What are the best things to do in Groningen? In this article, I’ll share the best sights and places to stay during a city trip in Groningen, The Netherlands.
A little information about Groningen
Groningen is the largest city in the northern part of The Netherlands, in the province that is also called Groningen. It’s a university city, so there’s always something to do and there are lots of great places to get cheap food and drinks. It’s an old city and you can still see many old buildings in the city center. It’s very well accessible by public transport, it takes about 2-hours to get to Groningen from Amsterdam or Utrecht by train.
Best things to do in Groningen
I’ve lived in Groningen for many years, and there are lots of cool sights and things to do in Groningen. These are my favorites:
Visit the Groninger Museum
When you arrive by train in Groningen, the first thing you’ll notice is the weird and colorful building of the Groninger Museum. The building was designed by Alessandro Mendini and is a true piece of art. It’s also one of the most fun museums in The Netherlands and has lots of diverse and changing exhibitions.
Check the official website for opening hours and tickets.
Discover the hidden gardens
In Groningen, you can find many hidden gardens and courtyards behind the old houses. You can visit most of them (as long as you leave before 5 p.m.). One of the most beautiful hidden gardens is the Prinsentuin, which has a rose garden, a herb garden en a gorgeous old sun dial. If you’d like to visit more of those hidden garden, you can buy a brochure with a self-guided tour at the tourist office (which is located in Forum Groningen).
Climb the Martinitoren
The Martinitoren (the locals call it d’ Olle Grieze, which means the old grey one) is the highest tower in Groningen and it was completed in 1482. You can actually climb to the top of the tower (which is almost 300 steps, there is no elevator). From the top, you have a great view of the province of Groningen and you might even see Schiemonnikoog, one of the Dutch islands. To climb to the top of the Martinitoren, you need to join a guided tour. You can find more information on this website.
Relax in the Noorderplantsoen
When the weather is really good during your city trip to Groningen, it might be fun to relax for a while in one of Groningen’s most beautiful parks: the Noorderplantsoen. It’s a public garden with ponds, nice walking paths, and lawns that serve as the perfect spot for a picnic. This is also the place where they host the annual Noorderzon Festival, with music and theater.
Another great park in Groningen is the Stadspar, which is located a little outside of the city center.
Go for a stroll around the Hoornse Plas
Do you feel like going for a walk? Take a bus to the Hoornse Plas. This is a part of two larger lakes called Hoornsemeer and Paterswolse Meer. You can walk aroud the Hoornse Plas, go for a swim, or enjoy a drink or two at the grea Beachclub Kaap Hoorn.
Check out the view from the new Forum Groningen
Sinces November 29th, 2019, Groningen has a new attraction: the Forum Groningen! It’s a great modern building, that is home to a library, expositions, restaurants, and a cinema. The best thing about it is the roof though, from where you’ll have a great view of the city and the nearby Martinitoren. Access to the roof is free.
Places to stay in Groningen
Do you feel like going to Groningen for a couple of nights to enjoy all the highlights? I can highly recommend staying in one of these hotels:
– $ The Student Hotel Groningen – Great modern hotel with nicely decorated rooms in walking distance of the city center.
– $$ Hotel Miss Blanche – This hotel is one of a kind and the rooms (mostly suites) are all completely different. It’s located in one of the most fun neighborhoods in Groningen.
– $$$ Prinsenhof – Do you want to treat yourself well? Stay in this luxury boutique style hotel from the 15th century, right next to the Prinsentuin and the Martinitoren.
Explore The Netherlands
Do you feel like exploring more of The Netherlands? Check out these articles:
– 11 gorgeous places to visit in The Netherlands
– Dutch National Park Zuid-Kennemerland: the ultimate guide
– Schokland: a hidden island in The Netherlands
Or order one of these great guidebooks: