Best places to go on a walk in Groningen
|Datum:||08 januari 2021|
Let’s be real… there’s not much to do in the Netherlands during these times. Due to the government’s corona measures, all restaurants, cinemas, museums, and shops are closed - leaving virtually no place for students to hang out. Furthermore, social distancing measures are still in place, and inviting all your friends into your home in the middle of a pandemic is just a no-go. However, for us students who once led quite an active life (going to uni, biking around, leading a busy social life, etc.) staying at home for such a long time is quite frankly suuuper boring, and also not healthy for our bodies or our minds! However, there is one thing that we can do to solve all of these problems: go for a walk!
Going for a walk, even if it’s a short one, can be incredibly beneficial for your body. First of all, it’s amazing when you need to take a break from studying. Now that exams are coming up and stress can begin accumulating in our minds, a simple walk can serve as a moment to relax, breathe, and clear your head a bit. Aside from that, physical exercise also releases endorphins (also known as the ‘feel-good’ chemical) so you can guess where I’m going with this! You’ll feel happier, and way more motivated during the week.
Here are some of the best places to take a walk in-or-around Groningen. If the weather allows it, make sure to check them out!
There are plenty of areas around Kardinge which are lovely for both short and long walks. Most of these trails are paved, meaning that they’re perfect for the winter. Even if it’s been rainy, you’ll find clean paths to walk on, and you’ll ensure that your shoes won’t end up a muddy mess. The trails pass through grasslands, small lakes, and woods that make for a very interesting winter scenery! If you’re lucky, you’ll also spot some cute animals along the trails.
Where to find it: Kardinge Recreational Area, you can find the two routes here.
How to get there: Kardinge is only a 15-minute bike ride from Groningen’s city centre. It is right behind Beijum, and can be located on Google Maps.
You’ve probably heard of Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag), which the Dutch celebrate on May 5th, now get ready for the Liberation Forest. Essentially, the Bevrijdingsbos was also planted in honour of the liberation of the Netherlands during WWII. It’s made to honour Canadian veterans who aided in the liberation, and even has a part that’s shaped like a maple leaf. Now, as all the trees have lost their leaves, the forest looks quite bare, but it still makes for a very peaceful walk. What’s best, you can also walk around the neighboring fields. There, you’ll be able to see everything from sheep, to a cute windmill! This spot is also heavily frequented by people taking their pups on a walk, meaning you’ll get to say hi to some very happy doggos (a big reason why it’s one of my favorites).
Where to find it: Bevrijdingsbos, Noorddijkerplein, Groningen
How to get there: This forest is a bit further away from Groningen, at a 21-minute bike ride away. If you don’t feel like biking, bus line 3 also drops you off quite close! Of course, if one of your friends owns a car, that’s a very comfortable and fast option, and there is parking available.
If you’re in need of some nature and fresh air, but are tired of hitting the Noorderplantsoen every time, the Sterrebos is a great alternative. This small forest sits on the South edge of the city, and has really interesting sculptures, monuments, and a small lake along its trails. Beware: if it’s rainy, you’ll need some good shoes! These trails are made of dirt and gravel, so you’ll potentially be entering mud town.
Where to find it: The Sterrebos is located on the South end of the city, near the Europapark train station.
How to get there: The Sterrebos is just a quick 9-minute bike ride away from the city centre! It’s not quite as accessible by bus, but hey – you’ve biked further before. 9 minutes won’t kill you!
The Stadspark is an old classic for any student in Groningen. Those who live in the South of the city might often frequent it rather than the Noorderplantsoen, and those who live in the North of Groningen might only go once or twice a year to the music festivals in the Spring. However, besides just holding an events ground, the Stadspark is full of beautiful little trails you can walk around (and it’s actually way bigger than you’d think). Inside, you’ll also find lakes, gardens, and plenty of routes to make for an interesting short (or long) walk.
Where to find it: The Stadspark is located on the South-West end of the city, right next to the MartiniPlaza.
How to get there: The Stadspark is around a 10-minute bike ride from the city centre, and it is also accessible by bus line 3. If you’ve never been, you can find the Google Maps directions here.
These are four of my favourite spots at the moment. Of course, we’re in the middle of the winter season, and no one’s trying to pretend like the weather in the Netherlands isn’t moody. Walks are perfect to relax a little and release some much-needed endorphins after sitting in a chair all day. However, if you do decide to go on a little walk, make sure you bundle up! Staying warm is key so that you don’t risk lowering your defenses (it’s corona time y’all, gotta stay safe). A good scarf which covers your neck, and socks/bottoms that cover your ankles are always essentials. Aside from this, remember to check Buienradar before leaving, and take a rain-proof jacket (or an umbrella) just in case!
Going for a walk is naturally way more fun if you bring along a friend or two, and guess what? This is a perfectly corona-safe activity. As long as people who aren’t from the same household keep a 1.5m distance from one another, you’ll be following the social distancing guidelines! It’s still fun, and it’ll make for a great time to catch up with others.
What are your favorite places to take walks in or around Groningen? Let me know in the comments below!