Once part of the city wall, the Waterpoort is now a symbol for the city.

Sneek, or Snits as the locals call it, is a pleasant city right in the heart of the Frisian Lakes district, in the Northern Netherlands. It's a bustling centre for water sports, boating and ice skating, but also home to many monumental architecture and lovely town views.


With some 33000 inhabitants, Sneek is not a particularly large city. It is well-known in the Netherlands however, as it is one of the eleven cities in the famous Elfstedentocht and also for the Sneekweek, a major water sports event organized here every year.

Get in

Unless you're coming from nearby destination, the A7 is probably your way in by road. It connects Sneek to Groningen and the German border in the west and (via the Afsluitdijk, a large causeway that separates the Ijsselmeer from the North Sea) to Zaandam and all the major destinations in the Western Netherlands.

The N354 is the major provincial road, connecting Sneek to the nearby destinations of Leeuwarden, Grou and Lemmer. Sneek has a ring road, which makes it easier to navigate from anywhere in the city to either of the main access roads.

There are trains to Leeuwarden every 15 minutes, operated by Arriva (€4.30, 20 minutes). From there, you can transfer on trains to other major destinations. Buses in this region are operated by Connexxion and connect Sneek to most of the towns in the region.

If you have a boat, Sneek is very well reachable over water. The Zwette is the waterway connecting Sneek to Leeuwarden, the Franekervaart connects the city to Franeker and the Houkesloot to the larger Prinses Margrietkanaal, a major shipping canal leading from Lemmer to Groningen city. Lastly, the Geeuw is your waterway into Sneek when coming from IJlst

Get around

The inner city is small enough to discover on foot. A bike can be a nice alternative. You can rent one at TWA Tsjillen Rijwielen, Wijde Noorderhorne 8, e-mail: .

If you're here by car, there are plenty of places to park it, although most of them are paid parking garages and terrains. A free option is at the Bolswarderweg or on the NS terrein (near the train station).


The Scheepvaart Museum has an interesting collection about the history of the city, including art works and artifacts.

Like several other Dutch cities, the old town of Sneek is characterize by canals, historic houses and bridges, offering plenty of charming town views. The city had its golden age in the 15th and 16th century, when its location on the major trade route from Leeuwarden (the region's capital) to Stavoren (the harbour from where the western Netherlands could be reached) led to flourishing trade and great wealth in Sneek. It was in this period that many of the monumental houses and the city walls were built, as well as a new harbour. A pretty Manierist Waterpoort (Water gate) was built to connect the new harbour with the rest of the city. Today, the Waterpoort with its two towers has become a symbol for the city and is one of the few remaining parts of the town walls, as much of it was demolished in the early 18th century.

Other interesting sights include the 1550 Town hall and the 1498 Martini church (Grote Kerkstraat 5), which has a carillon of some 50 bells.

The Fries Scheepvaart Museum, Kleinzand 16. has some nice exhibitions on the history of Sneek, the shipping history and water sports. It is housed in 6 adjoining historic houses along one of the canals. €6 (including a cup of coffee/tea).


Sailing races are one of the main tourist draws during the annual Sneekweek
  • Jachtcharter Klompmaker, De Zwaan 20, Woudsend. This place is a half hour drive from Sneek, but a good choice to rent fully equipped yachts. Book well in advance, as last-minute options are only rarely available. From €1300 for a 4 person yacht, one week.


The town centre has many large and small shops, including plenty of souvenir sellers. You'll find anything from keychains to bathing suits with the Frisian flag on it.

For an actual Sneek specialty, look for Drabbelkoek, a local round and crunchy cooky made by pushing the dough through a small funnel. They're often sold in tins with the Waterpoort on it, making for a nice souvenir.


As Sneek attracts rather large water sports crowds in summer, there's a wide selection of restaurants available. Many have nice outdoor terraces, often along the water side.


The old town is dotted with establishments, and in summer there's a nice vibe with all the outdoor terraces and bars. If you're looking to go clubbing, Club 1841 (Kleine kerkstraat 4b) is where you should go.



Go next

Nearby destinations of interest include:

Via the Afsluitdijk it's a short drive to the northern tip of the Northern Netherlands, making destinations like Den Helder, Alkmaar and Enkhuizen an easy next destination too. If you want to cross the Afsluitdijk by public transport, head to Bolsward and take a bus (Qliner 350) to Alkmaar.

Routes through Sneek

Amsterdam Medemblik ← Afsluitdijk  S  N  Heerenveen Groningen

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, October 11, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.