26 thrilling things to do in Groningen in 2024

Welcome to gorgeous Groningen — a province that lives and breathes history, yet never loses its hip edge. From its lively city of the same name to the far reaches of its rustic countryside, there’s so much to see and do in Groningen.

Home to one of the most beautiful train stations in the Netherlands, picturesque Groningen city is also a hub for museums, art galleries, and stunning views of Western Europe’s unspoilt north.

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1. Take a scenic trip back in time in Groningen’s old town

The old town’s stunning architecture is truly a feast for the eyes. ✨ Image: Depositphotos

One of the best ways to tour the scenic heart of Groningen is by foot (preferably with a camera in hand!)

Architecture enthusiasts are in for a treat, as they can stroll by the stunning neoclassical Stadhuis (City Hall) and potter around the Korenbeurs, a UNESCO monument with gorgeous statues of Roman gods.

Oh, and if you’re in the mood for a bit of shopping, the quaint shops you’ll see in the old town are sure to scratch that itch.

💰 Price: Free

⏰ Opening hours: Whenever you want

📍 Location: Start at the Grote Markt and wander around

2. Explore the wonders of science and nature at Groningen University Museum

Not into science? No problem, as there’s loads of fabulous attractions to see. Image: Supplied/Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

If you’re eager to see a mummy in the…err, flesh, then you can’t miss a trip to the Groningen University Museum.

A must-see for curious minds, the museum features a dazzling collection of artefacts as well as exhibitions designed to blow your mind.

Tip: Don’t forget your student card or museumkaart (museum card) if you’d like to treat yourself to a fab discount on tickets!

💰 Price: €7.50 for adults and free for those under 18

⏰ Opening hours: 10 AM to 5 PM Tuesday to Sunday (closed on Mondays)

📍 Location: Oude Kijk in Het Jatstraat 7A, 9712 EA

3. Prepare to be dazzled by the trippy Groninger Museum

When regular old museums just aren’t your thing, the hip Groninger Museum might be what you need.

Full of edgy design and art exhibits, it radiates unconventionality and features an ever-changing programme to ensure that visitors will never (and we mean never!) be bored.

💰 Price: €20 for adults and free for those under 18

⏰ Opening hours: 10 AM to 5 PM from Tuesday to Sunday (closed on Mondays)

📍 Location: Museumeiland 1, 9711 ME

4. Have a pint (or three!) at De Drie Gezusters

Are you dying for a pint after a long day of exploring gorgeous Groningen? Then head to mainland Europe’s biggest pub, De Drie Gezusters.

Beer fans are on a one-way trip to paradise, as the pub serves its own speciality brews in addition to the vast range it carries.

Not a beer fan? Geen probleem (no problem)! The pub has also launched its own gin — a mouthwatering concoction of herbs, spices, and a dash of Groningen magic.

💰 Price: Meals range from €19.50 to €24

⏰ Opening hours: 11 AM to 3 AM Sunday to Friday, and 10 AM to 3 AM on Saturday

📍 Location: Grote Markt 36-39, 9711 LV

5. Marvel at the uniquely quirky Wall House #2

A stunning symbol of Groningen’s role in international postmodern architecture, visitors can’t miss taking a gander at Wall House #2.

A masterpiece of the avant-garde architect John Hejduk, the building also lures in innovative designers and artists to display their work — so be sure to check out some of the exhibitions hosted here, too!

💰 Price: Tickets can be bought from the Groninger Museum, and range from €20 for adults to €10

⏰ Opening hours: 12 PM to 5 PM every Saturday and Sunday

📍 Location: A J Lutulistraat 17, 9728 WT

6. Drink in the sights at the Martinitoren

A tall, proud structure in Groningen’s centre, it’s a definite must-see. Image: Depositphotos

If you’re in the mood to visit a badass piece of history that’s withstood being burnt, struck by lightning, and had wars waged outside of it…you need to visit the Martinitoren.

At a whopping 97 metres tall, this towering monument also offers you the best views of Groningen’s stunning old town.

