The top 10 Things to Do in Zwolle 

The Top 10 Things to Do in Zwolle in 2024

If I had to pin down one city that would capture the essence of Dutch charm, I would say it’s Zwolle. It is situated in the heart of the Netherlands. It is the capital of the province of Overijssel. A lively Hanseatic city with a medieval center, a magical theater, many shopping opportunities, and lovely parks. 

A Hanseatic city lives on the water, so yes, the waterways are an important part of the city experience. You can also see the star-shaped canal around the old city. This city is brimming with various experiences for you. So, without further ado, let’s embark on a journey through the top 10 things to do in Zwolle.

1. Stroll Through the Historic Center

You can start your exploration of Zwolle by walking through its historic center. You will see old streets, some big old churches (de Peperbus), a synagogue, and stunning facades of centuries-old buildings, each telling its own story. Don’t forget to stop by the iconic 600 year old Sassenpoort, one of the city’s medieval gateways. There is also a church that is now a tourist office a bookstore with a restaurant in it. Fascinating! 

2. Visit Museum de Fundatie

Immerse yourself in art and culture at Museum de Fundatie. It organizes interesting exhibitions. It is housed in a striking neoclassical building and showcases a diverse collection of contemporary and classical art. Lose yourself in the masterpieces by renowned Dutch artists and explore the thought-provoking exhibitions that celebrate creativity and innovation. It is open to everyone for free on Friday evenings. 

3. Climb the Peperbus Tower

For panoramic views of Zwolle, climb the iconic Peperbus Tower. At 75 meters tall it dominates the city skyline. The eye-catching tower looks a like a pepper mill. As you ascend 236 steps (almost at a height of 50 meters) up the spiral staircase, feel the excitement build. Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the entire city, the surrounding countryside, and the glittering IJssel River. It’s the perfect spot for capturing memorable photos and taking in the beauty of Zwolle from above. Fun fact: it is such a famous tower, that it has a cheese named after it peperbuskaas (spicy pepper cheese).

4. Indulge in Zwolle Cuisine

Visit local restaurants and cafés to savor traditional Dutch dishes with a modern twist. Don’t miss out on trying Zwolse Balletjes, a sweet treat made with dark chocolate and filled with a delicious Zwolle liqueur. This authentic treat has been around since 1845, so it’s a must-try. Pair your meal with a locally brewed craft beer for a complete culinary experience. Plus, you have to visit many of the culinary establishments in Zwolle. Go ahead and try some regional dishes such as Zwolse Mosterd (mustard), Peperbuskaas (cheese specialty), Balletjes (sweets) and Blauwvingerkoekjes (cookies).

5. Wander Through the Grote Markt

The Grote Markt is situated in the Zwolle City Center, the main square. It is surrounded by historic buildings, charming cafés, and bustling terraces, this vibrant square is the perfect place to soak up the local culture. Enjoy a cup of coffee, enjoy local food, people-watch, and immerse yourself in the lively energy that radiates from this social hub. You can even browse the stalls for some rare finds. 

6. Visit Waanders In de Broeren

Prepare to be amazed as you step inside Waanders In de Broeren, a unique bookstore housed in a stunning Gothic church. Well, it is definitely much more than an ordinary bookstore. You can spend hours here browsing through an extensive collection of books and admiring the beautiful stained-glass windows. Also, take a moment to appreciate the harmonious blend of spirituality and literature. Truly wonderful! 

7. Explore the Zwolle City Walls

Are you curious about the medieval city walls of Zwolle? You can walk along the well-preserved fortifications and imagine the city’s rich history. Enjoy the peaceful surroundings as you soak in the ambiance and reflect on the stories that these walls have witnessed throughout the centuries. This is a whole separate activity for you, since these walls deserve special attention. 

8. Experience Theater De Spiegel

Next up: immerse yourself in the world of performing arts at Theater De Spiegel. This modern and architecturally impressive theater hosts a variety of performances, from theater and dance to music and opera. Catch a show and experience an evening of pure enjoyment. 

9. Enjoy Nature at Park de Wezenlanden

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and unwind in the tranquility of Park de Wezenlanden. It is one of the biggest parts outside the city center. This expansive park offers lush green spaces, serene lakes, and picturesque walking paths. Take a leisurely stroll, have a picnic, or simply relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. There is also a petting zoo for the kids. You can easily plan a day out with the family here. 

10. Enjoy the Blauwvingerdagen

Blauwvingerdagen is one of the coziest fairs in all the Netherlands. It is coming back in July 2023, on Wednesdays. Shopkeepers and traders come with great bargains for everyone. The largest fair in the Netherlands attracts over 50,000 visitors and has over 450 stalls. 

Zwolle has a lot to offer, whether you’re out for a solo adventure or with family. You will have a fully booked itinerary. From its enchanting historic center to its delicious culinary scene and unique attractions, Zwolle offers a delightful blend of old-world charm and modern allure.


Aemilius Dost is originally from the Netherlands but moved to Mexico more than two years ago. He started traveling when he was 19 and visited over 20 countries spread over North, and Central America, Europe and Asia. He currently works as a freelance SEO specialist and has worked with companies such as Surfshark, SafetyWing, and BP.

Articles: 209

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *