Our guide to the city of Groningen
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Our guide to the city of Groningen

Header photo by Peter Wiersema

The Groningen city tour, Voys style

We often have people visiting Voys in Groningen, and as experienced ‘Groningers’, we can honestly tell you; Groningen is awesome. Since most of our visitors are new to Groningen, we have selected a ‘best of’ for you. On a personal note: don’t make it an overnight stay, make it a long weekend.

About Groningen

Groningen is a lively university city in the northern part of the Netherlands. The city has the youngest average population in the Netherlands. Groningen is are also the happiest city in the world. In addition, it was once proclaimed the city with the best city center in the Netherlands because of its charm.

Visit Groningen and experience why we at Voys decided to make Groningen our home.

About the map

Almost everything on our map can be done by foot but Groningen was ‘designed’ for cycling. Rent a bike and try it, but keep these things in mind. The quickest place to rent a bike is at our ‘central station’ (Centraal Station Groningen).

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Hoofdstation Groningen by Stella Dekker

When to come

Groningen is great any time of the year, but there are a few times that Groningen is exceptional.

  • Mid to end of January, the city will be buzzing because ‘Eurosonic/ Noorderslag’ has arrived. It’s a great multiple-day international music festival. If you don’t like music and you are more of a tech person? That’s ok!
  • For the tech-minded people there is the ‘The night of arts and sciences’ in June. A night where tech and culture – of music, theater, and art – come together.
  • Are you more into theater (and summer)? Visit Groningen during ‘Noorderzon’ at the end of August. Theater and music collide during this performance art festival culture. There is a very relaxed atmosphere. Visit it for a night, and you will feel why Groningen is such a nice place to live. ‘
  • Are you in Groningen during the winter? Then visit the winter festival WinterWelvaart in December, where the docks are filled with music, theater, food and drinks, and lots of fun.
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Noorderzon Festival by Stella Dekker

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Eurosonic by Stella Dekker

Where to sleep

Great, now you know when to come, you need to find a place to stay. These are our favorites.

  • Hotel Prinsenhof: Set in a former monastery dating back to the 15th century, Hotel Prinsenhof offers a mix of history and luxury. The building's historical features are complemented by modern design elements, creating a unique and elegant atmosphere. With its central location near the Prinsentuin and the Martinikerk, this hotel provides easy access to Groningen's main attractions. Pricetag: high (approx. € 177,- a night)
  • Hotel Corps de Garde: This boutique hotel is located in a historic building with uniquely designed rooms that blend contemporary style and classic charm. Pricetag: high (approx. € 146,- a night)
  • Hotel Miss Blanche: luxurious suites and apartments in the city centre; perfect for a short stay. Pricetag: high (approx. € 128,- a night)
  • Hotel Schimmelpenninck Huys: A charming hotel set in a historic building, Hotel Schimmelpenninck Huys offers comfortable rooms and a beautiful courtyard, creating a peaceful retreat in the city center. Pricetag: medium (approx. € 120,- a night)
  • The Social Hub: This modern and stylish hotel offers a combination of short and long-term stays for students, travelers, and young professionals. The rooms are comfortable, and the hotel boasts a variety of amenities, such as a gym, co-working spaces, and a game room. The lively and youthful atmosphere makes it a unique place to stay during your time in Groningen. Pricetag: medium (approx. € 113,- a night)
  • Hotel Halbert: Located in a quiet neighborhood close to the city center, the recently opened Hotel Halbert offers comfortable rooms and personalized service for a pleasant stay in Groningen. Pricetag: medium (approx. € 108,- a night)
  • Bud Gett Hostels: For budget-conscious travelers looking for a unique stay, Bud Gett Hostels offers a modern and clean environment with a fun design. The hostel features private rooms and dormitories with shared facilities, making it suitable for solo travelers, couples, and groups. The central location and friendly atmosphere make it a popular choice among visitors. Pricetag: low (approx. € 64,- a night)

Nice things to do

Any time of day

If you are not visiting during one of the festivals, these are some nice places to visit.

