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When I grew up in a little village in the south of the Netherlands, Eindhoven was my main big city. 20 minutes by car (or 50 by bus) and you’d be right in the city centre. It naturally became the place where my friends and I would go shopping, watch the latest films in the cinema and hang around drinking energy drinks as all moody teenagers do. It’s a city close to my heart but sadly, its potential is often overlooked by tourists who are visiting the Netherlands. HELLO, there is more to this country than Amsterdam! As Eindhoven is basically my hometown, I’ve taken it upon myself to become a bit of an advocate for the city – to show the world what this amazing city has to offer. That’s why I’m sharing my favourite things to do in Eindhoven in this local travel guide!
Is Eindhoven worth visiting?
Even though the city is often missed by tourists, Eindhoven bursts with energy and creativity! It may not be the most popular destination to visit in the Netherlands, but it’s lively, exciting and filled with tons of quirky places to explore. Plus, it’s a LOT cheaper compared to cities like Amsterdam and Utrecht!
Being the design capital of the Netherlands, Eindhoven has some stunning pieces of architecture and is home to the annual Dutch Design Week. The city is definitely growing more popular and has started to attract more and more independent shops, cafes and unique new businesses. Rather than diving into very touristy cities like Amsterdam, Eindhoven gives you a glimpse of the real Dutch lifestyle.
Eindhoven is also home to the famous Dutch football team PSV. I’m personally not really into football, but having moved from Eindhoven to Manchester, I’m kinda forced to know a little bit about the sport. As I’m not incredibly knowledgable (or passionate) about the topic, I’m not going into too much football detail – but make sure to visit the PSV museum and stadium when in Eindhoven if you’re a fan!
How to get to Eindhoven?
By plane: Eindhoven Airport is the second largest airport in the Netherlands, and it seems to always be expanding! When visiting the Netherlands, I usually fly to Eindhoven. Even though it’s nowhere near as big as Amsterdam Airport, it still serves well over 1.6 million passengers yearly! Many budget airlines fly to Eindhoven, which is another win – I can usually get flights for as little as £15!
Right outside the airport you can find the bus stop. Bus 400 or 401 takes you to Eindhoven Central within 15 minutes. You can buy a ticket on the bus or inside the airport.
By train: Visiting Eindhoven by train is super easy, as the main station is located right inside the city centre. From Amsterdam, it takes approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes and a single ticket costs €20-€22. You can buy tickets online through Trainline or buy a ticket at the service desk at any train station in the Netherlands. Because Eindhoven isn’t a huge city, you can easily spend one day in Eindhoven and see most of the highlights.
Worried about train travel in the Netherlands? I’ve written a complete guide on how to buy tickets, how to use them and where to get discounts in this Dutch Train Travel Guide.
One Day in Eindhoven
Culture in Eindhoven
Now, let’s get into the best things to do in Eindhoven. Being crowned the design capital of the Netherlands and hometown of Philips, Eindhoven has quite a rich history. A lot of that history is still seen today. Nowadays, Eindhoven is filled with even more innovation, design, and creativity!
St. Catherine’s Church
This beautiful neo-gothic Catholic church is one of the prime buildings in Eindhoven. Right outside the main shopping street (The Demer), you can find the St. Catherine’s Church. It a little oasis for peace and quiet in the middle of a busy city centre. Take 15-30 minutes out of your day to visit this stunning piece of architecture and have a little wander inside.
Address: Catharinaplein 1, 5611 DE
Van Abbe Museum
I remember visiting the Van Abbe Museum for my art history classes back in high school. To my surprise (being a teenager forced to visit museums for a class she didn’t particularly enjoy), I had a wonderful time! The museum is filled with modern and contemporary art and is located in the centre of Eindhoven. While researching some background information about the museum, I found out that it’s actually one of the first public museums for contemporary art to be established in Europe! Pretty cool, ey?
Address: Bilderdijklaan 10, 5611 NH
One thing I love about Eindhoven is its cool and futuristic buildings. Blob is probably my favourite! On 18 September Square, you can find it stand out from the more traditional buildings. Blob was designed by Massimiliano Fuksas and inside the building, you will find some shops and a lunchroom.
Address: Nieuwe Emmasingel 12, 5611 AZ
Eindhoven is the hometown of world-famous electrical company Philips, it’s the city’s main claim to fame. The impact Philips has had on the world is immense, and it’s awesome to see that it all started in a small city like Eindhoven.
To learn all about Philips and how it turned into the global company it is today, you can visit the Philips Museum. For more information about opening times and entree prices, check out their official website here.
Address: Emmasingel 31, 5611 AZ
As well as being the hometown of Philips, Eindhoven has also been home to DAF (Europe’s largest truck manufacturers) since it opened back in 1928. Back when the company opened, they still made cars too! In this popular museum, you can learn all about the companies history, their products, and rare prototype vehicles. For more information, entree prices and opening times, check out the official DAF museum website here.
