5 Reasons to Visit the City of Leiden

Heather Tucker, donderdag 18 april 2013

If you have ever wanted to visit the town that Rembrandt van Rijn was born in, then you need to head to Leiden.

Located a 45-minute drive away from Amsterdam (even less if you travel by train), the city of Leiden is famous for its university, multiple almshouses and having driven the Spanish troops out of the city on October 3rd 1574 - an event that is still celebrated each year.

Leiden’s inner city is full of waterways and bridges, making it the perfect destination to explore on foot or by boat. And if that isn’t enough of a reason to visit then here are five more.

  1. The Best Park and Ride System Ever
    Try and park in the main city centre of Leiden and you are likely to end up with a headache. So skip the hassle and park in the P&R Leiden Haagweg instead. The prices are reasonable but even better is the system. After parking your car, head to one of the waiting shuttle buses which will take you (and anyone else who is waiting) to a drop off point of your choice. When you have finished your day in Leiden, just call the shuttle bus (the number is on your parking ticket) and tell them where you are. Before you know it, a shuttle bus will arrive and take you back to your car.
  2. The Views
    Leiden has some of the best views around. Waterways, churches, bridges and even a windmill await you. And since it is less crowded than Amsterdam, it is almost impossible to come away without some good photos.
  3. The Leidse Loper
    The Leidse Loper (Leiden Loop) is a self-guided city walk around the historic city centre of Leiden. Believe it or not but the street plan of Leiden has hardly changed since the 17th century and this walk will ensure you don’t miss the best bits. The Leidse Loper route is indicated by signposts around the city but you can also purchase a guidebook at the tourism office across from the train station. 
  4. A Treasure Trove Full of Surprises
    Near the Gothic Hooglandse Kerk, on Nieuwstraat 23 is a small Anterieur that is only open on Saturday afternoons. The building which looks like it hasn’t been touched since it was built is jam packed with antiques and oddities - some worth getting your money out for and others that leave you scratching your head in confusion. If you happen to be in the area when it is open, do check it out.
  5. A Colourful Market
    On Wednesdays and Saturdays the streets of Botermarkt, Vismarkt, Aalmarkt and the Nieuwe Rijn come to life with the street market. Whether you are looking for fish, flowers, cheese or just want to people watch this is the place to be. Glimpses of the historical city as you shop sure don’t hurt either.