Tiel

Once a prominent trade town, Tiel is one of those largely unknown historic cities in the Eastern Netherlands with a tale of its own. It doesn't see too many visitors today, but the old centre still holds monumental buildings from former glory days and is famous for its fruits production. When you're in the Netherlands in May, Tiel is an excellent base to explore the lovely Betuwe orchards in bloom. In September, the city is the stage for the largest free pop music festival in the country: Appelpop, as well as for a flower parade. Although mid-sized, this is the largest city in the Betuwe area.

Understand

The city's mascot, Flipje was once a famous marketing cartoon for a fruit factory

In the 20th century, Tiel became a major fruit production centre. The city's mascot is still a little boy called Flipje, who looks a whole lot like a raspberry with arms and legs. The figure was used for marketing by a large fruit and jam factory that stopped operations here in the 1990's, but remains the city's mascot. Many locals consider Tiel to be a largely industrial town, but for those prepared to look, there's plenty of older, interesting history around.

Get in

The A15 passes by here, and the main roads into town are the N84 and the N835. The main Tiel train station has direct sprinter train connections to Geldermalsen and Utrecht, as well as a slower "stop train" connection to Elst and Arnhem. On the secondary station, Tiel Passewaaij, only the train to Utrecht stops. Trains run every half hour.

For most travellers, the train is the most convenient form of public transport when coming here. Nonetheless, Tiel is served by a range of buses, operated mainly by Arriva. They run mostly to and from smaller towns in the area, including line 42 to Druten (from where its possible to change for Nijmegen), 45 to Rhenen and Wageningen and line 46 to Culemborg and Nieuwegein.

Get around

Walk your way around the centre, as it's the best way to see the monuments up close. For the surroundings however, a bicycle will allow for further explorations of the orchards and pretty, rural landscapes. You can rent one at:

See

Parts of the former city walls remain, such as here, near the Tolhuiswal.

The many orchards in the region provide a most lovely view in May, when the thousands of fruit trees are in bloom. The sight is an attraction on its own, and best appreciated by a hike or bike trip.

The town itself has a number if historic buildings, several dating back to the 17th century when Tiel was a flourishing town surrounded by city walls. Parts of the walls are still intact, and the Tolhuiswal in the west of town is a good place to see them. Other highlights include:

Do

Buy

The city's compact and car-free shopping area has a descent collection of shops and a nice atmosphere. Saturdays draw in shopping crowds from the Betuwe region, creating a lively buzz and full outdoor terraces in summer. The main area consists of the Waterstraat and surrounding streets. Try the Weerstraat for smaller boutique stores.

At the Plein, the main square where you'll also find cafés, markets are held on Saturdays (9.00-17.00h) and Mondays (12.00-17.00h).

In terms of local specialities, fruits and jams top the list, as they are is famous for both.

Eat

There are plenty of places to eat. If you have no reservation, try the Plein, where a bunch of cafés and restaurants are situated.

Drink

There's no nightlife scene to speak of, and locals tend to head elsewhere for a proper night out. Of course, cold drinks and chats can be had in one of the town's cafés. The Plein is the place to go, with outdoor terraces in summer and a number of places to choose from.

Sleep

Places to stay in or directly around town are hard to come by, due to the limited number of visitors for this city. If you can't find what you're looking for, consider staying in the countryside (where some charming, small scale bed&breakfast are among the best choices) or sleep in nearby Nijmegen, Utrecht or 's Hertogenbosch, where hotels are plentiful.

Connect

Go next

Head out to the bustling student cities of Utrecht or Nijmegen, where there's plenty of history to be found as well. The lovely city of 's Hertogenbosch is not far away and neither is Arnhem.

For a more natural next stop, Hoge Veluwe National Park or the forests of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug are excellent picks.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, September 25, 2014. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.