Students know it well: there’s only one train track leaving Zeeland and it can take you to many, many great places in the Netherlands – when the train actually goes on time, that is. But when you grow tired of our little town or when you’re yearning for a little adventure, the train leaving Middelburg can be your best friend. One of the places this train goes to is Leiden. This collegiate town is only 2 hours away by train and definitely worth a visit if you want to explore a historical town full of one-of-a-kind stores, great restaurants and beautiful sights.
So if you jump on that train, travel all the way to Leiden and walk out of the central station, what stores and restaurants to go to? Almost Famous Writer has lined up the best places to lunch, chill and shop just off the beaten track.
Bagels & Beans
Haarlemmerstraat 38, Leiden
Being a student in a historical town such as Middelburg is great, only there’s one big downside: bagels are scarce. For some reason impossible to fathom, all bagels have disappeared from town and thus we need to look elsewhere. In Leiden, you can get your much-needed bagel fix at, not one, but two Bagels & Beans locations, or at the BetterBagels Bakery in the Lange Mare.
Pop-Up Warenhuis Leiden
Aalmarkt 21-22, Leiden
Ever since the V&D filed bankruptcy, many buildings across towns have been left empty. In Leiden, they have thought of a very creative solution: a Pop-Up department store, in which local store owners, artists and entrepreneurs can sell their goods in little boutique stores. Here, you can find the best Christmas decorations (it’s never too early for Christmas decorations), books, clothes, and exotic coffee beans.
Burgsteeg 2, Leiden
PLUUM is arguably the best store in all of Leiden. Situated just off the beaten track, it’s a gem for everyone with a knack for interior, cute postcards, cacti, apple-shaped bedside lamps and unique notebooks. Whether you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind present or just a little trinket to put in your student dorm, you’re at the right place at PLUUM.
Nieuwe Rijn 29, Leiden
Just around the corner from PLUUM, you can find a store called Antraciet along the waterside. Here you can buy scented candles in every scent, color, and size. Also clothing from unique and one-of-a-kind brands, and other little interior knickknacks.
Nieuwe Rijn 34, Leiden
Aside from Robuust! and the Drvkkery, there are not a lot of places music lovers can browse through Cd’s and vinyl records. In Leiden, you can spend hours browsing through piles and piles of records, CD’s and DVD’s at VelvetMusic.
Nieuwe Rijn 38, Leiden
Since we’re mentioning unique stores, Lucies is another one. Here they sell homemade and truly unique pieces of jewelry, in a style similar to BEADS right here in Middelburg. Aside from original jewelry, you can also buy scarves, bags, and other accessories.
Gangetje 5, Leiden
From the outside, BABOOKA looks just like any other bookstore, but as soon as you step inside, you realize they only sell big photography and art books. The books are displayed upon tables and staked up against the walls, showing off the colorful pictures on the covers and the shiny titles on the spines. If you love special editions or photography books like these, BABOOKA in Leiden is the place to visit.
Botermarkt 11, 2311 EM Leiden
VNTG is arguably one of the tiniest stores in Leiden, but definitely worth a visit of you’re into vintage clothing. Here you can find vintage dresses, 90s sweaters, velvet chokers and biker boots for a bargain. The owner of the story is a young entrepreneur and she is always around to help you find that one vintage gem.
Botermarkt 12, Leiden
All this walking and browsing around Leiden can make a student hungry, so I would suggest paying ROOS a visit. Located right next door to VNTG, you can sit down in the cozy and relaxed environment and order a BerryBoozz smoothie and a delicious piece of carrot cake. If you need a little more sustenance, you can also order lunch or dinner.
Stationsweg 30, 2312 AV Leiden
Located just outside of Leiden central station, you can enjoy a delicious dinner at Kasual. Big plus: you can turn in your Albert Heijn restaurant vouchers and get the second third-course dinner for absolutely free! It’s a great way to end your city trip to Leiden and to enjoy a delicious meal on a student budget.
This article has also been published on Tabula Rasa.