Getty Images/Dorling Kindersley


Vibrant Leiden is one of the Netherlands' great cities. Woven with canals lined by beautiful 17th-century buildings, its cache of museums, all within walking distance of each other, are a major draw, as is wandering the picturesque canals and soaking up the nightlife, fuelled by a 27,000-strong student population.

Leiden is renowned for being Rembrandt’s birthplace, the home of the Netherlands’ oldest and most prestigious university (Einstein was a regular professor), and the place in which the Pilgrims raised money to lease the leaky Speedwell, which took them on the first leg of their journey to the New World in 1620.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Leiden.