Planning on visiting Groningen? Read this Two days Groningen Itinerary and get to know one of the most beautiful and offbeat places to visit in The Netherlands. This post includes a complete two days itinerary of things to do, where to eat, and where to stay in Groningen. Groningen should definitely be on your to-do list! Enjoy this city guide of Groningen!
Why visit Groningen?
Groningen is the capital of the province in the northern part of The Netherlands and is a charming Dutch university town. It’s a lively city that has much to offer in terms of culture and events, beautiful historic monuments like the Martini Tower, great shopping districts, and excellent restaurants. The city of Groningen is not popular with foreign tourists. However, it’s very popular with foreign students. It’s one of the most beautiful and offbeat places to visit in The Netherlands.
How to Visit Groningen from Amsterdam?
From Amsterdam Centraal, you’ll find a direct train to Groningen. The ride is often between 2-2.5 hours one way. The cost is about 25 euros each way.
When you travel by car from Amsterdam to Groningen, it will also take about two hours. If you travel by car, make sure to check where you are allowed to park your car. In- and around the city centre you often have to pay. There is free parking in the so-called P+R areas!
Moreover, Groningen has a great budget airport that is easy to access from the city center by bus. If you find a nice flight out of Groningen, consider traveling by plane!
Day one in Groningen
Visit the Town Square Grote Markt
Start your trip with a visit to the Martinitoren (Martini Tower) and city hall, the two most prominent buildings in Groningen. They are both situated on the town square Grote Markt. On this town square you can also find a bustling food market on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, where pleasant merchants sell their meat, fish, vegetables, fruit and cheese.
Climb The Martini Tower
If you are adventurous enough and not afraid of heights, you can climb The Martinitoren (nearly 100 metres tall) for 3 Euros. You can buy a ticket 30 minutes before closing time. The Martinitoren is the city’s tallest building. On a clear day, you can easily see the countryside around Groningen and if you’re lucky enough, you can even see the Wadden Islands and the Wadden Sea. It’s possible that the tower is closed due to weather conditions. Believe it or not, the view is to die for.
Markets in Groningen
From Tuesdays to Saturdays, there is always some kind of market in Groningen’s centre, usually on the Town Square Grote Markt or the Vismarkt square. You’ll primarily find fresh foods and flowers.
Have Lunch in Groningen
After visiting the Town Square and climbing the Martini Tower, you’re probably hungry and looking for a place to lunch. A healthy lunch spot in Groningen is Feel Good. This cafe has a pleasing appearance and a healthy menu. I can also recommend you to eat at Brownies & Downies or if you’re a cat lover, at one of the two Poezencafes (cat cafes) in Groningen.
If you’re looking for traditional and typical Dutch food from the province of Groningen, you can also buy some of the following options and find a place outside to sit down and eat some traditional food: Knol’s Koek is widely known within and outside of Groningen. This special kind of gingerbread is absolutely delicious. Another treat is the Eierbal, a typical regional snack in the Northern part of The Netherlands. This eierbal consists of a combination of egg and ragout. It’s not my favourite Dutch snack, but fun to try! If you like meat, you should also buy the Groninger metworst. This typical regional Dutch sausage is very famous within the entire province of Groningen.
Visit the Groninger Museum
After lunch, you can dive into art and culture by visiting the Groninger Museum. This museum is one of the things to do in Groningen that makes locals most proud. From the Central Train Station, you can easily see the Groninger Museum. The exhibitions change during the year.
Explore the Hofjes
After the museum visit, you can explore some of the many forgotten hofjes in the historic center of Groningen (for those of you that don’t know what a hofje is, it’s a historic almshouse that was used to house those in need. Many of the stunning buildings are still used for housing today). Often, you walk through a door and discover a hidden housing complex with a hofje in the center. Hofjes are typically open to visitors during the day. Some well known hofjes are the entrances to the Sint Anthony Gasthuis, Pepergasthuis, and the Rode of Burgerweeshuis hofjes.
Visit the Prinsentuin
Another fun thing to do in Groningen is to visit the Prinsentuin. It’s a renaissance garden that is located behind the Prinsenhof which is a building that dates back to the 11th century. While a garden might not sound so spectacular to you, you’ll think otherwise as soon as you visit the Prinsentuin in Groningen. It’s truly beautiful and one of the places you have to see in Groningen. From April until October there’s a cute place that serves tea, cakes and more.
