We travel on a Linssen charter yacht through Friesland. We start in Sneek, to Leeuwarden, Franeker, Harlingen, Hindeloopen and more...
Sneek, the Waterpoort

Sneek, the Waterpoort

Cruising our charter yacht through Friesland

We have arrived at Linssen Boating Holidays® partner Sanzi Yacht Charter in Friesland. From 2016, Sanzi Yacht Charter started to charter Linssen yachts and has now grown into a charter company with over 18 Linssen yachts in its fleet. From the compact 30 and 35 foot yachts to the Linssen flagship, the Grand Sturdy 500 AC Variotop®. Sanzi Yacht Charter also rents out yachts with an aft cabin (the AC) and yachts with a lovely spacious open cockpit (the Sedan) in the various length segments.

After the warm welcome, the short instruction of the charter boat - we have sailed it before, so it will work - and a delicious drink on the terrace of Sanzi, we go into town for some shopping. After all, we don't just want to eat out, we also want to cook on board.  

We depart from Watersports Centre 't Ges for a tour of Friesland on a luxury motor yacht. We sail out of our box and turn a little further to port. The narrow canal brings us to wider water. Here we sailed to starboard into the Houkesloot. We took a look in the Grutte Potten and sailed around. The Villapark Sneekermeer lies behind a protective dam. We sailed in for a short while and admired the beautiful houses which lay directly on the water. On the other side is RCN Vakantiepark De Potten, with a small number of moorings. If we wanted to, we could have lunch or dinner at Brasserie De Potten, but since we have only just left on our charter trip, we decide to sail on.

By motorboat to Terherne

We sail through the Prinses Margrietkanaal between Kolmeersland and Beachclub Sneek onto the Sneekermeer. There are marinas everywhere in Friesland. Bigger and smaller ones. There are also berths on the many lakes and at the most beautiful villages. But you don't have to moor at a marina. You can also moor at many places along the water's edge and enjoy the nature, the peace and quiet and the surroundings.

We sail past Terherne. For the Dutch, this is probably a very familiar name. It is the village of "De Schippers van de Kameleon" and therefore a real tourist attraction. Are you sailing with (smaller) children? Then this is definitely worth a visit. From the village, you can take a boat trip to the Kameleon Adventure Island and let the children romp around there for a few hours. Terherne itself consists for a large part of houses near the water. There is also the Landal Waterpark Sneekermeer, Roompot Havenresort Terherne and many more. There are various larger and smaller harbours to moor to and to explore the village.

You can eat at Eetcafé Portunus, for example, right on the water's edge. The most beautiful place in Terherne', they say. Or have a pizza at De Gouden Leeuw in the centre. The children can feast on pancakes at Frou Klinkhamer or grab an ice cream at 't Friespunt (or both, of course).

If we are looking for a bit more peace and quiet, we can also go to Jachthaven Sneekerhof on the 'other side' and have a bite to eat at Eetcafé 't Slûske. 

Sailing on the Nieuwe Wetering

We continued our journey via the Nieuwe Wetering (the Nije Wijttering) and sailed under the Aldskou bridge and past Oude Schouw in the direction of Grou. Grou is a picturesque village in the heart of water-rich Friesland. It is also seen as the gateway to the National Park Alde Feanen. It has a pleasant centre with shops and restaurants, often with terraces by the water and it is pleasantly busy in the summer.

Directly on the harbour on the banks of the Pikmeer is the Tea-house. A cup of coffee, lunch or dinner are all possible there. When we walk towards the centre, we encounter several restaurants. From tapas (Herman Serveert), Chinese (Kota Radja) to small bistros for the real burgundians (Bistro Pinot).

But we had loaded our boat with groceries. The fridge and pantry are full, so tonight, for example, we can prepare a delicious pasta and enjoy it on the afterdeck with a nice glass of wine. 

The next day, we sailed on to the Princes Margriet Canal, after which we turned to starboard to Earnewald, which lies in the heart of National Park De Alde Feanen. On one side of the water is the village, on the other are a large campsite (it Wiid) and Hogenboom holiday park It Wiid. Beautifully situated on the water.

the Leaning tower 'The Oldehove'

the Leaning tower 'The Oldehove'

The OldehoveLeeuwarder Jachthaven

We sail towards Leeuwarden

We continue our journey through this beautiful nature reserve. Our luxury charter boat glides slowly and quietly through the water. All we can hear are the birds and the lapping of the water behind us. We sail north again via the canal. A little further on, we steered to port on the Schalkediep in the direction of Leeuwarden.

