Leiden Netherlands - Day Trip from Amsterdam (2023)

Leiden is an historic small city situated about 35km south-west of Amsterdam. With its picturesque canals and narrow streets, some fine museums and good shopping it makes for a great day out from Amsterdam.

Leiden is renowned for its university, the oldest in the Netherlands (1575) – and the large student population gives the place a lively atmosphere.

As you come out of Leiden Central station the VVV Leiden Tourist Information office (Stationsweg 26) is on your left-hand side – a good starting place to get information. You can pick-up a free map and guide and it also sells booklets with various themed self-guided walks.

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It is open daily, 0800-1800 (Mon-Fri), 1000-1600 (Sat) and 1100-1500 (Sun).

De Valk Windmill

Continuing on foot down Stationsweg, cross over the canal – on your left you will spot De Valk windmill (Molen de Valk) which means ‘falcon’ in Dutch and is an old cornmill dating from 1743. The mill is now a museum.

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It is open 1000-1700 (Tue-Sat), 1300-1700 (Sun), closed Monday – and entrance costs €5 for adults, €2.50 for children 6-15, free for children 0-5 and Museumkaart holders.

Molenmuseum De Valk, 2e Binnenvestgracht 1, 2312 BZ Leiden

Beestenmarkt / Canal Cruises

Walking a bit further south you will reach the Beestenmarkt square. Outfit Rederij Rembrandt offers canal cruises around the city from here. The cruises take about 50 minutes and an audio tour is available in 10 languages.

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Rederij Rembrandt, Blauwpoortshaven 5, 2312 EL Leiden

It is also possible to do a 2 hour boat tour of the nearby Kagerplassen lakes which is just north of Leiden. This is offered from company Rederij Van Hulst and these depart from Leiden’s Haven on the eastern side. Book a lake cruise here

Just round the corner from Beestenmarket is the Museumhaven Leiden (Museum Harbour) with its old boats. You can see the Rembrandtbrug (Rembrandt bridge) and De Put windmill in the background.

(Video) Is Leiden Worth Visiting? | Day Trip From Amsterdam

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Museum Volkenkunde

The Museum Volkenkunde in Leiden is a magnificent ethnographic museum which showcases cultural items and artefacts from non-European people worldwide. The museum was opened in 1837 in a former academic hospital located just off Stationsweg.

It is part of the umbrella organisation National Museum of World Cultures which also includes Amsterdam’s Tropemusuem.

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Its permanent exhibition shows the collection highlights from China, Indonesia, Japan and Korea, Asia, Africa, North, Central and South America, Oceania and the Arctic. The presentations are first class with complementary audio visual components – it is well worth a visit.

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The museum is open 1000-1700 (Tue-Sun), closed on Mondays.

Entry prices are €15 for adults, €6 for children 4-18. Free for kids 0-3 and Museumkaart holders. Book Museum Volkenkunde tickets here

Museum Volkenkunde, Steenstraat 1, 2312 BS Leiden

Rijksmuseum van Oudheden

Heading south down the Rapenburg canal you will come to the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (Dutch National Museum of Antiquities).

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This is the principal archaeology museum in the Netherlands with antiquities from the Egyptians, Etruscans, Greek and Roman empires. You will find an assorted collection of mummies, statues, ceramics, jewellery etc including items from Roman-occupied Netherlands.

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The main entrance hall houses the Egyptian Temple of Taffeh, one of the highlights. It is around 2,000 years old and was gifted to the Netherlands by Egypt in 1979.

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The museum is open 1000-1700 (Tue-Sun), closed on Mondays.

Entry costs €14 for adults, free entry for ages 0-18 and Museumkaart holders.

(Video) Leiden Netherlands: Easy Day trip from Amsterdam

Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Rapenburg 28, 2311 EW Leiden

Japan Museum Sieboldhuis

On the other side of the Rapenburg canal is found the historic house which hosts the Japan Museum Sieboldhuis. It has an impressive array of Japanese objects collected by Bavarian physician Philipp Franz von Siebold during his stay in Japan (1823-1829).

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This includes an assortment of Japanese prints, lacquerware, ceramics, fossils, herbaria, stuffed animals, coins, textiles and maps.

The museum is open 1000-1700 (Tue-Sun), closed on Mondays.

Entry prices are €8.50 for adults, €5 for youths 13-17. Free for children 0-12 and Museumkaart holders.

