The old city of Haarlem is located just 15 minutes away from Amsterdam. It’s a definite must-see if you want to get a truly local experience in the Netherlands. In our inspiring Haarlem guide we’ve selected the best things to do and see during your trip to Haarlem. We live in Haarlem, so if you have any questions, please feel free to ask!
Haarlem travel guide in 2023:
How to travel to Haarlem from Amsterdam?
Direct trains from Amsterdam Central station to Haarlem run every 15 minutes. Usually they depart from track 1 or 2. Single one-way ticket costs €5,90 (you can save €1 by booking tickets online), travel time 15 – 19 minutes. Book tickets online >>
You can also use Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket, which is valid on NS trains in the Amsterdam Area (which includes Haarlem) and all metro, tram and bus lines operated by GVB, Connexxion, AllGo and EBS, including night buses.
With this ticket you can also travel to Keukenhof, Zaansce Schans, Volendam and many other famous places in the Amsterdam area.
How to get to Haarlem from Schiphol?
You can take a direct bus line 300 from Schiphol airport to Haarlem (€ 6,50, travel time 36 minutes). If you prefer travelling by train you’ll need to change train at Amsterdam Sloterdijk station (single one-way ticket € 8,10, travel time 30-40 minutes).
Things to do in Haarlem
Visit the Windmill De Adriaan in Haarlem
A beautiful windmill (exactly like on postcards from the Netherlands!) is located on the Spaarne river. Join a guided tour to learn more about how windmills work. And enjoy a super cool bonus: the sight of old Haarlem from the platform above the river!
Location: Papentorenvest 1a, Haarlem (12 minutes walk from the station, check the route >>)
Visiting hours: depend on the season, for current opening times check the official website >>
Prices in 2023 (including a 45 minutes guided tour):
- adults – € 5
- children age 5 till 12 – € 2
- children to the age of 4 – free
See the organ that Mozart was playing at St Bavokerk
You will notice the Grote of St. Bavo church can from far away. Its wooden tower reaches 78 meters into the sky, which makes it one of the largest in The Netherlands.
The church has an impressive interior and a unique atmosphere: wonderful wooden ceiling, stained glass windows and 400 gravestones, including that of a famous Dutch artist Frans Hals. As soon as you step in you will feel as if you’ve been taken away by a time machine to the previous ages. An unbelievable experience!
The church also hosts a famous richly decorated organ by Christian Müller. Many world-known musicians played this organ, including Mendelssohn, Händel and the 10-year-old Mozart.
Location: Grote Markt 22, Haarlem (well, you won’t miss it!), the entrance is on the north side.
Opening hours: Monday till Saturday, 10:00 – 17:00. In July and August also open on Sundays 12:00 – 17:00.
- adults – € 2,50
- children 12-16 – € 1,25
- children 0-12 free (accompanied by an adult)
Drink a cup of coffee on Grote Markt
Even if you feel the urge to move on, run further and see more, do yourself a favour – make a short stop for a cup of coffee at Haarlem’s main square. You definitely won’t regret it!
On Saturdays Grote Markt is very busy – it hosts a market, which was selected as the best market of the Netherlands in 2015. Visiting Saturday market in Haarlem is a truly local experience! Taste some cheese and sausage, get some flowers, eat a broodje haring (herring in white bread) – and continue your journey!
Saturday market in Haarlem welcomes its visitors every week from 8:30 to 16:00.
Visit Teylers museum, the oldest museum of the Netherlands
Opened back in 1784, today Teylers museum has rich collections of art and books, instruments and scientific objects, coins and medals, fossils and minerals. Visiting the building where the museum is located is a pleasure by itself.
Location: Spaarne 16, Haarlem
Opening hours: Tuesday – Friday: 10:00 – 17:00; Saturday, Sunday & public holidays: 11:00 – 17:00.
Prices in 2023:
Another great idea is the Frans Hals Museum. It is one museum in two locations: Hof (Groot Heiligland 62), where you can find the 16th and 17th century masters and Hal (Grote Markt 16), which hosts exhibitions of modern and contemporary art.
Take a canal cruise
Take a cruise around the beautiful historic city center of Haarlem. The Smidtje Canal Cruises departures is very easy to find – it is located across the canal from Teylers Museum, on the river ‘t Spaarne. Tickets are available online >>
Tip! This canal cruise is also free with I amsterdam city card.
Find as many Hofjes as you can
That can be a quiz! Haarlem has a lot of hidden treasures, and hofjes – small gardens surrounded by old charitable houses grouped around a community kitchen garden with a water pump – are one of those. Find out more about the history of Haarlem hofjes and try to find all 21 of them .
Sometimes hofjes are really hidden from a stranger’s eye. You’ll have to find a door, which seems to lead to a private territory. Make sure it’s a door to a hofje (there should be a sign) and check opening hours (most hofjes can be visited Monday to Saturday, from 10:00 to 17:00) – and be a guest!
A full list of hofjes: http://www.haarlemsehofjes.nl
Stop by a cafe on the Spaarne river
It’s time for a well-deserved break! Take a seat at one of the cafes near the Spaarne river (our choice is Spaarne 66 which has tables directly to the water) and enjoy watching people, bikes and boats. And a glass of wine, for sure!
Visit a rooftop restaurant DeDAKKAS
DeDAKKAS restaurant (De Witstraat 1A, 2011 DV Haarlem) located on the roof of the parking garage de Kamp is probably one of the best places for lunch in Haarlem. Book your table on the terrace or inside and enjoy this amazing view!
Taste local beer in Jopenkerk, a former church
Can a former church be a pub? In the Netherlands it can! And that’s exactly where Jopenkerk brewery, grand cafe and restaurant are located. Jopenbier, produced in Haarlem is famous all over the Netherlands. The brewery has a wide selection of traditional and season beers. And at the restaurant you can order meals combined with matching sorts of beers. We like it!
Location: Gedempte Voldersgracht 2, Haarlem Opening hours: from 10:00 to 01:00. Lunch is served from 12:00 to 15:00. Restaurant is open from Tuesday to Saturday, from 17:30. Usually it’s very busy in Jopenkerk, so we recommend to make a reservations in advance.
Take a time to look around Haarlem Station
We hope you’ll like it in Haarlem! One more tip before you leave: don’t be in a hurry to take a train as soon as you come to the railway station.
This place also has its secrets, beauty and a unique history. One of the oldest train stations in the Netherlands, it is also a movie star! Some scenes of the Hollywood’s Ocean’s Twelve were filmed right here. Walk around and have a look. Can you imagine Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt or George Clooney coming from around the corner?
Where to stay in Haarlem
Haarlem has a good choice of 2 – 4 star hotels, which are generally cheaper than accommodations in Amsterdam. There are plenty of hotels located just in the city center. Our choices are:
Unique accomodations near Haarlem:
- Fabulous B&B Elswoutshoek located in a mansion, previously owned by Borski, one of the richest families in the Netherlands of their time.
See you in Haarlem!