  • Our central station ‘Hoofdstation’ (nothing compared to Antwerp, but still very lovely)
  • ‘Groninger museum’ (Just the outside is lovely already and if you like modern arts, visit the museum)
  • Would you really like to see and understand the city and its buildings? Do the ‘VVV city walk’ on a Saturday afternoon. Or discover the hofjes of Groningen.
  • Go up the ‘Martinitoren’ or ‘Olle Grieze’, as the people in Groningen call it, and get a feel for where you are. Tickets can be bought at the ‘VVV’.
  • The Forum building is simply amazing. This prizewinning living room of the city is a tribute to open architecture. Forum houses the Comic Museum and several other exhibitions, a smartlab, a medialab, and the library with enough book genres to keep you busy over the cold winter days. For the kids, there is Wonderland which is part of the library. Many students go to Forum to study, and if you need a space to work it’s great if you need a break from home or the office. It also has a cinema with a wide variety of international-friendly films. If you looking for your Groningen souvenirs, they have you covered with an extensive Groningen shop on the ground floor. Do take a trip up to the rooftop, as you will get the best views of Groningen to plan your next stop! And don’t forget to take your picture at the free kiosk!
  • Watch a movie at DOT in the 20-meter live planetarium. DOT is the only full-dome 3D dome theater in the Netherlands. In the winter, DOT is transformed into a big Christmas ball. In summer you can go swimming at the nearby city beach.
  • Walk the Musical route along street art and graffiti. This route passes by street art and graffiti in the city of Groningen and includes background information on the artists.
  • Rent a sloop and discover Groningen from the water. Don't forget to sail along Reitdiephaven. A photogenic place with wooden-colored houses in a Scandinavian style.
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Lager der A in Winter by Stella Dekker

Saturday morning or afternoon

  • Visit the market on the ‘Vismarkt’ (Fishmarket). There is a market on other days as well.
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Vismarkt by Stella Dekker

Sunday morning or afternoon

Het Concerthuis is known for its all-you-can-eat hangover brunch on weekends, Het Concerthuis offers a relaxing atmosphere and an eclectic menu. From brunch to dinner, they have a wide range of dishes that cater to different tastes. And starting at around 16:30 you’ll find some live music in cafe Buckshot.

Another good place to deal with your hangover: Zondag in the Noorderplantsoen. On the terrace with your face in the sun, looking at passing cyclists, joggers, and walkers.

Monday night?

Get rid of the Monday blues with live jazz at Café the Crown.

Shopping and coffee (to keep you going)

Sure, you can walk through our main street, the ‘Herestraat’, which has all the usual suspects from the Sting, to H&M and the dutch warehouse Hema. There is a nice little coffee corner named ‘Favolosa’ in this main shopping street.

It might be nicer however, to visit ‘Folkingestraat’ – voted best shopping street of the Netherlands in ’15 – (and check out the synagogue). ‘The Brugstraat ‘ is nice as well. Once you’ve reached the bridge, you can go back.

Up for some coffee now? A-weg has a nice coffee bar called ‘Doppio’. Or go for a donut and coffee at ‘Pure’ (Vismarkt).

‘Boteringe’ and ‘Kijk in ’t jat’ are the next streets you should visit. Near the ‘Kijk in ’t jat’ you can visit the ‘University of Groningen’. The ‘Grote Kromme Elleboog’ has some nice, more expensive, and unique clothing shops as well.

If you really like a good cup of coffee - best in the city espresso kind -, visit the ‘Black and bloom’. Besides self-roasted great coffee, it’s small and cozy and has some nice lego sets on display. In the same street, you’ll find Koffiestation. It’s a great spot, close to the university, with some very nice pastries and good books you like to read when you take a seat. Revista is a coffee spot on the way to the train station. They operate out of a small blue bus and use great specialty coffee to make an amazing cappuccino.

Something to eat

If the long walk (or bike ride) makes you hungry, check out these places, or if you want to grab dinner, these are the places to check out.

