Leiden and parking don't go together very well, and I have known this for all of my life. It's just that Leiden (especially the center) is very old and the streets are narrow so it's not quite easy to park anywhere.
I used an excellent parking service at the largest open-air parking in Leiden called Haagweg.
Strictly speaking you can walk to the city center from there (about 10 mins) but there is a free shuttle service which brings you wherever you want! For the return trip, you can call a number and they'll pick you up. They do this all through the week until 2 o'clock at night (Sundays a bit earlier: midnight).
At Haagweg you pay a max of 12 euro for 24 hrs of parking. You can rent a bike or solex there too.
Really a very good service indeed.
Parking address: Haagweg 8, 2311 AA Leiden (750 parking spaces)
The Leiden bus station is adjacent to the Leiden Centraal Train Station.
The following Arriva company buses serve Leiden:
-1 - Leiderdorp, Rijnland Hospital and Lammenschans train station
-2 - Lammenschans train station and Rijnland Hospital
-3 - Merenwijk and Lammenschans train station
-4 - Merenwijk
-5 - Voorschoten train station
-6 - Starrenburg and Voorschoten train station
The following Arriva company buses serve location outside Leiden:
-20 - Oegstgeest and Rijnsburg
-21 - Oegstgeest and Rijnsburg
-30 - Transferium A44, Valkenburg, Katwijk aan den Rijn and Noordwijk
-31 - Transferium A44, Valkenburg, Katwijk aan den Rijn and Noordwijk
-37 - Oegstgeest, Rijnsburg and Katwijk aan den Rijn
-38 - Transferium A44, Valkenburg and Katwijk aan den Rijn
-50 - Oegstgeest, Warmond, Sassenheim, Lisse, Hillegom, Bennebroek and Heemstede
-56 - Leiderdorp, Oud Ade, Rijpwetering, Nieuwe Wetering, Roelofarendsveen, Oude Wetering and Leimuiderbrug
-57 - Oegstgeest, Sassenheim, Voorhout and Noordwijkerhout
-169 - Zoeterwoude-Rijndijk, Hazerswoude-Rijndijk and Koudekerk aan den Rijn
-182 - Leiderdorp, Hoogmade, Woubrugge and Ter Aar
-183 - Leiderdorp, Hoogmade and Woubrugge
-221 - Transferium A44, Valkenburg, Katwijk aan den Rijn and Katwijk
-250 - Sassenheim (rush hour only)
-365 - Zoeterwoude, Stompwijk, Leiden Centraal Station, Leiderdorp, Roelofarendsveen, Oude Wetering, Leimuiderbrug, Hoofddorp and De Hoek (Q-liner bus)
-510 - Oegstgeest, Poelgeest (Belbus)
-854 - Keukenhof (When open)
The following Veolia company buses serve location outside Leiden:
-43 - Wassenaar
-45 - Voorburg, Leidschendam and Voorschoten
Leiden's main railway station, Centraal, is a modern functional building immediately outside the central canal belt, about a five minute walk into the city. The original railway station was constructed on the same site in 1842 and the present building, completed in 1996, is the fourth incarnation.
This is a busy little station with regular services from Rotterdam and Den Haag to Amsterdam, Schiphol and Utrecht from which the rest of the Dutch railway system can be accessed. It is also on the hourly "Nachtnet" (nightline) between Rotterdam - The Hague - Amsterdam - Utrecht.
As a major Dutch station the building has all the facilities you'd expect including left luggage lockers, shops and cafes, cycle parking and hire and the bus station for local travel further afield is right next door.
Bootjes en Broodjes is a company that rents small electrical boats, so you can explore the Leiden canals on your own. It's also possible to hire a guide who will explain the Leiden ins and outs.
Beside the above "bootjes" side, there is the "broodjes" part of the company. If you want, a full catering can be supplied from breakfast through dinner and all in between snacks, high tea and drinks too.
Location: Blauwpoortbrug 1 - 2312 GA Leiden
Rederij Rembrandt provides regular canal boats tours in the Leiden canals, but also private tours are possible.
The city canal trip in and around Leiden sails daily. The trip takes about one hour. The departure times are 11AM, Noon, 1:30PM, 2:45PM and 4PM. In July and August there are also evening tours.
Price: € 10,00 (adult).
Location: Blauwpoortshaven 5 - 2312 EL Leiden
Leiden is ideal for a canal boat tour. The city waterways played a great role in transportation of goods to the city in the old days. Via the canals you can travel through Leiden in a relaxed way in just an hour.
The terminal of Schuitjevaart canal boat tours is mid-town at the corner of the Stille Rijn and the Stille Mare.
