You are exploring the province of Friesland, The Netherlands and have arrived in Bolsward. Here you can find how to spend a day and what things to do in Bolsward, The Netherlands.
Bolsward is one of my most favourite cities of Friesland and is well-known to be one of the 11-cities. Bolsward is built on three mounds, which is still visible nowadays. The Sint Martini church is located on one of the mounds, and those mounds date back to the beginning of the era when we started counting the years. That means that Bolsward, Friesland is one of the oldest cities in The Netherlands. In the year 1455, Bolsward got their borough rights and turned into one of the Hansa cities.
The centre of Bolsward, Friesland exists out of beautiful canals and historic buildings. When I went to explore Bolsward my first impression was that the city is cosy, clean and peaceful. As I was walking my way through the city I noticed there was not much traffic and people were very friendly. They were saying hi to me and I, said hi back. Walking through Bolsward is doable as for any Dutch city. Bolsward is a small city but has plenty of things to do, so spending a day in Bolsward, Friesland isn’t hard at all.
Last updated 11th of June 2022
How to spend a day in Bolsward, The Netherlands
Sunrise & Sunset
This is one of the best things you can do in Bolsward, The Netherlands. One of the most beautiful times of the day is during sunrise and sunset, this is also true for Bolsward, Friesland. If I were you I would arrive in an afternoon and spend a night in Bolsward as well. This means you can enjoy a sunrise and sunset in the most beautiful city of Friesland. Walking through a city during the evening gives you a whole other taste of the city life than wandering through Bolsward during the day. The same is for the time of sunrise. During summer, sunrise is early (and sunset late in the evening) and during autumn and winter, you can sleep some hours longer.
Where to stay in Bolsward
Stay in Hotel/Restaurant Het Weeshuis. This is an old orphanage that has been used from 1553 until 1954. Nowadays you can sleep in one of the 14 beautiful rooms that they have available. A night at this hotel will cost you at least 85 euros, as that is the price of the cheapest room.
Hotel Het Weeshuis: Check prices and availability
Take a walk through Bolsward
Peacefully walk through the beautiful city. Some of the most beautiful streets of Bolsward are Jongemastraat, Appelmarkt, Grote Dijlakker, Wipstraat, Grootzand, Het Laag, Snekerpoort, Broerestraat. Make sure to add those streets to your walk. Another highlight of Bolsward is the city hall, so add Stadhuis (Dutch word for city hall) to your walk. You will see the Marktplein where plenty of restaurants and bars are located. Walk past the city hall again and the canals to end up at the Broerekerk.
Visit the Broerekerk in Bolsward
The Broerekerk (church) of Bolsward was built in the 13th century as a monastic church. In the 16th century the monastery was abandoned and demolished, but the Broerekerk stayed strong. But, the church didn’t survive a fire in the 1980s and all that was left was a ruin. Until, in 2006, architect and designer Jelle de Jong from a nearby town, created a glass roof on top of the ruins of the church. That didn’t go that easy though. As I was speaking to a local, she said that the glass was tearing apart and cracked.
This was because the church is so old, it was hard to assemble to the glass roof. Nowadays you can visit the church, there are expositions and events held. If you are spending one day in Bolsward, visiting the Broerekerk must be on your list.
At days that the Broerekerk isn’t reserved for an event, the church opens from 09:00-18:00. During the winter the gate will close earlier. On Saturday and Sunday, the gate will be unlocked at around 10:30.
See 1 of the 11 fountains
You can find 11 fountains in every city that belongs to the 11-cities of Friesland. These are all the cities of Friesland that gained borough rights. At the Broerekerk you can also find one of the 11 fountains. While you’re there have a look. Locals find it horrendous. And they hate the fact that they couldn’t have a say for the design. It’s not my favourite out of the 11, I must admit that, but it’s still a sight you shouldn’t miss.
Where to eat lunch in Bolsward, Friesland
After exploring a part of Bolsward, you must be getting hungry. Of course, you can lunch like plenty of Dutch people do every day. Get a piece of bread and take that with you. But, you can also try to spend your day in Bolsward as good as possible. And that means, eat lunch at By Pimpé.
This is actually a store but has a lunch spot as well. The store is cute and has so many great things for sale and the food is very tasty as well. If you are looking for a very good high tea, you have to call or email them at least two days in advance. That way they can make the high tea for you as they only buy the ingredients that they need.
Jongemastraat 31, 8701 JB Bolsward
Canal tour of Bolsward
If you’re in Bolsward during July and August you’re in luck. At 14:00 you will find a free canal tour of 45 minutes. Only roughly 12 people can enter a boat and they are sailed by volunteers. A volunteer will give you information about Bolsward as well, while you’re enjoying the canal tour.
Seeing Bolsward from a canal boat gives you such a different perspective. And one that is worth it. The canal tours depart in front of the city hall and run from Monday-Friday. If you are visiting Bolsward outside of those two seasons, visit a museum instead.
Visit museum De Tiid in Bolsward
In this museum you will discover the history of Bolsward and prominent inhabitants of the city and how they have shaped Frisian society, such as Titus Brandsma, Trijntje Hilarides and Gysbert Japicx.
Gysbert Japicx, for instance, was a writer that has enjoyed national and international prominence during his lifetime. The reason why Gysbert Japicx was so popular is that for the first time, since the disappearance of Frisian as a legal and administrative language around 1580, he started to use the language again for serious work. The writing of Gysbert Japicx formed the basis of the contemporary Frisian which was the starting point of the Frisian language of today.
As far as I’ve seen the texts are almost all in Dutch or Frisian, however, download Google Translate with the live translation version. That way it will translate the texts and you will be able to understand the notes. This is definitely one of the best things to do in Bolsward, The Netherlands.
The museum is opened from Tuesday until Friday from 11:00- 17:00 and Saturday from 10:00- 13:00. It is closed on national holidays. Entry fee is roughly 9,95 euros.
Museum Tiid, Jongemastraat 2, Bolsward
Walk through the Juliana park
Take a walk through the monumental Juliana park of Bolsward. This is a beautiful park that has monumental value and once you enter the park you can understand the reasoning behind it. The park is not that big, but it’s beautifully decorated with flowers. The official entrance is a monument, but that is not the only reason why you should visit it. While Bolsward, as a city, is very calm, I sometimes want to ease my mind in a bit of nature. The Juliana park of Bolsward is one of the things you have to visit when you will spend one day in Bolsward, The Netherlands.
Take a tour through a local brewery followed by a tasting
Us Heit is a Frisian, local brewery in Bolsward, Friesland and getting a tour, followed by a tasting has to be one of the top things to do of Bolsward, The Netherlands. Us Heit is located, very near the Juliana park you just visited. During the tour, you will get an explanation about the history and brewing process. Since 2002, at Us Heit, they also distil whisky and age it in wooden casks. Us Heit also has a beer museum where all kinds of old machinery and equipment are displayed. You can do a tasting at this local beer brewery in Friesland, or even a brewery tour.
You can find Us Heit at Snekerstraat 43, 8701 xc Bolsward.
After one entire day exploring Bolsward, some beers and a lot of new impressions you must be absolutely starving. That’s why it’s dinnertime. Here you will find the best restaurants in Bolsward, The Netherlands.
Where to eat dinner in Bolsward, The Netherlands
Besides that, Wijnberg Bolsward is a great hotel, you can also have an amazing dinner in Bolsward here. Their food is international, but with a special touch. They try to use only local products so you will taste the freshness. They also have a special Frisian menu, which I recommend you try, so you can get a taste of the culinary style within Friesland.
Marktplein 5, 8701 KG Bolsward
The menu at Brasserie E&D changes a few times a year, with every season. This means that they only use seasonal products so that you can taste the best products of every season. Besides their menu, they have a 3-course menu, that changes daily, for 29,50 euros. Brasserie E&D is opened from Wednesday until Sunday from 17:00- 23:00.
Jongemastraat 19, 8701 JA Bolsward
Evening walk & Drinks at a terrace or local bar
After dinner, I always like to walk around. Like I said in the beginning, the evening is so different from the morning or afternoon. The atmosphere changes, the shops are closed and most of the people don’t have to work anymore. This means that you will see quite a few people enjoying their spare time on a terrace or inside a café. Especially during the beautiful days, everyone in Bolsward seems to be out on the streets. And after you have stuffed your face during dinner, it’s great to let your stomach digest it faster by taking a little, slow walk.
After your walk, sit down at Café ‘t Diekje. This is an authentic Dutch brown café in Bolsward. Once you sit down, you order a beer or something else to enjoy the last activity of your day in Bolsward, The Netherlands. And celebrate one successful day exploring Bolsward, Friesland. Café ‘t Diekje can be found at Dijkstraat 47 and opens 4 days a week. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 18:30-01:00.
How to get to Bolsward
I always recommend you to have a look at 9292.nl/en to plan your public transportation journeys in The Netherlands
From Leeuwarden: You can take a bus from the train station of Leeuwarden, which will take you to Bolsward in roughly 35 minutes.
From Groningen: To visit Bolsward from Groningen you’d first need to take a +- 30 minute trainride to the city of Leeuwarden. From there you transfer to a bus, which will take you to the city of Bolsward. It takes you roughly 1,5 hours to get from the city of Groningen to Bolsward due to the waiting time between transfers.
I hope you find this article helpful. Is there anything you’d like to add? Have you ever visited Bolsward, The Netherlands? For the best day trips from Leeuwarden, Friesland, click here. Have a look here to see all my articles I’ve written so you can plan your travels and trip to The Netherlands off the beaten path, with the help of a local. Share this article!