The best photo spots in Leiden

It is no surprise that there are plenty of stunning photo spots in Leiden — after all, the city is a breathtaking little gem, snugged neatly between Amsterdam and the Hague.

Leiden is a truly ideal spot for a photography tour, especially since all of its most stunning sights are within minutes of walking from each other. 

Are you ready to get that perfect shot? Here’s where you can find it! 📸

1. De Burcht: for the best view of the Hooglandsekerk

photo-of-burch-van-leiden
This circular monument dates all the way back to the 11th century. Image: Depositphotos

De Burcht is worth visiting for many reasons. One of them, undoubtedly, is the fact that it’s located on a hill… in the Netherlands!?

If you know a thing or two about hills, you’ll know that they can provide fantastic views — and that sure is true for De Burcht as well. Here, you’ll get a breathtaking view of the glorious Hooglandsekerk of Leiden. ⛪️

READ MORE | Why is the Netherlands so flat? The complete explanation

This imposing church is one of Leiden’s most famous monuments, so don’t miss this chance to get a stunning shot of it! 

2. The Hortus Botanicus: for exotic plants

photo-of-hortus-botanicus-things-to-do-in-leiden
The perfect spot for a sunny day! Image: Depositphotos

Time for some greenery — and Leiden has just the right place to go: the university’s botanical gardens. 

The Hortus Botanicus is the oldest botanical garden in the Netherlands. Beautiful, romantic, and packed with a great variety of plants, it’s easily one of the best photo spots in Leiden. 

Whether you want to shoot some Dutch tulips, or Leiden’s famous penis plant (yes, you read that right), this is the place to be! 

3. The Rapenburg: for magnificent canal views

Image of the Rapenburg on a sunny day in Leiden
Leiden’s Rapenburg is the most expensive street in the city! Image: Abuzer van Leeuwen/Supplied

One thing that can’t be missing from a good ol’ Dutch photo series is pictures of a canal view: glistening water reflecting in the camera, a charming boat floating by, and lush green trees decorating the side of the roads. Oh la la!

Sounds too good to be true? It’s not! The Rapenburg in Leiden can provide you with just that. Trust us; the 700-metre-long street has not a singular spot that is not worthy of a spot in a Kruidvat photobook!

READ MORE | The Amsterdam canal houses: why are they so wonderfully weird?

The snazziest street of the city hosts the oldest building of Leiden University, as well as plenty of great cafés, museums, and historical Dutch houses.

On top of that, it has a stunning canal that is frequently called the mooiste gracht (prettiest canal) in the whole city — and we can see why! 😍

📍 Location: Rapenburg 1, 2311 GD

4. The Molen de Valk: for a quintessentially Dutch shot

photo-of-molen-der-valk
Can it get any more Dutch? We don’t think so. Image: Freepik

If you walk towards Leiden’s city centre from the station, you will come past what looks like your typical painting of the Netherlands. 

The main star of the show? The Molen de Valk, the only windmill left of the 19 that once stood within the city walls of Leiden. 

Surrounded by the water and the park’s greenery, it makes for a truly stunning and quintessentially Dutch shot! 

5. The Pieterskerk square: to capture Leiden’s history

Pieterskerk square in leiden
Truly a sight for sore eyes. Image: Lyna Meyrer/Supplied

History buffs, and appreciators of all things beautiful, this one’s for you! A feast for the eyes and the brain alike: the Pieterskerk and its surroundings.

Charming little streets lead you to what used to be Leiden’s main Catholic church, with its roots dating all the way back to the 1300s. 

READ MORE | The pilgrims in Leiden: Where were the pilgrims before they sailed to America?

Important not just for Leiden’s history, this district of the city actually used to be settled by the American pilgrims in the 16th century.

The stunning church’s big windows, and red doors, along with the typical cobbled streets, easily make for one of the best photo spots in Leiden.

6. The Koornbrug: for the hustle and bustle 

photo-of-boat-cafe-in-leiden
What a glorious bridge! Image: Depositphotos

Next up, let’s head to the Koornbrug. This stunning bridge has a unique look that will look great in any photo. Its canopy even hosts Leiden’s coat of arms! 🗝️

The Koornbrug is located right on the Nieuwe Rijn, one of Leiden’s main canals. Stroll along, sit by the water, admire the Dutch architecture and get shots of Leiden’s hustle and bustle.

Oh, and if you need a break from carrying your heavy camera through the city, you’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of great cafés and yummy ice cream shops along this canal!

📍 Location: Koornbrug, 2312 JE Leiden

7. The little pink house: for a pop of colour

Little pink house in Leiden on a sunny day
Who’s moving in with us? 😍 Image: Lyna Meyrer/Supplied

Just like Los Angeles has its famous pink wall, Leiden has its charming pink house — a pop of colour in the middle of the city centre. 

Dating back to 1635, this little dream house has quite the history in its lap. It used to be home to a well-known prostitute, who went by the nickname of Groene Haasje (little green hare).

At the time, the area the Little Pink House is in was deemed a Leiden-version of Amsterdam’s Red Light District. 

Today, it’s just the perfect spot to spice up your Instagram feed. Just look at that beautiful contrast between the sky’s baby blue and the house’s baby pink! Mooi, hé? 🌸

8. Outside the Volkenkunde Museum: to see the cherry blossoms

cherry blossoms at the Volkenkunde Museum in Leiden on a sunny day
A rare sight in the Netherlands: Clear skies! Image: Abuzer van Leeuwen/Supplied

Last but certainly not least: The Volkenkunde Museum — a beauty both inside and out!  

While the inside of the National Museum of Ethnology is among the best things to do in Leiden, the museum’s surroundings are an attraction in themselves. 

READ MORE | The museum town of the Netherlands: 14 great museums to visit in Leiden

In the spring, this is a great place to observe the cherry blossom season slowly unfolding. On top of that, the museum will occasionally have artwork of fairs outside as well. This is a photo spot in Leiden that’s definitely worth checking out!


Whether you’re looking to get that perfect shot for your apartment’s photo wall or just a casual snap for your ‘gram, these photo spots in Leiden are great locations to be featured. 📸

Do you know of any more great photo spots in Leiden? Tell us in the comments!

Feature Image:Freepik
Lyna Meyrer 🇱🇺
Lyna Meyrer 🇱🇺
Say 'hoi' to Lyna, our Senior Writer at DutchReview! Fueled by a love for writing, social media, and all things Dutch, she joined the DR family in 2022. Since making the Netherlands her home in 2018, she has collected a BA in English Literature & Society (Hons.) and an RMA in Arts, Literature and Media (Hons.). Even though she grew up just a few hours away from the Netherlands, Lyna remains captivated by the guttural language, quirky culture, and questionable foods that make the Netherlands so wonderfully Dutch.

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