Ticket price: Euro 7.50 (adult)
During the opening period of the Keukenhof gardens the Arriva Bus company bus #850 and #854 serve the Keukenhof twice per hour from the Leiden Centraal Station bus station.
You can save money and time by buying a Combi-ticket for the transportation and entrance to the gardens at either the GWK-bank in the Leiden station or at the Leiden Visitor Centre (Stationsweg 41), just outside the station.
The price of the combi-ticket = € 22.50.
The Combiticket from Arriva and Keukenhof offers a number of benefits. The bus drops you at the main entrance to the park where you can have your ticket scanned and walk through directly, without having to queue for a ticket.
Next to the Keukenhof ticket you can choose for other day passes that includes a city tour; inform at the Leiden Vistor Centre.
One of the reason for me to visit Leiden was the train station. The concrete train station of my home town Hengelo was made from the blue prints of the Leiden station.
Well, the present Leiden Centraal station is no longer that concrete example. It was replaced by a modern construction by architect Harry Reijnders in the shape of a shell.
The station was badly needed because the number of tracks had to be increased after the opening of the new railway connection to Schiphol Airport and the start of the Thalys high speed train connection from Amsterdam to Brussels.
Going back in history. The first Leiden station opened on August 17, 1842 serving the HIJSM railway company. This building was replaced by a new one in 1879.
After the Second World War the concrete station building designed by H.G.J. Schelling opened and served till 1995.
Dutch trains are safe, comfortable, efficient and reasonably-priced. So getting to Leiden from anywhere in the Netherlands by train should be easy enough.
From Amsterdam the journey to Leiden takes just under 40 minutes. There are regular direct trains running more or less throughout the night as well as in the daytime, so there is no need to worry about missing the last train back.
You can find train times, details and fares in English on the NS website below.
You can buy your ticket from the station ticket machines but they only seem to take coins or credit/debit cards. i saw none which accept notes. Many ticket machines only seem to accept cards of the OV chipkaart, so it may take a while to find one which accepts cash. Of course ticket offices will sell you a ticket with no problems (other than a potential queue).
In the entrance area there are departure boards which tell you exactly which platform your train will leave from (and its intermediate stopping places) and each platform has similar electronic displays to further reassure you that the train standing at, or the next train into, a particular platform really *will* be going where you want to go!
Leiden Centraal station is super-swish and super-modern (see frontage in the main photo)m, with cafes, fast-food outlets and small shops in its entrance area.
travelling to the Netherlands on KLM or any other airline, is a breeze,the timetables are convenient,the travel time is only about an hour from Birmingham international,and Schiphol airport is so easy to roam around sometimes i forget i'm abroad.
At schiphol the train station is on site already, just follow the signs to the ticket office and then your chosen platform,typically platforms 5 or 6, and away to Leiden,the journey time is barely 20 minutes so your there in no time no worrys.
for plane tickets you can opt to use KLM
for more flight timetables checkout the birmingham international airport website
You can do a boat tour in Leiden along the many canals to see the highlights from the water. Take care: the last boat leaves at 16 hrs.
We were too late but next time.... :-)
Ah well..... a Leiden page is never finished. It'll leave me something to add later.
Schedule: 11 a.m., 12 p.m. 1.30 p.m, 2.45 p.m. and 4 p.m.
€ 4,50 (euro) from 13 years and up.
After buying your "all in one ticket" available at Leiden Train Station, walk out the Station and turn right, the Bus stop is furthest away. This is where Buses 54/58 Express to Keukenhof gardens leave from. Quite easy to find. When returning, go to the same Entrance gate you were dropped off at to catch the return Bus back to Leiden.
Parking in Leiden is difficult and expensive. There are large parking areas around the city. The one near the Noordeinde / Haagweg (direction Voorschoten) is most convenient, as it offers a shuttle services to and from the city center and/or you can walk. You can also try to park in the small streets around the city center; it is usually free.
The Leiden Central train station is very centrally located. (Maybe that explains the name...) Arriving there, you're just a short walk from the city center. If you had layover there of a couple of hours or more, you could easily check out the city and grab a bite to eat.
Bikes are quickest and easiest way to get around Leiden. Everyone has a bike and it is so flat, it's hardly exhausting at all. What can be more daunting is though, finding a space for your bike at the station or alternatively finding it when you come back... ;-) Not that people necessaily nick bikes a lot, but remembering where you put it and finding it amongst the thousands of bikes that look exactly the same might be a bit of a challenge!
Be aware that there is no cycling on the pedestrianised shopping street - right in the middle of the town.