Leiden is a beautiful old city located in the Netherlands, just 30 minutes train ride outside of Amsterdam. With its winding canals, picturesque buildings, and cobbled streets, it’s no wonder Leiden is a popular tourist destination all year round. So what is the best time to visit Leiden? Whether you want to revel in the beauty of springtime tulips or take part in traditional winter festivities, Leiden is a city for all seasons!

In this post, we will outline the best of each season to help you plan your trip.

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Best Things to Do in Leiden in the Summer

Leiden, summer

Leiden in summer is a lively and vibrant place, with something happening almost every day. The weather is warm and sunny, and there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. It is a perfect time to explore all that Leiden has to offer – from its lovely canals and parks to its great restaurants and cafes. There’s also always something going on, whether it’s a music festival, open-air cinemas, small concerts, or a street market.

Explore Leiden’s culture by strolling around the old streets, together with visiting one of its many museums. Take part in a guided city tour that covers local history and architecture. Take a leisurely boat ride down the canals or cycle along the river Vliet. All are great ways to soak up some sun while enjoying the vibrant atmosphere and Leiden’s charming architecture.

Boat Rental and Cruises


Taking a boat ride down the beautiful canals of Leiden is a wonderful experience! You can explore the city from a unique perspective, with its charming bridges, tranquil waters, and carefully tended gardens. When you’re on the boat, there is plenty to see as you glide along the water. You’ll pass by 17th-century canal houses with gabled roofs and ornate facades, bridges adorned with intricate carvings, and quaint cafés. Keep an eye out for swans floating gracefully past your boat, and keep your camera handy to capture charming views of the canal life. Taking a boat ride down the canals of Leiden is an idyllic way to enjoy this beautiful city.

For more information about boat rental and cruise alternatives please visit:https://www.visitleiden.nl/en/highlights/water

Hortus Botanicus – the Botanical Garden

Leiden’s botanical garden is one of the oldest and largest botanical gardens in Europe. It has a vast collection of plants from all over the world The garden is open every day of the week, and there is always something new to see. In the summer, the gardens are a great place to relax and escape the heat. Many plants bloom during this time, including beautiful roses, lilies, and sunflowers. The garden is also home to a variety of birds, which can be seen perched in the trees or flying overhead. It’s a wonderful place to spend an afternoon on a sunny day.

For more information please visit Leiden botanical garden official website.

Best Things to Do in Leiden in the Autumn

The autumn in Leiden is a truly delightful season! The colors of autumn just seem to make everything more picturesque. The vibrant yellows and oranges on the trees create an enchanting scenery and make the beauty of the canals and the charming old houses even more picturesque.As the sun sets, you can feel a cozy atmosphere all around, from the streetside cafes to candlelit restaurants, through the city’s cobblestone streets and historic sights.This is also a great time for visiting one of Leiden’s many museums and galleries as well as outdoor markets.

Festivals and Events in Leiden

On Monument Day, which is held at the beginning of September, thousands of historic buildings and monuments around the country are open to the public for free tours. Leiden has a particularly rich collection of monuments, hence there are many places to explore.

The 3rd October festival, also known as ‘Leidens Ontzet’ (the Relief Festival) is held in celebration of Leiden’s liberation from Spanish troops in 1574. The event includes parades, steam engines, carousels, and other fun activities for locals and tourists to enjoy. Street vendors, live music performances, and other festivities filling the streets, creating a festive atmosphere.This festival is an annual tradition in Leiden that dates back to 1886.

If you’re interested in learning more about this festival, you can find additional information here: https://3october.nl/

Another popular event takes place in mid-November when Sinterklaas (St Nicholas) arrives in town to deliver presents to children throughout the Netherlands. The time of Sinterklaas’ arrival changes each year. You can find more information here: https://www.visitleiden.nl/en/agenda/2536229069/intocht-sinterklaas-leiden

Strolling Around Leiden Old Streets

Strolling through the old streets of Leiden in the autumn is a magical experience. As the leaves slowly turn their vibrant orange and brown hues, the narrow avenues come alive with color. Wherever you turn, each alleyway is a painting straight from a storybook.The pedestrian-oriented city center, lined with 17th and 18th-century buildings, is the perfect place to get lost in the cobblestoned lanes.If you are looking to enjoy a leisurely day out, there are plenty of parks and historic monuments that can be visited at a relaxed pace.At dusk, watch as lights flicker in house windows and pavement lamps come alive with yellow warmth.The evening chill gives rise to rows of cozy restaurants and bars offering great views of churches, waterways, and architecture from centuries ago.Whether you come for only a few hours or stay for the weekend, walking around Leiden in autumn is sure to be a fantastic experience!

