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One Magical Day In Haarlem: Things To Do And See In A Day Trip To Haarlem, Noord- Holland, The Netherlands

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Canal houses and canal in the Dutch city of Haarlem, Noord- Holland, The Netherlands
You’re planning a visit to Haarlem for 24 hours or a weekend? Then you’ve come to the right address. Here I will give you the best things to do in one day in Haarlem, Noord-Holland, The Netherlands.

Haarlem is a city that has been getting more popular with foreign tourists, and the town deserves attention. It’s effortless to spend one day in Haarlem. There are many attractions and things to do in Haarlem, The Netherlands. In this guide, I will be showing you how you can spend one beautiful day in Haarlem, what to visit in this city and plenty of other things. I will also give you extra tips for must-sees in Haarlem and where to go if you’ve visited some of these places that I’m listing in this one day itinerary for Haarlem.

Discover where to go in Haarlem in this city and travel blog. From discovering the most famous windmill in Haarlem to exploring the hidden parts for tourism. Learn the answer to questions such as ‘Where is Haarlem?’ and see more in this travel guide.

It includes one of Haarlem’s best self-guided free walking tours. This way you can discover Haarlem and its best things to do on one of the great day tours from Amsterdam. Whether you’re looking for what to do and see in Haarlem, highlights in Haarlem or hidden gems, you will find the best tips in this one day itinerary for Haarlem.

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Canal houses and canal in the Dutch city of Haarlem, Noord- Holland, The Netherlands

Things to do in Haarlem in 24 hours: The best guide to discovering Haarlem in one day

If you’re wondering ‘where is Haarlem, The Netherlands?’ Then I can give you a good description. The city of Haarlem is the capital of the province of Noord (North)- Holland and located on the Western side of The Netherlands. You will find Haarlem in the region called ‘De Randstad’, which is an area that houses the biggest cities in The Netherlands. Haarlem is a city on its own and is not a part of Amsterdam, but located North West of Amsterdam. In Haarlem, its population is currently at around 161.265 inhabitants who live, work and thrive in this beautiful city in Noord- Holland.

But this wasn’t always the case as the city of Haarlem has quite a history and things were different centuries ago. People were already living in the area of Haarlem in 1500 b.c., but Haarlem was first mentioned as Haralem in the 10th century. Haarlem obtained its city rights back in 1245. Because of its location, next to the Spaarne river, the city developed quickly mainly because of the shipping, beer and textile industry in the 13th and 14th century.

But things changed. The tumult was everywhere, wars were coming, economic crises were on its way, and Haarlem’s economy started to suffer. During the mid 16th century the economy in Haarlem was booming again, and its inhabitants increased from a mere 18.000 to 40.000 in 50 years. The population growth made Haarlem one of the biggest cities in the region of Holland. The economic boom was due to the textile, book and tulip industry. By the end of the 17th century, Haarlem had around 55.000 inhabitants. After 1680, Haarlem’s economy was in trouble once again, and the population decreased to 20.000 in 1815.

As of today, the city of Haarlem is one of the more popular Dutch cities to live as it’s a cosy and relatively small city. Haarlem, The Netherlands, has many points of interest and sights to visit. If you’re looking for hidden gems, secret places and off the beaten path places to visit in Haarlem, then I can assure you that you will love this travel blog about Haarlem. Here you will discover a free self-guided walking tour and the best places to visit in Haarlem, Noord (North)- Holland, The Netherlands.

Where to stay in Haarlem, The Netherlands

I always recommend people who visit a new city in The Netherlands to spend the night in this place as well. This way, you can discover the differences between day and night in any town. If you don’t have the time I won’t force you and I can assure you that you will still have a great day in Haarlem. But if you’re searching for places to stay and accommodation in Haarlem, The Netherlands, then you’ll be interested in what I have to say.

Canal houses and canal in the Dutch city of Haarlem, Noord- Holland, The Netherlands

Hostels in Haarlem

StayOkay Haarlem

The StayOkay hostels in The Netherlands are very great places to stay, but many of them are not located within the city centre itself but on the outskirts. That is also the case with this hostel in Haarlem. It is located on the edge of the city of Haarlem in the small town Santpoort Zuid. Which is part of the municipality of Haarlem.

It is located near the beach town of Bloemendaal aan Zee and in a very peaceful and quiet area. And also, if you’re searching for accommodation in the region of the National Park near Haarlem, then this StayOkay is a great option as well. You can get into Haarlem with a 13-minute cycle ride or an 18-minute bus ride. If you’re looking for a hostel or cheap accommodation in Haarlem city centre, then this is not your place. If you prefer to be close to the dunes and forests in Haarlem, then this will be the perfect place to stay.

Book your stay at Stayokay Haarlem now | Booking.com
Hello I’m Local hostel

This hostel in Haarlem is right in the city centre. So if StayOkay isn’t for you, then this hostel will be great for you. You can find shopping streets at a walking distance and the Grote Markt (where you can find the Frans Hals museum amongst other things), is located at a 700 metres walking distance. This budget accommodation in Haarlem has a perfect location for when you’re looking to spend one day or weekend in Haarlem. Each room in this cosy and cheap hostel in Haarlem was designed by the students of the interior design school in Haarlem.

Book your stay at Hello I’m Local now | Booking.com

Cheap & standard priced hotels in Haarlem

niu Dairy

This hotel in Haarlem is located at a perfect location, and if you’re looking for medium-priced hotels in Haarlem, then this is one of the best hotels you can book in Haarlem. With just a short walk you are in the city centre of Haarlem. The hotel also offers bikes to use that will easily take you throughout the city (although I prefer to walk through Haarlem), but these bikes will also quickly bring you to the National Park near Haarlem, the beach and more places to visit.

Book your stay at niu Dairy now | Booking.com
Bed and Breakfast Haarlem 1001

One of the best B&B’s in Haarlem is Bed and Breakfast Haarlem 1001. It’s located in one of the many beautiful, historic buildings in the city centre of Haarlem. This B&B in Haarlem offers several activities on-site and in the surroundings, including cycling.

Book your stay at Bed and Breakfast Haarlem 1001 now | Booking.com

Hotels in Haarlem, The Netherlands

Landgoed Duin & Kruidberg

If you have a bit more money to spend and are looking for a peaceful stay, then I would suggest you stay at this luxury hotel just outside Haarlem. This hotel is an estate within the spectacular Zuid Kennemerland National Park that is located near Haarlem. This historic house is a 4-star hotel and even features a Michelin-star restaurant, plus a spa & Wellness.

I’m a huge sucker for old, English styled rooms. And there are plenty of those here. If you want to stay in the city of Haarlem itself, then I wouldn’t recommend you to stay here. But, if you’re looking for a magical place to stay in the surroundings of Haarlem, then I couldn’t recommend a better hotel.

Book your stay at Landgoed Duin & Kruidberg now | Booking.com
Haarlem Hotelsuites

This is one of the hotels that is located within the city centre of Haarlem, The Netherlands. The Frans Hals museum is only 500 metres from the hotel, as well as plenty of other activities and must do’s in Haarlem. This hotel in Haarlem feels very cosy and homey, which is a huge plus. From here, you can easily explore and visit the city of Haarlem and everything that it has to offer.

Book your stay at Haarlem Hotelsuites now | Booking.com
Boutiquehotel Staats

This boutique hotel in Haarlem has endless facilities for you to enjoy. From a restaurant to a shared lounge. And from a garden to a bar. All of this can be found in a hotel in the city centre of Haarlem. There is even a terrace for you to relax when the sun makes its way to Haarlem. But that’s not all. Are you a great, or not so great, tennis player? Then you can even go for a quick game at the hotel before you explore Haarlem on your rental bike from the hotel.

Book your stay at Boutiquehotel Staats now | Booking.com

A cute street in the Dutch city of Haarlem, Noord- Holland, The Netherlands

Best breakfast cafes and restaurants in Haarlem

Whether you’re an early bird or not, breakfast is always a good idea. Not everyone is a fan of eating breakfast, but if you cannot start your day without breakfast like me, then I can recommend you to visit one of these breakfast cafes in Haarlem.

Barista Cafe

Whether you’re searching for an iced coffee, any other coffee or something to eat, Barista Cafe has it all. This cosy and homey cafe in Haarlem will make you feel at home straight away. Add delicious food and drinks with the typical Dutch cosiness, and you have a magical combination for a great breakfast in Haarlem.

Grote Houtstraat 165, 2011 SL Haarlem

Mica Coffee Bar

Are you searching for the best coffee in Haarlem? Then Mica Coffee Bar is a beautiful place to visit. But it gets better. Not only do they serve amazing coffees, but they also have tasty pies, smoothie bowls, avocado toast and more to enjoy. You can never go wrong with visiting this cafe in Haarlem. And, most of the menu of this breakfast cafe in Haarlem is vegan-friendly. 

Have a look at the menu of Mica Coffee Bar and opening times here

Kleine Houtstraat 103, 2011 DK Haarlem

Main Grote Markt square in the Dutch city of Haarlem, Noord- Holland, The Netherlands

Your ultimate free and self-guided walking tour in Haarlem

In this free self-guided walking tour through Haarlem you will discover the most beautiful buildings, streets, incredible courtyards and the best parks in Haarlem. One of my favourite things about exploring a new city is to simply discover what it has to offer. And a free walking tour is exactly an activity in Haarlem that will show you all the must sees when you are spending one day, or even a weekend, in Haarlem.

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Find a beautiful church and cathedral in Haarlem, as well as the old town and town hall. But also Haarlem’s highlights, parks and plenty of other beautiful things.

Find great lunch cafes and restaurants in Haarlem

After the free walking tour in Haarlem, you’re probably hungry. And rightly so, wandering through cities that you’ve never visited before give you so many new impressions, so your brain and legs have been working very hard. They deserve a break. Here you will find some of my favourite and best lunch cafes and restaurants in Haarlem.

deDAKKAS

 If you’re looking for the best views in Haarlem, then you will like this lunch cafe in Haarlem. This restaurant is located on the roof of a parking garage in Haarlem, and while it might sound a bit odd, it’s anything but that. The food is excellent, mainly made from local products and the restaurant is inside in a greenhouse. Because of that it can be chilly at times, so be prepared for that. They also have vegan options at this lunch spot in Haarlem.

De Witstraat 1A, 2011 DV Haarlem

Native Haarlem Koffie

One of the cute lunchrooms in Haarlem is Native. It is found in the Vijfhoek area of Haarlem, which is one of the cosiest regions in Haarlem. Here you will find endless small streets and a lot of plants. Native is a lovely coffee corner in Haarlem where you can eat cookies and tasty sandwiches, amongst other things. But don’t forget to drink some of their coffee either!

Breestraat 23, 2011 ZX Haarlem

I can also recommend you to visit Jippies Kattencafe in Haarlem. Because well. CATS! Besides the fact that my favourite animals are here, the food at Jippies cat cafe Haarlem is also delicious.

Vijfhoek area in the Dutch city of Haarlem, Noord- Holland, The Netherlands

Explore one of the best museums in Haarlem

Haarlem is not one of those cities with a museum on every street corner, but of the more than ten museums that you can find in Haarlem, all of them are very interesting to visit. From internationally renowned museums to small museums. In Haarlem, you can find the best of both worlds. Visiting a museum in Haarlem is a must when you’re looking for things to do in one day in Haarlem. While there are more great museums to visit in this Dutch city, I’m recommending my two favourites.

Corrie Ten Boom

The Corrie Ten Boom Museum is one of the top things to see and museums to visit in Haarlem. This museum is inside the house where the Ten Boom family lived and hid Jewish people in a particular room during the Second World War. The house (which hasn’t changed at all) can only be visited with a guided tour from Tuesday until Saturday. You will learn about the Ten Boom family and discover the hiding place, family photographs and plenty of more.

Barteljorisstraat 19, 2011 RA Haarlem

Find more information & tickets for the Corrie Ten Boom Museum here

The Hiding Place museum in the Dutch city of Haarlem, Noord- Holland, The Netherlands

Frans Hals Museum

This museum in Haarlem is split into two parts of Haarlem. One part of the museum is on the main square and the other a bit further into the old town of Haarlem, and they are one of the top things to visit in this city in Holland. The Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem is a museum that was founded in 1862. It is mainly known for its massive collection of paintings that were created in the Dutch Golden Age. That’s why the Frans Hals Museum is also known as the Museum of the Dutch Golden Age. The collection of the Dutch Golden Age can be found at the ‘Hof’ location, and the more modern collection is at the ‘Hal’ site at the Grote Markt, which is also the main square in Haarlem.

The total collection of the museum exists out of around 17.000 objects. Of which 800 paintings that date back to the Dutch Golden Age. But you can find many other things here as well, think of furniture, silverware and glassworks.

Get more information about the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem here

Visit small, local shops in Haarlem and buy Dutch souvenirs

Haarlem is a great city for sightseeing, but if you want to dive a little deeper into the town then visiting local shops is a great idea. The Kleine Houtstraat is the best shopping street in Haarlem, but small and local shops can be found throughout the city. If you’re still wondering what you have to see in Haarlem (Noord-Holland), or what to do, then this is a great option. And buying local souvenirs is always a great idea. Although I cannot guarantee you that some of these Dutch souvenirs won’t get eaten by yourself.

Sounds Haarlem: Maybe you’re searching for an lp or vinyl yourself, or perhaps you enjoy walking through record shops. Sounds Haarlem is one of the best shops in Haarlem to visit if you’re a music fan.

Grote Houtstraat 171, 2011 SM Haarlem

Michel Patisserie – Chocolaterie: One of the local products you have to buy in Haarlem is the so-called ‘Haarlemmer Halletjes’. This shop in Haarlem is the only one that sells this traditional Dutch souvenir. The recipe for these crispy Dutch cookies dates back to the 17th century.

Grote Houtstraat 173, 2011 SM Haarlem

Het Oude Zuivelhuis: At this cheese shop in Haarlem, that is located just outside the city centre, you can buy a unique cheese that was made for Haarlem. The ‘Haerlems beleg‘ cheese. While this cheese is not made in Haarlem itself, it is an exclusive Dutch souvenir to bring back from Haarlem.

Kleverparkweg 2, 2023 CE Haarlem 

Antiquariaat Hovingh Haarlem: You can find the best bookstore in Haarlem is one of the best shopping streets in the city: Kleine Houtstraat. At this bookshop in Haarlem, you can find the best second-hand books. And yes, you can also find books in English, and other languages, here. 

Kleine Houtstraat 50, 2011 DP Haarlem

Melger’s Wijn en Dranken: At this liquor store in Haarlem, you can buy some of the best Dutch and local craft beers in Haarlem. Local brands I would ask for and buy are JopenLargumUil and Briljant.

Barrevoetestraat 15, 2011 WN Haarlem

P.S. Visit Bij Babette for the best scones in Haarlem and Aloha for tasty Portuguese delicacies.

Visit the best restaurants in Haarlem for a great dinner

In Haarlem, there are dozens of restaurants and cafes. But not all of them are great. These restaurants in Haarlem, The Netherlands, that I’m recommending you below are some of the best restaurants in Haarlem city centre and all special in their way. Going out for dinner is one of the top things to do to end your one day in Haarlem.

Restaurant Metzo

A great dinner restaurant in Haarlem is Restaurant Metzo. Whatever kind of food you’re looking for, the food at Metzo is delicious. Metzo has a lot of different types of food to offer. The staff is also very lovely, and if you’re looking for gluten-free options in Haarlem, then Metzo will be right on the part. Just tell them your wishes, and they will do their ultimate best. Also, it is one of the best restaurants in Haarlem to go for lunch as well.

Warmoesstraat 21, 2011 HN Haarlem

Other great restaurants in Haarlem are Table 24FrenchieJetties and Samabe.

Eat the best desserts at Dessert Bar Haarlem

One of the things that you cannot miss after dinner is dessert. And the best place to fill your remaining part of your stomach is the Dessert Bar in Haarlem. And yes, their menu is filled with desserts. So whatever dessert you are dreaming of, they have it. This place is opened most of the day, so if you want to eat dessert for lunch, be my guest. Besides desserts, you can also eat lunch and go for drinks.