Tip: Right next to the Martinikerk lies the gorgeous Prinsentuin. This Renaissance garden is a true hidden gem, so why not make the most of your visit and check it out, too?

Note: The tower has nearly 300 steps, so we wouldn’t advise climbing it if you’re in poor health.

💰 Price: €6 for those over the age of 13, €4 for children aged 4 to 12, and free for children under the age of 4

⏰ Opening hours: 1 PM to 5 PM Monday to Friday, 11 AM to 5 PM on Saturday, and 12 PM to 5 PM on Sunday

📍 Location: Martinikerkhof 3, 9712 JG

7. Marvel at the Scandinavian-inspired Reitdiephaven

Even on overcast days, the harbour offers a stunning pop of colour! Image: Depositphotos

Step aside IKEA, because the colourful marina of Reitdiephaven, with its charming Nordic vibes, is one of the most photographed locations in Groningen.

Located just on the border of the city, this lively harbour offers stunning views of Groningen and its surrounds, and is conveniently close to many cosy cafés and restaurants.

💰 Price: Gratis! (free)

Opening hours: 10 AM to 3:30 PM every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday

📍 Location: Reitdiephaven 151, 9746 RC

8. Lie back and unwind at Noorderplantsoen

Leafy gorgeousness awaits you! Image: Depositphotos

D’you need a slight breather from the sights and sounds of dazzling Groningen?

We suggest a trip to tranquil Noorderplantsoen, a quiet and leafy oasis in the heart of this gorgeous city!

Whether you’re there to lounge under the shade of a tree and get lost in the pages of a book, have a picnic with some delicious goodies from the local supermarket, or just collect your thoughts for a while, a trip to Noorderplantsoen should definitely be on the cards.

💰 Price: Gratis! (free)

⏰ Opening hours: All day, every day

📍 Location: Kruissingel 1, 9712 XN

9. Journey down the Hoge der A and Lage der A

Don’t you just want to grab your camera? Image: Unsplash

Step into a breathtaking postcard picture, and visit one of Groningen’s most photographed locations.

The streets Hoge and Lage der A run on either side of the picturesque A-Canal (yep, that’s really its name), in a neighbourhood full of listed buildings and historic monuments that are just begging to be made into an Instagram post (or three!) 🤳🏼

💰 Price: Free (unless you want to pop into one of the nearby cafés for a bite to eat!)

⏰ Opening hours: Entirely up to you

📍 Location: You’ll find the Hoge and Lage der A on either side of the A-Canal

10. Let your hair down on a pub crawl

Just what you need to wet your throat after a long day. Image: Freepik

The bars of Groningen are calling your name!

Whether you’re in the mood for predrinks before a lively round of karaoke, a wild night of swaying to the beat on a dancefloor, or just embarking on a good, old-fashioned pub crawl, you can’t miss checking out Groningen’s excellent selection of bars.

We’d recommend starting your journey at Bierlokaal Café de Koffer and heading into the Binnenstad to visit the circle of bars around the Grote Markt.

💰 Price: Prices vary per bar

⏰ Opening hours: Most bars open by early evening and stay open till 4-5AM

📍 Location: Start at Bierlokaal Café de Koffer 

11. Have tons to sea at the Northern Shipping Museum

All aboard, matey! ⚓️ Image: Freepik

If all things nautical are calling your name, then you need to check out the fabulous Noorderlijk Scheepvaartmuseum (Northern Shipping Museum).

Housed in two of the oldest buildings in Groningen, this museum takes you on a riveting ride through the city’s maritime history — all the way from the Middle Ages to the present day.