Japanmuseum Sieboldhuis, Rapenburg 19, 2311 GE Leiden

Hortus Botanicus Leiden

The beautiful Hortus Botanicus in Leiden is the oldest botanical gardens in the Netherlands. Dating as far back as 1590, it is run by Leiden University. It has a collection of over 60,000 plants including endangered species, a Chinese herb garden, a giant water lily and 30 monumental trees.

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The site includes a number of greenhouses and an old observatory. The popular Hortus Grand Café is a good place to have lunch.

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The garden is open daily 1000-1800 in the summer season (April to October). Note, the winter opening hours are 1000-1600 (Tue-Sun, closed Mondays) from November to March.

Entry prices are €8.00 for adults, €3.50 for children 4-12. Free for kids 0-3 and Museumkaart holders. Book Hortus Leiden tickets here

Leiden historic centre

Take a walk around the narrow historic streets of Leiden’s city centre – there are a number of places of note.

(Video) Spending a day in Leiden, Netherlands from Amsterdam [4K HD]

The Gravensteen on Pieterskerkhof was originally a county prison and has a somewhat grim history. In the 17th century the square was used as a place for public executions.

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The Gothic-style Pieterskerk (St. Peters church) has been a city landmark since the year 1121. Leiden uses the 2 keys of St Peter as its city symbol. The church has a memorial to the Pilgrim Fathers, who lived in Leiden for 12 years before departing to America on the Mayflower in 1620.

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The Young Rembrandt Studio at Langebrug 89 is where Dutch Master Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) spent his formative early years learning how to draw, paint and make etchings. This was before he moved to Amsterdam.

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There is a free 7 minute video projection giving insight from the perspective of his art teacher Jacob van Swanenburgh.

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Continuing our tour around the centre, the Stadhuis (city hall) on Breestraat has a facade which dates from 1595. Several of the Pilgrims were married in the building.

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One of the highlights of Leiden is just strolling around the canals of Nieuwe Rijn and Oude Rijn – these combine and continue back west as Stille Rijn. On Wednesdays and Saturdays there is a general market along the canal near the Stadhuis.

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There are countless cafés, bars and restaurants around the centre to stop off for a coffee, sandwich or something more substantial.

As you would expect from a student city, Leiden has a decent nightlife with bars and clubs going on to the early hours. There are night trains running hourly back to Amsterdam.

De Burcht is a freely accessible medieval fortress which can be climbed. It has some nice views of the surrounding area including the large Hooglansekerk church.

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Rijksmuseum Boerhaave

The Rijksmuseum Boerhaave is the National Museum of History of Science and Medicine. It is located in a former convent, plague shelter and hospital. Founded in 1928, it has an extensive collection of scientific and medical equipment from the 17th century onwards.

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It is named after Dutch scientist and surgeon Herman Boerhaave (1668-1738) who taught at Leiden University.

(Video) Leiden (Netherlands) - A Day Trip to this Beautiful Dutch Place

It is open 1000-1700 daily. Entry prices are €13 for adults, €5.50 for 4-17. Free for kids 0-3 and Museumkaart holders.

Rijksmuseum Boerhaave, Lange St. Agnietenstraat 10, 2312 WC Leiden

Museum De Lakenhal

Located on the Oude Singel canal further north is De Lakenhal, a museum which showcases fine art, history and crafts from Leiden.

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The museum is open 1000-1700 (Tue-Sun), closed on Mondays.

Entry prices are €12.50 for adults, free for children 0-18 and Museumkaart holders.

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Museum De Lakenhal, Oude Singel 32, 2312 RA Leiden


Just outside of the centre on the opposite side of the station, past the large academic hospital is Naturalis Biodiversity Center. This modern family-friendly museum focusses on the natural world and has 8 galleries featuring plants, animals, fossils and rocks.

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The museum is open daily 1000-1700. Entrance costs €16 for those aged 4 or higher. Free entry for children 0-3 and Museumkaart holders.

Naturalis, Darwinweg 2, 2333 CR Leiden

If you wish to immerse yourself in centuries of history and a compact, picturesque city centre then a trip to Leiden is highly recommended.

Getting to Leiden from Amsterdam

Leiden can be easily reached from Amsterdam Central by direct train – there are regular Intercity services (direction Den Haag Centraal or Vlissingen) which run around 4x hourly. The journey takes around 35 minutes via Amsterdam Sloterdijk and Haarlem.

(Video) Leiden, Day Trip from Amsterdam, 2022 Europe Trip

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An Amsterdam-Leiden day return costs €20.20 (2nd class) or €33.74 (1st class) – 2022 prices. There is a €1 surcharge for disposable tickets.