Warmoesstraat 4, 2011 HP Haarlem

Finish your one day in Haarlem at the best bars

You can not visit Haarlem, The Netherlands, without discovering some great bars and cafes. If you’re interested in ending your one day in Haarlem at a brewery, or any other place that serves alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks in Haarlem, then visiting one of these places in Haarlem is a must-do on your day trip.

Uiltje Bar

Some of the best Dutch freshly brewed craft beers in Haarlem can be found at this bar in Haarlem. Combine that with a great atmosphere and the knowledgeable and friendly staff, and you’ve got a perfect combination. It’s one of the best Dutch bars to go for drinks in Haarlem.

Zijlstraat 18, 2011 TN Haarlem

Viqh Wijnbar

If you’re not a fan of Dutch beer or beer in general, then this wine bar in Haarlem might be an excellent option for you. Viqh is one of those places to go for a drink where the wine is terrific. I know, it’s a wine bar and it’s supposed to be great, but still. Spending a few hours at this winebar in Haarlem is a fantastic idea.

Grote Markt 4, 2011 RD Haarlem

Other great bars and cafes in Haarlem to visit are Bierlokaal De UiverWijnlokaal LouwtjeCocktailbar WigmoltCafe Lokaal and Jopenkerk (cafe and brewery in a church in Haarlem).

Best bars and cafes in the Dutch city of Haarlem, Noord- Holland, The Netherlands

What to do in Haarlem at night

If you’re not ready for the evening to end, after your drinks at one of the best bars in Haarlem, then there are a couple of other things I would recommend you to do in Haarlem.

  • Walk around the city and enjoy the magic during the dark. Fall in love with the illuminated canals in Haarlem. And enjoy seeing the difference in the town of Haarlem between day and night.
  • Go out and dance your ass off. Haarlem is one of those cosy cities where there are some nice bars to dance and party. Some of the best places to discover the nightlife in Haarlem are Cafe Stiel’s (for live music) and Brinkmann.
  • Visit the Boardroom in Haarlem: For 5 euros a day you can play board games at The Boardroom in Haarlem. They have hundreds of games and serve great bites and drinks (which you do have to pay for). What’s a better way to end one day in Haarlem then by playing a cosy board game? Playing board games is also one of the best things to do in Haarlem when it rains.

Canal houses and canal in the Dutch city of Haarlem, Noord- Holland, The Netherlands

Other fun, cool and cheap things to do and see in Haarlem

As you’ve seen above, it’s easy to spend one day in Haarlem. But if you’re not a fan of some of the things to do in Haarlem that I listed, then I have plenty of other tips for Haarlem and places you have to visit in this Dutch city. From adding the best activities to your 24 hours Haarlem itinerary to finding other tourist attractions. And from uncovering the secrets in Haarlem to discovering hidden places to see in Haarlem. These things to see in Haarlem, The Netherlands, are perfect must do’s in the historic Dutch city of Haarlem.

Haarlem has amazing market days, great activities and plenty of things to see. Visit Haarlem and a market and discover budget food in Haarlem, an art museum and more to add to your Haarlem one day itinerary.

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Visit Estate Elswout by bike from Haarlem

The forests of Haarlem have been extremely popular with businessmen and women from Amsterdam during the 17th, 18th and 19th century. Estates were built and demolished, made more prominent and renewed. One of the most spectacular estates nearby Haarlem is Estate Elswout. From the orangery to long, sharp paths. And from the main building to the breathtaking views in this estate that is part of National Park Zuid Kennemerland near Haarlem. I would recommend you to cycle to the estate via the Ramplaanspad. This path is an old, small path that will bring you directly to the estate while discovering the beautiful surroundings of Haarlem.

Estate Elswout and National Park near the Dutch city of Haarlem, Noord- Holland, The Netherlands

Go on the best tours in Haarlem and surroundings

You might not be entirely comfortable with deciding what to do in Haarlem, The Netherlands, in one day, or weekend. Or maybe you’re looking for some other insider perspectives, besides mine. Then I would recommend you to go on a tour in Haarlem. Whether you’re spending two days in Haarlem, or only have a few hours to spend, one of the first tours in Haarlem is a food tour.

