72 hours in Leeuwarden
you never want to leave
A weekend in Leeuwarden is something that you won’t forget in a hurry. You could spend the entire weekend in the city, but if you have a little extra time, it might be wonderful to experience Friesland more widely. Leeuwarden is known as one of the ‘hidden gems’ of the Netherlands, but the province of Friesland as a whole has many more facets to unveil. Naturally, a weekend is far too little time to experience everything, but you have to start somewhere!
You’re staying over for three days at the Fletcher Hotel- Paleis Stadhouderlijk Hof. As you may have guessed from the name, a royal reception awaits you, and you’ll sleep like prince(sses). Once you have stored your luggage in palatial surroundings, it’s time for a hearty lunch! De Walrus is within sight of your hotel, on the same beautiful square.
Your next experience is in the same neighbourhood- Leeuwarden’s historic city centre (where everything is close at hand). The Fries Museum has a history stretching over 190 years, and moved into its current building five years ago on the Wilhelminaplein. The modern, architecturally significant building was designed by the Frisian architect Abe Bonnema, and you’re heading for the current exhibition on show: 'Fenduq' by Éric van Hove.
After all that art history, you’ll need some time to catch your breath (and maybe eat a tasty snack)! Luckily, the Fries Museum has a cosy cafe: Thús. We would recommend a fortifying cup of coffee, and a freshly-baked cake or pastry. Alternatively, Thús also has an excellent range of wine and borrelhapjes, including warming bitterballen or kroketten.
Since the afternoon is officially over, and the evening is fast approaching, its time to freshen up. Wander back through the winding streets to your inviting hotel, and relax with a drink in the palatial bar.
Your day has been leading up to a culinary dining experience, at any one of the numerous excellent restaurants in the centre of Leeuwarden. We could make the choice for you, if you like, or you can check out this page for some inspiration.
Day 2 - .frl
Did you know that Friesland topped the Lonely Planet guide’s ‘Best in Europe List’ in 2018? No other place in the Netherlands was as well-received, and this is all the more reason to explore what Friesland has to offer. Naturally, we have some tips for you, and we would recommend Franeker!
it's a warm welcome
Day 3 - final
There’s a Dutch saying: ‘a good beginning is half the work’ and that’s never been truer than for breakfast. After two days exploring, you’ll want to fit as much as possible into your final day- so, to the breakfast table!
Leeuwarden has several shopping areas, where you can find almost anything for sale. A little afternoon of shopping rounds out your itinerary, and lets you see the wonderful historic buildings within the city centre. The options are endless, maybe you’d like a new outfit? Or something to remind you of your time in Leeuwarden? Or some local and delicious specialities for family and friends? Find your inspiration here.
Hidden in the Koningstraat is the Huis van Eysinga. Now a museum, the house was built in the 18th Century for one of the most wealthy and (at the time) Frisian families. The interiors have been fully renovated and include eye-popping tromp l’oiel wall paintings. Take a step back into time, and experience both the life of the family, and the servants that kept their house running.
The only real Irish pub in the city is the perfect place for a refresher. At the Tweebaksmarkt, Paddy O’Ryan is a cosy place to sample some speciality beer. Our tip: whilst the snacks (borrelhapjes) are great, don’t fill up too much, you’ve got dinner to look forward to!
It’s your last evening, so we should celebrate! Head to Sjoddy, where gastronomic delights and welcoming service go hand-in-hand. Inspiration from the produce of Italy and Spain make this Burgundian spot a dream come true.
Still not tired? Seek out the Stadsschouwburg De Harmonie, and let your feet grace the dancefloor in one of its many different zones. Or, headbang all night long at the Poppodium Neushoorn. If you’re planning a night out in Leeuwarden, check the UITagenda for ideas.
11:00 AM: Good morning!
Shut off the alarm clock, and sleep late. Post-Plaza (a glittering re-imagined former Post Office) has breakfast ready when you are. Whether you’re just hopping back to another Dutch city, or have to travel for a few hours, fortify yourself with a hearty breakfast and good cup of coffee. Have a great trip home (but come back soon!)