Following the bend to starboard, we passed another beautiful area with houses right on the water. A little later, Leeuwarden came to our starboard side of the Van Harinxmakanaal and we went to look for a place to spend the evening.
We did so in the Leeuwarder Jachthaven. Their website says there's always room for passers-by, and that turns out to be true in this case too. The marina is beautifully situated and has good facilities, such as toilets and showers and connections for electricity and water. The electricity is handy, the water is necessary, because it goes by quite quickly.

We hire a couple of bicycles and decide to visit the centre of Leeuwarden. Of course, we could write a book about that alone, just to name all the sights. Some that caught our eye were of course the 'leaning tower'. The Oldehove was built in 1529 and is not only leaning and crooked, but also never finished. The tower is almost two metres out of plumb.  

Miniature people in Leeuwarden

A very special tip is the walking route along dozens of miniature statues that are spread all over the city. Sometimes less than two centimetres high ...

In 2018, Leeuwarden was Cultural Capital of Europe, with exhibitions, art objects and projects all over the city. The most striking thing we remember from that is the Giants of Nantes by the French theatre group Royal de Luxe. The enormous mechanical puppet of a diver that walked through the streets was particularly impressive.

In addition, there are lots of nice shopping streets, restaurants and cafes to fill up the rest of the day and evening before we cycle back and retire to our luxurious charter yacht. 

We cruise from Leeuwarden to Franeker

The next morning, we make a delicious breakfast of croissants, orange juice and fried bacon with an egg. We brought it from the town centre yesterday, so it's fresh enough...

We continue our cruise through Friesland with our charter yacht and leave Leeuwarden via the Van Harinxmakanaal. This canal is part of the 'Stand Mastroute' (SMR). This is a continuous sailing route through the Netherlands, which is suitable for sailing boats (and therefore also for our charter boat) with a vertical clearance (mast) of more than 6 metres. Various parts of this route also go through large cities. Like here in Leeuwarden, but also Groningen, Amsterdam and Rotterdam have a piece of the route through the city.

Since we only have a clearance of about three metres and 50 centimetres, we can sail through this route without any problems.
The Van Harinxmakanaal bends to the left towards the Frisian towns of Franeker, Harlingen and ultimately the Waddenzee. 

Franeker is one of the stars of the eleven cities, or one of the cities of the famous Frisian Elfstedentocht. We moored in the harbour of Franeker Watersport Association, just past the city but within comfortable walking distance of the city centre.

What we had planned to visit was the Royal Eise Eisinga Planetarium. This is the oldest planetarium in the world and still functions. In the planetarium room, there is a model of the sun with the six planets revolving around it.
To really appreciate Frisian history and culture, a visit to Museum Martena is a must. Located in the city castle dating from 1506, you can view the history of Franeker and various temporary exhibitions about Frisian history and contemporary Frisian art. Of course, the Martinikerk with its famous and very recognizable tower cannot be missed either. The present church was completed in 1421 on the site where a smaller church first stood.

What is perhaps less known is that Franeker has also been a university town since time immemorial. One of the most famous students at Franeker University was philosopher René Descartes. According to him, doubt is the beginning of wisdom. Mmm, we have a little doubt about that. 😊

Besides that, there are plenty of shopping streets and restaurants to easily spend a whole day. And so we do. We eat on one of the many terraces and stay on our back deck until late in the evening, enjoying the peace and quiet. 

Information about the 'Staande Mast' Routes through the Netherlands: 

Charter boat travel from Franeker to Harlingen

The next morning, after a leisurely breakfast, we sailed on at our leisure on our luxury charter yacht. It's only a short distance to Harlingen. We easily cover the ten kilometres in an hour.

In Harlingen, you can learn more about the illustrious, nautical past of Harlingen in the municipal museum, the Hannemahuis. Here, there is a wonderful collection of art, silverware, pottery and literature that reflect the history of the city. The Harlingen Earthenware and Tile Factory is one of the few factories that is still a real tile factory. The basic raw material for pottery, clay, is abundant in this area, so the location has always been particularly suitable for pottery. The first pottery factory probably dates back to 1598. The oldest piece of pottery found in the region bore the date 1614...

A city walk through Harlingen is highly recommended. The city 'claims' to be one of the cities with the highest density of monuments in the Netherlands, making a walk through Harlingen in fact a walk through an open-air museum. In the inner city, there are hundreds of monumental buildings that recall the flourishing nautical history.

You will also find 'De Barentsz' here, the replica of Willem Barentsz' expedition ship to Nova Zembla. 

