I think Zutphen is such an amazing little town, I always love spending time there. So today I treated myself to an afternoon of walking the adorable streets and browsing the many cute and interesting shops. If you get the chance to go there, don’t miss out on these hotspots!
It’s strange, isn’t it? How you can feel so at home at a place, even though you have no roots there whatsoever. I don’t really know why, but that is the case with me and Zutphen. Being there always makes me feel happy and relaxed and completely at one with myself. All that without ever spending more than two consecutive days in the town. Do I somehow belong here? Who knows, maybe I will go and live here in a few years.
Anyway, I did spend a lovely afternoon in Zutphen today as a kind of miniature holiday. The city has so many curious little shops, you can just keep on exploring. I will list my top hotspots in Zutphen for you.
My all-time favourite will have to be the organic grocery store, the “Estafette“. It is huge! And they have such an amazing selection of products. They basically have everything you might need, from veggies and ready-made sauces to toiletries and cleaning products. I always drop by when I visit Zutphen, it just feels like pure luxury to allow yourself to buy some things there. My usually strategy is to deliberately not take a basket so that I won’t buy too much. But every time it leads me walking around, balancing all my stuff on top of each other, wishing I had just taken a basket… As I am not an impulsive buyer at all, you can imagine the temptations the shop exposes you to!
Now that we are on the subject of food, if you want to have a bite to eat, you can go to one of the numerous cafes on the big market square. Most show their specialty or menu of the day on signs outside, so you can decide which suits your tastes best. However, if you are looking for a delicious yet simple meal and are willing to walk a bit further (about 500 meters from the market square), I sincerely recommend you to go to “Gasterij de Gracht”. They serve many delicious types of pancakes, as well as an array of other meals. Up till now I have always chosen a pancake when eating there, but the food eaten by people around me always looked great too.
My final recommendation concerning food is a little ice cream shop. Or actually, it is a chocolate atelier selling ice cream on the side, Bonbonatelier Janson. Don’t let yourself be tempted into going to one of the bigger shops selling ice cream, this one is so much better! They sell ice cream made only from real, natural ingredients, so no refined sugar, no preservatives and no artificial colours or flavours. And oh my, what an amazing taste that makes! It is sweetened with natural substances and sweet enough to be enjoyed by everyone. Even though they “only” have fourteen flavours, there is bound to be something to your liking.
While you are busy exploring Zutphen, make sure to check out the “hofjes”. Those are little, enclosed gardens between the houses, but open to everyone. Some are really tiny, others are big enough to contain several benches and multiple paved paths. One of them even harbours the terrace of a nice café (which is another great place, by the way. In my opinion it’s the best place for tea and cake, and lunch as well probably). I love to go around looking at the hofjes, enjoying their lush greens and sometimes sitting down for a quiet moment to read a bit or just sit.
As for actual shopping, there are two really good bookstores, one more normal (Van Someren en Ten Bosch) and the other kind of “alternative” (de Boekerij). I think both of them have a great selection, especially if you are into books that encourage you to think.
Enjoy your visit!