If you look at a map of the Netherlands and take into account Dutch distances, Groningen seems far from everywhere, but appearances, as they say, are deceiving.
Groningen is the largest, funniest student city in the north of the Netherlands. Its 20,000 students keep the city’s nightlife alive, while art museums, a theater and a concert venue, along with clubs and discos, cater to the needs of more mature Groningen residents. Check clothingexpress for information about visa to Netherlands.
In the city center there are VVV information offices, where, in addition to reading a million booklets and maps, you can find out what to do on Wednesday mornings, or what to do if you get lost.
Groningen is called the “world capital of cyclists”. A giant bike rack is located next to the university.
How to get there
There are three railway stations in the city: Groningen (central station), Groningen Europapark and Groningen Nord. Most trains arrive at the central station and only a few stop at other stations.
Trains arrive in Groningen from Schiphol Airport, Utrecht and Rotterdam (journey time 2 hours 30 minutes). From Amsterdam to Groningen can be reached with one transfer (2 hours 20 minutes).
Groningen is connected by international traffic to the city of Lehr (Germany), from where trains leave for Bremen, Hamburg and Hannover. The fare will be 10-17 EUR one way. Tickets can only be purchased at the arrivals hall at Groningen Central Station.
Flixbus buses arrive in Groningen from Bremen (11-25 EUR one way) and Oldenburg (9-23 EUR). The bus ticket to Bremen Airport can be purchased at the VVV Information Office or booked online. Prices vary depending on the time of day. The Groningen bus station is next to the main train station. In addition, Groningen is connected directly to Lelystad, Lemmer and Emmeloord.
The A28 motorway links Groningen with Utrecht and the A7 with Friesland and Amsterdam.
Transport in Groningen
As in most other cities in the Netherlands, the historic center of Groningen is surrounded by a canal, and most of the city’s attractions are located just within this canal, where traffic is very limited. Because driving in the Old Town is not the best option, and parking (always paid) is not easy to find.
One of the largest free parking lots outside the canal is Sontweg, which is east of the city, near IKEA. From the parking lot to the city center, Grotemarkt, regular buses run (fare about 2 EUR). Cycling from anywhere in Groningen to the city center takes no more than 20 minutes, making cycling a quick, economical and easy way to get around. Do not be afraid of a large number of cyclists meeting on the streets of the city, because the vast majority of them are students for whom this type of transport is the main one.
It should be borne in mind that bike thefts are not uncommon in Groningen, so you should stock up on a good lock in advance, and preferably even two. Bicycles can be rented from several rental shops throughout the city, including the central station.
An alternative to bicycles is easily made up of city buses, the routes of which always pass through Groningen Central Station or end there. Most buses stop at the Grotemarkt. Tickets can be purchased from the driver.
Weather in Groningen
Groningen has a temperate climate with relatively hot summers and cold winters. And because of the proximity of the city to the North Sea, strong winds and storms are frequent here.
Folkingestraat – the most picturesque shopping street – rests on Wismarkt (translated as “fish market”) – a market square where you can buy anything you like three times a week. Another market square, Grotemarkt (translated as “big market”), is not inferior to the Wismarkt market in terms of choice of goods.
To the south of the Grotemarkt Square is Herestraat – the city’s pedestrian street with many shops of Dutch brands such as Hema, Blokker, de Bijenkorf. Oude Kijk in ‘t Jatstraat has a large number of art galleries, a bakery, several cafes, and the city’s best chocolate shop.
Entertainment and attractions in Groningen
From everywhere in Groningen you can see the tower of St. Martin – part of the largest church on Grotemarkt Square. Its spire offers a great view of the city. The University of Groningen was founded in 1614 and is the oldest university in the Netherlands after Leiden.
If you arrive in the city by train, the first thing you see is the city museum (Groninger Museum; Museumeiland, 1; tel.: +31 (0) 50 366 65 55, opening hours: Tue-Sun 10:00-17:00, entrance – 15 EUR). The reconstruction of its main building was carried out by the Italian architect and designer Alessandro Mendini. The museum has been transformed into one of the most modern and innovative art centers in the Netherlands. In addition, the city has the Anatomical Museum, the Northern Maritime Museum, the Nemeijer Tobacco Museum, the Anthropological Museum of Gerardus van Der Lew, the Museum of Graphics and the Museum of the University of Groningen.
If you still have some energy, head to the Lauwersmeer, a wonderfully tranquil natural park with access to a dammed bay, dunes and picturesque meadows.
After walking around the city, it is worth taking a break in the North Park. And if you have the strength to get out of the city, go to Lauversmeer (bus number 163 from the central station, travel time is one hour). This is a wonderful calm natural park, which has access to the bay, fenced off by a dam, dunes and picturesque meadows.
The real Dutch entertainment is boating. You can rent a boat (Canoe-Rent +31 (0) 62 450 59 14 or under the Herebrug Bridge), ride along the canals, duck under the bridges and feed the birds.
Excursions on motor ships are organized along the old canal of the city, from the board of which a stunning view of the houses of aristocrats and city towers with a long history opens up. Excursions are held all year round, duration – 1 hour, cost 13 / 7.50 EUR per adult / child under 12 years old.
And from April 1 to October 1, from 11:00 to 19:00, anyone can rent a canoe or kayak and sail along the canal around the Old City. Such a boat trip will open a completely different Groningen and take from 1 to 2 hours. The boats are provided by ‘t Peddeltje kanoverhuur; location – under the Herebrug bridge.