Canals of Leiden


The canals of Leiden were incorporated into the city's planning from the seventeenth century. With an outer canal that was built for defense, water management to the various canals dug in a grid pattern within the city, transportation, and development purposes, the city has used its canals to great benefit. The canals of Leiden crisscross the town and are studded with tree-covered quays where boats can land and depart.

A boating day in Leiden

Today boat traffic is still used to transport goods around the city. In addition, boat tours and boat restaurants float on the Leiden canals. Even the oldest branch of the Rhine river becomes part of the canal system in some places serving to fill the rest of the canals with their needed water.  The waterways and canals wind through parks as well as dock areas. There are many restaurants and parks beside the canals where you utilize water taxis to get to and fro. Stop and moor your boat to have a picnic, lunch, or just a drink.

Exploring Leiden the Dutch way

Enjoy exploring Leiden. Canals interlock the city, are crossed by bridges, and traversed by boat. Rent a boat at one of the many boat rental agencies and explore on your own or take a canal cruise. Tickets for canal cruises are available at the Beestenmarkt, just a two-minute walk from the Centraal train station. To learn the details of boat rentals, call or visit the local tourist information office for friendly advice. If you would rather have someone else drive the boat for you, they can also recommend good tours and dinner cruises.


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