💰 Price: €8 for those over 21, €4.50 for those aged 7 to 21, €4.50 for seniors over 65, and free for children under 7

⏰ Opening hours: 10 AM to 5 PM Tuesday to Saturday, and 1 PM to 5 PM on Sunday

📍 Location: Brugstraat 24, 9711 HZ

12. Catch a rockin’ show at Groningen’s largest music venue, De Oosterpoort

Done touring gorgeous Groningen? Be sure to check out a show before you leave! Image: Freepik

Perhaps you’ve spent an exhilarating day taking in the sights and sounds of the city, and are looking for something new to do. Well, it “sounds” like you need to check out Groningen’s musical hub: De Oosterpoort. 🎸

It’s hosted brilliant performances by famous international artists like Dream Theater and Queens of the Stone Age, as well as those by home-grown talents like Ilse de Lange and Racoon.

💰 Price: Prices depend on the artists performing

⏰ Opening hours: Show times vary according to the artists and programmes

📍 Location: Trompsingel 27, 9724 DA

13. Get cultured at Forum Groningen

This humble facade hides a bustling cutural hub! Image: Unsplash

Whether you want to check out an enticing exhibition, catch a must-see film, or just lounge around with a book and a warm croissant in hand, Forum Groningen welcomes you with open arms.

Nestled in the heart of Groningen, the Forum is a cultural centre on steroids — boasting a fun-packed ever-changing programme that you won’t want to miss out on.

(Also, drinks at the skylounge bar + restaurant? Sounds to us like the perfect way to celebrate the end of a fun day! 👀)

Tip: If you’ve got a Cineville pass, you could nab yourself a very handy discount on films at the cinema here.

💰 Price: Entrance is free, but the price of exhibitions may vary

⏰ Opening hours: 9 AM to 10 PM Monday to Thursday, 9 AM to 11 PM on Friday and Saturday, and 10 AM to 9 PM on Sunday

📍 Location: Nieuwe Markt 1, 9712 KN

14. Take a stab at joining a battlefield tour

Battlefield tours help history come alive! Image: Supplied/Battlefield Tours

A battlefield tour leads visitors on an engaging trek through a former battlefield, with an experienced guide at the helm.

If you’re a history buff who wants to discover a wealth of information without having to leaf through dusty old books, you need to join a battlefield tour!

💰 Price: Group prices range from €200 to €400 depending on whether you’d prefer a half- or full-day tour (€32 to €65 per person, respectively)

⏰ Opening hours: 9 AM to 5 PM Monday to Sunday

📍 Location: Calvijnstraat 4, 9746 BE

15. Geek out at the fabulous Storyworld Comics Museum

Colour us very interested! Image: Unsplash

If you’re drawn (pun intended!) to comic strips and animations, then you can’t give Storyworld a miss.

Whether you’ve been dying to create a comic of your own, or just want to geek out to one of the finest collections of animations the Netherlands has to offer, this Groningen museum is a definite must-see!

💰 Price: €9.50 for adults, €6.50 for children from 6 to 17 years of age and students, and free for children under the age of 6

⏰ Opening hours: 10 AM to 6 PM Tuesday to Sunday

📍 Location: Nieuwe Markt 1, 9712 KJ

16. Tour the stunning waters of Groningen from a boat

Look at that stunning view! 😍 Image: Depositphotos

If you thought Amsterdam was the only Dutch city with breathtaking canal views, you’re dead wrong. 😉

Groningen’s picturesque canals weave and wind their way under 60 bridges, taking you from the heart of this ancient city right to the rolling sea.

Tip: Have you had your fill of canal views? Take to the scenic Paterswoldsemeer instead — a lake of glistening blue water in the Dutch countryside.

💰 Price: Varies per company

⏰ Opening hours: Vary per company

📍 Location: You’ll find a range of tour companies surrounding the Binnenstad

Exhausted your bucket list of things to do in the city of Groningen? Congrats!

Read on to find a list of exciting things to see and do in the province of Groningen. 👇

17. Wildlife lovers can’t miss the Nationaal Park Lauwersmeer

Hundreds of species call this national park home, so a visit will definitely impress every budding naturalist (and photographer!). Image: Freepik

A true birdwatcher’s paradise, Nationaal Park Lauwersmeer is full of scenic walking and biking routes that are perfect for activity-minded visitors.

