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Elfsteden boating route

(231.0 km)

Take a trip around the Eleven Cities and discover Friesland’s many attractions. It’s a case of wait and see every year of whether the Elfstedentocht can be skated. What is certain is that it can now be travelled by boat. From beginning to end. Thanks to the work on the Northern Elfsteden Sailing Route, water sports enthusiasts can start in Leeuwarden and finish at the Bonkefeart since the summer of 2013. An attractive route full of sights. Discover the Frisian cities!

Sights on this route

Starting point: Harlingertrekweg 67
8715 JL Leeuwarden

Leeuwarden (Ljouwert)

Leeuwarden, or Ljouwert as we say in Friesland, is buzzing. From tourists and students to locals. From unforgettable adventures to wandering through cozy little streets.

Visit Leeuwarden

Leeuwarden fontein

11Fountains Leeuwarden

Love’ consists of two 7 meter high, white sculptures of a boy and a girl. They seem to be looking at each other, but their eyes are closed.


Sneek (Snits)

Sneek, or Snits as we say in Friesland, is the water sports city of the Netherlands. But Sneek is more than water sports and the Sneekweek. The city is bustling with events, culture, unique hotspots, and nice shops.

Visit Sneek

Waterpoort Sneek

11Fountains Sneek

A man with a Horn of Plenty stands on a golden ball in the middle of the water.


IJlst (Drylts)

IJlst (or Drylts in Frisian) is not only one of the famous 11 cities, but also a 'wood city'. For many years, tree trunks were processed here by the legendary wood trading companies Oppedijk and S.O. de Vries.

Visit IJlst

Molen IJlst

11Fountains Ijlst

Culture, like nature, consists of layer upon layer. New generations continue to build on a foundation which does not disappear.


Sloten (Sleat)

Sloten (or Sleat as we say in Friesland) is the smallest Elfsteden town in Friesland. This walled mini-city is also called sipelstêd (Frisian for onion city) thanks to the unique shape of an onion.

Visit Sloten

Sloten gracht

11Fountains Sloten

The ‘Peewit’ shows a girl standing on the shoulders of a man. She holds a bird in her hand. Under the man’s feet a disheveled pile of buckets, jerry cans and barrels form the base of the fountain.


Stavoren (Starum)

Stavoren (or Starum as we say in Friesland) is very much the main city of the IJsselmeer, being enclosed by the lake on three sides. It is also the oldest city of Friesland, founded around 300 BC at a waterway, and gaining city rights in the 11th century.

Visit Stavoren

Fontein Stavoren

11Fountains Stavoren

The sea gives, the sea takes. Stavoren, once a rich Hanseatic city, has much to say on this subject. Floods, maritime trade wars, a port that silted up: the city fell into poverty several times.


Hindeloopen (Hylpen)

Hindeloopen, or Hylpen as we say in Friesland, is known for its painting and stylish costumes from the past.

Visit Hindeloopen


11Fountains Hindeloopen

The city coat of arms, with its tree of life, with the deer and the doe surrounding it, is the source of inspiration for the fountain in Hindeloopen.


Workum (Warkum)

Workum (or Warkum as we say in Friesland), is one of the famous Frisian cities that has enjoyed city rights since 1399. Located on the shores of the former Zuiderzee and bordering the Frisian lakes.

Visit Workum

Workum Fontein

11Fountains Workum

For centuries Workum’s city arms on ‘De Waag’ have been supported by two lions. They are naive and their theatrical pose prompts laughter.


Bolsward (Boalsert)

Bolsward, or Boalsert as we say in Friesland, is the city where history and architecture play a leading role. Let yourself be carried away by the rich history of this eleven cities city.

Visit Bolsward

Bolsward Broerekerk

11Fountains Bolsward

Bats are intriguing, useful animals, crucial to the ecological system for their insect hunting. In Asian culture, the bat symbolises wealth, happiness and the blessings of old age.


Harlingen (Harns)

Harlingen is de Elfstedenstad aan het Wad. Een prachtige stad met een nautisch heden en verleden, gebouwd op de bodem van de oude zee...

Bezoek Harlingen

Harlingen stad

11Fountains Harlingen

Harlingen used to be all about whaling. Nowadays we no longer kill these big and grandiose animals, but prefer to conserve them.


Franeker (Frjentsjer)

The Elfsteden city Franeker is a captivating town with its rich university history. For many years, this city was home to numerous students, including well-known names such as Descartes.

Bezoek Franeker


11Fountains Franeker

The fountain is an ode to the world-famous astronomer Jan Hendrik Oort, who was born in Franeker. His assumption that a ‘cloud’ of billions of comet-like objects is moving around our solar system was a breakthrough in astronomy


Bartlehiem Bridge - Elfstedentocht

The famous little wooden bridge on the Elfstedentocht route!


Kunstwerk Maarten van der Weijden

Kunstwerk van Maarten van der Weijden die in 2018 zijn Elfstedenzwemtocht moest opgeven in Burdaard.

Beeld Maarten van de Weijden Elfstedentocht

Dokkum (Dokkum)

Dokkum is de meest noordelijk gelegen Elfstedenstad, ze ontstond nadat deze plek een bedevaartsoord werd na de moord op Bonifatius in 754.

Bezoek Dokkum

Dokkum kerk en fontein

11Fountains Dokkum

The Ice Fountain is a toy for the elements and no two days are the same. The ice draws patterns on the copper surface layer of the sculpture.


Elfstedentocht Turning Point

Sit on a bench shaped like a traditional Frisian ice skate next to the famous turning point on the Elfstedentocht route. This is one of Dokkum’s most popular Instagram hotspots!

Doorlopers bankjes bij Keerpunt Dokkum

Elfstedenmonument Tegeltjesbrug Gytsjerk

Over het riviertje De Murk bij Gytsjerk vind je de bekende Tegeltjesbrug, hét Elfstedenmonument van Friesland.

Elfstedenmonument Tegeltjesbrug Gytsjerk Elfstedentocht

Bonkevaart - Elfstedentocht Finish Line

Whether you experience it standing on the ice, on the bank, or from the water, this historic stretch of water is a must-visit!

Finishpunt van de Elfstedentocht op de Bonkevaart
End point: Harlingertrekweg 67
8715 JL Leeuwarden


Starting point: Harlingertrekweg 67
8715 JL Leeuwarden

Je kunt deze route uiteraard op ieder gewenst punt langs de route starten. 

End point: Harlingertrekweg 67
8715 JL Leeuwarden