If you’re looking for some nice places to visit during your time in the Netherlands, Leiden should definitely be on your list! It’s a bustling city with some nice spots and beautiful places, also outside of the city center. In February, I spent the weekend in and around Leiden. In this article I’d like to share with you our itinerary.
About Leiden and how to reach
Leiden is a lively student city, but also a historical city. You can find Leiden in the Western side of the Netherlands, between the cities of Amsterdam & the Hague and near the beach. For the itinerary which I share with you it’s probably best to have a (rental) car, but if you’re planning a trip just to Leiden, you can also reach the city by train. From Amsterdam it’s only 30 minutes by train! You can find the actual public transportation option through 9292.
Day 1: arrival and staying at a beautiful Airbnb
Rijpwetering – our stay
Our first day of the trip was on Friday. That day, we still needed to work, so we went to Leiden – or actually Rijpwetering – in the evening. Through Airbnb we rented a nice apartment located in the town of Rijpwetering, just a 15 minute drive from Leiden. It was a really nice stay at a quiet location, along the water. If you’d like to have some more information about the apartment we stayed at, you can have a look here.
Dinner at Paal 7
For our first night, we choose to have dinner at the restaurant Paal 7, located in Roelofarendsveen (only a 10-minute drive away from the apartment). It’s an atmospheric restaurant with a unique location: in a greenhouse, surrounded by plants and with views over Braassemer lake. You can visit the restaurant for either lunch or dinner. There’s a wide range of options on the menu. You can chose for fish, meat or vegetarian. The food is really delicious!
Day 2: a visit to Vlietland and exploring the city of Leiden
Start of the day at Vlietland
Before we went to the city of Leiden, we started our day at the recreational area of Vlietland. Vlietland is one of the biggest nature reserves of the Netherlands! It features three lakes and therefor it’s very popular for water sports. However, it’s also a really nice place to have a perfect walk. Around the lakes, you can find forests, creeks and meadows. A great way to start your day, especially with the lovely weather we had!
Wandering around Leiden
After our walk, we drove further towards the city, where we parked our car at the parking garage of Morspoort. Here we started our walk through the city. We came across some beautiful canals, streets and paid a visit to the fortress of Leiden. We wandered around the market which took place at that day and afterwards we decided to have a drink on one of the many terraces.
A visit to the botanical gardens of Leiden
After our drink, we walked towards the Hortus Botanicus (botanical gardens) where we paid a visit to. Some of the plants were to admire inside and some outside. It’s a really nice place, especially in the seasons Spring and Summer. I think we were a little too early, but nevertheless it was a nice visit.
In Summer time, Hortus Botanicus is open from 10:00AM until 06:00PM each day. The entrance fee is 8 EUR per person.
Lunch at Pakhuis
After our visit to the botanical gardens, we went to the Pakhuis (which is located near the botanical gardens) to have some lunch. Again, this is a really atmospheric place and definitely worth a visit for lunch time. They have a wide range of lunch dishes: sandwiches, salads and more.
We’ve had planned a visit to the museum Naturalis at the end of the afternoon. It’s a little outside the city center and therefor we needed to walk (+/- 20 minutes). The museum is interesting for young and old, for the whole family. You’ll discover the world of nature, as you can find an amazing collection of 42 million plants, animals, fossils and rocks. It’s an interactive and fun museum; definitely worth a visit when you’re traveling to Leiden.
Dinner at restaurant RYP
That evening we decided to stay in Rijpwetering for dinner: at Restaurant RYP to be exact. They haven’t been open for that long (open from February 2nd 2022). It’s a little bit more of a luxurious atmosphere and the food was, again, very delicious! There’s something for everyone.
Day 3: to the beach in Noordwijk and hiking a short trail
From Leiden to Noordwijk
After our check-out at the apartment, we drove towards Noordwijk to have a visit to the beach. Again, we had some great weather, which made our visit perfect.
Hiking trail through the dunes
We planned to do a hiking trail along the beach and through the dunes of Noordwijk. We choose a hiking trail through the outdoor app Komoot. It’s an easy trail of approximately 5 kilometers, which took us around an hour, one and a half. The hiking trail is called ‘Malotenpad en omgeving rondje vanuit Noordwijk’ at Komoot.
We’ve had a great weekend in Leiden with some perfect weather! We’ve seen much of both Leiden and its surroundings. Do you still have some questions left about your visit to Leiden? Please don’t hesitate to ask me in the comment section below.