  1. SemSom: Serving flavorful Lebanese and Middle Eastern cuisine, SemSom offers a variety of mezze, wraps, and grilled dishes. The warm and inviting atmosphere makes it a popular choice for a satisfying meal.
  2. De Betere Tijden: A cozy and lively place that is known for its surprise menu consisting of 3, 4 or 5 courses. It’s a well-priced offering that can be combined with a nice glass that fits each dish. The casual atmosphere, good food, and great people make it an ideal spot to unwind with friends.
  3. Bellamis: This trendy French bistro offers a menu filled with classic dishes, such as steak frites and coq au vin, along with daily specials. The stylish setting and delicious food make Bellamis an excellent choice for a memorable dinner.
  4. Eight: Fresh, local produce with a delicious city vibe. You are welcome all day for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and drinks.
  5. Het Concerthuis: Known for its all-you-can-eat hangover brunch on weekends, Het Concerthuis offers a relaxing atmosphere and an eclectic menu. From brunch to dinner, they have a wide range of dishes that cater to different tastes.
  6. Restaurant Naud: This fine dining restaurant offers a unique culinary experience, focusing on fresh, local ingredients and creative flavor combinations. The intimate setting and attentive service make it perfect for a special evening.
  7. De Graansilo: Situated in a historic grain silo, De Graansilo is a unique spot for lunch and diner. The menu offers a variety of nice dishes, including combined lunch menus, making it a great place to recharge during your day in Groningen.
  8. Flo: this Israel-inspired restaurant likes to be Balagan which translates into a “disorderly, confusing, and/or overwhelming situation”. It’s a great place for both brunch and dinner, and that Balagan desert is asking you to take photos of it.
  9. Wadapartja: A quirky, industrial-style cafe, Wadapartja focuses on using locally sourced and organic ingredients in its dishes. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, offering an array of creative dishes and a cozy atmosphere.
  10. Pacific: Pacific is a trendy and cozy restaurant located in Groningen, offering a unique fusion of Asian and South American cuisines. Guests can enjoy a variety of dishes inspired by countries like Japan, Peru, and Mexico, with a focus on fresh ingredients and bold flavors. The stylish interior and friendly staff create a welcoming atmosphere, making it a great spot for a casual meal or a special occasion.
  11. Mahalo: Mahalo is a popular vegan restaurant next too the Noorderplantsoen, serving a variety of delicious plant-based dishes inspired by global flavors. With an emphasis on healthy, organic, and locally-sourced ingredients, the menu offers a range of colorful salads, flavorful bowls, and mouthwatering desserts. The warm and inviting atmosphere makes Mahalo an ideal destination for vegans, vegetarians, and anyone looking to enjoy a delicious and nutritious meal.
  12. Pernikkel: Pernikkel is a charming and laid-back eatery in Groningen that focuses on creating dishes using locally-sourced and seasonal ingredients. The menu changes regularly to highlight the best of what's in season, offering a mix of traditional Dutch dishes and international cuisine. With its casual atmosphere and reasonably-priced menu, Pernikkel is an excellent choice for a relaxed meal with friends or family. You can do all day breakfast like eggs, or wentelteefjes or try their amazing cheese fondue.
  13. Blue bananas pancake cafe: Blue Bananas Pancake Cafe is a cozy and inviting cafe in Groningen, specializing in mouthwatering pancakes and waffles. Known for its extensive menu and generous portions, guests can choose from a wide variety of sweet and savory options, including classic Dutch pancakes, American-style fluffy pancakes, and delicious toppings. The relaxed atmosphere and friendly service make it a popular spot for breakfast, brunch, or a casual dessert.
  14. Donna’s Social Club: Donna's Social Club is a vibrant and eclectic restaurant in Groningen, featuring a mixed cuisine. With its stylish and lively atmosphere, it’s a great place for lunch as well. The 3 courses dish to share is a great dining option, and you might want to reserve a spot for cocktails.
  15. Four Roses: A household name in Groningen for Mexican cuisine, Four Roses is located in a beautiful monumental building on the corner of Oosterstraat and Zuiderdiep, right in the city center. You’re able to share plates (and Tequila).
  16. Cho Fah eathai: for the best Thai dishes in Groningen. At Cho Fah, you will encounter a surprising Thailand. In surroundings that transport you to exotic atmospheres, you will experience a fascinating mix of classic Eastern elements and contemporary design. Beautiful, delicious dishes from the culinarily famous Isaan region are lovingly prepared by ladychef Jen Meksoongnern and her all-Thai kitchen team.
  17. Croissanterie Pigalle: For a simple sandwich and fresh orange juice, visit the French bakery Pigalle. And when you’re feeling a little crazy, go try their famous brownie.
  18. Dokjard: A really nice bistro restaurant at the Noorderhaven, with a great 5-course menu, or you can enjoy some of the best spareribs in Groningen. And try their beers, they brew them themselves.
  19. Achterwerk: Vegan fine dining in the Oosterstraat. A great dining experience with a full vegan menu in a relaxed, informal atmosphere.
  20. Eierbal: The Eierbal is UNESCO immaterial cultural heritage and is available at many local snack bars. You have to try one, just like you have to try “bitterballen”.
  21. Restaurant M: Fine dinning. Cozy restaurant with a set menu of innovative local dishes and desserts, wine and craft beer. Like to surprise you with 6, 9 or 12 courses
  22. Bistro Boys: Bistro bar in the center of Groningen. You can go there for lunch, dinner, a drink and bites

