Swimming outside in Groningen

14 June 2023

Although winter seems to be lingering on a little longer this year, the temperatures are slowly but steadily rising. Green leaves and blossom have popped up everywhere, ice cream shops are doing great business, and gardens and terraces are full of people again: summer is on its way. That means the time for swimming outside is drawing nearer, too, and Groningen has a lot of different swimming spots to offer.

Swimming Outside In Gro

Stadsstrand (City Beach)

Stadsstrand is perhaps the best known swimming spot for students in the city. It’s a relatively small beach at the Oosterhamrikkanaal, right next to the futuristic dome of DOT. If you’re a social person and like to have some buzz around you, Stadsstrand is the perfect place as it’s usually packed in summertime. A supermarket is relatively nearby and if you’re looking for a change of scene Noorderplantsoen is a seven-minute walk away. Be careful with jumping in or diving: there might be junk such as old bicycles at the bottom of the canal.


Papiermolen is a large outdoor pool. Located near Helpman, it’s about a ten-minute bicycle ride from the city centre. It offers different pools for different purposes, such as shallow pools suitable for young children and larger ones for leisure or swimming laps. There are also three diving boards, a 35-meter-long waterslide and a big meadow to relax in the sun.

Hoornse Plas and Paterswoldsemeer

You might have noticed a speck of blue right underneath Groningen on the map. It’s actually a big lake called Hoornse Plas, and a perfect swimming spot. Hoornse Plas is located on the border between Groningen and Drenthe, so you can swim from one province to the other. Although this is a popular swimming spot for Groningers, you’re likely to find a nice place to sit because it’s so big. All the facilities you need are there, such as toilets and a snack bar, but be sure to bring specifics you need from home as it’s a 20-minute bicycle ride from the city centre or 30 minutes by bus. Connected to Hoornse Plas is the greater Paterswoldsemeer, which is popular with sailors.

Kardingerplas (Zilvermeer)

North-east in Groningen you can find Kardingerplas (also called Zilvermeer), named after the nature reserve in which it’s located, called Kardinge. It will take you about a 15-minute bicycle ride to get there from the city centre and is particularly nice because it’s so close to nature. It has a perfectly fine beach and a lot of trees, and there’s a restaurant if you feel like sitting in the sun with a drink or some nice dinner.


Apart from Stadsstrand, there’s another beach in Groningen with an urban feel: the city beach at Suikerunieterrein at Rebel Rebel. This is the perfect place to relax in the sun and cool down with a cocktail on a hot summer day. There’s real sand, hammocks and even a beach bar. Swimming here is at your own risk since the water doesn’t get checked, so keep your eyes open and decide for yourself. Either way, this is a very nice place to sit back and chill, away from the usual buzz of the city but only a ten-minute bicycle ride from the city.


Last but not least, I want to tell you about Winsum. Although this is more the place for renting a little motorboat or canoeing, I couldn’t end this list without at least mentioning the town. Its canals are among the most beautiful in the Netherlands. Although Giethoorn is much better known among tourists from across the globe as a fairy tale-like water village, Winsum could definitely hold that title too. Sail through the centre of the town and expect to see traditional Dutch houses, old redbrick walls and little gardens full of flowers at the waterside. Sail on a little further and you’ll be surrounded by the peace and quiet of the Groningen countryside. If you really want to swim: just jump out of the boat for a little while! The water is usually clean and safe. There is a train that takes you from Groningen to Winsum in 14 minutes, by bicycle it will take you about an hour to get there.