Formerly owned by Philips, Strijp-S used to be Eindhoven’s industrial park. It used to be known as “the forbidden city”, as only Philips employees had access to the grounds. Since the start of the 2000s, this neighbourhood has been transformed into a growing hub for creative companies, independent shops, and Instagram-able eateries. A perfect place to explore the more creative (and maybe a little more hipster) side of Eindhoven.
Fitting in perfectly with the creative side of the city, Strijp-S has a shopping centre filled with unique and independent shops. Urban Shopper is located in what was previously used as a Philips factory hall. It stayed true to the heritage with its industrial look.
You can find anything from fashion and design to books and furniture here! Even if you’re not planning to buy anything, it’s worth wandering around.
Address: Torenallee 60-02, 5617 BD
As you might guess from the name, Soul Kitchen is a restaurant in Strijp-S, Eindhoven. But it’s more than just a restaurant. You can read a book from their exchange library, play music, meet new people, play some of the boardgames and of course, have a bite to eat. One thing I LOVE about Soul Kitchen is that it is used as an education centre for young adults who dream of working in hospitality. I’m all for giving people the means to follow their passion!
Address: Torenallee 55, 5617 BA
If you’re a bit of an interior-freak like yours truly, Gusj Market is a must-visit in Eindhoven. It is filled with unique furniture and smaller decorative pieces. Some pieces are on the expensive side (especially for a millennial running a travel blog for a living), but it’s such a great place for home inspiration! It’s like walking through a real live Pinterest board.
Address: Ketelhuisplein 7, 5617 AE
Ice cream, patisserie, tea, coffee and probably the most Instagram friendly interior in the whole of Eindhoven (PINKS – LOTS OF PINKS!). What is not to love? Oh, and they have a variety of vegan sorbet, coconut, and almond based flavours and shakes.
Address: Leidingstraat 27, 5617 AJ
Natlab is an independent cinema located in Strijp-S. The name (translated: Physics Laboratory) was given to this cinema as the building was formerly used as Philip’s laboratory. Einstein once gave a lecture here! It now offers a meeting place for film fanatics to watch anything from famous blockbuster films to low-budget documentaries.
Address: Kastanjelaan 500, 5616 LZ
Best Food & Drinks
Eindhoven has some of the best independent cafes and restaurants out there, you just need to know where to find them! Here are some of my all-time favourites.
Coffeelab (Coffee and lunch)
I’m not gonna lie. I wish my apartment looked like the interior of Coffeelab. Coffee, plants, and furniture that might as well have been stolen straight out of my Pinterest “Home Inspiration” board. All cakes, sandwiches and other bites are homemade (and a lot of them are vegan!). Coffeelab is located right outside the train station and it’s by far my favourite place for coffee in the whole of Eindhoven! If you’re travelling by train, definitely make sure to stop here for your daily caffeine kick.
Address: Stationsplein 17, 5611 AC
Inspired by LA’s downtown gourmet market, Eindhoven opened its own food market in 2017. Bringing 21 individual eateries to the heart of the city centre. What I love about this place is that there is literally something for everybody. From sushi to special Dutch bitterballen, the Gourmet Market has it all. Add that to the cosy atmosphere and you’ve got yourself a lovely, unique dinner experience.
Address: Smalle Haven 2-14, 5611 EJ
The best place in Eindhoven for… burgers! Guess you didn’t see that coming ;). Not only is the food to die for, but the interior is also on point. With a cosy atmosphere, lovely staff and some board games to play – De Burger deserves a place on this list! (Vegetarian options available – hooray!)
Address: 5 Kerkstraat, 5611 GH
XU Noodle Bar
This family-owned restaurant in Eindhoven is THE place for everything noodle. Inspired by generations-old family recipes, XU Noodle Bar is my favourite Asian-styled restaurant in the city. Their dishes are both tasty and affordable (most dishes are under €10), a win-win! The ramen I had are definitely the tastiest ramen I’ve had since returning from Japan.
Address: Emmasingel 37, 5611 AZ
Mood is on the more expensive side, but worth every penny (or… you know… every euro cent. Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it…). If you’re looking for something a little bit different, Mood might be the perfect option for you. Their menu is a mixture of classical French dishes with a twist of Asian cuisine.
Address City Centre: Keizersgracht 6, 5611 GD
Address Strijp S: Torenallee 40-08, 5617 BD
On top of the NH Hotel Eindhoven, you can find the best view across the city: Vane Skybar. Even though the restaurant and bar on the top of this 5* hotel are a little pricey, the view is stunning!
You can get to Vane by entering the NH Hotel on Vestdijk street. Take the elevators to the 13th floor and ta-da, you’re in the restaurant! A pair of stairs will take you up to the roof, where the bar is located. We visited it the bar during the day, and luckily the sun made the view absolutely stunning, but I can only imagine how lovely it would look at night!
Eindhoven’s nightlife in Stratumseind
Stratumseind is THE place to go clubbing in Eindhoven. I’m not much of a clubbing gal myself, as I much prefer a beer at a pub, but hey, each their own. If you want to have a taste of the Eindhoven nightlife, Stratumseind is the place to go. Tons of clubs, bars, and fast food places for when you’re done partying.
