The hottest spots in town and country

Find your favourite place in Groningen

Welcome to Groningen! You probably haven’t taken the time yet to explore your new home. That is why UKrant has put together a list of places in town and the surrounding country that are worth visiting.
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Door Rick Jan Molanus

24 August om 8:00 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 22 November 2020
om 16:16 uur.
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By Rick Jan Molanus

August 24 at 8:00 AM.
Last modified on November 22, 2020
at 16:16 PM.
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Rick Jan Molanus

Studentredacteur Volledig bio Student editor Full bio
The Grote Markt

Groningen city

Groningen, also known as ‘Stad’ to its inhabitants, has been the centre of the northern region since the Middle Ages. Before the UG started drawing students to the city in 1614, Groningen was a place where merchants and fishermen sold their wares. The students have made today’s Groningen a lively, progressive, youthful city that hasn’t lost its connection to the past. As a new citizen in Stad, here are some places you just have to go:


The warm late summer days will make you want to leave your stuffy room. Fortunately, Groningen has many parks where you can go and relax after class. One of the most popular parks is the Noorderplantsoen. On hot days, it is crawling with students and their grills. It even has its own song

The Stadspark, to the south of the central train station, is also lovely. It’s much bigger than the Noorderplantsoen, which means you’ll always find a secluded spot. Unless it’s May 5 and the Bevrijdingsfestival is on. 

Chilling in the Noorderplantsoen

City tour

A great way to familiarise yourself with the Groningen city centre is a city tour past the town’s old hospitals. These were not like the hospitals we know today; rather, they were places where the poor, widows, and sick people could go if they needed a place to stay. Nowadays, the small houses serve as apartments. A tour past fifteen hospitals will take you through the entire city. 

Don’t forget to climb the Martini tower while you’re in Groningen; any city resident who hasn’t climbed ‘d’Olle Grieze’ will have bad luck.


If it’s culture you’re looking for, the Forum Groningen is a one-stop shop. This futuristic building that dominates Groningen’s skyline officially opened its doors in 2019 and quickly became the city’s communal living room. Here, you can relax and read a book, visit an art exhibit, or watch a film. 

True art lovers will enjoy the Groninger Museum, but even if you’re not a connoisseur the place is worth a visit: the collection keeps changing and students get in for free.

The hanging kitchens of Appingedam


Please don’t think that Groningen is the only city in the province. Appingedam was given city rights in 1327. The small houses and quiet atmosphere may not be all that cosmopolitan, but the old city centre has enough to entertain you. In the Middle Ages, Appingedam was an important trading post thanks to its position next to the Damsterdiep and the connection to the Wadden Sea. This made the city a formidable competitor to Groningen.

Museum Stad Appingedam can teach you all about the history of the small city. Across from the museum, you’ll find the Nicolaïkerk, a Romano-Gothic hall church, construction on which was started in the early thirteenth century. Not far off the church is Appingedam’s most well-known attraction: the hanging kitchens. These interesting structures date back to the nineteenth century, when the warehouses next to the Damsterdiep were converted into houses. There wasn’t enough room in the old buildings, so the new residents decided to attach their kitchens on the outside, over the water. They are definitely worth a visit!

How to get there:

Take the train to Delfzijl from the central train station and get off in Appingedam.

Interior of the church in Pieterburen


If you’d like to take a trip through the province, pay a visit to Pieterburen. While this town is famous for its Seal Rehabilitation and Research Centre, but it has even more to offer. You can visit the fifteenth-century Gothic Saint Peter’s church and the neighbouring botanical garden. 

Fanatical explorers will love the fact that this is also the starting point of the Pieterpad, a long distance walking route that runs nearly five hundred kilometres through the country, ending in Maastricht. The first stage, from Pieterburen to Winsum, is twelve kilometres long, which makes it easy to do in a single day.

How to get there: 

Take the train to Winsum from the central train station. Take bus 68 to Pieterburen. If you want to walk the Pieterpad, you can take the train back to Groningen from Winsum.

The Schiermonnikoog harbour

Wadden Sea

If you want to expand your day trip, pay a visit to the Wadden Sea coast, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Public transport will take you to Lauwersoog, where you can enjoy some fish for lunch or even take the ferry to the island of Schiermonnikoog. 

We would definitely recommend going mudflat hiking while you’re in Groningen. The mudflats are only accessible at low tide. It’s a great way to experience the Wadden Sea and everything that lives there up close. You can take several hikes that vary in difficulty. 

How to get there:

Take bus 163 to Lauwersoog from the central bus station in Groningen. 

’t Nije Hemelriek

When you see the beach at ‘t Nije Hemelriek for the first time, you might just think you left the Netherlands and stepped through a portal into a tropical country with a clear blue sea and its white sand. But you’re only thirty bus minutes away from Stad. ‘t Nije Hemelriek used to be a sand excavation site but was turned into a recreational area a few years ago. This means the water is clean and clear.

You can also go for a lovely walk in the nature reserve around the lake. The area is called Drouwenerzand and has a diverse landscape, with forests and heaths. There’s also a mountain biking route, for both beginners and advanced cyclists. 

How to get there: 

Take bus 312 to Stadskanaal from the central bus station and get off at the Gasselte N34 stop. Walk back towards the roundabout and follow the signs. The walk to ‘t Nije Hemelriek will take approximately fifteen minutes.

A beach on the west side of the Leekstermeer

If you’d rather go swimming a little closer to home, try the Leekstermeer between Hoogkerk and Leek: it’s a fairly shallow lake where people go to swim, surf, and drive their boats. You can also take your bike and go to Garnwerd. It’s a half-hour ride that takes you through the Reitdiepdal, a beautiful bit of Groningen.

A pool in the Appelbergen area


Within biking distance of Groningen are the Appelbergen former military training grounds. You might think the place is full of apple trees, but alas: the name isn’t pronounced like the Dutch word for apples. The emphasis is on the e, and the word translates to ‘roll call’. There’s a small forest with heath and peat, and it’s the perfect place to get away from the busy city centre. You can spend the afternoon walking, or just find a spot to sit down and read a book. 

How to get there:

Take the Hereweg towards Haren and keep following the road to Glimmen. Just before Glimmen proper, go left towards the Appelbergen and follow the signs. It will take you approximately forty minutes to get there by bike.


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