Discover Friesland from the water

With our routes you will pass the most beautiful spots!

The best shipping routes of Friesland


Say water, say Friesland! With almost as much water as dry land in the province this is a prime spot to go boating with boat or canoe. There are many routes where you can sail along. Go sailing for an afternoon or several days

Boating in Friesland

Friesland, the province with the most water in The Netherlands. There is enough to discover in and around the water! Taking your boat out on the Frisian lakes is a must! Nice for an afternoon or several days of sailing, it’s just what you want. In the south of Friesland are the largest lakes, but also the small canals in the rest of Friesland are very nice for boats to sail. You can choose to go with a sailing boat, but also with a sloop or canoe is a good option! If you don’t have one yourself you can easily rent one at various locations in Friesland.

Shipping routes in Friesland

Throughout Friesland several shipping routes are mapped out. There are plenty of docking places and it offers many opportunities to discover Friesland from the water. It takes you through charming villages, towns and beautiful sights! Or have a nice cup of coffee at a cafe or restaurant near the water, there is plenty of choice. In the south for example, you have the famous Peat Route taking you through the wooded area of the Frisian canals. Also the Eleven Cities Route is a unique route that runs through Friesland. The endless fields and meadows in the north offer peace and tranquility. Nice to recover a bit! The southern part is more suitable for smaller boats, and takes you through charming villages where you can make several trips. For the people that like the urban hustle and bustle better the Downtown Route is a must. You will be taken along the canals and the many terraces and the Prinsentuin of Leeuwarden!

The Turf Route

The Turf route is a very unique route through a special part of Friesland! In the southeastern part, where the route goes through, you will find forests, peat and heathlands. Moreover, you pass four great National Parks, the Alde Feanen, the Weerribben, Wold and Dwingelderveld. The route had been laid out when peat skippers had to transport their cargo to the west of the country. The route is connected to the northwest of Overijssel by the Linthorst-Homans lock and the Drieweg lock. The latter is a nice place to dock and to go ashore. Here you will find the beautiful nature area called the Rottige Meenthe, great to walk through. Did you bring your bike? There are plenty of forests, great, to cycle through. There are the woods around Oranjewoud and the Drent-Friese Wold at Appelscha. In this way you can combine water and forest! The route is accessible for boats up to 28 meters long, 5 meters wide, 3.30 meters high and 1.10 meters draft. You can come along several bridges and locks here. Still to be found are the beautiful lockkeepers houses.

The Middelsee Route

The Middelsee route is a historical route through Friesland and takes you along a large portion of the Eleven Cities Tour. This route used to be an important connection between the capital of Leeuwarden and Sneek. It is more quiet than the Princess Margriet Canal and thus certainly a nicer option. From Leeuwarden you sail towards Sneek. This is a very pleasant town with many cafes, shops and activities. Docking is no problem at all and with some nice trips you can have a nice day getaway or holiday! The route is in the area where the Middelzee used to be. It gets its name from this too. Very characteristic are the mounds, which already protected the residents in earlier years against the high water. There are ample opportunities to dock your boat and get out there with your bike!

Plan your route here

Other routes

There are many other routes, such as:

  • The Clay Route-(de Kleiroute)
  • Inner City Route-(Route Binnenstad)
  • Northside Eleven Cities Route-(Noordelijke Elfstedentocht)
  • Lits-Lauwerslake Route-(Lits-Lauwersmeerroute)
  • Mast Route (Staande mast route)
  • Middel Sea Route-(Middelseeroute)
  • Shipping Route Skarsterlân–B-(Vaarroute Skarsterlân – A)
  • Shipping Route Skarsterlân –B-(Vaarroute Skarsterlân – B)
  • Woudaaproute
  • Peat Route-(Turfroute)
  • Eleven Cities Route (smaller boats)-(Elfstedentocht (kleine bootjes))
  • Aqueduct Route-(Aquaductroute)
  • Eleven Cities Route-(Elfstedenroute)

Canoe Routes in Friesland

Especially in Northeast of Friesland you can find many canoe routes. In this very diverse region you come across winding waterways, through nice villages and the historic city of Dokkum. The routes vary in distance and location. Also for the little ones among us there are some nice options. Thus you can make it a real family activity! On the Bergumermeer and Leien you are really in the midst of nature, with the open water and the stretched plains you can really taste Friesland here. The Lauwers in the Northeast corner of Friesland brings you along small rivers and real mound villages. Actually, there is something for every wish or a route that connects! Discover the various canoe routes:

  • Hantum – Ternaard
  • Suderie
  • The Tear – (De Traan)
  • Aldtsjerk – Wyns – Batlehiem
  • Grutte Wielen – It Bûtenfjild
  • Westergeest Aldswemmer
  • Alde lunen
  • Kollum area – (Kollum omgeving)
  • the Lauwers
  • Gerkes Monastery – (Gerkesklooster)
  • Bergumer Mar – de Leien
  • Earnewâld – Jan Durkspolder
  • Earnewâld

Accommodation along the routes

Could you use some extra days to make the most of all options offered? No problem! Along the trails are many opportunities to stay for the night. Also here you can find many opportunities to dock your boat. Thus, you can move on the next day and will not miss anything at all!

View the accommodation offers

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