There's nothing like local knowledge. Our favorite area around Groningen is the area south of the bustling town center near the beautiful Lake Paterswoldsemeer. On our first visit we were charmed by the lovely classic houses with thatched roofs in private gardens in the smaller town of Haren. We were thrilled to find one of the houses we had admired available on Airbnb! What a place to come home to! There was a record heatwave so we were really pleased to have a cool, quiet place in a walkout basement with our own private balcony!
We spent 3 days exploring this wonderful area. In addition to the beautiful lake with a trail all the way around, this is an area of immense historic significance. The area from here south is the spine of the Netherlands - the highest ridge more than 30 meters above the sea. extends from here through the Province of Drenthe and it has been inhabited for more than 5500 years. The early residents left hints of their culture in their "Hunebeds" or Dolmens. Huge stones brought down from Scandinavia by glaciers in the ice age that were used to construct megalithic burial chambers. These are marked on signs along trails with a special symbol. We had fun finding some in the area - the best ones were farther south. We had planned to visit Hunebedcentrum, but a combination of events (last minute cancelation by Booking.com combined with the flood of people fleeing the heatwave in Amsterdam) forced us to change our plans and head north so we'll have to leave that for a future trip.