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Holiday Travel Guide
Beestenmarkt showing a small town or village and a river or creek as well as a large group of people

Once full of cattle and sheep for sale, this pretty square overlooking a canal is now the starting point for canal boat cruises and a great spot for morning coffee.

Visit Leiden’s historic central square, Beestenmarkt, an unusual triangle-shaped area which was once the town’s cattle market. During the 16th to 20th centuries, cattle and other livestock were brought here to sell. Leiden is at the heart of farming lands, so it was and remains a place for farmers to come to trade and buy. The bell hanging in the square was originally the signal to begin the cattle market.

These days the square is a lot quieter without the sounds of animals. It is a relaxing spot to come for views of the water of the Oude Vest canal. Let your kids scamper through the many splashing streams of the fountain at the center of the square.

On sunny days the area surrounding the square is a great place to enjoy al fresco dining. Try some puffy baked Dutch pancakes in the pancake house. Have a delicious snack of a crispy, sweet-filled stroopwafel with a tiramisu-flavored coffee at a café in the square.

Catch a movie at the Lido cinema or dine at the Surinamese or Sumatran restaurants for fantastic South American and Indonesian flavors. Occasionally you’ll find markets, culinary fairs and live music held in the square.

Very close to the Beestenmarkt is an old bridge-keeper’s house on the bridge over the canal. Here you can rent a boat to take a self-guided tour of the town’s canals or go on a guided tour of Leiden’s best sights as well as the lakes of Kagerplassen to the northeast. These picturesque lakes are the perfect spot to picnic or fish.

The Beestenmarkt is a short walk from the National Museum of Ethnology and Molen De Valk Museum with its old-fashioned windmill. Walk to the other side of the canal for an iconic photo of the Dutch row houses with the windmill in the background and reflections in the still waters of the canal.

Top things to do in Beestenmarkt

Top Trending Hotels Near Beestenmarkt

Tulip Inn Leiden Centre
Tulip Inn Leiden Centre
3 out of 5
Schipholweg 3, Building B, Leiden
The price is £74 per night from 29 Aug to 29 Aug
Situated in Leiden, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 15-minute walk of National Museum of Ethnology, Museum Boerhaave and Naturalis Biodiversity Center. Madurodam ...
4.2/5Very Good! (400 reviews)
"Excellent location, satisfied with cleanliness of rooms. Strange open shower (meant that water got everywhere) and only one wall dispenser of all-purpose soap provided for both sink and shower."

Reviewed on 6 Jul 2021

Tulip Inn Leiden Centre
Hilton Garden Inn Leiden
Hilton Garden Inn Leiden
4 out of 5
Willem Einthovenstraat 3, Oegstgeest
The price is £76 per night from 8 Aug to 8 Aug
Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Corpus and Naturalis Biodiversity Center. Leiden Bio Science Park and Hortus Botanicus are also ...
4.3/5Excellent! (990 reviews)
Perfect for our trip
"Hotel staff were fantastic. Food was excellent. Room was clean. Carpets were not spotless on arrival other than that all OK. Lots of things to do within half an hours car ride"

Reviewed on 17 Aug 2020

Hilton Garden Inn Leiden
Fletcher Wellness-Hotel Leiden
Fletcher Wellness-Hotel Leiden
4 out of 5
Bargelaan 180, Leiden
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is £76 per night from 22 Aug to 22 Aug
Located in the heart of Leiden, this spa hotel is within 1 mile (2 km) of Leiden Bio Science Park and Leiden University. Naturalis Biodiversity Center and National ...
3.9/5Good! (492 reviews)
chaos check in
"In general the wellness and the hotel reception are at same place it’s chaotic there not really good structured not really friendly or helpful but that’s what i found out for most fletcher hotels i recommend other hotels"

Reviewed on 17 Jul 2020

Fletcher Wellness-Hotel Leiden
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Top Hotel Deals

ibis Leiden Centre
ibis Leiden Centre
3 out of 5
Stationsplein 240-242, Leiden
The price is £60 per night from 15 Aug to 15 Aug
ibis Leiden Centre
Hilton Garden Inn Leiden
Hilton Garden Inn Leiden
4 out of 5
Willem Einthovenstraat 3, Oegstgeest
The price is £76 per night from 8 Aug to 8 Aug
Hilton Garden Inn Leiden
Tulip Inn Leiden Centre
Tulip Inn Leiden Centre
3 out of 5
Schipholweg 3, Building B, Leiden
The price is £74 per night from 29 Aug to 29 Aug
Tulip Inn Leiden Centre
Fletcher Wellness-Hotel Leiden
Fletcher Wellness-Hotel Leiden
4 out of 5
Bargelaan 180, Leiden
The price is £76 per night from 22 Aug to 22 Aug
Fletcher Wellness-Hotel Leiden
Best Western City Hotel Leiden
Best Western City Hotel Leiden
3 out of 5
Lange Mare 43, Leiden
The price is £77 per night from 29 Aug to 29 Aug
Best Western City Hotel Leiden
LOT Hotel
LOT Hotel
2 out of 5
14 Beestenmarkt, Leiden
The price is £72 per night from 8 Aug to 8 Aug
LOT Hotel
City Hotel Rembrandt
City Hotel Rembrandt
3 out of 5
Nieuwe Beestenmarkt 10, Leiden
The price is £89 per night from 8 Aug to 8 Aug
City Hotel Rembrandt
Golden Tulip Leiden Centre
Golden Tulip Leiden Centre
4 out of 5
Schipholweg 3, Leiden
The price is £89 per night from 26 Aug to 26 Aug
Golden Tulip Leiden Centre
Boutique Hotel d'Oude Morsch
Boutique Hotel d'Oude Morsch
3.5 out of 5
Park de Put 1, Leiden
The price is £114 per night from 8 Aug to 8 Aug
Boutique Hotel d'Oude Morsch
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.