If you’d rather set the binoculars down, you’ve got your pick of fabulous activities to enjoy — from fishing for your dinner, to sailing the calm waters, to jumping in for a swim, and more.

Note: Is your furry friend tagging along, too? Dogs are allowed in many areas of the park, just be sure to have them on a leash!

💰 Price: Free

⏰ Opening hours: The park is open 24/7

📍 Location: Nationaal Park Lauwersmeer, Lauwersoog 9976 VT, De Rug 1, 9976 VT Lauwersoog

18. Tour one of the Netherlands’ oldest botanical gardens at Haren Hortus Botanicus

There’s loads to see, do, and smell. Image: Supplied/Reina Jager (via Haren Hortus Botanicus)

You won’t be-leaf how gorgeous nature can be till you’ve visited one of the oldest and largest botanical gardens in the Netherlands: Haren Hortus Botanicus!

Boasting the gorgeous Hondsrugtuin, this botanical park (which is also a UNESCO heritage site) boasts the most spectacular themed gardens. 

From the tranquil Celtic garden to the cheerful butterfly and bee meadow, the Haren Hortus offers visitors a truly unbeatable experience. 

In addition to this, the Hortus is home to the cosiest Chinese Tea Shop, nestled in the stunning Chinese Garden — the perfect place to warm up after touring this leafy oasis.

💰 Price: €5 for those over 16, €2 for children aged 8 to 15, and free for children up to age 7

⏰ Opening hours: 11 AM to 4 PM daily (off-season, from November 1 to March 14)

📍 Location: Kerklaan 34, 9751 NN

19. Soak up some history at the Bourtange fortress

The Bourtange fortress is as stunning from the air as it is when seen by foot. Image: Depositphotos

Having successfully rebuffed the Spanish during the Eighty Years’ War, the stunning star-shaped Bourtange fortress is far more than just a pretty face.

This fancy fort also treats visitors to an engaging medieval atmosphere, riveting reenactments of the Eighty Years’ War, and more!

💰 Price: €9 for those over 12 years of age, €5 for children aged 6 to 12, and free for children under 6

⏰ Opening hours: 10A M to 4:30 PM Monday to Sunday

📍 Location: Willem Lodewijkstraat 33, 9545 PA

20. Hike through some of the most gorgeous sights in the Netherlands

Be sure to bring your camera along! Image: Freepik

Those that love a refreshing hike through the Dutch countryside need to add this to their bucket list stat.

Whether you’d like to wander off the beaten track and explore the nearby bossen (forests) or do a round of a scenic village, hiking in Groningen is sure to recharge your batteries. (For more exploring, of course! 😉)

💰 Price: Gratis! (free)

⏰ Opening hours: Whenever you’re in the mood

📍 Location: We recommend walking stretches of the Pieterpad

21. Have a cuppa at De Theefabriek (The Tea Factory)

Ahh… just what one needs after a long day’s walk. Image: Supplied/De Theefabriek

If you fancy an afternoon brew during your wanderings, then you’re going to find De Theefabriek utterly tea-rrific!

Boasting the most extensive tea menu in the world, De Theefabriek is also The Netherlands’ one and only Tea Museum.

Tip: Travelling in a group? You may be able to snag yourselves a tasty korting (discount).

💰 Price: €4.95 for those over 12, €2.95 for children aged 4 to 12, and free for children under 4

⏰ Opening hours: 10 AM to 5 PM on Saturday and Sunday

📍 Location: Hoofdstraat 15-25, 9973 PD, Houwerzijl

22. Say hoi to some adorable seals at Seal Centre Pieterburen

Would you look at that adorable face? 🥺 Image: Supplied/Martina Zilian (via Zeehondencentrum Pieterburen)

If you want your visit to Groningen to be totally “awww”some, then head to Seal Centre Pieterburen to make some furry (and slightly wet) friends!

All the seals at this sanctuary are rescues or orphans that will be released when they’re fully recovered, so rest assured these whiskery cuties are well taken care of.

