Leeuwarden is the capital of the Dutch province Friesland. Located in the North-West of the country, Leeuwarden and Friesland as a whole are often overlooked by visitors. As the Netherlands are small, however, and the famous "Afsluitdijk" connects Friesland to the provinces in the west, it's just a good 90 minutes drive from Amsterdam to Leeuwarden. For those willing to make the trip, the city has lots of history to offer, plus an insight in the proud local culture of the Frisians.
Historical map of Leeuwarden
From Amsterdam, Leeuwarden can be reached by two different routes: the western route via the A7 and the A31 and the eastern one via the A1, A6 and A32.
A direct intercity service connects Leeuwarden to both Amsterdam and Schiphol Airport. The journey will take about two and a half hours.
As is the case with all old city centres in The Netherlands, the old centre of Leeuwarden is compact and can easily be explored on foot. The tourist information centre (VVV) has a number of walking and biking routes, if you want to make sure to catch all major sights. * Fietspoint Leeuwarden, . is located at the trainstation and rents out bikes for around 7.50 euro per day. Cycling is an excellent way to discover the city as well as the surrounding natural areas.
All city bus lines depart from the busstation, which is located next to the trainstation. Note that the busstation is divided in a (covered) part for local city lines, and one for regional lines. The city lines are exploited by Connexxion but for some lines smaller buses under the name "Maxx" are used. Regional lines, which operate routes to and from villages and cities in the area, are also operated by Qbuzz.
- Just north of the railway station lies Leeuwarden's compact medieval centre, surrounded by defensive canals. Picturesque buildings all within walking distance of each other include:
- Main Church, 95 Jacobijnerkerkhof. Partly dating from around 1300
- Waag, 148 Nieuwestad.
- Oldehove, 1 Oldehoofsterkerkhof. A leaning tower
- Kanselarij, 13 Turfmarkt.
- City hall, 36 Raadhuisplein. A Classicist building from the early 18th century
Other attractions include:
- Princessehof National Ceramics Museum, 11 Grote Kerkstraat, ☎ +31 (0)58 2 948 958 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +31 (0)58 2 948 968), .
- Natural History Museum Friesland, 2 Schoenmakersperk.
Go to Rumours every Monday night.
- Rembrandt, Stationweg (just along from the station). Very good food, reasonable, good vegetarian choices. Relaxed atmosphere and good background music.
- Eindeloos, Korfmakersstraat 17, ☎ +31 (0)58 2130835, . Tue-Sat, 18:00-22:30. Very good food. Most is made by using prominent local and regional suppliers which produce their products in a sustainable way. €27.50 - €40.00 (ex. drinks).
A good beerenburg is produced by local brewery Boomsma, it is available in almost every liquor store.
- Grand Hotel Post-Plaza, Tweebaksmarkt 25-27, ☎ +31 58-2159317 (email@example.com), . A 4 star luxury hotel with good prices for what it has to offer. The staff is professional and helpful, rooms are nice and the location right in the centre makes it a great base to explore town. They have some spacious suites too, if you're looking for a really luxurious stay. around €100 for a double.
- Bastion Hotel, Legedijk 6 (Located along A32 highway. Easy access by car, or take buses 14 or 320 to Aldlanstate and get out at the last stop.), ☎ 31 (0)58-2890112, . 3 star chain hotel with simple but okay rooms and good staff. Located outside the city centre but at no more than a 10 minute drive. doubles from €76.
- Hotel 't Anker, Eewal 73, ☎ +31 582125216 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . One of the cheapest options in the centre, with rooms located in 4 old houses. The cheaper rooms have shared bathrooms. All rooms are simple but clean and the service gets positive reviews. There's an in-house café and restaurant which serves simple, Dutch dishes. €29/55 for a single/double room with shared bathroom, €69,50 for a double with private facilities.
Just west of Leeuwarden lie Dronrijp and Franeker, both interesting and picturesque towns.