This article was originally published in 2010. Last updated 6 October 2022.


Is Leiden worth visiting? ›

Is Leiden worth visiting? Leiden is definitely worth visiting! This university city has a lot to offer tourists and residents alike, including the old city center, canals, museums, and charming restaurants.

What Cities Can you travel to from Amsterdam? ›

City trips from Amsterdam
  • Utrecht. In the very center of the Netherlands, you'll find Utrecht; an old city with pretty canals just like Amsterdam.
  • Haarlem. ...
  • Rotterdam. ...
  • Leiden. ...
  • Delft. ...
  • Alkmaar. ...
  • The Hague. ...
  • Apeldoorn.

Why is Leiden famous? ›

Leiden is a city with a rich cultural heritage, not only in science, but also in the arts. One of the world's most famous painters, Rembrandt, was born and educated in Leiden. Other famous Leiden painters include Lucas van Leyden, Jan van Goyen and Jan Steen.

Is Leiden or Utrecht better? ›

Leiden falls out of top 100 while Utrecht clings on to top spot in Shanghai Ranking. 2022 sees Utrecht University (UU) claim the top spot in the Netherlands in the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), for the 20th year in a row.

Is Leiden cheaper than Amsterdam? ›

Cost of Living Comparison Between Amsterdam and Leiden

You would need around 4,635.48€ in Leiden to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with 5,500.00€ in Amsterdam (assuming you rent in both cities). This calculation uses our Cost of Living Plus Rent Index to compare cost of living.

Where is it easy to travel from Amsterdam? ›

If you're looking for a short day trip from Amsterdam, Haarlem is by far the easiest choice. Only 15 minutes away by train, Haarlem is the quintessential fairy-tale Dutch city, but without the hordes of tourists that you'll see in Amsterdam.

What countries can you visit by train from Amsterdam? ›

Amsterdam has a number of direct international rail services which can connect you to Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, UK and beyond. High speed rail travel in Europe is a good alternative to flying and gives a real feeling of travel.

How many days in Amsterdam is enough? ›

Three days in Amsterdam is more than enough time to see all the city's biggest sights, plus head out of town for a quick day trip. Here are a few tips for what to do and see if you're in Amsterdam for 72 hours or more.

Does Leiden have a beach? ›

Katwijk is the nearest beach resort and is well-known for its clean and child-friendly beach. Katwijk's beach is Leiden's backyard; it is the perfect place to cool down on a hot summer day and be energised by a brisk autumn walk. Cycle from Leiden to the seaside resort of Katwijk.

How long does it take to walk the Cotswolds? ›

You can choose to walk the full 102 miles of the Cotswold Way in anything from six to ten days. We are also happy to tailor-make any of our itineraries to individual requirements, so just ask! To get the most from your time in the Cotswolds we would recommend taking eight or nine walking days to complete the trail.

How long is the Vee walk? ›

12km, 364m ascent Gradual uphill walk Trail laden with Rhododendrons Deep into valley of Rhododendrons Trail may be wet in parts, waterproof footwear recommended Come out above the tree line to give amazing views of Galty Vee Valley Descend to Bay Lough with its fabulous Rhododendron backdrop Short steep descent to ...

Is Delft worth visiting? ›

The picturesque town of Delft is located in South Holland in the Netherlands, between Rotterdam and The Hague. This beautiful little university town with its many canals, and charming historic centre is absolutely perfect for a short break.

How do you get around Leiden? ›

Leiden is easily accessible via public transport (train and bus), car, taxi, boat and bike. Schiphol Airport is 20 minutes by train and Rotterdam - The Hague airport is 25 minutes away. Traveling around the Netherlands is easy thanks to the well-established public transportation and road networks.

Is Haarlem worth visiting? ›

Haarlem is a charming city featuring great culture, cafés, shops and restaurants. As well as being home to some of the Netherlands' best museums and world-famous art, it is regularly voted as one of the country's best cities for shopping.

Is Leiden cheaper than Hague? ›

You would need around 4,639.99€ in Leiden to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with 4,100.00€ in The Hague (Den Haag) (assuming you rent in both cities). This calculation uses our Cost of Living Plus Rent Index to compare cost of living. This assumes net earnings (after income tax).

Is one day enough in Utrecht? ›

Utrecht, with its canals and street cafes, looks and feels like a smaller, less crowded version of Amsterdam. With one day in Utrecht, you can explore the scenic city center, take in the view from the tallest tower in the Netherlands, and dine at one of many great cafes and restaurants in town.