Tip: Hang onto your student card to nab you a brill korting (discount) on entrance tickets.

💰 Price: €9.50 for those over the age of 12, €7.50 for children aged 3 to 12, and free for children under 3 years of age

⏰ Opening hours: 11 AM to 4 PM daily

📍 Location: Hoofdstraat 94a, 9968 AG, Pieterburen

23. Nature lovers, prepare to be amazed by DoeZoo Insektenwereld

Not a fan of insects? Not to worry, because there’s a whole bevvy of other creatures to see! Image: Depositphotos

If insects don’t bug you, we recommend a visit to DoeZoo Insektenwereld.

Don’t let the name fool you, though, because there’s so much more to explore than the odd grasshopper or two!

Tip: Is Seal Centre Pieterburen also on your bucket list? Bag a tasty discount on these two sights with a Combiticket for €14.50.

💰 Price: €9 for those over 3 years of age and free for children under 3

⏰ Opening hours: 10 AM to 5 PM Monday to Sunday

📍 Location: Wierde 17, 9965 TA, Leens

24. Peel back the fabric of history at Klooster Ter Apel

Art, culture, and gorgeous views? Sign us up! Image: Depositphotos

Nestled in the leafy heart of one of Groningen’s quaintest neighbourhoods lies Klooster Ter Apel.

The neighbourhood is actually home to one of the many thrilling things to do in Groningen. Take a fascinating trip back in time at this quaint museum, which offers you a fascinating blend of art and culture — set in a historic monastery dating back to 1465!

💰 Price: €8.50 for adults, €5 for teenagers and students, €4 for children aged 4 to 12, and free for children under 4

⏰ Opening hours: 11 AM to 5 PM every Tuesday to Saturday, 1 PM to 5 PM on Sundays

📍 Location: Boslaan 3, 9561 LH, Ter Apel

25. Cuddle some cute animals at a petting zoo

Aren’t those adorable eyes just begging for a pet? Image: Depositphotos

If you’re travelling with little ones, then this might be the most adorable addition to your itinerary.

Groningen is home to the amazing Kinderboerderij Stadspark, a haven for knuffelen (cuddling) with fluffy goats, rabbits, ponies, and more!

Tip: Travellers with disabilities can also visit Mikkelhorst Haren, a petting zoo where the differently abled can play with adorable animals and join in on fun activities.

💰 Price: Not publicly listed

⏰ Opening hours: 9:30 AM to 5 PM every day

📍 Location: Stadspark 3, 9727 KG

26. Visit the historic Nationaal Bus Museum

All aboard! Image: Depositphotos

If you’ve ever dreamt of being behind the wheel of a bus, then the Nationaal Bus Museum can help those dreams become a (virtual) reality. Toot toot! 🚍

In addition to the virtual fun, the museum also maintains and restores historic old buses.

Auto-enthusiasts will be enthralled by not only the vast collection of buses, but also the engaging photo and film archive the museum has lovingly put together.

Tip: If the virtual reality experience doesn’t thrill you to the core, you can even rent one of the museum’s buses yourself!

💰 Price: €6.50 for visitors over 13, €5 for children aged 5 to 13, and free for children under 5

⏰ Opening hours: 11 AM to 5 PM every Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday

📍 Location: Produktieweg 13, 9601 MA

No matter which of these activities you’re dying to try out (if you haven’t already), we’re sure that you’re going to have loads of fun in Groningen. 💁🏻‍♀️

Do you have any fabulous things to add to our list? Tell us all about them in the comments below!

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Liana Pereira 🇱🇰
Liana Pereira 🇱🇰
Liana juggles her role as an Editor with wrapping up a degree in cognitive linguistics and assisting with DutchReview's affiliate portfolio. Since arriving in the Netherlands for her studies in 2018, she's thrilled to have the 'write' opportunity to help other internationals feel more at home here — whether that's by penning an article on the best SIMs to buy in NL, the latest banking features, or important things to know about Dutch health insurance.

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