Best Things to Do in Leiden in the Winter

Leiden in the winter

Holiday Season

Despite the cold temperatures and shorter days, wintertime in Leiden is still a special time of year. The city takes on an especially romantic air, with its twinkling lights illuminating the canals and cobblestone streets.

Leiden in the holiday season

This Leiden Christmas Market is an annual event that should not be missed if you plan to visit Leiden in December! The Christmas market is one of the most popular places to visit during this season for a festive atmosphere. The market features all sorts of traditional Dutch goodies like poffertjes (mini pancakes), oliebollen (fried dough balls), a mug of glühwein, and much more. It’s the perfect place to do some holiday shopping or simply enjoy Dutch culture. The market is only open for a few days in mid-December, so make sure to double-check the dates before you go.

Looking for a festive activity? Why not try the floating ice rink? situated on a platform on the Nieuwe Rijn, the rink is open for a month, from mid-December. The ice rink is a great opportunity to have some winter fun, with skate rentals available for those who need them. This is a great way to get into the holiday spirit!

For more information about the Leiden Christmas market and the floating ice rink, please visit: https://www.visitleiden.nl/nl/highlights/winter-wonder-weken

Finally, don’t forget about New Year’s eve! This is a great time to celebrate with friends and be part of the city’s festive atmosphere. You’ll find plenty of fireworks displays, live music, and other festivities taking place throughout the city.

If you’re looking for some holiday entertainment, be sure to check out the calendar of events on the Leiden website. There are usually plenty of Christmas concerts and performances to enjoy, as well as other seasonal events. It’s a great way to get into the spirit of the holidays and experience some traditional Dutch culture.

For more information about concerts and performances, please visit: https://allevents.in/leiden/december

The Winter Beer Festival

The annual winter beer festival in Leiden is a great opportunity to sample some of the best beers the Netherlands has to offer. The festival takes place each year in January and features over 100 different types of beer, so there’s sure to be something for everyone’s taste. In addition to beer, the festival also offers food and music performances to make for a fun and festive evening. If you’re looking for a uniquely Dutch experience, be sure to check out the winter beer festival in Leiden!

For more information about the winter beer festival, please visit: https://www.bierwandeling.nl/winterbierfestival-leiden/

Best Things to Do in Leiden in the Spring

Leiden in the Spring

Leiden has so much to offer during all seasons but it’s especially beautiful during springtime when everything starts blossoming again!With the city coming to life after a long winter, the narcissi and tulips are in bloom, the weather is warming up, the city’s parks and gardens come alive with color, and there are numerous concerts, art exhibitions, and markets to enjoy.

The Bulb Region

Tulip in the Netherlands during spring

If you’re in Leiden between mid-March to mid-May, don’t miss the opportunity to see beautiful blooming tulips, narcissi, hyacinths, and other spring flowers in the bulb region (‘bollenstreek’ in Dutch). If you’re looking for a more active day out, cycling or hiking through the bulb region is a great way to enjoy the beauty of the Dutch countryside.

The well-known Keukenhof Gardens, in the heart of the bulb region, is an excellent option for a day visit. Just a short drive from Leiden, these stunning gardens are home to millions of flowers blooming in every color of the rainbow.

Leiden 4

The gardens can be reached by car, or by a direct bus from Leiden.

For more information about visiting the Keukenhof Gardens by public transportation, please visit:

The Bollenstreek Flower Parade is a colorful event that takes place every year in May. The parade winds its way through the tulip fields in the bulb region, with floats decorated with tens of thousands of flowers. It’s a wonderful sight to see and it is very recommended for any springtime visitor to Leiden.

For more information about the flower parade, please visit: https://www.hotelsassenheim.nl/en/flower-parade

In Conclusion

Regardless of the time of year, Leiden is always full of life and beauty. From its stunning spring blooms in the springtime to its glittering winter lights in the wintertime, this Dutch city is a perfect destination all year round.

Enjoy your journey and safe travels!

Thank you for taking the time to read this! If you have any questions or would like to share your experience, please leave us a comment below.

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