A bar / pub / place to drink

Some bars in Groningen are open 24/7. Grote Markt and Poelestraat are the places with most of the pubs. If you have passed the age of 25 you’ll end up near the Kleine Elleboog in Belgium beer cafe ‘de Pintelier’ for example. If you’ve passed the age of 30? Then the Grote Kromme Elleboog and ‘Diner-café Soestdijk’ might be more your style. If you like a change of scenery, try O`Ceallaigh Irish Pub or something alternative like ‘Kult’.

Other nice places to visit include:

  • Mr. Mofongo: A unique and eclectic restaurant that combines various international cuisines, also featuring an innovative cocktail bar with a robotic arm bartender. Ono the top floor, a robot will take a glass of wine from any of its bottles, making it a unique place to try various wines by the glass.
  • Barrel: Speaking of wine, barrel is a very cozy wine bar with an extensive selection of wines from around the world, paired with delicious small bites and charcuterie boards.
  • Mout: The best craft beers from the Netherlands are served in this awesome beer bar.
  • De Koffer: If you want a more international selection, de koffer is the place to go, with a huge selection of beers, and well-priced snacks. Music is often lower than in most bars, making conversation a bit more relaxed.
  • The Stockroom: An intimate speakeasy-style bar that offers a wide range of creative cocktails, unique spirits, and a laid-back atmosphere reminiscent of a Prohibition-era hideaway. Make sure you reserve a spot.
  • Mr Smith's Loft: An upscale cocktail bar with a refined, retro vibe, offering a menu of expertly crafted drinks and a selection of light bites in an elegant setting.
  • Donna’s Social Club: A lively, modern eatery with a focus on shared plates and communal dining, offering a fusion of international flavours and a vibrant atmosphere for socialising. Try their cocktail of the week and enjoy some nice snacks while you are sipping away. You’ll often find live music in the evening.
  • Cilinder bar: A bar with a very nice and various offer in beers, wines, and cocktails. You’ll find it in the same building as the vegan restaurant ‘Achterwerk’.
  • The Smooth Brothers: for the best smoothies an juices during your shopping session
  • Cappuvino: coffee, wine and bites. Great roof terrace.
  • If you’re into a somewhat vintage kind of pub (in Dutch: “bruine kroeg”) with excellent service, head to Café Wolthoorn & Co (in 2008 chosen as the best café in the Netherlands!) or Café de Oude Wacht (best café in & around Groningen in 2019).
  • Or visit one of our local breweries, like BAX Bier or Brouwerij Martinus
    • Baxbier (Bax Brewery): A popular microbrewery featuring a variety of innovative craft beers, a lively taproom, and a knowledgeable staff passionate about brewing.
    • Brouwerij Martinus (Martinus Brewery): A local brewery with a spacious taproom offering a wide range of house-made craft beers, guided tours, and a welcoming environment for beer enthusiasts.

