City of Leiden

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Leiden

Leiden (historically known as Leyden, map) is easily one of the most enchanting cities in the Netherlands. It’s home to the oldest university (Leiden University) in the country, the birthplace of Rembrandt and breeding ground for ground-breaking science and Nobel laureates since centuries.

It’s a charmingly compact fortified city, packed with well-preserved historic heritage but with a young and lively atmosphere due to its large student population.

The large majority of sights are within the old city fortifications. It’s a compact area, easy to navigate on foot. Leiden at a distance of some 20 kilometres (12 miles) from The Hague to its south and some 40 km (25 mi) from Amsterdam to its north.

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For faster exploring or to visit places further out, renting a bicycle is an excellent idea. Like all Dutch cities, Leiden is very bike-friendly and you’ll find it’s an extremely widely used means of transport where-ever you go.

Cycle routes in the Leiden area (in English) > Keukenhof Cycle RouteLeiden Lakes Cycle Route.

Burcht van Leiden (Fort of Leiden, map). An old shell keep dated back to 11th century. This elevated borough is freely accessible and right in the heart of Leiden. After climbing the stairways you can walk around and enjoy the magnificent views of Leiden from above.

The area between the Oude Rijn and Nieuwe Rijn (map) is one of the most undisturbed bits of Leiden – go here if you like walking along canals without getting run over by shoppers. On the other side of the city centre (Weddesteeg, Galgewater) is the place where the canals recombine – this is one of the most beautiful spots in Leiden, with a windmill, the old city gate, a small park, and a wooden bridge over the river.

Haarlemmerstraat (map) and Breestraat (map) are the main shopping streets at the heart of the city center. They are both reachable within 10-15 min. walking from the central station.

Public transport

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Leiden is easily reached by train. The journey takes 10–15 minutes from The Hague, and 15 minutes from Schiphol Airport, the principal airport in the Netherlands. The journey from Amsterdam takes between 30 and 40 minutes.

OV Reisplanner – All public transport companies. All public transport in the Netherlands (buses, trams, metros and trains) use contactless smart cards called >> OV-chipkaart

CityMapper – The Netherlands | The ultimate transport app and technology for mobility in cities.

+ Public transport in the Netherlands (holland.com)

 BUS >   FlixbusConnexxionArrivaQbuzz

 RAIL >   Information about trains can be found at the Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS, Dutch Railways) + NS — International App, which includes a trip planner which uses the latest information about train delays and detours. (*Rail travel in the Netherlands)

 AIRPORTS >   Schiphol Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. It is 15 km (9.3 mi) southwest of Amsterdam. It’s a point of interest in itself, being 4 metres below mean sea level.

 WATERWAYS >   Amsterdam Central Station (map). Waterbus Rotterdam & Dordrecht >> waterbus.nl. + AFerry.co.uk.

 CYCLING >  route.nl. Cycling is a ubiquitous mode of transport in the Netherlands. The best online routeplanner for cyclists can be found at a wikiplanner made by volunteers of the Dutch cyclist union “Fietsersbond”.

Useful links

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