Eleven Cities Tour

As soon as temperatures drop below zero the Dutch are brimming with excitement about the legendary Elfstedentocht, the world's most prestigious speed and leisure skating events.
Dutch Traditions

Figures and Facts: Eleven Cities Tour

The biggest ice-skating tour in the world. The first Elfstedentocht took place in 1909 and has been held 15 times in total.

Dutch Traditions

The history of the Eleven Cities Tour

Read more about the start of the unique Eleven Cities Tour.

Don’t miss out on the Elfstedentocht madness and read all about it here

When the temperature drops below zero for a couple of days, the eleven cities fever starts to spread in Holland. A minimum ice thickness of 15 cm is required before the Koninklijke Vereniging De Friesche Elf Steden (Royal Frisian Eleven Cities Association) will approve the ice-skating tour. As the name says, the route of the world’s longest ice skating competition on natural ice runs through 11 Frisian cities. The members of the association start in Leeuwarden early in the morning. The ‘tour to end all tours’ starts when dawn is still hours away.

Which eleven cities make up the Elfstedentocht?

Starting in Leeuwarden, the competitors skate clockwise to Sneek, IJlst, Sloten, Stavoren, Hindeloopen, Workum, Bolsward, Harlingen, Franeker, and Dokkum, finishing in Leeuwarden. The fastest skaters take about 7 hours to complete the 200 kilometer track. Competitors have until midnight to reach the finish line.

Want to experience the Elfstedentocht?

Only members of the association are allowed to participate in the tour. With an eye to safety on the ice, a maximum of 16,000 skaters are allowed to participate. But the atmosphere is absolutely fantastic. On the day of the tour, life throughout the province of Friesland revolves around the event. You will be able to experience real Dutch ‘gezelligheid’ (pleasantness) in every town along the tour itinerary!

Don’t miss this spectacle. Follow us on Facebook so you’ll be the first to know when the tour to end all tours occurs.

Cycle along the world-famous Eleven Cities ice-skating Tour and discover the charms of Friesland.
Fountain Love by Jaume Plensa © Wietze Landman

11Fountains in Friesland

Tour Friesland’s diverse cities to see 11Fountains, a unique collection by 11 international artists.

Dutch Traditions

The Eleven Cities Tour monument

A unique work of art to honour the competitors in the Eleven Cities Tour.

Visit the Eleven Cities

Leeuwarden

Leeuwarden boasts over 600 monuments.

© Fokke Baarssen - Shutterstock

Hindeloopen

Picturesque coastal village with unique traditions, historical sights and a seafaring past.

© Theo de Witte

Sneek

The water sports capital of Friesland.

© Shutterstock

Stavoren

The town with the famous tale of the Lady of Stavoren.

© Hollandfoto.net - Shutterstock

Workum

Discover the beautiful, water-rich Workum, one of the Frisian Eleven Cities.

© Theo de Witte

Harlingen

Discover Harlingen, Friesland’s most important port town.

© TasfotoNL - Shutterstock

Franeker

Franeker is a must see destination, if only for the world’s oldest planetarium that remains operational today.

© Theo de Witte

Dokkum

Enjoy the hospitality of Dokkum, one of Friesland’s oldest cities.

© Theo de Witte

IJlst

Explore IJlst and discover a charming city offering fascinating history and culture at every turn.

© Theo de Witte

Sloten

Visit Sloten and discover an oasis of calm away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Bolsward

Visit the bustling city of Bolsward and discover incredible history and magnificent monuments.

Frequently Asked Questions