Groningen – A Beautiful University Town in North Netherlands

Home/Europe/Netherlands/Groningen – A Beautiful University Town in North Netherlands
  • groningen holland

    Some of the links on this page are adlinks

Last updated: September 19, 2018

Groningen is a university town in Northern Netherlands that I visited this summer. Before I went, I knew very little about this city or what you could do there, but it looked nice in photos, and I had heard about it thanks to the Football team. 

Here, you can read my best tips for the trip including tourist attractions, things to do in Groningen, How to get around, Flights to Groningen and of course hotel & accommodation + more information about the city itself. 

It’s a lovely city with about 200 000 inhabitants, where circa 40 000 are students. That’s also why the average age is quite low here, but there are plenty of attractions and things to do for all ages. 

groningen people

Popular Attractions in Groningen

Groningen is an old city with lots of well-preserved architecture and beautiful buildings. Most of the attractions in Groningen are centrally located within walking- or biking distance.

Prinsenhof

A classic tourist attraction in Groningen that is nowadays a luxury hotel. Previously it has been the home of the Bishop, and later a military hospital in the 1800’s. It’s a historical building with a beautiful garden that is open to the public.

If you want to live a bit more luxurious in central Groningen, I can recommend booking a night at Prinsenhof.

Prinsenhof

Synagogue

At the beginning of the 20th century, there were about 2400 Jews living in the city. Only a small part of the Jewish community survived the Holocaust. But the synagogue survived, and today it’s still an active religious center for the Jewish community.

Martinitoren

This 97-meter tall tower is the pride of the city, and according to a local law, it’s forbidden to build anything higher than the Martinitoren. From here you get stunning views over the city. Next to the tower, you can also visit Martinikerk, which is the oldest church in Groningen.

martinitoren

A popular tourist attraction in Groningen

Reitdiephaven

This housing project is quite interesting as it’s built along the water in Scandinavian architecture. It’s a city marina where many locals have boats, and it’s definitely an interesting place to check out!

reitdiephaven groningen-4

Der-Aa-Kerk

Another beautiful church in the central parts of Groningen that is worth visiting.

der aa kerk

7 Things to do in Groningen

Stroll around the canals

There are several canals around the city center where the houses are beautifully lined up along the water together with boats and houseboats. The Canals of Groningen are surely one of the best things to see and perfect for a stroll when the sun is shining.

READ MORE:  Top Things To Do In Amsterdam

When you feel for a break or people watching, just sit down at a cafe or bar with outdoor seating.

groningen canal

Beer tasting & brewery

There are many breweries in Groningen, and lots of different local beers to try. When I and Christine visited Groningen, we also had the chance to make our own beer at Baxbier Brewery. A different, but fun experience if you travel to Groningen with a group of friends.

Bax Bier has also won several prizes for their beer.

Go to the beach

Beaches are probably not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the Netherlands, but Groningen actually has its own sandy beach in the central parts. It’s especially popular among the locals during the summer months.

The City beach is located behind “The Dot”.

city beach groningen

Go shopping at Grote Markt

Grote Markt is the main square in town, and here you’ll find food trucks, bars, cafes and the food market that is held each Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday.

It’s also a nice place for people watching while sipping some drinks at one of the popular bars.

A night out at Mr. Mofongo

In central Groningen, next to the University Museum, you’ll find a funky and unique bar and restaurant that is called Mr Mofongo. It’s not a regular bar, this place is combined from several parts of an old residential house. In just one place, you can enjoy a cafe, restaurant, wine bar, cocktail bar, and a distillery.

They make their own liquor, and something even more unique – The Robot arm that makes cocktails! Or, the robot that opens wine bottles and pours glasses of wine in the wine bar on the third floor. Mr. Mofongo has it all for a fun night out with friends or just a nice dinner.

mr mofongo groningen

Watch Dutch football

You might know about Ajax and PSV Eindhoven from the top league in the Netherlands. Groningen is the home city for the club – FC Groningen, so if you like football and your visit coincidence with a clash with Ajax or PSV, you should definitely go and watch some European top football

Attend Paradigm Festival

If you travel here during summer when Paradigm Festival is being held, you should definitely make a visit. It’s a music festival that reminds a bit of Tomorrowland but on a smaller scale.

It’s one of the highlights for the locals! And visitors from all over the world come here to experience the festival.

Museums

  • Groninger Museum
  • Noordelijk Scheepvaartmuseum
  • Universiteitsmuseum
  • Nederlands Stripmuseum
  • Noorderlicht

groninger museum

How to get around in Groningen

Bicycle

I recommend renting a bicycle to get around. It’s very convenient just as in the rest of the Netherlands, and it’s also the most common ways for locals to get around. There are lots of parking spaces for bicycles and it’s very safe for cyclists.

READ MORE:  25 Interesting facts about the Netherlands

On foot

If you stay in the city center, you can walk to most attractions and places of interest.

