Want to avoid the Noorderplantsoen?
The best places to go picnicking in Groningen
Just a quick twenty-minute bike ride from the city centre, you’ll find the Nijveenstersluisje. Some might find this a bit too far, but the journey there and the view of the authentic Dutch windmill is worth every penny. Along the way, you’ll notice how beautiful the countryside of Groningen is, and you might even be able to spot some horses or sheep grazing in the grass.
For students who enjoy sitting directly in the sun without many people around, this is the place to go. Lay out your picnic blanket on the dock, pour yourself a nice glass of wine or crack open a beer and revel in the sunshine and solitude.
Want to feel like you’re enjoying a day on the beach? Then the Hoornseplas, another twenty-minute bike ride from the city centre, is your best bet.
For the students that can’t decide whether they like sitting in sand or grass more, here you have the option to choose! A restaurant (Kaap Hoorn) and public toilets are situated close by, making Hoornseplas the perfect place to spend a whole day eating good food while basking in the sun. After your picnic, you can even cool down and take a dip in the water, but make sure to check the water doesn’t contain blue-green algae before diving in: those will give you an itch.
Do you enjoy hiking and being able to experience the Dutch landscape in all its glory? Then take a thirteen-minute bike ride to Kardinge. You can spend hours hiking around looking for secret spots, such as the Kardingebult, Groningen’s very own mini mountain. You can also stop to watch people wakeboard or climb up the second tallest climbing wall in the world. All in all, walking around Kardinge will make you appreciate living in a city where you don’t have to bike very far to be surrounded by nature.
If you get tired of walking, you can make a pit stop at one of the picnic benches to grab a bite to eat and recharge your energy. Bring along your binoculars to see if you can spot the different types of birds and animals around, and if you close your eyes and listen closely enough you can even hear the birds singing the Groningen anthem.
Looking for a park that resembles the Noorderplantsoen but isn’t as busy? Then the Oosterpark is a good second option. The park, which is situated behind the UMCG and has a lot of room, seems to be a hidden gem that not a lot of students know about.
Grab a couple of friends and listen to some good music while picnicking, or even plan a romantic date where you watch the sun go down together. Everything seems to be possible here! Even if the park is busy, don’t worry. You can also visit the Pioenpark, which is situated next to the Oosterpark, and is just as beautiful and relaxing.
Known as the ‘backyard of Groningen’, the Stadspark is almost as beloved by the city’s residents as the Noorderplantsoen yet tends to be less busy due to its size. This place is perfect for students who love picnicking in both the sun and the shade.
Take a nice walk and visit the wild highland cattle or play an exciting game of frisbee golf with friends. There are many different fun activities, animals, flowers, and opportunities to be explored in the Stadspark.
Situated close to the Noorderplantsoen, the Nieuwe Kerkhof is one place where few students choose to sit, making it the perfect place to relax with a group of friends. You’ll be amazed by the exquisite view of the church, which was built in the eighteenth century.
If you are someone that enjoys watching the hustle and bustle of daily life, then this is the perfect place for you. The church grounds are situated on a busy street leading to the Noorderplantsoen, meaning you can watch people bike and drive by. Altogether, you’ll be entertained by the busyness of Groningen while being able to enjoy your picnic at the same time.