Get involved

Hidden Gems in Groningen You Need to Visit

De Graanrepubliek

If you’re looking for a place to relax with friends after a stressful uni day, then the Literary Café is the perfect place for you. They have a wide selection of drinks, from teas to bears to special homemade options that you’re going to have to find out on your own (I can’t spoil everything). This place is a literary café, so you’re probably wondering if they have some books. They don’t have some books, they have a load of them! The walls on both floors are full of books in Dutch, English, German, Italian, and many other languages. The ground floor is very lively with a mixed staff of both Dutch and international servers. The upper floor is my favourite because it’s more intimate and cosy. There’s no need to look up gezellig in the dictionary, just come to the Graanrepubliek to find out what it means.

Hoornsemeer en Paterswoldsemeer

The two big Dutch words above are the names of two lakes to the south of Groningen. You might want to hold off from visiting them if the weather isn’t great. However, I promise these locations are amazing during late spring and throughout all of summer. The Hoornsemeer is the northern bit of the lake and it’s popular with swimmers, so don’t be shocked if you see people with beach towels and picnic blankets enjoying the sun and swimming in the cold water. The Paterswoldsemeer is to the south and is larger and more open so it’s perfect for people who want to try sailing. Both lakes have little islands dotted throughout, which make for fun points of interest. Even if you don’t want to dip into the lake, make sure to visit and take some picturesque photos! The sunsets at Hoornsemeer are breathtaking.

Het Concerthuis

The Concerthuis is a cute little spot in the city centre. You can visit this establishment to grab a drink or a delicious bite to eat. The part I liked the most was the upper floor. While the ground floor is your typical palace to eat or drink, the upper floor has a very cosy and communal atmosphere that’s perfect for bringing in large groups of friends. I’ll tell you a secret (it’s not a secret though), they have a lot of board games upstairs and you can bring your own of course. It’s a great spot if you ever get tired of partying all night. You can take a night off and relax with some friends and a nice calming board game.

The Prinsentuin Garden

I might be stretching the definition of a “hidden gem” with this one, but I was shocked to find out just how few people know about this place. This hidden garden is in the north of the city center and apparently isn’t known to many international students. It’s a historic garden built in the Renaissance style with a variety of different flowers and plants on display (duh, it’s a garden). Just like the lakes, you should try to visit during spring or summer. Finally, it also has a cute sandwich café that you have to try out!

~ Written by A. Heric