Bus

There are buses who can take you around the city to different areas. It’s cheaper than a taxi and could be a good alternative if you want to explore beyond the city center, but don’t want to rent a bike.

how to get around groningen

Flights to Groningen

As of now, there are direct flights to Groningen from Copenhagen and London. But you can also get here quite easily by train from Schiphol in Amsterdam, which means that you can fly here from literally any destination around the world.

It’s the Nordica Air that flies between Groningen and Copenhagen.

Search for Flights Here

 

Accommodation & Hotel

The Student Hotel

If you’re traveling on a budget and want a nice place to stay, I can suggest The Student Hotel. I stayed here, and it’s not only good for students, but for all ages and visitors. The staff is friendly and you can rent a bike here. The rooms are simple but have everything needed for a great weekend in Groningen.

Read more about the hotel

Airbnb

There are also lots of apartments and rooms being listed on Airbnb. Currently, you get $40 in discount on Airbnb when you book your first trip via the button below.

Get $40 in discount

Photos from Groningen

See more photos of this beautiful city.

groningen netherlands

groningen nord holland

groningen street

groningen castle

More information about Groningen

  • Total Population: Circa 200 000.
  • City Area: 83,7 km²

Groningen is the seventh largest city in the Netherlands with a well-known university, founded already in the 1600’s. There are around 200 000 people living here in total, whereas at least 40 000 of them are students. Of these students, about 11% are from foreign countries.

The city is known for being innovative and having a great startup-scene. There’s a lot going on in Groningen, and the city is continuously working on improving it via various projects, especially when it comes to being sustainable and innovative.

Despite being a quite small city, both in size and total population, you’ll find everything needed here, both as a tourist and local.

Historically, the city has been important, and it’s currently unknown when it was first founded. However, the first document mentioning the city is dated to 1040, but there have been archeological findings dating back thousands of years. The oldest ones are dating back to 3950 – 3720 B.C. The oldest habitation is from the 4th century.

READ MORE:  Top Things To Do In Amsterdam

In the 13th century, Groningen became an important trade center, and it was also then when the first city wall was being built to protect from intruders. The greatest period was in the 15th century when Friesland was ruled from here as well. Martinitoren was built during this period.

Important dates throughout history

  • Year 1536, Karl V was accepted as the leader, just as in the rest of the Netherlands
  • 1594, the city was conquered by Maurice of Nassau
  • Shortly after, the province joined the Republic of the Seven United Provinces
  • The University was founded 1614
  • During the same period, a new city wall was being built
  • 1672 was heavily attacked by the Bishop of Münster, but the city prevailed thanks to the city wall
  • April 1945, large parts of Grote Markt was destroyed in the Battle of Groningen.

groningen university

Where is Groningen?

Groningen is situated in Northern Netherlands, in the province of Groningen.

Groningen tourist office

  • Address: Grote Markt 29
  • Opening Hours: 12-18 (mon), Tue-Fri 9:30 – 18:00, Sat 10:00 – 17:00, Sun 12:00 – 16:00
  • Phone number: +31 50 313 9741
  • Official website

Climate and Weather in Groningen

The weather is pretty similar to the rest of the Netherlands, but during the winter months, it can be a bit colder here due to winds. Dress as you would if you travel to Amsterdam, and bring an umbrella if you have because you never know in the Netherlands!

Below you can see the average temperature for Groningen.

Average temperaturePrecipitation
MonthDegrees(mm)
January1.3°C66
February1.6°C47
March4.1°C49
April7.2°C49
May11.6°C57
June14.6°C65
July15.9°C84
August16.0°C80
September13.4°C74
October9.8°C70
November5.4°C80
December2.5°C75

Day trips from Groningen

Northern Netherlands is beautiful but easily fall into the shadow in favor of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Haag, which is visited by millions of tourists each year. However, if you spend a few days in the city, you could also make some day trips from Groningen to these places.

Giethoorn is a typical Dutch village. And if you come to Northern Netherlands during summer, you should check out Ameland Island and Scheveningen Beach for sunbathing.

  • Bourtange
  • Ameland
  • Scheveningen beach
  • Giethoorn
  • Paterswoldsemeer
giethoorn

Photo: Shutterstock

Book your trip to Groningen


Do you have more questions about Groningen? Leave a comment below or send an email!

September 17th, 2018|

THANKS FOR READING MY BLOG

Swedish Nomad

Hello! I’m Alex Waltner — A Swedish Travel Blogger & Photographer.

My vision with this blog is to inspire people to travel more and better by sharing useful travel guides and tips from my adventures around the world.

Follow My Travels on Instagram

2 Comments

  1. Pablo D 09/28/2018 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    You seem to have missed VERA, since the mid Seventies one of the main underground rock clubs of the Netherlands. Despite the relatively small room (I think their main stage has space for about 500 attendees), over the years, VERA hosted bands like U2, Simple Minds, Joy Division, Nick Cave, Sonic Youth, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Franz Ferdinand, Elbow and a myriad of other big names. Every week the club has about two concert nights at the main stage, but VERA also has a small bar with live music in the cellar of the building and has a weekly cinema night. You’ll find VERA in Oosterstraat 44, a few hundred meters from Grote Markt. http://www.vera-groningen.nl

Leave A Comment