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The pilgrims of American Thanksgiving fame once worked like the dickens to leave Leiden. They may have been the last people to try so hard. This compact town is webbed by canals and dotted with beautiful Renaissance buildings but it is no museum piece. Leiden has a big student population and it is ringed by thriving businesses. The center is busy through the day, with people enjoying the good - and colorful - shopping while making frequent stops at the plethora of canalside cafes. At night, Leiden has a fine dining scene, with inventive bistros found along its evocative back streets. Visitors will thrill to the town's rich past as they ...

The pilgrims of American Thanksgiving fame once worked like the dickens to leave Leiden. They may have been the last people to try so hard. This compact town is webbed by canals and dotted with beautiful Renaissance buildings but it is no museum piece. Leiden has a big student population and it is ringed by thriving businesses. The center is busy through the day, with people enjoying the good - and colorful - shopping while making frequent stops at the plethora of canalside cafes. At night, Leiden has a fine dining scene, with inventive bistros found along its evocative back streets. Visitors will thrill to the town's rich past as they wander its streets. Within the shadow of the 14th-century Pieterskerk (Peter's Church) is the Latin School, where Rembrandt was a schoolboy from 1616 to 1620, and the 13th-century Gravensteen, an old prison. Just west is one of Holland's five star sights: Keukenhof Gardens, where millions of tulips, daffodils and other flowers explode in a rainbow of colors each spring.

Ryan Ver Berkmoes
About the Expert

Ryan Ver Berkmoes has written many books for Lonely Planet, including Bali & Lombok and the Southeastern Alaska and Western Canada sections for LP's Canada guide.

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Ryan Ver Berkmoes for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: A city and municipality in the province of South Holland in the Netherlands, it is located on the Old Rhine, close to the cities of The Hague and Haarlem.
  • Language: Dutch
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Hope for balmy summer days, although like the often crisp days of spring and fall, it can rain at any time. Winter will make you wish to channel your inner-Pilgrim to the Caribbean.