Friesland in Autumn and Winter


Friesland has gained popularity since the pandemic because of its stunning nature but is mostly visited during the summer months. We travelled up North to see what Friesland has to offer in Autumn and Winter.

There is something about walking in the cold fresh air, the occasional rain on your face – wind blowing your hair in a mess. It’s called Opfriesen.

Things to do in Friesland

We discovered that you can still do a lot of things in Friesland, even during the colder season. You can still participate in outside activities, and enjoy nature. Warm up afterwards, enjoy warm drinks, lunches, or visit a museum. Here are some of the highlights we thought are worth mentioning.

If you haven’t been to the far Northern part of the Netherlands, you could say that you haven’t been to Holland

Night sailing on De Alde Feanen

Experience a completely new way of sailing across De Alde Feanen, one of Friesland’s National Parks. Enjoy spooky stories, information about the route and do some stargazing. A tour lasts 2 hours and departs at 21:30. You can book your tour at

Night sailing Friesland
Night vision at the night sailing tour

Abseiling the Bosberg Tower

Not for the faint hearted! Overcome your fears, and abseil down this 33 meter high tower in the middle of a forest. The design, inspired by a giant pine trunk, shows spectacular views from the top. In the distance you can see the cities of Leeuwarden, Groningen and Coevorden. If you prefer to stay up the tower, you can still enjoy the view and get a little rush by walking over the glass platforms that hoover over the sides, to get that adrenaline pumping.

Bosbergtoren Friesland
Photo by Waanzinige Wereld

Abseiling de Bosbergtoren, Friesland
Don’t look down

Electric scooter in National Park Drents-Friese Wold

On the border of Southwest Drenthe and Southeast Friesland, lies a special area. National Park Drents-Friese Wold is one of the largest nature reserves in the Netherlands. Op top of that, it’s also one of the most beautiful and important nature reserves in Europe and has therefore been designated as a Natura 2000 area. You can rent a E-chopper at De Jongens van Outdoor and explore the area in about 2 hours. Dress up warm, bring gloves, and drink hot chocolate afterwards!

National Park Drents-Friese Wold

Mud Flat Hiking

This traditional activity may sound a bit strange at first, but if you visit Friesland, it’s inevitable you try it. Mud flat walking is a unique way to the Dutch Wadden Sea. You can only walk the mud flats with a guide and we booked ours at Organization Oan ‘e Dyk in Paesens-Moddergat. Our guide Harm-jan, a funny man that knows all about the mudflats, made our trip most memorable. Wear old shoes, socks and clothes, because they will be covered in mud. There are shoes available there also. As you walk towards the sea – which can rise rapidly when the flood comes in, you learn about the oysters, worms, birds and other animals that depend on the muddy grounds.

Mudflat hiking Waddenzee, Friesland

There is no such thing as bad weather, just make sure you have the right clothes on.

Dark Sky Park

To be entitled the prestigious Dark Sky Park certificate, you must tick a lot of boxes. It means that there is no artificial light pollution in the area. Did you know that the Netherlands is actually one of the most light polluted countries in Europe? Pretty bad, and not so beneficial for animals and nature. Which means this Dark Sky Park in National Park Lauwersmeer is rather special. It’s the perfect place to see the stars and often used for astronomy gazing. Luckily, the Netherlands has 2 of them – of which both in Friesland! The other one is located on Terschelling, and even mentioned in our book Off the Beaten Track. You can book an evening or night walking tour, in the dark. Your senses are put to the test, and you learn about the stars.

Fries Museum

On rainy days – or any day for that matter, you can visit the Fries Museum. Learn about the history, the ways of life in which the Fries community lived. But also check out the impressive exhibition of World War 2, and what happened the the North of the Netherlands during that period. In total you have 4 floors, with different exhibitions including art, photo’s, historical artefacts and interactive stories.

Fries Museum, Leeuwarden

Visit the city Leeuwarden

We love this city in Friesland! Why? Leeuwarden is full of quirky restaurants, shops and things to do. Read about it in our Leeuwarden Guide.

Visit Dokkum

Perhaps the cutest town in Friesland! Visit Dokkum for traditional houses, shops and restaurants. The small city is also part of the famous Elfstedentocht where the Dutch love to ice-skate. And while you’re in Dokkum, visit Brouwerij Dockum for specialty beers that are brewed in a traditional way. The brewery combines taste-making dishes with the tastiest specialty beers from Kâld Kletske to Dutch IPA. Combine it with a tour, or book a dinner for groups! You can find them at Koophandel 10.

Winter Sailing

Sailing in autumn or winter offers a totally different experience. Everything feels, smells and sounds different compared to summer. Perhaps it’s snowing, how cool would that be! Of course, it is also much quieter during this period, making a sailing trip relaxed and uplifting at the same time. You can book a tour with or without captain at De Schiffart.

Winter Sailing Friesland

As you can see, there are plenty of things to do in Friesland during Autumn and Winter! Just dress for the occasion, and you feel revitalised! For more info about  what you can do in Friesland during Autumn and Winter, check Opfriesen.

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