Haarlem Travel Guide

Explore the beautiful city of Haarlem with our comprehensive travel guide. Discover the best places to visit, where to stay, what to eat, and much more.

Introduction to Haarlem

Haarlem is a charming little city located in the Kennemerland region of North Holland, Western Netherlands. With a rich cultural history dating back to the 13th century, Haarlem boasts of a beautiful blend of old-world charm and modern-day attractions. Home to museums, castles, gardens, and a bustling city center, Haarlem has something to offer to all types of travelers.

List of Places to Visit in Haarlem

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  1. Frans Hals Museum The Frans Hals Museum is a must-visit for any art lover. It houses a collection of over 24,000 works of art, including paintings and sculptures from the Dutch Golden age.

  2. Teylers Museum The Teylers museum is one of the oldest museums in the Netherlands. It is a natural history museum and houses fascinating exhibits on geology, astronomy, and scientific instruments.

  3. Grote Markt The Grote Markt is the central square of Haarlem. It is home to St. Bavo’s Church, the City Hall, and many beautiful buildings.

  4. Molen De Adriaan Molen De Adriaan is a classic Dutch windmill that sits on the Spaarne river. It has been restored to its original working condition and is open for tours.

Natural Attractions of Haarlem: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  1. Haarlemmerhout Haarlemmerhout is a beautiful park that is perfect for a picnic or a leisurely stroll. It is home to a lovely pond, a playground, and several walking trails.

  2. The Beaches Haarlem is situated near beautiful beaches like Zandvoort and Bloemendaal. The beaches are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying water sports.

  3. Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen The Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen is a nature reserve that is perfect for hiking and spotting wildlife. It is home to beautiful landscapes and scenic views.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Haarlem

  1. The Dunes of Zandvoort The Dunes of Zandvoort are a beautiful natural area located close to Haarlem. It is perfect for hiking and biking, and the views of the beach and the ocean are breathtaking.

  2. The Kennemerduinen The Kennemerduinen is another beautiful area surrounding Haarlem that is ideal for hiking and cycling. This nature reserve is home to mesmerizing landscapes and wildlife.

Best Things to Do in Haarlem: Activities and Tours

  1. Boat Tour Take a boat tour down the Spaarne river and explore Haarlem’s picturesque canals and historic architecture.

  2. Shopping at the Market Visit the local markets like the Botermarkt and Grote Markt to shop for local products and souvenirs.

  3. Beer Tasting at Jopenkerk The Jopenkerk is a brewery and restaurant in a restored church. It is perfect for beer tasting and learning about the history of beer in Haarlem.

Week-Long Itinerary for Haarlem

Day Activity
1 Explore Haarlem’s city center
2 Visit the Frans Hals Museum and Teylers Museum
3 Go on a hike at the Dunes of Zandvoort
4 Enjoy a day at the beach
5 Take a boat tour down the Spaarne river
6 Visit Molen De Adriaan and the Grote Markt
7 Explore the Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen and go beer tasting

Food and Drink Scene of Haarlem

Must-Try Dishes

  1. Hollandse Nieuwe Hollandse Nieuwe is a traditional Dutch dish made of raw herring served with onions and pickles.

  2. Stamppot Stamppot is a mash made from potatoes, vegetables, and sometimes meat. It is a classic Dutch dish that is comforting and delicious.

Local Beverages

  1. Jenever Jenever is a distilled alcoholic beverage that originated in the Netherlands. It is similar to gin and is often served with a side of bitterballen.

  2. Dutch beer Dutch beer is famous for its variety and quality. Some popular breweries in Haarlem include Jopen, De Adriaan, and Het Uiltje.

Where to Stay in Haarlem: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

  1. Hello I’m Local Hostel The Hello I’m Local Hostel is a cozy and comfortable hostel located in the city center. It offers dorms and private rooms and has a fun and lively atmosphere.

  2. Ambassador City Centre Hotel The Ambassador City Centre Hotel is a four-star hotel located in the heart of Haarlem. It is perfect for those who are looking for comfort and luxury.

What to Buy in Haarlem: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

  1. Dutch cheese Dutch cheese is famous all over the world. Be sure to buy some Gouda or Edam cheese to take home.

  2. Delftware Delftware is blue and white pottery that originated in the Netherlands. It is a popular souvenir and can be found in many shops in Haarlem.

Local Culture and Customs of Haarlem

Haarlem’s culture is influenced by its rich history and proximity to Amsterdam. The locals are friendly, welcoming, and proud of their heritage. Some customs to keep in mind include:

  • Being respectful of the locals’ personal space.
  • Addressing people politely and using formal titles when appropriate.
  • Tipping is not mandatory, but is appreciated.

Best Time to Visit Haarlem

The best time to visit Haarlem is during the spring and summer months (April to September). The weather is mild, and all the attractions are open and ready for tourists. The city is also less crowded during this time of year, making it easier to explore.

Do’s and Don’ts of Haarlem


  • Learn a few basic Dutch phrases like “Dank u wel” (Thank you).
  • Observe local customs and etiquette.
  • Be respectful of the environment and avoid leaving trash in public places.


  • Take photos of people without their permission.
  • Smoke in public places.
  • Be loud and obnoxious in public.

Safety and Health

Safety in Haarlem

Haarlem is a safe city, with a low crime rate. However, visitors should still take precautions like avoiding dark alleys at night and keeping valuables safe. It is also essential to keep an eye on belongings in crowded areas like markets and tourist sites.

Health in Haarlem

Haarlem has excellent medical facilities, and visitors can rest assured knowing that they will receive quality care if needed. However, it is always a good idea to travel with medical insurance.

Getting to Haarlem: Transportation Options and Logistics

Haarlem is easily accessible by various modes of transport.

Airports Near Haarlem

The closest airport to Haarlem is Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, which is only 17 kilometers away. There are buses and trains that connect Schiphol to Haarlem.

Bus Stations Near Haarlem

Haarlem has a central bus station that connects the city to nearby destinations like Amsterdam, Zandvoort, and Bloemendaal.

Other Options

Visitors can also reach Haarlem by train, car, or bike. The city has an efficient public transportation system that makes it easy to get around.

How to Get Around in Haarlem

Haarlem is a small city that is perfect for exploring on foot or by bike. The city also has an excellent public transportation system that includes buses and trains.

Where to Go Next from Haarlem: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Haarlem is a gateway to many beautiful destinations in the Netherlands and Europe. Some popular nearby places to visit include:

  • Amsterdam
  • Zaanse Schans
  • Keukenhof
  • Rotterdam
  • Brussels


Haarlem is a beautiful city that is steeped in history and culture. From its charming city center to the beautiful natural areas surrounding it, Haarlem has something for everyone. Whether you are looking to explore museums, go on a bike ride, or enjoy some local cuisine, Haarlem will leave you feeling enchanted.