How to Spend a Day in Leiden

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Leiden is a charming town which feels a lot like Amsterdam, only smaller. Like in the capital, boats and bicycles seem to be the popular way of getting around, although here just about everything worth visiting is walkable. Home to the oldest university in The Netherlands, Leiden has many beautiful buildings which boast some of the very best traditional Dutch architecture, rivalling Amsterdam as well as the rest of the country. This is why Leiden should be high up on your list when visiting the Low Lands.

Just a short walk from the city’s old gates towards its centre will take you past a traditional Dutch windmill and weave in and out of cute streets lined with individual cafes, restaurants, bars and shops. There aren’t many ‘big name’ tourist attractions here, but then there doesn’t need to be, because wondering around the town and ducking into little cafes and shops will likely take up the majority of the day. Without further or do, here’s our top tips for visiting Leiden.

Learn the local history at the Pilgrim museum 

If you’re even the faintest bit interested in history then this place is a must. Consisting of only two rooms, the Leiden American Pilgrim museum is set up for you to view and understand what typical life was like for these people hundreds of years ago. The museum has original books, paintings and artefacts that you are allowed to pick up and explore yourself (including a 12th Century chair that you can sit on!) The woman working there currently is excellent and could answer any possible questions we had. Entrance cost us €5 per person which seemed very reasonable - would totally recommend giving this place a visit!

View the city from Burcht Van Leiden

This is a castle like building situated on a small hill just large enough to give you decent views of the cathedral and the city. The 11th century keep is surrounded by a park which would make a great stop for a pick-nick lunch if you're trying to save some money.

Stop for a drink by the canal

There are so many places where you can grab a drink alongside the canal, almost all of which make a great spot for taking the time to sit back and watch the boats glide by.

How to get to Leiden

From Amsterdam, Leiden is about a 45 minute drive or a half hour train ride. The train will cost you about €10 each way and regularly throughout the day. To check train times, click here.

Thanks for reading,

Will & Melissa

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