You are supposed to finish your night eating kebab with too much garlic sauce. There is only one place for kebab (according to Johan) and that’s ‘Hasret Döner Kebab’. No, you will not forgive yourself the next morning, but too much beer at 3:15 in the morning will make Hasret seem like your only logical choice.

Music and theater

‘De Oosterpoort’ has most of the bigger concerts. ‘Stadsschouwburg Groningen’ does stuff like theater. Tickets for both are available online, but book well in advance, or you’ll miss out. (SPOT)

Vera is a renowned live music venue, Vera hosts performances by local and international artists spanning various genres. In addition to the great music, the bar area is an excellent place to grab a drink and mingle with the crowd.

‘Simplon’ also has a youth hotel. These places have more niche concerts which means tickets are more often available.

Paradigm is great for long club nights and a nice festival in August. Then there’s OOST, a great club with awesome atmosphere and an even better sound system.

EM2 will have concerts, club nights, and markets, mostly on the weekends. You will like HSA if you like weird underground vibes.

For last minutes updates on culture and other events you can always check the Agenda online.

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Paradigm by Knelis

Places to work (temporarily)

Of course, you are always welcome at Voys to use one of our flex desks. Most people, however, look up coffee places that are setup to accompany people who want to work.

  • Coffee Company: With multiple locations around Groningen, Coffee Company offers a comfortable atmosphere, quality coffee, and free Wi-Fi, making it a popular choice among students and remote workers.
  • Doppio Espresso: This contemporary cafe offers a wide range of hot and cold drinks, pastries, and sandwiches. With ample seating and free Wi-Fi, it's a suitable spot to work or study.
  • Coffee Break: Known for its quality coffee, delicious pastries, and sandwiches, Coffee Break provides a comfortable space with free Wi-Fi, making it an excellent spot to work or study.
  • Forum: at Forum, they won’t serve you coffee while you work, but it’s a wonderful livingroom for the city of Groningen and a great place to meet its different residents.
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The view from Forum Groningen by Stella Dekker

Sports & sport matches

Soccer

Enjoy soccer? ‘FC Groningen’ is the local football. It plays in a stadium which is near to the city center (and to Voys HQ). Do you live in Barcelona or in the UK? Skip the football 😉 Soccer is often played on Sundays.

Basketball

Is basketball more your thing? ‘Donar’ has the most active basketball scene in the Netherlands and a team ranking top 3 over the past few years. Are you from any big city in the US? Skip the basketball. Basketball is usually played on Saturday.

Speed skating

Speed skating can be found in ‘Kardinge sportcentrum’ and we are among the top of the world here, so visit it for any great tournament, including juniors. It’s also a fun activity to go skating with your partner, friends or family.

Climbing & bouldering

You will find the tallest freestanding rock climbing wall in Europe at ‘Kardinge’, at the climbing centre ‘Bjoeks’. ‘The Excalibur’ is a unique sight, towering over 121 feet (37 meters) in the air. Bjoeks is known as one of the largest and most comprehensive climbing centers in the Netherlands, It features a variety of climbing walls and routes, as well as a separate bouldering area.

Gropo Bouldergym is a dedicated bouldering facility, offering a variety of climbing problems suitable for beginners and advanced climbers alike. The gym regularly updates its routes, ensuring fresh challenges for regular visitors.

Apex Adventure Arena is a versatile indoor climbing and bouldering facility. It offers a range of climbing walls and bouldering problems for climbers of all skill levels.

So that’s it

So that’s it. These are the most popular places we visit when we’re not working. And as with all these things, popular places vary, so we’ll try to keep this post current. See you soon 🙂 And Groningers, if you have nice places, you think our visitors should see: let us know!

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