Leiden - What to do in Leiden? These are the best tips - Holland.com


Discover the atmospheric university city of Leiden with its countless beautiful museums, canals, and ‘hofjes’ or inner courtyards. If you visit Leiden in spring, you will also find yourself in the centre of the flower-bulb region!

  • Discover Leiden and visit the countless beautiful museums.
  • On 2 and 3 October, celebrate ‘Leidens Ontzet’ (Relief of Leiden), when the entire city turns into a huge festival terrain.
  • Rent a bicycle and ride through the dunes to the Noordwijk beach.
  • Enjoy countless flowers (5) and visit Keukenhof.

University city

In the seventeenth century, Leiden was one of the most important and richest cities in Holland. It was the home of many old masters, including Rembrandt. When you stroll through Leiden’s streets, you can still taste the historic events that took place here. Leiden is a picturesque university city with many canals, ‘hofjes’ and museums. Plenty of cafes and restaurants can be found in the city centre.

Highlights in Leiden

Leiden is, in the first place, a great place for walking. The local VVV tourist office can recommend several beautiful walking tours. Leiden also has its own Hortus Botanicus, an impressive university garden filled with plants from around the world. There are also several museums with great collections of art (De Lakenhal), history (Rijksmuseum van Oudheden), nature (Naturalis), physics (Boerhaave Museum), and the human body (Corpus).

Leidens Ontzet

Once every year, on 2 and 3 October, the city is transformed into huge festival grounds when Leiden celebrates Leidens Ontzet (Relief of Leiden). The fairground, parade, fireworks, music performances and countless parties draw hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.

Accessibility and parking in Leiden

Leiden is about 50 minutes by car from the capital of Amsterdam and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. You can also get there easily by public transport. If you travel by car, make sure to check where you are allowed to park your car. Leiden has a pedestrian-friendly inner city. It is best to park your car in one of the five car parks or on one of the seven parking lots. If you park your car at parking lot Haagweg, for instance, a city shuttle bus will take you to the inner city within a few minutes (for free).

To discover nearby

The chic court city of The Hague and the most popular beach in Holland, Scheveningen, are near Leiden. This is where you can enjoy welcoming beach pavilions and plenty of beach sports. Visiting Archeon, which lets you travel back to the Middle Ages, is also worthwhile.


The pleasant university city of Leiden has plenty of accommodation for every preference and budget. From luxury hotels to romantic bed & breakfasts. Discover the comprehensive selection here.

Editors’ tip:

If you are traveling to Leiden in spring, visiting the Keukenhof is highly recommended. You will see millions of flower bulbs blooming in beautifully arranged gardens. It is an amazing sight!

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