Craving a beer in the pub, like yours truly? You can find O’Shea’s Irish Pub just around the corner of Stratumseind. (Address: Jan van Lieshoutstraat 9, 5611 EE)
As mentioned before, Strijp-S has some really cool places to shop, but there’s more! The main shopping street, two shopping centres and a little hideout for more authentic boutiques – Eindhoven’s got it all!
Piazza and the Bijenkorf
Close to BLOB and the 18 September Square, you find Piazza. It’s a small shopping centre with a variety of shops, restaurants, and cafes. One shop that I’d highly recommend you check out is De Bijenkorf. This high-end department store that sells anything from clothing, shoes, and cosmetics to books, toys, and home-ware.
Right outside of BLOB, you can walk through a little street called Nieuwe Emmasingel. You can find some of my favourite shops on this street, mainly because it’s a little bit different from the main shopping street. My two big recommendations on this street are Bookstore van Piere and Home Stocks.
Main shopping street – the Demer
From Piazza, you can walk straight onto the Demer – Eindhoven’s main shopping street. Here, you can find mainstream shops like Mango, Pull & Bear and Apple. Some shops I’d recommend you check out if you’re not very familiar with Dutch stores are HEMA, Blokker, and Etos.
A local market is held every Tuesday on the Demer and the Market in Eindhoven – keep this in mind when planning your shopping trip! It can get quite busy, but it’s fun to see all the market stands.
Heuvel Shopping Centre
If you’re looking for more mainstream fashion shops, you can visit Heuvel. It’s located near the Market (which is basically next to the Demer) and you can find more than 80 shops inside.
Kleine and Grote Berg
The Kleine Berg, Grote Berg, and Bergstraat create a cozy little triangle of streets in Eindhoven. The three streets are mainly known for their exclusive boutiques. If you’re looking for a little bit more character compared to the usual H&M-Zara shops, this would be a great place to start!
Eindhoven’s creativity and eye for innovation and design are seen back in two of its biggest annual events. Both GLOW light art festival and the Dutch Design Week are held in Eindhoven and attract hundreds of thousands of people from across the world. If you’re planning to visit Eindhoven in October or November, you might want to keep these in mind!
GLOW Light Art Festival
Eindhoven is also known as the City of Light. The city’s connection with Philips, Eindhoven became a source of light for the entire world. Eindhoven took that title a step further when it introduced GLOW in 2006. The light art festival includes a 5-kilometer walk through the city centre and has grown into one of the biggest light art festivals in Europe. In 2018, more than 750,000 people from across the globe visited Eindhoven for GLOW.
GLOW is usually held in November. For more accurate dates and times, you can check out GLOW’s official website.
Dutch Design Week (DDW)
Eindhoven is also the home of the annual Dutch Design Week. As the city is a hub for design and innovation, companies like Philips and DAF have pushed for Eindhoven to become the design capital of the Netherlands. The Design Academy Eindhoven and the Eindhoven University of Technology also take part in organizing this exciting week promoting these creative industries.
During the Dutch Design Week, you can find exhibitions, workshops, and seminars across 110+ locations across the city. Starting out as the Day of Design back in 1998, this event has grown to attract more than 335,000 visitors!
Six weeks before Easter Sunday, Carnaval arrives in the South of the Netherlands. This celebration can only really be described as “dressing up for 4 days, getting drunk, party and enjoy the sight of Carnaval parades with handmade Carnaval floats through cities and towns”. Yes, it sounds crazy! But hey, it also sounds fun, right?
Carnaval is traditionally celebrated in the south of the Netherlands (yes, in Eindhoven!) and if you’re planning to visit the country for Carnaval I’d highly recommend going to Eindhoven. This is mainly because of the cheap airlines flying to Eindhoven Airport. Hotels are generally speaking a lot cheaper in Eindhoven compared to other big cities and you can easily take the train to other cities to continue the celebrations.
Where to stay in Eindhoven?
Because Eindhoven is not a massive city, I’d highly recommend staying somewhere in the city centre. It’s local, close to everything and even if you’re planning on travelling outside the centre, public transport can take you there.
My number one recommendation for places to stay in Eindhoven has to be the Student Hotel. Located right outside the train station, in the heart of Eindhoven. It’s very affordable and has that unique touch that I really appreciate. There are communal areas where you can meet people, play games or get on with work in a co-working environment. And it’s not just for students!
“Our mission is to create boundary-blurring spaces where students, travellers, mobile professionals, creative nomads, and enterprising minds can connect and thrive in smart design co-living and co-working spaces.”Student Hotel Eindhoven
For more information and availability, check out the Student Hotel here.
Address: Stationsweg 1, 5611 AA
Looking for a higher-end hotel to stay at? You might want to check out Brabant’s very first 5* hotel, NH Hotel Eindhoven. Located only 5-minutes by foot from the train station, the NH Hotel lays in the heart of Eindhoven. What better location to stay at? As mentioned before in this travel guide, the NH Hotel also has a beautiful Sky Bar. From there, you can enjoy the sight of the entire city.
I hope that this guide has either persuaded you to visit this lovely city in the future or helped with your planning. Either way, if you have any questions regarding Eindhoven, let me know in the comments!