We sail our motor yacht a bit on the Wadden Sea 

The next day, we continued our charter trip by going 'outside' for a while, i.e. to the Wadden Sea for a while, and then via the Lorentz Locks through the Afsluitdijk back 'inside' into the IJsselmeer. After two hours, we arrived at the lock and waited patiently for our turn. Then we could continue our journey on the IJsselmeer.

On our port side we pass Makkum immediately after the Afsluitdijk. Makkum is famous for its pottery. However, we decided to continue to Hindeloopen. It's another two hours' sailing from the lock. Hindeloopen is said to be one of the most beautiful places in Friesland. 

With our charter yacht to Hindeloopen 

The next day, we continued our charter trip by going 'outside' for a while, i.e. to the Wadden Sea for a while, and then via the Lorentz Locks through the Afsluitdijk back 'inside' into the IJsselmeer. After two hours, we arrived at the lock and waited patiently for our turn. Then we could continue our journey on the IJsselmeer.

On our port side we pass Makkum immediately after the Afsluitdijk. Makkum is famous for its pottery. However, we decided to continue to Hindeloopen. It's another two hours' sailing from the lock. Hindeloopen is said to be one of the most beautiful places in Friesland. 

Linssen yacht in Hindeloopen

We sail our yacht from Hindeloopen to Stavoren

With our hire boat, we continue to Stavoren, also situated on the IJsselmeer. Here we will sail inland again towards our home port at Sanzi Yacht Charter in Sneek, where we are expected in a few days.

However, we will first spend one more night in Stavoren and sail in through the Johan Friso lock to find ourselves a place in the centre. Stavoren is sometimes called the Copenhagen of Friesland because of the various colourful houses on the water. It is also the oldest town in Friesland. It originated around 300 BC and received city rights in the 11th century. Stavoren is not very big either. Just strolling around and enjoying the peace and quiet can also be nice. There is a small museum: Toonkamer 't Ponthús, where the history of Stavoren is presented in detail. We found a striking restaurant on the Koebrug to be the Scottish Restaurant and Whisky Bar De Koebrug. If you are in Scotland - so they say - you must eat Haggis... We did not try it, but chose another delicious dish. Although we are not whisky drinkers, a (small) glass went in.

We also visited the historic harbour of Stavoren with the old sea lock that has allowed shipping access to the hinterland since 1576. The statue of the Vrouwtje of Stavoren is also here. On a nearby lawn, you will also find 'the Imagination of the Blokhuis'. An art object that was built on top of the old foundations of a medieval fortification that stood here. Striking materials have been used for this work of art. There is a lot of glass and brown corten steel.  

Sailing with our charter yacht on the Fluessen to Woudsend 

The next morning, we sailed back into Friesland via the Johan Frisokanaal. We were still struck by the number of harbours, small coves, rivers and canals. There was something new to see around every corner. We sailed up the Morra and continued north past Galamadammen on the Oarden and Fluessen lakes. Only the Tjeukemeer is bigger than the Fluessen. The Fluessen passes into Heegermeer and here we 'turn right' to Woudsend.

We arrive in Woudsend and tie up. We walk through the narrow alleys. There are many beautiful old buildings that look surprisingly well cared for and maintained. At the edge of the 'centre' stands corn mill 't Lam, which dates from the eighteenth century. The mill is still in use for grinding organic grain from the region and can also be visited. Check the website for the times.

Church restaurant 't Ponkje particularly caught our eye. Housed - as the name suggests - in an old church, it has been a cosy eatery since the 1970s. Right on the water's edge is another mill, namely the wood sawmill De Jager. Dating from 1719, you can see here how tree trunks have been sawn into planks for centuries. This mill is also open for visits. South of Woudsend lies the Ee Aqueduct. The regional road N928 does not go over the water here with a bridge, but under it. 

We sail our charter boat back to Sneek 

The last leg today. We sail with our charter boat via De Welle and De Kûfurd back on the Prinses Margrietkanaal to the north. We sailed on so that we reached our destination in Sneek on time. After about two hours, we arrived back at the 'Trije Pôlen' where we left off. We recognise the entrance of the canal to Watersport Boulevard 't Ges, where Sanzi Yacht Charter is situated and realise that our trip is almost over.

Friesland boating country

Friesland is a wonderful place to sail with a motorboat. Whether you sail your own boat or a luxury charter yacht. There are many places to moor and the villages and towns are all worth a visit. The amount of water in the form of rivers, canals, smaller and larger lakes etc. is uncountable. Behind every bend there is another impression.
A website where we found a lot of information and which has been mentioned several times already, is Waterland of Friesland (https://www.waterlandvanfriesland.nl/). It lists and describes all the towns and villages in Friesland. Very worthwhile. 

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