With this food tour in Haarlem, you will go sightseeing in Haarlem and give your tastebuds an introduction to typical Dutch food from Haarlem. Another must-see in the surroundings of Haarlem is the National Park Zuid-Kennemerland. With a bike tour, you will explore a part of this nature reserve in The Netherlands and will learn why it’s so special.

 Book your ‘Food tour in Haarlem’ now

Book your ‘Bike tour through the National Park near Haarlem’ now

Canal houses and canal in the Dutch city of Haarlem, Noord- Holland, The Netherlands

Discover free festivals to visit in Haarlem

Bevrijdingspop Haarlem takes place every year on the 5th of May. The 5th of May 1945 is the day that The Netherlands was officially completely freed after being occupied by the Germans during the Second World War. We celebrate the 5th of May throughout The Netherlands with free festivals and many other things. Bevrijdingspop is a free festival in Haarlem that you have to visit if you are here on the 5th of May.

Haarlem culinair is one of the yearly food festivals that takes place in Haarlem in August. It’s held on the Grote Markt square, and many restaurants have either stalls or participate in another way. There are many different kinds of food to taste, and I can guarantee that you will love the vibe of this food festival in Haarlem.

Find the city beach in Haarlem

While Haarlem is located near a natural sandy beach, sometimes you don’t want to travel by train or bike if you also can find a city beach in Haarlem. Standsstrand De Oerkap is located next to the Spaarne river and near the train station of Haarlem. It’s the perfect spot in Haarlem to relax by the water with a sweet drink, some bites and fun company.

See a movie in Haarlem

There are a few cinemas to find in Haarlem, but there is one that stands out to me: De Toneelschuur. In this cinema, in Haarlem, you won’t just see the standard and popular movies. Instead, you will discover artsy, short and less known movies. Dream away and get inspired. If you’re a movie fan, this movie theatre in Haarlem is a must-visit.

Find the best galleries in Haarlem

Visiting galleries is one of the free things you have to do in Haarlem. Discover beautiful photographs, incredible paintings and find the most impressive exhibitions in Haarlem. Some of my favourites in Haarlem are Galerie de Waag37PK and Fotogalerie De Gang.

Explore more of the best museums in Haarlem, The Netherlands

There are more fun and exciting museums to visit in Haarlem than the two I mentioned in my itinerary. Whether you’re staying two days in Haarlem, have visited the other museums already or am not that interested in the museums I’ve listed before, this museum is great to visit.

Teylers Museum: The Teylers Museum is one of The Netherlands best museums. It was the first Dutch museum in The Netherlands that opened its doors. It was established by Pieter Teyler van der Hulst, who wanted to make science more accessible to the general public. Discover anything from fossils to scientific tools. And from paintings to drawings from Rembrandt and plenty of other things. The building itself is already spectacular in its own. The collection and exhibitions in the Teylers Museum in Haarlem make every visit worth it.

Spaarne 16, 2011 CH Haarlem

Teylers Museum in the Dutch city of Haarlem, Noord- Holland, The Netherlands

See the canals in Haarlem on a canal cruise

The best way to explore the waterways of Haarlem is with a canal cruise. Haarlem has quite a few channels to explore that you can best explore with a canal tour through Haarlem. While discovering the most beautiful buildings of the town, you will get to know interesting facts about Haarlem and have a look at the stunning views during one of the Haarlem boat tours.

What I mainly love about canal cruises in The Netherlands is that they offer such a unique point of view of any city. You will see the small but bustling town of Haarlem in a completely different way than with a walking tour, for instance. I would recommend you to combine my free walking tour in Haarlem with a canal cruise if you have enough time, such as a weekend, to spend in Haarlem.

Book your canal cruise in Haarlem now!

Go to a market in Haarlem

Whether you’re visiting Haarlem on a budget, or not, markets are always a great place to visit in any city. From an organic farmers market in Haarlem to flea markets. Haarlem is home to quite a few markets where you can buy cheap, but great stuff. So, if you want to visit Haarlem, add a market to your Haarlem to-do list.

