Day trip to Haarlem: What to do?
Haarlem is a charming city with lots of culture, shops, cafes and restaurants. Haarlem has traditionally been a painter’s city and is therefore home to some of the best museums and world-famous art in the Netherlands. This history is reflected in everything in the city. Like Amsterdam, Haarlem has a number of canals and a similar architecture. But there are also enough aspects of this city that make it completely unique. On the question; ‘ what is there to do in Haarlem?’ are more than enough answers!
Activities in Harlem
A day trip to Haarlem is becoming increasingly popular. Those who are tired of the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam, but still want to experience the same authentic city as in the capital, can very well go to this other (provincial) capital. There are plenty of activities in Haarlem and the surrounding area. In this article we explain what you can do best during a day in Haarlem!
Hit the canals!
We kick off this list with, in our opinion, the most fun answer to the question ‘what is there to do in Haarlem?’ Namely; rent a sloop! The canals of Haarlem are perhaps less known than those of Amsterdam, but that certainly does not mean that they are less beautiful. A private boat tour through Haarlem can therefore not be missed when visiting this city. You can also rent a boat without a captain of course. The weather plays a role in this activity. The best times to rent a sloop are therefore in the spring, summer and early autumn. However, on a beautiful (dry) winter day, a trip through the canals can also be very magical!
Visit a museum!
Haarlem has a lot to offer when it comes to art and cultural activities. As a medieval painters city, there are many museums to be found. So much so that you wouldn’t be able to do that in one day in Haarlem. However, these are the museums that you really shouldn’t miss as far as we’re concerned:
Frans Hals Museum
The Frans Hals Museum is the best place to admire the legacy of this Haarlem master painter. This museum has the world’s largest Frans Hals collection and you will not get tired of it quickly.
The Teylers Museum is a museum that focuses on science and art and is not only the oldest museum in the Netherlands, but also the oldest in mainland Europe! With the diverse collection of physics devices to sketches by none other than Michelangelo, this is a glimpse into an important part of the history of science.
Corrie ten Boomhuis
The former home of resistance heroine Corrie ten Boom on Barteljorisstraat is now a museum, partly decorated in the original 1940s style. Here you can take a look at the ‘hideout’, where hundreds of fugitive Jews and other enemies of the Nazis hid during the war years.
Get on your bike!
Although it is a real city, most distances are easily covered by bicycle in Haarlem. To get to know the city well, a bicycle tour along all the sights is an activity that you should not skip. With a bicycle tour you will go through all the hotspots of Haarlem under the guidance of a guide and you will also receive interesting explanations.
Do you want to explore Haarlem yourself by bike? Then take a look at this Haarlem bicycle rental and visit all the sights below yourself!
The city center of Haarlem is full of interesting buildings, attractions and hotspots. These are all relatively close to each other and you can therefore easily visit a large part of these sights during a day trip to Haarlem. If you don’t think you’ll get to everything, here’s a list of attractions that you really shouldn’t miss:
The Grote Markt
The Grote Markt is located in the heart of the city, next to the Grote Kerk. This particularly impressive square hosts festivals, concerts and markets all year round and is a bustling destination day in and day out. The weekly market is held every Saturday and Monday.
The Great Church
When visiting the Grote Markt, you should also take a look at the Grote Kerk. This 14th-century cruciform church was built in typical Gothic style and functions as the final resting place of a number of well-known Haarlem residents, including Frans Hals and Willem Bilderdijk.
The Molen de Adriaan has been part of the Haarlem skyline since the 18th century and is one of the city’s most famous sights. From the position, twelve meters above the river, you have a great view over the old city, in addition, the mill is also very impressive from the canal. With a cruise through Haarlem, this mill can be viewed from below in its full glory.
The Sint Bavo Cathedral
The Dome Cathedral Haarlem is unique and, together with the Sagrada Familia, is in the top five of the most important churches in the world built between 1850 and 1950. The cathedral is architecturally unique and a real eye-catcher.
Shopping in Haarlem
A day in Haarlem is not possible without a visit to the Goudenstraatjes. Haarlem has been proclaimed the best shopping city in the Netherlands for years, and for good reason! From large retail chains to small vintage shops, you will find it all here! Most shops can be found in the area around the Grote Markt in the Goudenstraatjes. These seven picturesque streets are loved by the locals. The shops are open on Sundays and there is also a regular Shopping Night, where you can shop until midnight.
Go to the beach!
A stone’s throw from Haarlem you will find the well-known seaside resorts of Zandvoort and Bloemendaal (on the sea), which are known for the always sweltering beach bars in the summer. However, you can also stay here in autumn and winter. A nice day out on the beach is always good for a person.
Wondering what else you can do in Haarlem? Read our blog about beer in Haarlem!