Eleven Cities Tour




The famous Elfstedentocht

Leeuwarden - The famous Elfstedentocht (Eleven Cities Tour) in Friesland was traditionally done ice-skating. Due to the climate change, the winter temperatures aren't low enough nowadays for the water of canals and lakes to freeze over. But you can still explore the beautiful countryside in the north, far away from the tourist crowds in Amsterdam. You can walk or cycle the 200 kilometers, but if you are brave you can also swim (!), surf, run, roller-skate along the Eleven Cities.

Ljouwert (Leeuwarden)

0 KM
Leeuwarden is the capital of the province of Friesland. It's the start of the Eleven Cities Tour. The finish of the tour is at the other side of the city - after 200 kilometers. If you wonder why there are two names in the title, the province of Friesland is bi-langual: 'Ljouwert' is the Frisian name of the city, 'Leeuwarden' is the Dutch name.

Snits (Sneek) 1

22 KM
Sneek is a little city, famous for sailing in summertime.

Sawmill De Rat in the city of IJlst
Sawmill De Rat in the city of IJls

Drylst (IJlst) 2

26 KM
3. IJlst. is the second city. In wintertime it is still darkness when the skaters reach the city. In summertime you will enjoy the beatiful views.

Sleat (Sloten) 3

40 KM
Sloten is the smallest city of the tour, but also one of the most beautiful ones!
Fontein in Stavoren
Fontein in Stavoren

Starum (Stavoren) 4

66 KM
Stavoren has a little harbour. The city is popular in summertime and a nice place to go sailing.

Het historische centrum van Hindeloopen

Hylpen (Hindeloopen) 5

77 KM
Hindeloopen this historic city is located in the south-west of the province and is located near the IJsselmeer. In the city you will find a little museum about ice-skating. The most curious piece is a frozen too - lost during the tour.

Het historische centrum van Workum
Het historische centrum van Workum

Warkum (Workum) 6

86 KM
Workum is another historic city along the route. The Jopie Huisman Museum in the city centre is a nice stop.

Boalsert (Bolsward) 7

99 KM
Bolsward is halfway the Eleven City Tour. The city is also the start of the yearly Eleven City Tour by bike on Whit Monday.

Havenstad Harlingen
Havenstad Harlingen

Harns (Harlingen) 8

116 KM
Harlingen is a harbour city. It's also the city where the boats to the Wadden Island Terschelling and Vlieland depart.

The historic city hall of Franeker
The historic city hall of Franeker

Frjentsjer (Franeker) 9

126 KM
Franeker is one of the oldest university cities in the Netherlands. From here the "hell of the north" starts. In fact it is green and rural and really nice, but in a cold winter it is tough to skate here. Wind, cold and darkness make it tough to cross the deserted polders on ice.


Birdaard is one of the small villages along the northern part of the route. There is a little statue for long distance swimmer Maarten van der Weijden who had to step out of the water after 163 kilometers of swimming. He was beaten by the "hell of the North". But one year later he took revenge and swum the Eleven Cities Tour in four days (without leaving the water).


Bartlehiem is a spectacular place to watch the Eleven Cities tour as you need to cross the little village twice!

Het historische centrum van Dokkum
Elfstedenstad Dokkum

Dokkum (Dokkum) 10

171 KM
Dokkum. Last stop! Ice skaters have to return here and continue their journey via the little village of Bartlehiem to the finish in Leeuwarden.

The Finish: Ljouwert (Leewarden) 11

Elfstedenkruisje After a long journey of 200 kilometers you reached the finish. Ice skaters have to finish before 24:00. Your reward? An Eleven City Cross and fame forever.

Finish location: depending on ice-conditions the finish is at the Bonkevaart in Leeuwarden. Alternatively the finish is at the Prinsentuin or at the Grutte Wielen in Leeuwarden.
PS: Don't forget to visit the Eleven Cities Bridge when you are around!

Eleven Cities Tour photo gallery

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    Adress and visitor information

    Eleven Cities Tour

    Postal code and City: Leeuwarden
    Province/Region: Friesland

    Visit: An average visits takes approx. 12 hours.
    The Start and Finish of the Eleven City Tour is in the capital of the province, the city of Leeuwarden. From Leeuwarden you can easily reach a number of Frisian cities by train (run every (half) hour). Cities you can reach by train from Leeuwarden are Franeker en Harlingen. The other trailine connects Leeuwarden with Sneek, IJlst, Workum, Hindeloopen en Stavoren.

    Eleven Cities Tour Swim edition in Franeker
    Eleven Cities Tour Swim edition in Franekerr

    Where to stay Leeuwarden?

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