Ringed by a star-shaped canal and ancient city walls, medieval Zwolle is all too often a case of love at first sight. Within the ancient city, quaint cobbled lanes lead to lively fountain-pierced squares framed by cafe pavement terraces, independent boutiques, contemporary art works and hipster coffee shops. Summer ushers in weekend markets, festivals, cocktails on the beach and mellow paddling in a canoe or kayak along the lily-pad-speckled canal.
In the 14th and 15th centuries Zwolle garnered wealth as the main trading port for the Hanseatic League and became a cultural centre of some repute. It remains the capital of Overijssel province and is an easy day trip from Kampen or Deventer.