Have Dinner in Groningen
It’s probably late by now. Time to have dinner! For dinner in Groningen, you’ll have a million possibilities. Name it and you’ll find it: Asian, Mexican, burgers, pizza…
Some recommendations: Buurman & Buurman, a great place to eat pizza and the perfect place for vegetarians to eat in Groningen. Don’t worry, if you’re not vegetarian, you’ll also find more than enough choices! El Santo is also worth a visit. This hotspot for Mexican food offers Mexican-style tapas served in small portions, perfect for sharing with friends. If you love Asian Food, you can try a bite at Konbu Streetfood. On the menu, you’ll find many appetizers and meals. Furthermore, I can recommend eating on the Town Square Grote Markt, in one of Groningen’s most unique buildings, restaurant Goudkantoor. In summer, the restaurant has a spacious terrace. The food is delicious and on the upper floors you can have a beautiful view of the City.
Drinks Out in Groningen
If you don’t like feel like going back home/to your hotel yet, it might be fun to go out for some drinks. One of my favorite cafes is Mr. Mofongo, well known for cocktails that are (mostly) served by a robot and if you like beer, the Belgisch Cafe De Pintelier. This Belgian beer cafe has 28 taps with 28 different kinds of beer. Besides that, this bar in Groningen is very cosy! You can also head out towards de Poelestraat, the main place to go out in Groningen. Here you can stay out until the early hours in the morning as many bars stay open all night.
Overnight in Groningen
If you’re ready for some sleep after a busy day (and perhaps night) in Groningen, you’ll want to stay overnight. Whether you like a low budget place to stay, a romantic hideaway or a boutique hotel, Groningen has a great hotel to offer for every preference and budget. Check out the comprehensive selection in Groningen and book your perfect hotel!
Some of my recommendations are The Student Hotel (a nice place to stay that isn’t only for students), the Prinsenhof (a former hofje turned into a hotel with a stunning private garden), Straw-Hotel Hayema Heerd (an igloo made from straw, a perfect place to connect with nature) or Het Paleis Groningen (unique design hotel with 10 rooms, a perfect stay for art lovers).
Day 2 in Groningen
Have Breakfast in Groningen
If you’re an early bird, you won’t find many breakfast options in Groningen as most cafes don’t open until 10 am. One of the places that you can always get a good breakfast is at The Pool, the restaurant of the Student hotel. Another great place to visit for breakfast in Groningen is Feel Good. They make great food from the freshest and locally grown products (also plenty of vegan food options). Lastly, I would recommend Wadapartja, here you find something for everyone, whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or love a bit of meat.
Climb the World’s Tallest Freestanding Climbing Wall
After you’ve had your breakfast, it’s time to explore more of Groningen! A great thing to do, is to climb the world’s tallest freestanding climbing tower! For adventure addicts, you’ll definitely want to put this gravity-defying tower on your bucket list.
Not so keen on climbing? The city centre of Groningen is perfect for shopping. You will find a broad range of shops for clothing, shoes, gifts, art and accessories. These are the 5 best shopping streets and squares in Groningen: De Grote Markt (variety of shops, cafes and restaurants), Vismarkt and Herestraat (large chain stores and exclusive boutiques), Folkingestraat (lifestyle shops, boutiques and galleries), Kromme Elleboog (great area for clothes, jewellery and art), and Oude Kijk in ‘t Jatstraat (vintage items, old curiosities and beautiful books).
Visit the Park
And if you don’t like climbing AND shopping, you might want to explore one of the most beautiful parks of Groningen: Park Groenestein, a small, but very beautiful and special forest, where you can find many bird species, hedgehogs, squirrels, bats and plenty of more animals. In the middle of the park, you will find Huis Groenestein. The park is almost completely open to visitors, but the monumental building is private property. Another great park to visit is the Martinikerkhof, a park that is located in the centre of Groningen and one that is very popular with different crowds. Grab some food in the supermarket and go for a picnic in this city park.
Have lunch again in Groningen
Haven’t tried all the traditional and typical Dutch food from the province of Groningen yet? Or haven’t visited that nice lunch cafe yet? Scroll up to see what you should buy or where you should go for lunch!
Visit one of the oldest universities in the Netherlands
After your lunch, you can visit one of the oldest universities in the Netherlands. The university of Groningen is worth seeing. The university dates back to 1614 and it’s one of the oldest universities in the Netherlands. See if you can take a peek into any of the buildings!
Take a Guided Tour at Brewery Martinus
Not so keen in universities? At brewery (Brouwerij) Martinus there are often guided tours. Here you can have a look at the behind the scenes of the brewery and discover how they brew the most popular alcoholic drink of The Netherlands. A guided tour costs 10 euros a person and has to be reserved in advance.
Visit the City Beach
If it is a clear day, I recommend ending your two days Groningen itinerary with a drink at the city beach of Groningen, or Stadsstrand as we call it in Dutch. Jump in the water to cool down, enjoy some cocktails, and end your Groningen journey in style! You can find the city beach at DOT, Oosterhamrikkade 1013.
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