I’ll be honest, Eindhoven wasn’t high up on my list to visit. If I’m even more honest, the only reason I’d ever heard of the place was because of their football team – so you can see where there was a lack of cultural knowledge.
I’m always up for visiting new places though, and even better when it costs me less than £30 (which is how I ended up visiting Oslo a couple of years ago). So when my two good friends (and fellow travel bloggers) Erin and Lily suggested we take a trip this year back in January, we started our search for where we could get to for a little weekend away.
We settled on Eindhoven 1. because the flights were £20, 2. because none of us had ever been there before and 3. we could go there and back within the weekend – what more could we want – so we booked it on January 1st, and last weekend, the time came for us to take our trip.
I’d been looking forward to this break all year as although we have been friends for a couple of years now, this would be our first time going away together, and I was excited to spend more time with them both.
It was only until a couple of days before the trip that I realised I knew nothing about the city. Apart from booking the hotel, I hadn’t even looked up Eindhoven online, which was very unlike me as I like to have a plan whenever I go abroad… but it turned out the other two were in the same boat as me so the whole weekend we just ‘winged it’.
There is something strangely exhilarating about going to a place you haven’t researched as it makes you step outside of your comfort zone. I was expecting Eindhoven to be similar to Amsterdam, but it was completely different: Although there was a good ‘party’ scene after hours, the buildings were much more modern and contemporary and as it is more inland, there were no canals like they have in the capital – there were insane numbers of cyclists though so watch your step!
As there were no landmarks that stood out as ‘must-visits’ like you get in Barcelona or Rome, we thought that discovering an area would be a good way to spend an afternoon, and we were truly intrigued by this place.
This area is about a 20-minute walk outside of the centre of Eindhoven, but well worth a visit. It’s hard to explain what it was like in all its glory – it reminded me a lot of Berlin meets Brixton as it was very industrial, quirky and ‘techy’ as Philips had a large presence in the area until around the year 2000.
If you really wanted to feel like a local, you could rent a bike and cycle to this area too!
There are a lot of metal structures that house flats, warehouses and loft spaces, but also bars, homeware stores and ice cream parlours. In the midst of everything that is going on too, there is a huge skate park, amazing street art and a lot of open land. If you are there over a weekend, there is a free walking tour every other week around Strijp-S.
We stayed about a 5-minute walk out of the city centre at the ‘Sandton Eindhoven Centre‘ which was a lovely hotel in the perfect location. It was really easy to find from the bus station and the staff were very welcoming. The lobby also had a gorgeous bar with blush pink seats and a fireplace.
We had a quadruple room, with two lovely comfy double beds and all of the amenities we wanted; my only criticism would be that there was no full-length mirror – not great when you have three girls staying in there, but otherwise a really lovely hotel.
One of the things that took me aback about Eindhoven was how good the shopping was. There were some names that we have here in the UK, but also some that are a little harder to find on the high-street, which are always good to have a little browse around. There were also a couple of Dutch homeware stores that had some incredible pieces – such a shame we only travelled with hand luggage as I could have brought so much back with me!
We spent our last couple of hours in the city having a browse through the shops and I even picked up a few summery bits to wear when the weather gets a bit warmer.
If Eindhoven is famous for one thing, it’s being the birthplace of Philips. There is a museum in the centre of the city that is dedicated to the history of the company which is €9 to get in. You’ll notice when you’re walking around the city that so many of the buildings are still Philips offices, which shows the staggering presence they still have.
The UFO building (really called Evoluon Eindhoven) is one of the attractions we didn’t get the chance to go around, but we did see it on our taxi ride back to the airport. It was built by Philips in the shape of a UFO to represent Philips ‘landing’ in the city and is now used as an events space.
The hotel we stayed in was only a stone’s throw away from the Van Abbe Museum, which had a lovely peaceful location on the waterfront. The museum houses different exhibitions throughout the year and is one of Eindhoven’s most popular tourist attractions.
If gin is your kind of thing (and let’s face it, of course it is) then you have to visit the bottle distillery, where you learn about the history of gin, get to sample different flavours and make your own sample.
It’s around the corner from the Van Abbemuseum and has a bar that looks onto a canal with lots of outdoor seating so you really feel like you’re on holiday. The distillery is housed in an old textile factory where you’ll also find independent businesses selling arts and crafts.
I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about a city that might not have been on your radar before and fancy a little trip away. The flight time is only 1 hour so it’s the perfect place to go for the weekend.
Have you been to Eindhoven before? What did you get up to?