Is Utrecht a walkable city? ›

How to get around Utrecht: While Utrecht's old town is easily walkable, Rob and I actually rented bicycles for our day of exploration.

What is a good salary in Leiden? ›

The average salary for jobs in Leiden, Netherlands is € 45.254 (EUR) per year or an hourly rate of € 22 (EUR).

What is the cheapest month to go to Amsterdam? ›

Generally, the cheapest time to visit Amsterdam is in the winter – usually between November and March. It's important to bear in mind that it can get quite cold in Amsterdam at this time of year. Most holidaymakers want to travel when the weather is at its warmest and this means summer for Amsterdam.

Which city is worth visiting in Netherlands? ›

1. Amsterdam. The largest city in the Netherlands – and one of the most-visited cities in all of Europe, attracting over 20 million tourists per year – Amsterdam offers plenty of great attractions to visit.

What is the closest European city to Amsterdam? ›

Nearest places...
  • 58 km. Antwerp. Belgium.
  • 132 km. Duisburg. Germany.
  • 165 km. Bruges. Belgium.
  • 173 km. Rheine. Germany.
  • 173 km. Brussels. Belgium.
  • 174 km. Essen. Germany.
  • 178 km. Düsseldorf. Germany.
  • 181 km. Emden. Germany.

How far is Switzerland from Amsterdam by train? ›

381 miles

What is the closest country to Amsterdam? ›

Countries near Netherlands
Up to 500 kilometers
Distance from Netherlands to Belgium is: 173 kilometerDistance from Amsterdam to Brussels
Distance from Netherlands to Germany is: 576 kilometerDistance from Amsterdam to Berlin
Distance from Netherlands to Denmark is: 621 kilometerDistance from Amsterdam to Copenhagen
173 more rows

How do I get from Amsterdam to Switzerland? ›

The best way to get from Amsterdam to Switzerland is to fly which takes 3h 42m and costs €35 - €250. Alternatively, you can train, which costs €110 - €220 and takes 8h 36m, you could also bus, which costs €45 - €65 and takes 12h 36m. How long is the flight from Amsterdam to Switzerland?

What month is best for Amsterdam? ›

Generally, the best time to visit Amsterdam is either April or September (springtime or late summer). What is this? Throughout April, there are several national holidays, and rainfall is at its lowest point. But crowds are thinner during September, making for more affordable hotel stays and a more relaxing experience.

Is Amsterdam a walkable city? ›

The capital of the Netherlands is in fact so small that you can easily explore the city by foot in just a day's time. Besides being compact, exploring Amsterdam by foot is also a very safe place for pedestrians.

Is it worth going to Amsterdam for 2 days? ›

Amsterdam is the perfect European city to visit if you only have a few days. After you visit the main museums, you get to stroll the canals and parks, take your pick from trendy restaurants, and simply enjoy this European experience.

Where do Dutch go to beach? ›

Scheveningen. Scheveningen, in The Hague, is the most popular beach area in the Netherlands. It is well-known for its annual events, such as the Kite Festival and the Fireworks Festival. Scheveningen is large but very busy.

What is the best beach in the Netherlands? ›

Texel Beach

Texel Island (one of the Wadden Islands) is arguably home to the best beach in the Netherlands. The lovely island beach stretches of sand dunes for miles and miles, just a couple of miles north of Den Helder and across the Wadden Sea.

What is Holden Beach known for? ›

Boating, surf fishing and hiking the island are very popular activities. There is a fishing pier, and the island is a sea turtle habitat as well. While there are limited commercial establishments on the island, the causeway leading to the island is lined with specialty stores and shops and a grocery store.

Can you do Cotswold in a day? ›

' Well, I personally think that the answer is yes. Even if you have less than 24 hours in the Cotswolds, then the area is still worth visiting if that's the only chance you'll get to see the area of outstanding natural beauty. Ideally, to truly enjoy the Cotswolds at a slower pace, you'll want to set aside 3-5 days.

Is Cotswold worth visiting? ›

The Cotswolds are famous for some of the most picturesque villages that you will find! Such as Burford, Bourton-on-the-Water, Stow-on-the-Wold and Bibury, one of the most photographed villages in the country.

Can you visit Cotswold in a day? ›

A day out in the Cotswolds is the perfect way to break the routine. With London, Bristol and Birmingham just 1.5 hours away, there are few places in the UK more tailor-made for a good old-fashioned day trip. We've created 10 Cotswolds day trips that showcase the diversity of the area.

