5 things you have to do when in Arnhem
Why should the big cities get all the attention, the Netherlands has plenty of smaller cities which are full of great attractions, take Arnhem, for example. Arnhem has plenty to offer the traveller willing to go further afield than Amsterdam.
Arnhem, for those who think the name sounds familiar but can’t place it on a map, is close to Ede and Wageningen. In fact, it’s only about 35 minutes away from Wageningen on public transport. It’s around an hour away from Amsterdam on public transport. So, when you get there, what should you do?
1. Visit Burger’s Zoo
Grab an OV fiets and get yourself to this amazing 45-hectare zoo; it’s only about a 20-minute cycle from the station. One thing that sets it apart from other zoos is its eco-displays. What are they, you say? Eco-displays are replicas of natural habitats on a large scale. In these, animals and visitors roam together in nature.
Experience the humidity and dense vegetation of the jungle before you head to the Mexican-American rock desert. Gaze in awe at the largest living coral reef in Europe or make your way across the plains of the savannah, where the giraffes and rhinos wander, before trekking through the Malay rainforest.
Photo: Burgers' Zoo
The latest eco-display is the largest indoor mangrove in the world! There, you can see butterflies, manatees and various species of crab. The zoo is just downright amazing! To go in, you’ll need a ticket, which costs 23,50 euros for adults or 22,50 if you buy online- which they encourage. There’s also the possibility of getting a combi-ticket for the zoo and Dutch Open Air Museum (which we’ll come to later) for only 36,50 euros. The zoo is open daily in the winter period from 9am until 5pm.
2. Discover the Dutch Open Air Museum
If you’ve not spent all your time at the zoo, we totally understand if you do, then hop back on that bike and cycle to the Dutch Open Air Museum. It’s really close by, but it’ll take you about 17 minutes to cycle as you have to take a detour. Anyway, what’s so great about this museum then? After all, there are plenty of museums in the Netherlands… Well, this one takes you on a journey through time and Dutch history using authentic buildings, objects and true stories.
At the museum, you’ll be able to literally walk through time, observing how the village blacksmith works, visiting old windmills, farms, breweries and playing traditional Dutch games. There are so many fun activities to enjoy, you can even go skating and snow tubing in the winter. It’s not just the distant past the museum looks at, it brings you from two centuries ago to recent times.
Tickets cost 19,50 euros if you buy them at the museum and 18 euros online. That combi-deal ticket we mentioned earlier is starting to sound more appealing now, right? The museum is usually open daily from 10am to 5pm, but until December 6 the opening times differ, so it’s best to check the times online before you go.
Photo: Nederlands Openluchtmuseum
3. See Arnhem from above on a glass balcony
By far the best place to get a panoramic view of Arnhem is to step out onto the glass balconies at the St. Eusebius church. You’ll feel like you’re walking on air as you see clearly below your feet- this is not for those with a fear of heights. The balconies can be found on the east and west sides of the church tower and are 60 metres above the ground. Don’t fancy that? You can also take the glass panorama lift to 73 metres high- the highest point in the city.
The St. Eusebius church is actually the only one in Europe with a lift in the tower. You don’t just get great views from the top; you can also look closely at the carillon bells. Tickets cost nine euros for adults. The opening times vary depending on the month you go in, but if you go before the end of December it’s open Monday to Saturday from 11am to 4pm and Sundays from 12pm to 4pm.
Photo: © Raimond Spekking
4. Go underground
We’re not speaking figuratively. Literally go underground on a guided tour of the historical cellars underneath the shopping streets. In Arnhem, there are 36 of these historical cellars and they are connected to each other. It’s a great way to get to know the history of Arnhem and as it is underground, it is an all-kind-of-weather activity.
Guided tours are given all year round on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 2pm; you don’t have to book, you can just join. The fare for adults with a guide is just five euros. The cellars are open from Wednesday to Saturday from 12pm until 5pm. You’ll find this attraction at the Oude Oeverstraat 4a 0.
5. Get boozy
Why not get a bit boozy on your visit to Arnhem by visiting the Dutch Wine Museum? There you’ll learn everything there is to know about wine, including its past and future. Of course, you don’t have to take part in a wine tasting, but wine not ;)? The museum is located in one of the underground cellars and is only open on Saturday from 10am to 5pm.
If you want to take part in a tasting, you’ll have to reserve in advance and pick either 1.30pm or 3pm to start the tour that precedes the tasting. You’ll get to try three different types of wine with the basic package or five with the luxury one. The luxury package takes a more thorough look at wine and the tours start between 10am and 10.30am and go on until 1pm.
The basic package, including entry to the wine museum, the tour and wine tasting (3 wines) costs 17,50 per person, while the luxury package is 59,50 euros per two people.
When are you heading to Arnhem?
Now that you know how much great stuff Arnhem has to offer, when will you be planning your trip? Of course, we have only named five things which you could do. The city has so many other attractions, from beautiful parks and gardens to shopping streets and countless museums. There is plenty to enjoy for any age or interest.