The start of this route is at the Fountain of Fortuna. A man standing on a golden ball in the middle of the canal, a horn of plenty in his hands. He symbolizes the wealth that Sneek has always dared to dream of, and that Sneek has also known.
Behind the fountain you will see the Sneeker Waterpoort (Water Gate of Sneek). An impressive structure, with two elegant towers. The Water Gate was built around 1492 to block the entrance to the city over the water. Sneek used to have five such gates, but this is the only one left. Cross the water via the gate and follow Waterpoortgracht to Martiniplein. Here, you will find the Martinikerk (St. Martin’s Church), with its beautiful wooden belfry. It is said that within the walls of the church, the body of the Frisian hero Grutte Pier, who died in Sneek, was buried. Grutte Pier was a warlord who dreamed of freedom and rebelled against the Hollanders. After a life as a warrior, he settled in Sneek, where he died in 1520.
Walk around the church via the Oude Kerkhof to the Bulwark. This area used to be an extension of the defensive wall and is now one of the few remnants of the fortifications of Sneek. Follow Kerksteeg and turn right, into Nauwe Noorderhorne. This is a small street with nice shops selling curiosa. It leads to Marktstraat, where you can admire the old town hall of Sneek with its beautifully decorated steps. The helmet of Frisian rebel leader Grutte Pier, who died in Sneek in 1520, is kept in the town hall. (NB: the town hall is not open to the public)
Turn right twice at the end of Marktstraat, to get to Leeuwenburg and then Galigastraat, a street where you’ll find many different kinds of shops. Turn left on Oude Koemarkt to follow the road until you reach the canal. Turn left again and you will see the fountain from the back. At the special bakery on the corner, we turn left again. Now follow Grootzand all the way to the end, where it joins Schaapmarktplein, which is very lively in summer, and Nauwe Burgstraat, at the end of which we turn right, into Wijde Burgstraat. Here you can see the statue of Lapkepoep and a Frisian female farmer. Lapkepoep is Frisian for textile merchant. The statue was a gift from retail clothing store C&A. The brave brothers Clemens and August were only young dreamers in their early 20s when they opened the very first C&A shop in Sneek in 1841.
Walk further, along Oosterdijk, with the more well-known shops on both sides. At the end, we turn right, and on the Jousterpijp we turn right again, into Kleinzand. On this street you will find the distillery Weduwe Joustra. Here, the sixth generation of the Joustra family continue the tradition of making the alcoholic drink Beerenburg, which the widow Joustra started in 1864. A little further down the road, you will find the Frisian Maritime Museum (Scheepvaartmuseum), where you can learn all about the history of Sneek, the Frisian shipping trade and the background of Skûtsjesilen.
Now turn left and follow Singel, where halfway you will encounter the beautiful Sint Martinus church. Churches in Friesland are often sober in design, but not this church. It is definitely worth to take a look inside. The gorgeous decorations inside make this church stand out in Friesland.
If you walk to the end of Singel, you will arrive where you started. But we recommend that you head into the city centre for a drink or a snack at one of the café terraces. All restaurants and cafés in Sneek can be found here.