  • Every Monday and Saturday there will be a big market on the Grote Markt square from 09.00 – 16.00
  • Every Wednesday there is a flea market on the Botermarkt square from 09:00- 16:00
  • Every Friday there is an organic farmers market on the Botermarkt square in Haarlem from 09:00- 16:00

P.S. Don’t forget to buy the best pastries in Haarlem at Waldo during the Saturday market

Visit a beach near Haarlem

Haarlem is located on the Western part of The Netherlands, but not directly on the beach. In Haarlem, there’s a small city beach, but for real beaches in The Netherlands, you have to travel a bit further. Luckily for you, the beaches nearby Haarlem are not far at all. The best beaches to visit near Haarlem are Zandvoort aan Zee and Bloemendaal aan Zee.

Find more information about these beaches in the surroundings of Haarlem here

Zandvoort beach near the Dutch city of Haarlem, Noord- Holland, The Netherlands

Discover the tulip fields in Haarlem and surroundings

You cannot find tulips in Haarlem, simply because Haarlem is a city and there’s not enough place to grow flowers. But you can see tulips just outside and near Haarlem. And I know exactly where you can find them.

Have a look at where to find Haarlem and its tulip fields here

Tulips and tulip fields near the Dutch city of Haarlem, Noord- Holland, The Netherlands

Get jolly during the Christmas market in Haarlem

One of the best things you can do in Haarlem in winter and December is visiting the Christmas market. The Christmas market in Haarlem is one of the best Dutch Christmas markets you can visit and takes place every year for two days. Discover the magical lights, the Christmas spirit and hundreds of stalls with fun holiday gifts to buy.

Discover more information about the Haarlem Christmas market

Go wild at the flower parade in Haarlem

One of my favourite events in The Netherlands are the Dutch flower parades. Some take place in spring and others in July, August and September. The flower parade in Haarlem connects with the tulip season in The Netherlands, which lasts from mid-April to the first two days of May. The floral parade in Haarlem starts in the town of Noordwijk, from here decorated cars make their way to Haarlem. This yearly flower event must be in any city guide about Haarlem as it’s one of the best things to do in Haarlem, The Netherlands.

Explore the magic world of the flower parades in The Netherlands here

Statue made of tulips on flowers parade in Haarlem Netherlands

Head into nature near Haarlem in its National Park

One of the most beautiful Dutch national parks in The Netherlands is the National Park Zuid-Kennemerland. And luckily for you, this Dutch nature reserve is located near Haarlem. This national park stretches from Zandvoort to Ijmuiden and is a breathtaking area. From exploring the dune area to the North Sea beaches near Haarlem. And from the estates in the national park near Haarlem to discovering incredible animals and plants. And plenty of more. You can even find remains from the Second World War in the dune region.

I would recommend you to travel from Haarlem train station to train station Santpoort Noord if you want to visit this National Park in Noord- Holland. Santpoort Noord is only a short train or bus ride (depending on your preferences) from Haarlem. The train from Haarlem to Santpoort Noord takes you around 8 minutes. A bus ride is approximately 30 minutes.

Plan your visit to the National Park Zuid-Kennemerland here

National Park Zuid- Kennemerland near the Dutch city of Haarlem, Noord- Holland, The Netherlands

Discover the open-air theatre near Haarlem and its nature reserve

There’s an outdoor theatre in the middle of National Park Zuid-Kennemerland: Caprera. Caprera is also an area within this park where you can go on the perfect hikes in The Netherlands. Caprera is home to the highest dune of the National Park Zuid-Kennemerland. The Caprera region is a unique part of the nature reserve and is home to more than 180 different species of trees and plants.

Plus, as it’s located on and around the highest dune region of the national park, there are spectacular viewpoints where you will have a beautiful combination of the city, dunes and the North Sea. If you head back down, you will discover leafy trees with stunning grasslands, the lake of Caprera and marsh forest. This part of the National Park is opened daily and a day ticket costs 1 euro which you can buy at the entrance that is opened form 10:00- 16:00. You are only able to pay by card.

