Leeuwarden was voted the culture capital of Europe last year, and since then the city has been buzzing. New restaurants and shops pop up like mushrooms which resulted in more visitors than ever before. Time to check out the city of Fryslân everyone is talking about!
Bye bye hustle and bustle of Amsterdam, hello hello fresh air, calmness and…sugar bread!
What to do in Leeuwarden
Street art tour Leeuwarden
A noteworthy tip is the street art tour in Leeuwarden. Great way to start your day, especially after a heavy breakfast. In 1,5 hours, you learn more about the interesting city background. We love the fact the talk was a perfect combi of historical and temporary facts. Guide Henk Leutscher and his team make so much fun of it! Check it out: a Guide to Leeuwarden.
This fashion, flower and interior stores will pleasantly surprise you. It wouldn’t be out of place in Amsterdam. Lots of trendy stuff to pamper yourself, be prepared shopaholics! The Kleine Kerkstraat was even voted the best shopping street of the Netherlands in 2010 and 2013! Check out Scandinavian style concept store Nørd pictured below.
Back in the days this used to be a prison, but now houses different business and eateries. Worth checking out.
Rent a boat
You can rent a boat at Greenjoy to see Leeuwarden from the water. Boats are available from about €25 euro.
Leeuwarden: a natural beauty
And if you want to escape the city for a while, please, please, please explore the raw and wonderful natural surroundings of Leeuwarden! Next time, I definitely want to have a pitstop there.
In 2018 Leeuwarden-Fryslân was crowned the cultural capital of Europe
Where to Eat in Leeuwarden
This cute restaurant used to function as a bridge house and people actually lived here. If it reminds you of the popular brunch spot Pluk, you got it right. Stek is run by the previous co-owner of Pluk, which she started with her sister and brother in law. After a move back to the city she was born, she decided to start Stek and with great success. The food is lovely, and the coffee is good. Stek has an outside terrace overlooking the water. A must visit if you visit Leeuwarden.
If you have kids, you are going to love Lazy Lemons! Then again, you are also going to love it if you do not have any. Why? The food is simple but the portions are big, the service is good and there is enough space for families, friends and lovers. Upstairs you can find a large play corner for kids, which means a undisturbed lunch or dinner for the parents. We wished we had more of these in Amsterdam!
KB Food and Drinks
If you want a menu full of choices and options, you are at the right address at KB. Their formula works like this; you order a main and you can pick 2 side orders plus a saus of choice. The service here will make you happy and its no problem if you want to bring your kids. KB has a garden area, so you can enjoy those summer evenings. Fun fact: the building used to be a video library! www.kbfood.nl
Must-try hotspot Roast Leeuwarden. Located in the middle of the city centre, this recently opened cozy lunch, dinner and drink spot is one to remember. Really like the fact they’ve put together a very diverse and continually changing menu for every budget. Their signature dish: chicken. But no worries veggies and vegans, there’s also so much appetizing food for you. If you can fit it, try the chocolate overloaded dessert, which is so yummy. Oh, and they’ve got two really cool tables with table taps, a perfect way to trigger your inner bartender haha! roastleeuwarden.nl
My guide Henk told me about this must-visit…and he was right. It’s kind of a magical and vibrant place where music meets dance meets film. Visit one of the performances or feel free to pop by for a laid-back beer.
An Instagram dream with pink/purple walls, marble tables and a menu that you just need to take pictures of. It’s no surprise that you can order a matcha, beetroot or turmeric latte here. Get your freak on with a freakshake or go healthy with avo on toast. Yes, this place was made with the intention of being a hotspot. www.moonleeuwarden.nl
Also worth mentioning:
- Dr. Plant: vegan take-away restaurant in the heart of Leeuwarden.
- Fruitbar SIS: the green and healthy hotspot with vegan cakes.
- Blikspuit: a concept store with a kiddies corner, so great for parents.
- Speelcafé: this café is made for kids and you’ll love it if you are a parent. There is a slide inside and countless toys. They serve great tea and homemade cupcakes.
Where to stay in Leeuwarden
Catshuis Boutique Hotel
We love boutique hotels and this hotel is certainly one that you want to check out. Located in the heart of Leeuwarden, it is the perfect place for couples. Beautiful rooms, lovely and always included breakfast and a stylish interior. At the hotel you can also book a high tea, great for friends! www.catshuisleeuwarden.nl
In case you’re thinking about a citytrip to Leeuwarden, definitely book a room at the charming Post Plaza****. They invited me to stay and for sure I said ‘yes’. To be honest, I’ve nothing but praise. Especially the hospitality and extravaganza wakey wakey breakfast with everything a sweet tooth with a bit of a sleepyhead wants.. sugar bread. Do we need to say more?
Van Der Valk Hotel
We like this hotel because they have the BREEAM-NL certificate. This means that they are putting a lot of focus on being sustainable. For example, the heat from their restaurants is collected and re-used for the meeting rooms and kitchen. They have also installed bee hotels and a harbour to maintain biodiversity. It’s also a great hotel for families with kids, due to the family rooms and possibilities. Book your room here!