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Remnants of these cultures remain, but today's Breda is a cheerful place, known for its friendly residents, excellent beer, and Mentos mints. You may immediately be intrigued by the monuments mentioned in a Breda city guide, as there are Gothic, medieval, and contemporary buildings living side by side. The city pops with colour and personality, with lush green parks and narrow streets decorated with boxes of vivid floral arrangements. Any Breda city guide will mention monuments like the Castle of Breda and the impressive architecture of Saint Anthony's Cathedral, but one of the biggest pleasures in Breda is simply sipping a locally-brewed beer. You'll find cuisine to suit every taste in bustling squares like the Grote Markt and Havermarkt, with a wide range of casual cafes and more upmarket restaurants.
There's certainly no shortage of monuments and things to do in Breda's city centre, but one that towers above the rest is the Grote Kerk. You can admire the gleaming white stones of this beautifully restored Gothic church, dating back to the 15th century, from nearly every point in the city. Its tower extends to a dizzying height of 97 metres. Breda also has plentiful green spaces, with one of the most distinctive being the Valkenberg (Falcon Mountain). This sprawling park is punctuated with the peaceful tinkling of its water fountains, and is the perfect spot for a leisurely stroll or sumptuous picnic. On the south side of the Valkenberg you'll find the medieval 12-century Begijnhof, which served as a traditional shelter for unmarried women. A walk around Breda's central Grote Markt square provides ample opportunity to view well-preserved medieval architecture as well as its 18th century city hall. The Mastbos nature reserve is a short distance away, dotted with pristine lakes, soft meadows, and an astonishing variety of bird life.
Visitors arriving from Amsterdam or Schiphol Airport can reach Breda in roughly one hour on the high-speed Fyra train service. Those driving from Amsterdam can reach Breda by taking the A2 motorway followed by the A27. Additionally, Breda is located less than a 90 minute drive from all three main ferry ports in the Netherlands. Once you've arrived, you'll find that most main sights in the city centre are walkable due to the compact nature of the city. Yet rented bikes are a top form of Breda transport for visitors, and a convenient local bus service is also available.