The bitter cold is gone, and slowly but surely it is getting warmer(or so it seems). There’s still a long way to go until we can actually call it spring, but it’s not quite winter anymore yet. And trust me when I say, Groningen in warm weather is a whole other level of life and atmosphere. While there’s of course also a lot to do during the winter, or on the days when the rain never seems to stop, there are just some things that are way better (or only possible) in warm, sunny weather. Make the best out of the good weather days we will hopefully get soon with the following 5 activities.
- Hang out at Noorderplantsoen
Now, this one is an obvious one. In the spring, Noorderplantsoen becomes the heart, soul and life of Groningen and of student life. As soon as temperatures rise and the sun comes out, everybody can immediately be found racing to the park. Grab a picnic blanket, some snacks and drinks, and of course your friends and spend a nice, relaxed afternoon in the Noorderplantsoen. (The same also goes for the Stadspark)
- Go swimming or get a bit of beach feeling
If hanging around a park isn’t active enough for you, you can also hang around at a lake, a beach or a swimming pool. It will probably take until about May until you can really get to enjoy these activities, and even then the water might still be a little cold (don’t say I didn’t warn you!). Hoornsemeer, the lake in the south of Groningen, may need to wait a little longer until it’s actually summer. It also takes a little while to get there, about 30 minutes on the bike from the city center.
If you don’t feel like biking for long, you can go to the much closer “stadsstrand”, the city beach, at Ebbingekwartier next to DOT. It doesn’t have lots of space for swimming, but you can play volleyball or just enjoy the sun and the sand. It’s however not clear yet when the beach will be opened this year.
And if you just want a typical outdoor swimming pool, you can check out De Papiermolen a few minutes south of the station – at least if it opens again this summer, which isn’t sure yet.. It is currently being renovated, and might not be opening until 2019 😦
But if you’re feeling extra brave, you can always jump into one of the grachten (woudn’t recommend it though)!
- Day trip to one of the little castles in the area
The province of Groningen is full of little beautiful castles and estate houses. The most well known one around is Bourtange, the star-shaped fort that you’ve probably seen quite a few pictures off before. But there are many others as well, like Fraeylemaborg in Slochteren or Menkemaborg in Uithuizen (pictured below). They may not always be the easiest to reach by public transport, but it’s worth it. You can experience Dutch history and culture for only a few euros and feel like a 15th century nobleman for a little while. Usually there’s a museum or big park or garden, and often even a café or restaurant in it. Or in the case of Nienoord in Leek, there’s even a family amusement park and a swimming pool.
For a list of more castles, check out https://toerisme.groningen.nl/en/about-groningen/g7-reasons-for-visiting-groningen/borgen
- Organise a bike tour with friends
Obviously, good weather calls for being outside, and what better way to be outside than on a bike. Become a true Dutchie and cycle everywhere, no matter how far (I mean like don’t cycle to Amsterdam obviously, but you get what I want to say here). It’s honestly crazy how quickly you can get into the countryside from Groningen, and how different it looks and feels like. There’s a good bike route system in the Netherlands, with signs leading your way and maps at every junction. Make sure to plan a route beforehand so you don’t get lost in the middle of nowhere. Al
so bring enough water and some snacks for on the way (snacks always make everything even better). If you don’t know where to go, why not check out one of the estate houses I just told you about? 🙂
For help in planning the route, you can use this website: http://www.hollandcyclingroutes.com/online-cycle-route-planner
- Visit the island Schiermonnikoog
If you have a day to spare and wanna go on a bigger adventure, grab your friends, take the bus and the ferry and spend the day on the island Schiermonnikoog. The trip is a bit more on the pricier side, but it’s definitely wo
rth it. Especially if you want to see an actual beach and walk around barefoot in the water, this trip is the one for you. I’d recommend taking the ferry at 9.30 in the morning, so you can make the most of your day. Bus Line 163 drives from Groningen directly to the port in Lauwersoog, where you can catch the ferry. On Schiermonnikoog, as soon as you get off the ferry, you can get bikes for the day, which is honestly also pretty much the only way to get around the island. There’s a bunch of restaurant and cafés in town, and you can also do some island tours organised by the tourist centre. The beach, sand dunes, peaceful forests and hidden lakes – quite a difference to Groningen and honestly one of the nicest day trips you can do in your time here.
Written by Marie Dorner – PR Committee