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Places to visit in Friesland

On and around the Mounts in Norwest Friesland, you’ll find picturesque villages and historic cities, some of them located on the famous ‘elfstedentocht’ route. We have selected the following, appealing Frisian villages and cities for you. Franeker is known for the oldest, still operational planetarium in the Netherlands. It was created late 18th century by Eise Eisinga, and today it’s still as fascinating as it ever was.

But there is more that makes this Frisian city well worth visiting. For instance, Franker has the only ‘Kaatsmuseum’ in the Netherlands as well as Museum "'t Coopmanshûs", where you’ll learn how Franeker got it’s title of ‘academy city’. You’ll find the ‘Bogt fen Guné’, the oldest student hostel of the Netherlands and the beautiful city hall in Renaissance style. And how about the historic stronghold with its well preserved teahouses, where you can enjoy a delicious cup of freshly made tea.

More on villages and cities

Makkum is inseparably associated with pottery. In this village at the Ijsselmeer, you’ll find the only remaining tin-glazed pottery of the Netherlands. The company, founded in 1594, is not only well worth a visit for its traditional decorative pottery, because the modern design pieces are a must-see as well. But Makkum has more to offer. From this village, you can explore the beautiful environment in a nostalgic pram. And…Makkum has a lot to offer to water sport enthusiasts. From beach- and swimming activities to surf-, sailing-, and sports entertainment. Te Ald Faers Erfroute that runs through Makkum is fun and educational for young and old. This route goes past a couple of carefully restored monuments that reflect life and work around 1880. In Makkum you can enjoy a cup of coffee with ‘drabbelkoek’ in a restored farmhouse, followed by a tour of the associated buildings, including an authentic forge.

Allingawier is a small mound village west of Fryslân, which less than 20 residents. The village forms a unit with the nearby Exmorra. The museum route of Aldfaers Erf crosses Allingawier. You’ll find a farmstead from the 18th century, where various farm vehicles have been gathered.

Bolsward is an old Hanseatic town with about 9400 residents. The rich history has lefts its marks. The little town has three churches that are well worth paying a visit. After a fire in 1980, ‘de Broerekerk’ was turned into a ruin, but one of the most beautiful ruins in our country. Another attraction is the city hall, which was built in renaissance style. The city hall has a history room, in which objects are displayed that reflect the glorious past of Bolsward. In the birth home of the famous Frisian writer Gysbert Japicx, a text shop has been established where you’ll be explained the Frisian language. And how about a visit tothe local distillery of Plantinga/Sonnema. The ultimate address to get acquainted with the true Frisian ‘Beerenburg’. The sociable center of Bolsward is an ideal resting place in every bicycle- or hiking route.

Just behind the sea wall between Harlingen and the ‘Afsluitdijk’ (closing dyke), you’ll find Witmarsum. In this village, on ancient Frisian clay, Menno Simons was born about five hundred years ago. The village, just like the adjacent Pingjum, is still a pilgrimage destination for Mennonites from all over the world. The house where the Mennonites gathered, led by Simons, according to the stories, has been replaced by a church, early 19th century. In 1870, the municipality relocated to Witmarsum. On the location where the church was assumed to be, a memorial pillar was raised for the church reformer. The birth village of Menno Simons is the starting point of various hiking routes across the land of the Mennonites.

The picturesque city view of Sneek hides the bustling center of water sports in Friesland. Due to its location between various lakes and canals, this Frisian ‘elfsteden’ city is the center of water tourism. The Sneekweek for instance, is a national synonym for sociability and spectacle on and around the water. But Sneek also has a lot to offer to landlubbers. A beautiful historic center, for instance, with many monuments. Traditional companies where you can see and taste craftsmanship, such as a ‘Drabbelkoeken’ bakery. Clock builder and the liquor store of Widow Joustra with her classic old store interior. Or how about the ‘Nationaal Modelspoormuseum’ (model train museum) and the ‘neogotische kruisbasiliek’ (basilica) designed by architect P.J.H. Cuypers, famous for his design of the ‘Rijksmuseum’ and Amsterdam Central Station.

Leeuwarden. Capital of the Friesland province. Start- and end point of the glorious Frisian ‘Elfstedentocht’. City with a rich history, which is still visible on many locations, and a busy, sociable center bordered by canals. In Leeuwarden, you will never be bored. In addition to many museums, the city also has a wonderful city park, where one can frequently enjoy live music during the summer. It’s also where you can climb most leaning tower in the Netherlands, pay a visit to Aqua Zoo or visit one of many galleries. Night life in the Frisian capital is good as well. How about a show in city theatre ‘De Harmonie’, a snack or a drink on a terrace or in one of the numerous bars and eateries or strolling along the illuminated monumental canal houses.

With Children

Below you'll find a couple of suggestions for fun trips.

Aqua Zoo Friesland
Did you ever hear of the broad forehead crocodile? No? These exciting animals can be found in Friesland! Don’t worry, not just anywhere in thewild. To see them, you have to go to Aqua Zoo Friesland.
Sybrandy's Speelpark Oude Mirdum
Sybrandy’s Speelpark is located in Southwest Friesland, surrounded by the beautiful forests of Gaasterland. The park, which originated from a bird park, has evolved into the ultimate amusement park of Friesland. The target audience of the park includes children from 3 to 13.

Experience the Wadden Sea area at ‘de SeedyksterToer’
Educational nature recreation center or bad weather accommodation ‘De SeedyksterToer’ provides people young and old the opportunity to experience Northwest - - Fryslân Buitendijks’.

Natuurmuseum Fryslân
A museum for children, parents and grandparents, nature enthusiasts and everyone who wants to see a sperm whale from up close, who wants to circle above Fryslân in an airplane or who wants to walk across the bottom of a ditch. Doing and experiencing is the central theme of the museum, which make it the most fun museum of Fryslân!

Adventurous Discovery Center Aeolus
Aeolus is an adventurous discovery center. At Aelous, every child can indulge him/herself to the fullest. Children from 1 to 14 can run, jump,climb and there is much to discover. The discovery center is also a very nice experience for adults.

Freeriderz Kitesurfschool
Kite surfing is for young and old, not hard to do and very accessible. Freeriderz kitesurfschool works with IKO certified instructors and provides lessons in accordance with international directives.


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