Reasons to visit Friesland
Four national parks
Two UNESCO World Heritage sites
Eleven historical cities
Wadden Sea, with its islands & tidal flats
2018 European Capital of Culture - Leeuwarden
In 2018, Lonely Planet chose Friesland as one of the best places to visit in Europe. And with good reason!
Friesland is renowned for its beautiful nature. With 4 national parks, 24 lakes and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Wadden Sea, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
You can explore the province by bike, on foot, in a boat, or even on horseback. There are more than 1000 routes to take you on a journey through the endless vast landscapes, with unique flora and fauna, clear waters and historic dune terps.
For a truly unique experience, visit the Wadden Sea. Take the ferry to one of the five inhabited islands and enjoy nature at its most beautiful. Expansive beaches, magnificent dune landscapes and extraordinary tidal flats characterise the Wadden. Mudflat hikes, eco-safaris and seal excursions are just some of the remarkable activities these islands have to offer.
Friesland has its own distinct culture, with a Frisian language, flag, anthem and traditions. The province’s historical eleven cities are especially known for the traditional eleven cities ice skating tour. These small cities each have their own charm, from the beautiful monumental buildings and the typical channels and bridges, to modern art projects and architecture.
The city of Leeuwarden was 2018’s European Capital of Culture, representing a fascinating mix of history and innovation. For this occasion, international artists created a fountain for each Frisian city. The Chinese artist Shen Yuan designed the fountain in Hindeloopen.
Even when the water isn’t frozen, you can drive, cycle, walk, ride, sail, or paddle the eleven cities tour. Immerse yourself in Frisian culture by tasting the local food and staying the night in the city or out in the countryside. To experience Friesland up close and personal, try sleeping at a farm and cuddling the cows!
Attractions and Events
Highlights of Friesland’s attractions and events include:
- Afsluitdijk (“Enclosure Dam”) Wadden Centre – a great experience of the Wadden Sea, the fish migration river, the IJsselmeer region and the Afsluitdijk causeway itself
- City tours – e.g. the Mata Hari tour, focused on the story of this Frisian icon
- Eise Eisinga Planetarium – the world’s oldest working planetarium
- Festivals – culture and music at e.g. Explore the North, Frisian Street Festival and Oerol
- Museums – more than 100 museums, from the Fries Museum to private collections
- Woudagemaal – this UNESCO World Heritage site is the largest functioning steam pumping station in the world
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