The 11 best activities of Leeuwarden!

Now that you’re in Leeuwarden, you’re wondering what to do? Well we wrote about the 10 best activities of leeuwarden for you.

Do a walking tour
The best way to get to know a new city is doing a walking tour. A local guide can not only tell you some beautiful stories but can also give you a lot of useful tips on where to go. We of course advise you to join one of the open free walking tours by A Guide to Leeuwarden. Every Saturday at 12:00 you can also join an English spoken Leeuwarden Free Tour. Besides the regular Dutch tours there is also a  Street  Art Tour. These walking tours are based on voluntary contributions.

Climb the Oldehove
You can climb the leaning Oldehove tower from April to October (open: 13:00-17:00, entrance €3,50). From 28 June to 10 September you can also climb the tower of the Saint Boniface Church  (Wed & Sat from 14:00-16:00, entrance €1,50). At 85m, it’s the highest church tower of Friesland.

Explore the canals yourself
Rent an electric open boat at GreenJoy, located at the Willemskade 1 or the Blokhuispoort. Depending on the day and the time you can rent a boat from €15 to €25 an hour, with a minimum renting period of two hours and a deposit of €50. If you like more of a challenge, rent a SUP or Kayak from the City beach. If you rather want to see some nature, head to the Potmarge, a river that meanders through the city.

Visit a museum
Leeuwarden has ten nice and diverse museums. From the big ones like the Fries Museum and the Princessehof, who have both a historical collection and modern art, to the more nostalgic museums like ‘t Andere Museum en Museum de Grutterswinkel. We wrote about the ten best museums of leeuwarden. Continue to read here.

Spot the best Street Art!
Leeuwarden is not only a beautifull historic city. It is also a city full of Street Art. Join a guide on a Street Art Tour or start hunting yourself with the Street Art Map. On this Dutch Map you can find two routes of 5KM that will show you many big murals. You can also do walking tours along painted electricityboxes.

Join an open flat boat!
Explore Leeuwarden with a view from the water and you’ll get a whole new perspective of the city. You don’t have to do any window shopping any more. Instead you can enjoy the tranquility of the water and the beautiful historical buildings from the old town of Leeuwarden that will appear above you. Between April and October, you can join an open boat tour through the canals of Leeuwarden. Stichting Praamvaren Leeuwarden offers multiple boat tours with a guide who tells stories in Dutch. Ticket are €5,00 and are available at their office in the Kleine Kerstraat. It is also possible to explore the canals on a Venetians gondola!

Visit the Blokhuispoort
Ever wondered how it is to be a prisoner? The former prison Blokhuispoort is open to the public and houses shops in former cells, a cafe and a music stage. You can also get a guided tour by a former prison guard. This tour is only available in Dutch however. The tours are organised every Saturday at 14:00 and 16:00. A guided tour costs €10,00 per person. But it is alo possible to wander around the former prison without a guide. Don’t forget to visit the H-wing all the way in the back.

Fun Shopping
In the smaller streets like Nieuwe Oosterstraat, St. Jacobsstraat, Naauw, Vijzelstraat, Kleine Kerkstraat and Kelders, you’ll find most of the nice shops. De Pluymgraaff is one of the most colourful shops of Leeuwarden. Kabinett sells Paper & Home gifts with a Scandinavian touch and a vintage twist. At the Lektuurhal you can get your foreign newspapers and magazines from a real Liwwadder. And discover another world at Panta Rei. If you are looking for more nice shops to visit, try to score a pink Funshop Guide or continue to read here.

Find all the Miniature People
The Leeuwarden photographer/artist Michel Tilma likes to photograph miniatures. With the right perspective, his miniatures look just like real people on your photo. Since August 2019, he decided to leave his miniatures behind in the city. There are now more than 50 for you to find.
In collaboration with A Guide to Leeuwarden, there is now also a map with a route and hints (in Dutch) for sale for only 2 euros! Click on the link to find the shops that sell the map.

Watch a film
Slieker Film is the arthouse cinema of Leeuwarden. It is located in the building of the Fries Museum on the Wilhelminaplein (aka Zaailand) and is primarily run by volunteers. The films they show here are art films and they are generally intended to have an artistic value, rather than to appeal the masses. If you’d rather watch big blockbuster movies, check Tivoli or Cinema. Films in the Netherlands are always shown in their original language with Dutch subtitles. If you want to know which films are on display check Mr. Movie.

Go Ice-skating
Leeuwarden is the start and finish of the notorious Elfstedentocht (eleven city ice-skating tour). But due to our sea climate we don’t get that many tough winters. The last time the Elfstedentoch was skated was in 1997! Luckily you can still ice skate in Leeuwarden for a big part of the year in the indoor Elfstedenhal. For €6,50 you can skate on a 400m track. You can also rent skates here in case you didn’t bring them yourself. If you do get the chance to skate outside, do it!

Download a free map if you visit Leeuwarden!

Explore more tips about Leeuwarden or check the various walking tours we offer to discover the city with one of our guides!