Haarlem is a terrific place to visit for the day or weekend. Hop on the train from Amsterdam for the day or plan a longer visit. There is plenty to do! Here are some ideas for things to do in Haarlem, plus places to stay and where to eat and drink.
This guide will help you decide what to do in Haarlem whether you are stopping by on a trip around the Netherlands or staying for a while. There are charming neighborhoods to explore, interesting art museums and cute cafes. Take a look at our tips below and download the handy Haarlem map which you can view on your computer, smartphone or tablet. Also see below for information on getting to Haarlem from Amsterdam and other places in the Netherlands.
Here are some of the best things to do in Haarlem whether you are visiting for a day, a weekend or longer.
Haarlem is home to two well-known museums, the Frans Hals museum and the Teylers museum. The Teylers Museum is the oldest in the Netherlands and has an interesting combination of artworks and science artifacts such as fossils and gemstones. The building is stunning and visit here is a must for science nerds. The Frans Hals Museum houses paintings by Dutch masters. These museums top the list of popular Haarlem attractions.
A fun way to see Haarlem’s side streets and cute neighborhoods is to visit a few of the city’s historic hofjes. These special structures were originally built to house older single women and widows, whether previous brewery employees or nuns. You can get a map of the hofjes from the Haarlem City Marketing office and plan your own route. Note that some of them are closed on Sundays for the privacy of the residents. In my opinion, the hofjes are the number one Haarlem must see.
The large Adriaan windmill sits on the bank of the river Spaarne. You can see the mill from the opposite side of the river or visit it and have a guided tour of the structure. If you have never visited a windmill before it is definitely worth a trip. I would say it is a must see in Haarlem, as windmills are a well-known symbol of Holland around the globe.
Beer brewing was historically a very important industry in Haarlem. In 1620, the city numbered about 100 breweries. Today, the well-known Jopenkerk is terrific pilgrimage for the beer lover. They brew their own beers in the renovated church and other facilities in the area. Be sure to sample award winning Mooi Nel, delicious Ongelovige Thomas and the Koyt beer made with gruit instead of hops. Nearby you’ll find Het Uiltje beer bar with around 30 types of local and international microbrews on tap including their own beers. They also serve super tasty pizza from the Back to Basics restaurant across the road. Beer tasting is one of the best things to to in Haarlem at night.
Did you know that back in the 17th century around 1/5th of the city’s brewers were women, many of them widows?
West of Haarlem is Zuid-Kennemerland National Park, a lovely place to go for a walk, horseback ride or bicycle ride. You can also go swimming at the beach at Bloemendaal. Hop on a bus from Haarlem to take you there in a jiffy or rent a bike and pedal there yourself! Zuid Kennemerland and Bloemendaal beach are perfect places to escape from Amsterdam or Haarlem city life.
For a really nice experience why not stay at the beach and fall asleep to the sound of waves. Here’s lovely place to stay at Bloemendaal aan Zee.
Also known as the Grote Kerk, Sint Bavo Church sits on Haarlem’s central square, the Grote Markt. For a small fee you can visit the church and see the famous organ that was played by Händel and Mozart. Be sure to look out for the bats that live in the church, it is a treat to see them flying overhead. Sint Bavo Kerk is one of the most popular places to visit in Haarlem for tourists.
Afterward grab a seat at a cafe on the Grote Markt and take in the views of this beautiful square surrounded by the town hall and the old meat and fish markets. Be sure to take a look at the Vleeshal, I think it is one of the prettiest buildings in Haarlem, and the Archeological Museum is in the basement. Nearly every city in the Netherlands has an old town square, and Haarlem’s Grote Markt is one of the nicest.
Take a look at this walking tour that visits the church and teaches you a bit of Haarlem’s history as well.
Haarlem is easy to reach by train or bus from Amsterdam and many other Dutch cities. Haarlem train station is lovely and is one of the oldest in the Netherlands. The train trip from Amsterdam takes less than 20 minutes.
Haarlem is a small town and it is easy to walk from sight to sight. However you can also rent a bicycle at many shops near the station or hop on the local buses to get you around the city.
Haarlem is a cozy and lovely town. You’ll find all kinds of restaurants from little neighborhood cafes and bars to Michelin starred establishments. Be sure to check out our map below for addresses of all the locations we like.
Great restaurants for lunch or dinner in Haarlem include:
Be sure to download the map below for these addresses and more places to visit in Haarlem.
Did you take a day trip to Haarlem or will you spend a night or two? There are often less expensive deals to be had in the smaller cities, and there might be vacancies here when Amsterdam is full!
You’ll find that Haarlem has many apartments available to rent for travelers, perfect for those who like a little more space and independence. Take a look at Park 43, Cozy Home Flower Fountain, Studio Haarlem and Botermarkt apartment for fully stocked homes with kitchens and bathrooms.
Haarlem also has charming hotels and B&Bs that may better suit your needs. Take a look at BBB Haarlem, B&B Appartement ‘t Pakhuys, and B&B Het Hart van Haarlem for cozy bed and breakfasts. Good hotels in Haarlem include Amrâth Grand Hotel Frans Hals, Boutiquehotel Staats and Brasss Hotel Suites.
You can also find lovely places in Haarlem on sites like Airbnb. Use this link to register and you can save €30 off your first reservation!
Check out today’s local lodging deals at
All of the above locations (and more) are included on the below map which you can view on your computer or smartphone. Click here to access the map. If you open it when you are logged into Google you should also be able to access it in the Google Maps app on your phone. I hope it helps you find some amazing places and fun things to do in Haarlem.
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