Why is the Vee called the Vee? ›

The Vee is named after a hairpin bend on the road which climbs up the mountains from Clogheen, but can also be taken as a reference to the V-shape of the gap between the mountains when viewed from afar. In Irish, the Vee is known as Bothar na gCorr, which means ''road of the angels'' or ''road of the round hill''.

How long is Virginia Water walk? ›

This is a leisurely 4.5 - 5 mile walk around Virginia Water on good paths. It is suitable for dogs although they must be on a lead in the Valley gardens. There are refreshments available in the café at the end of the walk.

How long is the walk at Richmond? ›

12 km (7.5 miles), 3 hours. For the whole outing, including trains, sights and meals, allow 6 hours. Explorer Map 161.

What is a Dutch breakfast? ›

Dutch breakfast can vary. Most common are bread slices with sweet or savoury spreads, as well as muesli and yogurt. Dairies such as cheeses, milk and eggs often play a role in the first meal of the day in the Netherlands.

Is Delft cheaper than Amsterdam? ›

When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Delft and Amsterdam, we can see that Amsterdam is more expensive. And not only is Delft much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Delft would let you spend less money overall.

How do you pay for buses in Leiden? ›


An OV-chipkaart is a transportation card that can be used on all different forms of public transportation. Anonymous OV-chipcards can be bought at Tourist Information booths, supermarkets, Bruna, train stations, and at the service desks of OV companies.

Where can I buy bus tickets in Leiden? ›

  • Arriva, Stationsweg 26 (in de VVV Leiden), 2312 AV Leiden, customer service 0800-0232545. ( free), www.arriva.nl.
  • EBS Service point Den Haag CS, Kon. Julianaplein 10, 2595 AA Den Haag. www.ebs-ov.nl.

Does Leiden have trams? ›

Travelling by public transport

No matter where you want to go, you can get there by train, bus, tram or metro.

How do you spend a day in Haarlem? ›

14 Things to Do on a Haarlem Day Trip
  1. See St. Elisabeth Gasthuis.
  2. Play around at Boardroom Café
  3. Tour Corrie ten Boom House.
  4. Relax in the Wijngaardtuin.
  5. Visit Grote Markt.
  6. See St. Bavo's Church (Grote Kerk)
  7. Explore Teylers Museum.
  8. Find a hofje.
6 Jan 2022

How much is a train ticket from Haarlem to Amsterdam? ›

The price of train tickets from Haarlem to Amsterdam starts at €5.80 one-way for a Standard Class ticket if you book in advance. Booking on the day is usually more expensive and costs can vary depending on the time of day, route or class.

Is Gouda worth visiting? ›

Easy to reach as a day trip from the Hague or a day trip from Rotterdam, it's also worth visiting Gouda in its own right and exploring over the course of several days. Full of hidden gems, little bars, and pretty alleyways, aside from food, the city is well-known for its shopping scene and wealth of museums.

How do the Dutch say Gouda? ›

However, if you want to get really technical, the cheese is pronounced how-duh in the Netherlands, where gouda was invented (in the city of Gouda, actually). A 'g' has more of a gutteral 'h' sound in Dutch, as DutchforN00bs explains in the video below, in case you really want to school your friends.

How do I get from Amsterdam to Gouda? ›

It takes an average of 57m to travel from Gouda to Amsterdam by train, over a distance of around 26 miles (42 km). There are normally 116 trains per day travelling from Gouda to Amsterdam and tickets for this journey start from €13.60 when you book in advance.

Why is Gouda so popular? ›

Gouda Cheese is today regarded as one of the best cheeses in the world, and everyone can easily find it in their neighborhood store no matter where you live. The defining characteristics of this cheese are its yellow color, great aroma and taste of caramel sweetness that increases for cheeses that have aged longer.

How much is the train from The Hague to Leiden? ›

Den Haag Centraal to Leiden Centraal by train
Journey timeFrom 12m
PriceFrom €25.20
Distance10 miles (16 km)
Frequency142 trains per day
First train00:16
5 more rows

Is Netherlands or Germany cheaper? ›

Compared to the Netherlands, the living costs in Germany are cheaper. Furthermore, it is easier to find reasonably priced and quality accommodation in Germany.

Is Haarlem cheaper than Amsterdam? ›

You would need around 4,982.73€ in Haarlem to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with 5,400.00€ in Amsterdam (assuming you rent in both cities). This calculation uses our Cost of Living Plus Rent Index to compare cost of living. This assumes net earnings (after income tax).


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