This quaint city in the western Netherlands is ornate, with small canals, green parks, rivers and old, but intact, monuments.
The charming city of Leiden sits on the Old Rhine River in the Netherlands’ South Holland region. It is just north of the country’s political capital, the Hague. Explore the rivers, parks and canals that decorate the city. Many historical buildings have survived for centuries in the city center, including an impressive university dating back to 1575.
Visit the triangular-shaped plaza known as the Beestenmarkt (Cattle Market) in the city center. Dine at one of the many restaurants and cafés in the area.
See the Burcht, an 11th-century castle atop a grassy knoll at the point where branches of the Old Rhine River convene. The castle was once used as a refuge from floods and later turned into a water tower. Enjoy views of the picturesque city from the castle.
Make your way to the Hortus Botanicus, one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world, dating back to the 16th century. See the exotic plants and flowers on the grounds. Nearby, browse the intriguing exhibits at the National Museum of Ethnology in the University of Leiden. Intriguing objects from around the world tell stories of cultures and humanity.
Marvel at the 16th-century Pieterskerk, a gothic church. Admire the 328-foot (100-meter) tower, which is known as the “King of the Sea” because it can be seen from the North Sea.
Study archeological items in the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (Dutch National Museum of Antiquities). Find out how ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans lived. Take a trip to the Stadhuis (Town Hall). Capture photos of its majestic façade of Renaissance design. Locate the Waag (Weight House), dating back to 1657, to learn about its intriguing history.
Leiden is known for its annual 3 Oktober Festival. The area is warm in the summer and cold in winter, without much variation between the seasons. After discovering the gems Leiden has to offer, relax with a picnic by one of the charming canals.