Friesland

The region of Friesland in the north of the Netherlands has a rich trading and maritime tradition.

Destinations / Netherlands / Friesland

Most tourists travelling to the Netherlands choose Amsterdam as their main destination. Although a tour of the capital is undoubtedly an unforgettable experience, the small country on the North Sea coast offers other ways to spend your holiday. Especially for those of you who prefer quiet villages to bustlingcities, a cruise in the northern and largest province of the Netherlands — Friesland — will be tailor-made. 

Unique nature is complemented by a specific culture

If you decide to explore the northern part of the Netherlands, you don't have to worry about missing out on the classic experiences the country has to offer. On the contrary. In Friesland, you'll find villages unspoilt by tourism and pleasant towns dominated by windmills where locals still wear clogs. The province is a remnant of the legendary empire of Friesland and its people still speak their own language. The capital of the region is Leeuwarden, where, among other things, the famous agent Mata Hari was born. But other towns are also worth a visit — Heeg as a former centre of trade.

West Frisian islands attract fauna and flora

One of the main tourist attractions of Friesland is the archipelago that lines the coast of the mainland. The so-called West Frisian islands are made up of several sand dune islands that, thanks to their flat surface, invite you to explore from the saddle of a bicycle or horse. Among the most popular destinations are the islands of Texel and Schiermonnkoog, which are home to important national parks. But the most visited island is Ameland, which is also known as the 'diamond of the Frisian Islands'. All travellers heading to the area will be particularly pleased with the island's varied flora and fauna. In addition to the countless species of birds, you can also see the cute seals that rest during low tide and go fishing during high tide.

A landscape made for a boat holiday

Our Frisian adventure called "Eleven Frisian Towns" will start in Koudum, a Frisian town located in the southwest of the province. From Koudum we recommend the route Koudum Hindeloopen – Stavoren – Sloten – Sneek – Leeuwarden – Dokkum (the northernmost point of the route ) – Franeker – Harlingen – Bolsward Koudum

It's up to you which towns you decide to visit and which you choose to skip for a change. We bring you a taste of the best of each. Even the surrounding towns and villages that are not directly part of the so-called Eleven Towns are worth a visit. It would be a sin to miss Lemmer, for example, one of the most important water sports towns.

Table of distances of cities in Friesland, navigation channels

Distances on navigation channels between towns in Friesland

Where else but Holland on a houseboat! Let's pick one for you.

Cruises for 3 days

Netherlands, Friesland, map of the cruising area

Trip length: 3 days
Type of cruise: circular tour

Drachten – Grouw – Sneek – Princenhof – Drachten

From Drachten, head towards the town of Grouw, which is a place for water sports. There are also many restaurants and shops of all price ranges. Instead of St. Nicholas, they celebrate St. Peter's Day here every year on February 21, which is a rarity in the whole area.

Cruises for a week

Netherlands, Friesland, map of the cruising area

Trip length: 7 days
Type of cruise: circular tour 

Drachten – Grouw – Sneek – Bolsward – Stavoren – Sloten – Joure – Princenhof – Drachten

This route will take you to the most beautiful places in Friesland. For example, to the picturesque town of Sloten, which is the smallest of the eleven Frisian towns, or to Grouw, which is part of the 19 towns that make up the metropolis of Leeuwarden.

Netherlands, Friesland, map of the cruising area

Trip length: 7 days
Type of cruise: circular tour 

Frisian Lakes

This route takes you through the most beautiful and largest Frisian lakes, including Sneekermeer, Heegermeer, Slotermeer and Tjeukemeer. These lakes are interconnected by waterways, so there is nothing to hinder the smooth sailing.

Map of the cruising area around 11 Frisian towns

Trip length: 7 days
Type of cruise: circular tour 

Eleven Frisian towns and surroundings

Our Frisian adventure called "Eleven Frisian Towns" will start in Koudum, a Frisian town located in the southwest of the province.

Map of the cruising area around 11 Frisian towns

Trip length: 7 days
Type of cruise: circular tour 

Koudum – Workum – Bolsward – Makkum – Sneek – Grouw – Akkrum – Lemmer – Koudum

From Koudum, set sail for Workum, a town boasting many medieval monuments and 4 windmills. Art lovers will also find something to enjoy here. Bolsward is a town boasting a beautiful town hall.

Vinkeeven and Woudsend sailing area

Trip length: 7 days
Type of cruise: there and back
Number of locks: 0

Woudsend – Grouw – Lemmer – Woudsend

Sail to Grouw and discover the yacht marina. Visit the town of Workum, home to many painters, and visit the town's museum. Makkum is celebrated for its pottery, visit the kilns and get some unique souvenirs. Bolsward has a quaint market with Dutch specialties.

Hindeloopen - Amsterdam - Vinkeveen, route map

Trip length: 7 days | 120 km
Type of cruise: there and back
Number of locks: 2

Hindeloopen – Sneek – Hindeloopen

In 2017 we are opening a new base for you – Hindeloopen! Hindeloopen is situated on the banks of the IJsselmeer. For centuries it has been considered a city of art and artists.

Hindeloopen - Amsterdam - Vinkeveen, route map

Trip length: 7 days | 150 km
Type of cruise: one-way
Number of locks: 7

Hindeloopen – Vinkeveen

This great cruise takes you from the lakes in the north of the country to the vibrant cities in the heart of Holland – Amsterdam and Utrecht, with numerous opportunities to enjoy the cruise, sights and shopping.

Cruises for 10 days

Hindeloopen - Amsterdam - Vinkeveen, route map

Trip length: 10 days | 235 km
Type of cruise: one-way
Number of locks: 14

Hindeloopen – Amsterdam – Vinkeveen

This great cruise takes you from the lakes in the north of the country to the vibrant cities in the heart of Holland – Amsterdam and Utrecht, with numerous opportunities to enjoy the cruise, sights and shopping.