The open-air theatre of Caprera hosts many performances during summer. Think of dance, classical, opera, music and plenty of more incredible shows. There is a spot for 1100 guests. If there is a performance, the theatre opens an hour before the start of the performance.

Some events can be free. If you have a look at their agenda below, ‘gratis’ is the Dutch word for free. ‘Koop kaarten’ means buy tickets. I would certainly recommend you to have a look at the agenda of this open-air theatre near Haarlem, The Netherlands because it’s an experience unlike any other. 

Find the agenda of this open-air theatre in The Netherlands here

Look up and see the stars in Haarlem

Every Friday night (20:00-23:00) and first Saturday of the month (13:00-16:00) observatory Copernicus opens their doors. They are closed the months of June, July and August, as well as public holidays. Observatory Copernicus can be found at a 14-minute bike ride from the Grote Markt square in Haarlem.

You can look through their telescopes, or with your own eyes, and discover celestial bodies. There is no admission fee, which makes seeing starry skies in Haarlem one of the free things you can do.

Starry skies in the Dutch city of Haarlem, Noord- Holland, The Netherlands

How to get to Haarlem, The Netherlands

From AmsterdamIt’s effortless to make a day trip from Haarlem from Amsterdam. The direct trains from Amsterdam Centraal to Haarlem run around eight times an hour. So if you’re wondering how to go to Haarlem from Amsterdam, then taking the train is the easiest option. The trains to travel from Amsterdam to Haarlem always leave from track 1 or 2 on Amsterdam Centraal train station. Have a look at ns.nl/en for the current timetables or download their app. To go from Amsterdam to Haarlem by train takes you anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes. And the Haarlem- Amsterdam train cost comes down to around 4,50 euros for a one-way train ticket.

From The Hague: To travel from The Hague to Haarlem by train is also very easy. Take the train in the direction of Amsterdam Centraal from Den Haag Centraal train station. This is a direct train that leaves twice an hour that will pass Haarlem on its way to Amsterdam. To get from The Hague to Haarlem by train will take you around 36 minutes.

From RotterdamTo get from Rotterdam to Haarlem I would recommend you to take a train from Rotterdam Centraal train station. There is a direct train that departs twice an hour from Rotterdam, which is the intercity in the direction of Amsterdam Centraal (NOTE: This is not the Intercity Direct, this one doesn’t stop in Haarlem!). It will take you around 57 minutes to get from Rotterdam Centraal railway station to Haarlem train station.

From LeidenTravelling from Leiden to Haarlem by train is very easy. You can choose any of the six trains an hour that either goes to Amsterdam or Haarlem as their final station. It takes you around 20 minutes by train to get from Leiden to Haarlem.

From SchipholIf you are taking the train from Schiphol to Haarlem, that means you have to transfer once. Either at Amsterdam Sloterdijk or Amsterdam Centraal. Moving through Amsterdam Sloterdijk is faster, and this is only possible if you end up taking the sprinter train to Amsterdam Centraal, not the intercity. From Sloterdijk you can transfer onto the sprinter train in the direction of Hoorn. Get out at Haarlem train station, to get from Schiphol to Haarlem will take you around 30 minutes.

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I hope that this itinerary for spending one day in Haarlem, Noord- Holland, The Netherlands has helped you. The old town of Haarlem is beautiful and more than worth spending 24 hours. If you only have a couple of hours to spare in Haarlem, decide what you absolutely must do for yourself.

I will always recommend a walking tour through Haarlem as an excellent first step on exploring the city. And then once you have more time, you can decide how to move on from there. With these things to do in Haarlem, I’m confident that you will fall in love with the city like most of us do. Enjoy wandering through the beautiful and cosy streets with this one day itinerary for Haarlem. Share this post!!

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Manon

Founder of Visiting The Dutch Countryside at Visiting The Dutch Countryside
Hey there! My name is Manon and I'm the founder of Visiting The Dutch Countryside, a local travel blog about The Netherlands. I also wrote the article you just read. I'm a Dutch, born and raised, travel blogger. I decided that it's time that tourists explore The Netherlands beyond the crowds and not just Amsterdam. Have fun exploring The Netherlands!
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