It doesn’t matter whether you only have the possibility to stay in Groningen for one semester or whether you are doing your entire degree here (or even whether you’re Dutch), there’s no doubt that you like to travel as much as possible. Unfortunately, both the university and your bank account don’t allow us to go on a weekend trip every week, and as Groningen is not that much of a big city, you’ve probably seen most of the surroundings here already. However, with this top 5 list of budget day trips – recommended by a native Dutchie – you can still travel and discover stunning places!
In case you missed ESN’s trip to Ameland, here is a good alternative! Another island close to Groningen is Schiermonnikoog. This island is the smallest of the five inhabited islands of the Netherlands, which makes it perfect for just a day trip. Enjoy the unique nature by renting a bike upon arrival at the harbour and you can see the beaches, the forest, the dunes, the lighthouse and the picturesque village centre all just in one day. You only need to take one bus from Groningen to the harbour of Lauwersoog (about one hour) and the ferry will get you there in 45 minutes.
Budget: bus return ticket to Lauwersoog (€15,-), ferry return ticket (€13,-)
The almost tropical island Schiermonnikoog
2. Crossing the border
One of the advantages of living in such a small country is that other countries are always close by! From Groningen railway station, you can catch a train/bus that brings you directly to Leer (Germany) in only one hour. Although you immediately notice you’re not in the Netherlands anymore, apart from a shopping street, cheap alcohol and cheap make-up, there isn’t that much to discover in Leer. So If you have some more time (still possible in one day: +- 2.45hr one way) take a Flixbus to Bremen (Germany). Especially in December Bremen is really cool to visit, as the Germans know very well how to treat Christmas-loving people. Also: have a look at the ESN Facebook, as we might organise a trip to this Christmas market as well!
Budget: Cheap train ticket (a normal day train ticket is valid until Leer, even though it’s Germany!) or cheap Flixbus ticket (from €22,- for a return ticket!)
German Christmas markets are the best
3. Beach day
You might think the Dutch weather only allows people to enjoy the beach an average of two days a year, beaches can also be a very relaxed place to go on a stormy autumn day (especially when there are nice places to drink hot chocolate). Some beaches that are easy to reach by public transport are Zandvoort aan Zee (own railway station) and Scheveningen (change from train to tram at The Hague CS). By the way: you’re not the only one who thinks that ‘Scheveningen’ is hard to pronounce: the Dutch used this as a way to find out if someone was really Dutch during the Second World War, as the Germans couldn’t pronounce it either.
Budget: cheap train ticket, tram ticket (a few euros)
Did you miss ESN’s trip to Giethoorn in September? No worries, you can of course go there by yourself as well! Giethoorn, also known as the Dutch Venice, is famous for its cute canals and streets. Although the autumn weather might not really attract you to rent a boat on your own, you can always book a trip on a round-trip boat and enjoy a drink while enjoying the nice views. Check www. 9292.nl how to reach the village.
Budget: cheap train ticket + bus ticket (about €12,- for a return ticket)
Chilling on a boat in Giethoorn
5. City sightseeing
I suspect you’ve already seen Amsterdam, but what about The Hague, Leiden and Delft, Zwolle, Arnhem, Deventer, Rotterdam, Haarlem, Delft, Amersfoort, Utrecht, et cetera? You choose! In all of these cities, and more of them, there’s enough to discover in a day without getting bored. Check this website of NS (in Dutch unfortunately): they offer cheap day train tickets (Dagretour) to specific cities (e.g. Utrecht, Delft) and also to anywhere you want to go (Dagje uit naar keuze) including extras such as a free lunch for max. €20,-. The website also offers train tickets including entrance fees to for instance the zoo or museums anywhere, so practice your Dutch and check it out 🙂
Which day trip are you going to recommend your friends to go next weekend? And is there something you miss in this top 5 list? Let us know!
Written by Tessa – PR Committee