This Friesland tour highlights the capital city, Leeuwarden, which is noted for its cultural charms and interesting local history. From the city to the countryside, you’ll explore various nature reserves and parks to meet the local fauna and enjoy peaceful exploration. From kayaking to camping to hiking trails…you can choose how you’d like to spend your time outdoors!
If you’d like to spend even more time in nature, you might like our Dutch Holiday in Nature 8-Day Camping Adventure. You could also take a look at our Friesland Holiday in the Northeast to explore even more of this lovely province!
The province of Friesland is certainly a unique Netherlands holiday destination. Getting beyond Amsterdam and enjoying true Dutch culture and provincial history is such a great way to better understand the Netherlands. At TravPact our goal is to help you Travel with Impact; we carefully consider our impact on the environment and on local communities where we travel. Travelling to lesser-known Netherlands holiday destinations is a responsible way to enjoy your travels without contributing to the challenges of overtourism. Come join us for a truly Dutch adventure!
From €490 per person
Your Friesland tour will begin in Leeuwarden, which is the charming capital of Friesland. It was appointed the European Capital of Culture in 2018 and has experienced increased attention in the last few years, but it still remains a lesser-known Netherlands holiday destination.
There are good train connections for Leeuwarden. You could arrive by plane to Groningen, Schiphol Amsterdam, or Eindhoven Airports, or come directly by train from a variety of cities across Europe. Upon arrival, you can discover the historic centre part of the city (binnenstad) at your own pace, with choices of walking, renting a bike or an electric scooter, or even a sloop boat.
In the past, Leeuwarden has been home to kings, artists, spies…and you can see it all reflected in the intricate architecture of the beautiful old buildings.
Have you ever spent a night in prison? We will book a room in the former prison for you…it will be a very special experience!
While Leeuwarden isn’t one of the top Netherlands holiday destinations, today you’ll have a full day to explore all of the interesting, fun, and quirky parts of this city. We’re sure you’ll leave wondering why more tourists don’t visit!
If the weather gives you a warm welcome, we can arrange a stand-up paddleboarding lesson and tour through the Leeuwarden canals supervised by professionals who will teach you the ins and outs of this water activity.
There is also a group of enthusiasts offering walking tours around the city to show you Leeuwarden through the eyes of a local. Explore all the hidden street art, small shops, and galleries; these guides want to make sure you fall in love with their town. A personalised tour can also be arranged, considering topics that interest you the most.
For a romantic and relaxed exploration, it is worth considering a Venetian gondola tour, offering a unique experience on the Leeuwarden canals. One of the most recognisable buildings of Leeuwarden is Oldehove – an unfinished church tower that is, at one point, leaning even more than the tower of Pisa! Any of the city guides you meet today will definitely tell you about it.
Another point of interest is the mist fountain next to the central train station, which is a part of the 11 fountains of Friesland (Elf Friese Fonteinen), which is an international art project. This particular fountain in Leeuwarden was created by the Spanish artist Jaume Plensa and is called “Love”.
If you’d prefer, activities and accommodation today can be arranged outside of the city of Leeuwarden, in a Frisian town further north.
Today, your tour of Friesland will continue as you drive southeast from Leeuwarden to the village of Oldeberkoop, located near Alde Feanen National Park. Here, you have the chance to stay in very special accommodations!
After settling in, it is time to start exploring the area. We suggest you start with a walk in Beetsterzwaag, where the luscious thick forest welcomes you. This area has its charm the whole year round, however, autumn is the time for the forest to come alive in vibrant colours, and you can be there to see it! If you’d like, we can arrange a tour guide for you in the forest, as well as a mountain bike or scooter (steppen) rental for those who prefer a faster pace.
Since you will be outside for this day trip, we recommend packing a picnic lunch or, if you wish, we can arrange a Mediterranean picnic basket for two, so you can enjoy a hassle-free meal prepared using local ingredients.
Upon your arrival back to Oldeberkoop, you can choose to have dinner at your accommodation or visit a restaurant serving a mix of Swiss and Frisian cuisine, run by two passionate caterers.
Today, you will stay in the same area, with a choice of activities and places to discover! You can go back to the forests of Beetserzwaag or head in the direction of Earnewald, which is the water area within the Alde Feanen National Park. There, you can rent a bicycle, boat, or canoe, go on a hike, or simply enjoy a relaxing afternoon by the beach. The national park even has its own “big five”: the cormorant, the bittern, the white-tailed eagle, the stork, and roe deer. Will you manage to spot all of them?
If you wish to go into the village, the Reformed Church has a very special pulpit in the shape of the bow of a skûtsje – a traditional Frisian boat. You can learn the history of these boats in a museum in the village of Earnewald.
There is also an antiquity room museum, called It Kokelhûs fan Jan en Sjut, which was originally built in the 18th century. It showcases a typical milk farmer’s house from that time. You may choose to stay at the accommodation for dinner, otherwise, we will recommend restaurants in the area worth a visit.
We recommend starting early today, departing from your accommodation to head southwest towards Lake Tjeukemeer and the De Rottige Meente Nature Reserve, which is located on the border between the provinces of Friesland and Overijssel.
Low peat, a type of wetlands, is characteristic of this region and efforts are being made to restore the bogs and the natural water flow within them. In the past, large parts of the low moor were excavated for turf (peat) extraction and the groundwater levels had been lowered for agricultural use. Today, you will explore the surrounding areas, and get the chance to meet the exceptional flora and fauna residing here.
There are a variety of ways to explore the Nature Reserve: you can bike, hike, or go by water. We recommend joining a two-day kayak tour through the Rottige Meente, if the weather allows, of course.
The nature reserve is home to many birds like falcons and owls, as well as purple, silver, and blue herons. There is also abundant flora, including the crab shear, which is a characteristic aquatic plant only growing in clean water that can become sturdy floating vegetation you could walk on like a “green water mat”.
There are various walking routes for those of you who would like to get to know the Rottige Meente by foot; they vary in the level of difficulty and experience required, so we can definitely find the perfect match for you!
You can choose to spend the night camping and staying closer to nature or you could opt to stay in a hotel. Just let us know what your wishes are and we will find the most suitable solution!
You will continue to explore the natural landscapes of Southern Friesland today. For those of you who chose the two-day kayak tour, you will continue your route and spot even more wildlife and vegetation the Rottige Meente has to offer. For the ones who explored on the ground yesterday, you still have the opportunity to go on the water with a kayak for just today, or you may choose to walk or bike.
Just 20km from your accommodation is a village called Wolvega and the nearby Lendevallei Nature Reserve, where you can enjoy spotting various bird species and Scottish kettle. Here, you can also discover the swamp forest and soak in the stillness of this “oasis of peace”. The surroundings offer a vast variety of things to do and see, and we will help you choose the right components for an unforgettable trip!
Tonight, you will go back to the same accommodation and dinner can be arranged in the hotel restaurant or a restaurant nearby.
You depart from your accomodation today. We hope you have enjoyed your tour of Friesland Province and we wish you a safe trip home or to your next destination!
TravPact is Travelife Certified, which means our tours are in line with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council Industry criteria and our certification is formally recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
With a professional background in the nonprofit sector working in international development, we are keenly aware of the impact tourism can have on a destination and its people.
That’s why we choose to bring your focus away from driving long distances, and instead offer alternatives such as bikes, sailboats, kayaks, or simply walking to reach a destination where possible.
Moreover, in order to give you the most authentic experience, we give preference to small local hotels, B&B’s, and campsites. In these spaces, you can connect with the Dutch culture in an authentic way and experience the cities and villages of the Northern Netherlands.