Things to do in
Leiden

Enter your dates to find available activities

Our most recommended things to do in Leiden

From Leiden City: Kaag Lakes Windmill Cruise

1. From Leiden City: Kaag Lakes Windmill Cruise

Embark on a scenic boat cruise on the Kaag Lakes from Leiden and discover the beautiful landscape, known for its shallow lakes, islands, polders, and many windmills. Sit back and relax as you enjoy the views and get to know the Green Heart of Holland.  Sail from the historical city of 'Leiden' for a beautiful cruise through the Green Heart, characterized by shallow lakes and islands. The islands are polders and are still being drained by 18 restored polder mills in operation. Most of these mills can be seen during the cruise. This is Holland in its entirety: polders, cows, windmills, lakes, beautiful views and beautiful Dutch villages. The different areas within the Green Heart of Holland have their own character and appearance.  The captain informs you about all the sights during the trip and in good weather you can of course also enjoy the deck where you have a wide view of the surroundings. Drinks, snacks, and simple lunch items are available to purchase. 

Leiden: Hortus Botanicus Entry Ticket

2. Leiden: Hortus Botanicus Entry Ticket

Discover the unique plant collections of the Hortus Botanicus Leiden in an hour and a half with this admission ticket. Enjoy flowering bulbs in the spring or take a relaxing walk under the colorful ancient monumental trees in the autumn, the garden is worth visiting during any season. After exchanging your ticket at the Hortus Botanicus front gate, begin your adventure through the oldest botanical garden in the Netherlands at your own pace. Witness the historical garden founded in 1590 where the first tulips in Europe were grown. Walk through the Front Garden and admire the recently built glasshouse, the Clusius Garden, and the Japanese Garden where the historical exchange of plants between Japan and the Netherlands can be admired. Imagine yourself in the jungles of Southeast Asia while being surrounded by the collection of tropical orchids and more. Unwind in the gardens and have a relaxed walk under the monumental trees. See a collection of carnivorous plants, rare tropical orchids, and seasonal favorites such as the Jadevine (flowering in March-April), the Victoria amazonica (flowering June-September), and the Chinese Lotus (flowering in July). Be in awe of a collection of almost thirty trees, some of which are over a century old and be sure to visit the souvenir shop and Grand Café before your experience is over.

Leiden 2-Hour Walking Tour

3. Leiden 2-Hour Walking Tour

Your morning or afternoon in Leiden will start at your hotel or if you travel to Leiden from elsewhere at the train station. Set off at a relaxing pace to make sure you really get to see, feel and learn all about this town. The most important sights that your private guide will show are the oldest university of the Netherlands, where King William Alexander graduated just like most other members of the royal family. Have your camera ready to take a picture of the 900 year old Saint Peter Church. Find out where Rembrandt was born and where he first started to paint. Admire the 16th century built town hall of Leiden. Discover the wall poems spread throughout the city. These poems are written in many different original languages and can be discovered anywhere. After a great walk through the city of Leiden with your private guide, sit back and relax aboard the boat for a canal cruise of Leiden. Sailing through Leiden in an hour-long boat trip, you experience the very rich culture of the city: many monuments, museums and almshouses are situated on the water. You will also sail past the Botanical gardens, birthplace to the Dutch Tulip. In the wintertime the canal cruise is replaced with a visit to the Museum Lakenhal, the most important art museum in town.

Leiden: City Center Private Guided Walking Tour

4. Leiden: City Center Private Guided Walking Tour

The authentic city of Leiden is conveniently reached by train yet so many travellers overlook this gem of a city. Even though the city is significantly smaller than other cities in the Netherlands such as Amsterdam and Rotterdam, with its world class museums, canals, windmills and historical architecture, Leiden doesn’t fall short to any and is waiting for you to be discovered. Meet your guide right outside the station and set off on an off-the-beaten path tour. Discover ‘secret’ courtyards, pass through small alleyways and be amazed by the elegant architecture that reminds us of the past. Leiden's university is the oldest in the Netherlands and according to many it is the most prestigious university as well. History buffs can indulge themselves as there is so much interesting history. Visit the area around Pieterskerk where the Pilgrim Fathers lived who left the city to settle in a land now called the United States. And since Leiden is Rembrandt’s birthplace, a stop at the Young Rembrandt Studio is not to be missed! Leiden is like an open-air museum; there’s just so much to experience. This elegant city is incredibly photogenic.

Leiden: National Museum of Ethnology Entry Ticket

5. Leiden: National Museum of Ethnology Entry Ticket

Open your view of the world with a visit to Museum Volkenkunde – the National Museum of Ethnology – a museum about people located just 5 minutes from Leiden's central station. Housed in a historic building, the museum is home to large successful exhibitions, small surprising exhibitions for the enthusiast, innovative public programs, leading scientific research, and many international collaboration projects. After entering the museum, explore the exhibitions that take you from Bali to Guatemala, from Oceania to the Arctic, and from Mecca to Djenné. Come to see how, despite all our differences, we are all in one sense the same: human beings. Feel your sense of the world expand as each object in the collection tells a human story. Be touched by stories that embody universal human themes, such as celebration, mourning, decoration, prayer, love, and conflict.

Holland Four City Charm Tour

6. Holland Four City Charm Tour

Enjoy a full-day excursion to the picturesque cities of Delft, Leiden, The Hague, and Haarlem from Amsterdam. See historic architecture, visit the birthplace of Rembrandt, and discover some hidden gems with your guide. Have a comfortable trip from your accommodations in Amsterdam on your way to your first stop in Delft. Take a walking tour, passing canals, Medieval buildings, and churches. Learn about the history of William of Orange. Next, take in the mix of modern and old architecture in The Hague. See the impressive Houses of Parliament and walk the historic streets of this administrative capital. Visit Leiden; an extraordinarily beautiful hidden gem and birthplace of Rembrandt. Take in the fabulous Market Square and stroll the alleys and courtyards on your last stop in Haarlem.

Other Sightseeing Options in Leiden

Want to discover all there is to do in Leiden? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Leiden

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 69 reviews

It was a beautiful route and a good narration by the CAPTAIN and for the service it was excellent. (steadman-sailor?) We really liked it and are looking forward to our next trip. Thanks again for the welcome and departure from the ship.

Really great boat tour. Comfortable boat, friendly staff,and a really nice way to see some areas around Leiden. We done a few Amsterdam tours, but this is better

Very nice and beautiful boat trip. The female captain did a great job and fun! Hats off to this lady!

Beautiful and great outing, surprise was the beautiful nature and lively environment

Super nice trip from Leiden, through a beautiful area... Anything but boring!