Every year the question is: pour it oan? Did it freeze hard enough? The Elfstedentocht, also called the tour of tours, is of course the most famous skating competition in the Netherlands. In addition to skating, this route of more than 200 kilometers in Friesland can also be covered by bicycle, scooter, walking, motorcycle or car. Do you want to drive the Elfstedentocht by car in a few days? The best tips for this nice car trip in a row.
Take the Eleven Cities Tour by Car!
The Elfstedentocht has been around since 1909 and since then the tour has been run on the ice fifteen times. The last time was in 1997, when it was freezing long enough for the tour to continue. Do you want to see the cities through which the Eleven Cities Tour will take place? Then get nice and warm in the car and drive the tour that way. The route is as follows: Leeuwarden – Sneek – IJlst – Sloten – Stavoren – Hindeloopen – Workum – Bolsward – Harlingen – Franeker – Dokkum – Leeuwarden. You start and end in the capital of Friesland and the start is in the Zwettehaven. You can find the entire route on Route You.
Leeuwarden: Start and End Point of the Elfstedentocht
The Frisian capital is not only the start and finish of the tour of tours, but it is also a beautiful city to stay a little longer after you have completed the route. There are many nice restaurants, you can paddle on the water and go shopping. Do you want to spend the night here? Then book a room at Notiz Hotel Leeuwarden. This hotel is located in the center and you can park there for free. Hospitality students from the international hotel dish run this hotel. The rooms are attractively furnished and perfect for relaxing after a long journey.
Sneek: Water Sports City
The first stop of the Elfstedentocht is in Sneek. This city is known for the many water sports you can do there. You probably also know Sneek from the Sneekweek. It is a historic place that you can drive through nicely. After Sneek you continue to IJlst, Sloten and Stavoren. The town of Stavoren is a nice place to stop for a while. Here you can see the statue of ‘the female of Stavoren’ in the harbour.
The trip is about 200 kilometers in total, so you can drive it in one day, but if you stop regularly along the way, you can complete the route in several days. Would you like to stay overnight in this region? You will find this beautiful nature house in Warns, near Stavoren. You sleep on a nice boat that is nicely oriented and you have a terrace where you can sit outside.
Harlingen: Connection With the Wadden Islands
From Stavoren you drive to Hindeloopen, Workum and Bolsward. In Workum you will find many places to do water sports. You will also find a nice coffee shop here: El Cafetin. Hindeloopen is also a pleasant town to stop and walk through. Despite being very small and having less than a thousand inhabitants, it is still a city. The cute bridges and narrow streets make this a popular tourist spot.
Bolsward – Harlingen – Franeker – Dokkum
You continue from Bolsward in the direction of Harlingen. In this city you can take the boat to Vlieland or Terschelling, but it is also a nice place for shopping, eating out and lying on the beach. The next stop of the Elfstedentocht is Franeker. This is one of the major cities of Friesland. The downtown area is full of history; see the town hall, an old monastery and the Martini Church here. The Eise Eisinga Planetarium is also worth a look. It is the oldest working in the world and was made between 1774 and 1781.
Discover Dokkum, the Turning Point for Skaters
After Franeker, Dokkum follows. This used to be a real trading city. This city is the last stop before you return to Leeuwarden. In the center along the canal is a bench in the shape of a skate on both sides. This is the turning point for the skaters.
Do you want to spend the night here? Then book a hotel room in Hotel de ABDIJ. This atmospheric place is located in the center of Dokkum and you can park there for free. The rooms are all bright and stylishly furnished and breakfast is included in the price.
Last Stage if You Do the Elfstedentocht by Car: Back to Leeuwarden
At the last stage you pass the bridge of Bartlehiem twice – just like the skaters. From Franeker to Dokkum and back from Dokkum to Leeuwarden. This bridge has become known through the Elfstedentocht and is worth a look.
Just a little further is the Elfstedenbruggetje. This bridge is tiled with photo tiles depicting former participants. From afar it is a picture of people skating. There is also a tile with a photo of King Willem-Alexander.
In Leeuwarden on the Bonkevaart, the Elfstedentocht ends by car. Just like the skaters, you have made a trip of more than 200 kilometers.
Tips for if You Are Going to Do the Eleven Cities Tour by Car
There is a fountain in every city of the Eleven Cities. They were placed when Leeuwarden was the cultural capital. Nice to see them all.
Do you have a motorhome? You can also drive the Elfstedentocht with the camper . Just like the skaters, you collect a stamp in every city. More information can be found on the website. You will also find a lot more information per city there.
Make sure you are completely ready for this road trip, fix nice hotels for the road (we have listed a few cool addresses above), arrange good car insurance & check all the great tips we have for Leeuwarden or add a boating holiday in Friesland to it fixed!