Sometimes you just need a quick getaway to somewhere you can just chill. We decided that a weekend trip from Amsterdam to Groningen was exactly what we wanted. It’s in the north of the Netherlands, it’s pretty small, and I got enough recommendations on where to eat and drink that I figured we would really enjoy it!
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After a 2ish hour train ride, we made it to Groningen without really knowing what to expect. Taking time to have a weekend in Groningen was important to us since we live in Amsterdam and want to explore more of the Netherlands. This vibrant and historic town has a very laid back vibe which is what we needed. Sometimes the “every day” is difficult and even the smallest trip can refresh us.
What I love most about Groningen is that it’s perfect to meander through the stone streets with the cute houses and take photos while having all the nice shops and restaurants to relax in when you want a break.
How to get to Groningen from Amsterdam
There’s not a direct route, but you can take the train from Amsterdam Centraal to Almere and switch trains there, then it’s direct to Groningen. The train switch is even on the same platform! So it’s super easy.
Since we live in Amsterdam and have a personalized OV-chip card, we have the subscription to get 40% off during off-peak hours which includes weekends. If you live in the Netherlands, I highly recommend doing this. It makes travel so much cheaper!
If you don’t have an OV-chip card, you can buy your ticket at the big yellow machines in Centraal Station, or buy it from omio.com which is super easy and you can see all the routes and train times ahead of time. Just make sure you print the ticket for your journey on NS (our national train service) since, as of this writing, Omio doesn’t have the ability to give mobile tickets for the Netherlands quite yet. Hopefully, it is coming!
Places to Eat
One of my favorite things (which you would totally know if you watch our Insta-stories!) is how much I love finding great places to eat and drink. It’s about taste, vibe, and creativity for me. Because I was given so many recommendations from a few different people, we only had time to try a few. But, I’ll leave them all here for you!
Breakfast was hard to find because no recommendations were given for this and I just kept seeing donuts and pastries everywhere. When I started to get hangry, we saw the News Cafe which is right off of the Grote Markt. That was a good find! Hot breakfast with a cool space and pretty good service for being so big and busy–exactly what we were looking for.
Please go to Mr. Monfongo for lunch. It’s a large space with tons of personality and it’s based off an American explorer but has an international flair. To top it all off, they also make their own gin. So, grab a Gin & Tonic!
With so many options for dinner, it will be hard to choose. We went to The Dogs Bollucks is a traditional English pub with TVs everywhere in case there is a soccer game on (or other sports, too, I imagine!).
Here are some spots we didn’t get to try but heard great things about…Check out El Santo if you’re looking for a Mexican flair. Blocks & Barrels is like a brewery, butcher, pub a delicious-looking menu. They are also open for lunch if you’re looking for some good meat for lunch.
Things to do in Groningen
This is not a post to get you to try and pack as much as possible into your weekend to Groningen. Nope, we wanted to take a relaxing trip so we moseyed around a lot. They have some of the cutest shops! Just do any shopping on Saturday, shopping on Sunday is really hit-or-miss in the Netherlands. There are markets open on Sunday, though, so that’s something nice to stroll through and explore.
You can always go to the VVV (tourist office) to ask for advice as well. Just note that most of the brochures you have to pay for here. But this one is free and it was my Bible while there and I will take it back for next time, too!
Suggestions for memorable experiences in Groningen:
Take a boat tour with Kool Boat Excursion Company
Climb the Martini tower for a view of the city — Go to the tourist office for information (Grote Markt 29, 9712 HS Groningen) or email [email protected]
Take a bike tour of Groningen
Enjoy a walking and eating tour
Visit a Dutch Gin distillery for a tour and a tasting
Toast at a modern brewery with a tour and a tasting
Spoil yourself and make the most of your time with a private tour of Groningen
Enjoy your weekend trip from Amsterdam to Groningen! We found our time there to be exactly what we were looking for a place to do whatever without pressure. I hope you find the same! Everyone travels differently, so these tips are so you can make the most of whatever you want your trip to be.
Do you like taking weekend trips where you live?
Wishing you love and travels!
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