed onto the forward deck, only the rear deck. I learned that the hard way with a warning from one very militant-looking female purser who collected me from this off-limits area where I had ventured to get a picture of the giant Noah’s Ark replica which was docked at the Waterbus station in Krimpen aan den ijssel.

Arc of Noah in Dordrecht area

After being escorted back to my comfy seat inside the cabin, our catamaran-styled boat continued its journey southward. In total, it took about 40 minutes to reach Dordrecht by Waterbus which offers a terrific view of the city as you approach by water…

Dordrecht seen from Waterbus

The Waterbus dock (Merwekade) is just a short walk from the Groothoofdspoort, one of the original entry gates into what was a completely walled city back in the 1500-1600s. The colourful stonework is impressive…

Groothoofdspoort in Dordrecht

We then headed down the Kuipershaven to view the stately Grote Kerk and eat our lunch. It was during this stop that I announced where we would be heading next…Kinderdijk!

Dordrecht Grote Kerk and marina

Now this is one of my absolute favourite places to visit and I knew my guests would be equally impressed when they saw the 19 windmills all together. Because the site is a bit isolated, one rarely gets to tag it onto a day out. Usually it would be the main focus. But when traveling by Waterbus, it does in fact become very accessible.

Waterbus stop in Ridderkerk

If you exit the Waterbus at De Schans in Ridderkerk, you can change to the ferry which crosses over to Kinderdijk. The ride on the Kinderdijk ferry is a short 10 minutes (second stop), and although not operated as a Waterbus line, you are able to travel free with the all-day pass. If you don’t have an all-day pass, you need to buy a ticket for €1.70 (in each direction). OV Chipcard and PIN cards are not accepted.

As expected, the relatives loved Kinderdijk…

Kinderdijk windmills in Holland

We were able to catch the last ferry from Kinderdijk at 17:45, transferred again at De Schans to Waterbus #20 and were back at Willemsplein in Rotterdam city center 20 minutes later.

And there you have it…Dordrecht with a side of Kinderdijk makes for a delicious sightseeing meal


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