A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
If you are, like me, in love with nature and looking for charming spots to get your weekly dose of green, then you know that not that easy. It’s true, Leiden has a lot of parks, but they’re mostly quite small, and (unfortunately) usually quite bare. So, I decided to post a series of recommendations for the best spots I could find in the area! Some are close, some further away, some have lake, some are mostly green, but one thing’s for sure- they’re all going to help you get that fix of fresh air. We actually begin with my favorite one…
But first, I have to be honest with you. All my attempts to discover the name of the park have been, so far, fruitless. So I will be simply referring to it as The Park or TP to shorten things up (OK, fine, it also sounds cooler. Sue me).
This awesome park has everything you ever wanted- a walking path with benches everywhere, a view to a lovely lake that spreads around the park, a bridge to a small island with a small forest you can go around, an area approved for swimming in the lake, and yes- even a windmill!
This heaven may at first seem a bit far away, as it’s 3 kilometers from the central station, but it’s only 12 minutes by bike, and even better- there are two small forests on the way, one of which has a lovely small lake with canals in between the paths and tiny bridges to pass them.
Well, as I said, this park has everything you could ever want. The walking path is beautiful, surrounding a golf course and a huge lawn, and with a view to the lake and canals around the area. Even better, this park is a hot spot for dog owners, so you can expect some petting opportunities.
It’s surprisingly easy to get to TP. It’s one of those places that you’ll never find on your own, but once you know it, it’s super easy to get there. From the central station, get on Schipolweg and continue until you reach a fork in the road. Then turn left and get on the bike path that goes on the bridge, right next to the train tracks. From there, just continue straight for about 2 and a half kilometers. You will cross two roads and two paths on the way, but just keep heading straight and eventually you’ll get there. There’s not much room for mistakes.
Once you’re on the bike path to TP, you have a few options. I marked three recommended spots to try out, either on the way to or at The Park. My recommended path will include all three.
How to combine them: on the way there, on your right (after about one and a half kilometers), there is a small forest (if you can even call it that), and it’s an especially lovely one (marked 2 on the map). There are a small lake and a cute stone path to cross it, as well as a few small bridges and canals.
After getting back to the main path, you should keep heading straight until you reach The Park. Start the normal circular route and get on the bridge to the small island (3 on the map). From there you have two options: you can walk straight on the paved path, or you could turn either right or left for a walk on a dirt path, which I highly recommend (as long as it’s been dry for at least two days! Trust me, it gets muddy otherwise). You can start by turning right, and just circle the small island for a nice walk in nature. Then, cross the bridge back and continue the circular path around the golf course.
When you head back to Leiden, and if you still want to see more, you can check out another miniature forest (1 on the map) for a short stroll.
If you’re into jugging, taking nice walks in nature, having picnics, finding new places, or really just exploring- go check out TP! It’s a lovely spot to know, and a really nice, typical Dutch place to take family or friends on a visit.
Got any nature spots to recommend that you’re certain people are going to love? let me know! Who knows, you might have found the best hidden nature gem in Leiden.