Haarlem is a city in the Netherlands and part of the Amsterdam metropolitan area. Some of the best things to do in Haarlem, the Netherlands include exploring history, art, local culture, and shopping. The city is known for its happening vibe, shopping streets, rich history, beach access, and nearby nature reserves.

The city has a rich history dating back to the medieval times. The historic sites and the museums are some of the best places to visit in Haarlem, the Netherlands. The city is home to majestic gates, churches, government buildings, and castle ruins. You will also find museums dedicated to art, science, artists, windmills, and more. These Haarlem tourist attractions will give you a comprehensive story of the city’s history and culture.

The city has been home to many renowned Dutch artists. You will come across many things to see in Haarlem associated with artists like Frans Hals, Phillips Wouwern, Corrie ten Boom, and several others. You will see their works displayed in museums as well as house museums that delve into their personal lives.

People also visit Haarlem for fashion shopping. The streets of this city are lined with local retailers as well as international brands. You wander these same streets during Haarlem travel for bars, cafes, and local fine dining restaurants.

The other aspect of recreation and entertainment lies just outside the city limits. You will find beautiful nature reserves with forest, grasslands, streams, and waterfalls. These are Haarlem’s top attractions for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, bicycle trails, and so on.

The city is also close to the beaches facing the North Sea. You can enjoy a variety of fun things to do near Haarlem at these beaches. They have carnival markets, water sports, and coastal trails to explore. The beaches also have some amazing seaside bars, clubs, and restaurants where you can enjoy meals and beverages with a great view.

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Top 16 Tourist Places to Visit in Haarlem, the Netherlands

1. Cathedral of St Bavo (Kathedraal St. Bavo)

This church was built between 1895 and 1930, although its history dates back to the 9th century. This church is renowned for its history, architecture, and collection of artifacts. This catholic church also holds great cultural significance as well.

The collection of this church includes artifacts from various reformations of the church. It also houses religious artifacts from other churches of Haarlem. It is one of the best places to visit in Haarlem, the Netherlands to admire religious artworks and handicraft works from the city’s history. You will need about an hour or so to tour this cathedral.

Cathedral of St Bavo

2. The Grote Kerk (St.-Bavokerk)

This majestic cathedral is one of the biggest things to see in Haarlem, the Netherlands. Its history dates back to the 1300s. It was rebuilt and renovated several times over the years and has dominated the skyline since the 15th century. The church is known for its imposing Gothic architecture and rich interiors.

You will get to see how the exterior has evolved over the years to achieve a more gothic aesthetic. It is one of the most impressive Haarlem tourist attractions. The interior is a blend of artifacts and creations from different periods. You will need an hour to explore this church.

The Grote Kerk

3. Ten Boom Museum

This museum is dedicated to Corrie ten Boom, a renowned Dutch author. The museum specifically focuses on his book called The Hiding Place. It is one of the best things to do in Haarlem, the Netherlands for literature lovers.

The museum looks into the life and works of Ten Boom as well as his family. It is a must-see in Haarlem, the Netherlands. The house shows as it was during the World Wars period. It specifically recreates the world of The Hiding Place. This book is a real story of hiding from the Nazis to survive. You will need about 2 hours to tour this museum when you visit Haarlem.

Ten Boom Museum

4. Het Dolhuys (Museum van de Geest)

This museum is dedicated to the history and evolution of psychiatry. The collection includes artifacts from seven psychiatry hospitals in the Netherlands. The tour shows you how the field was studied over the years and how we deepened our understanding of the mind.

It is also an interactive museum. Alongside insight, it is also one of the most fun things to do in Haarlem, Holland. These exhibits give you an empirical understanding of how research into psychiatry helps you understand the mind. You will need about 2 hours to tour this museum.

Het Dolhuys

5. Artisklas Haarlem

This park is home to the smallest zoo in the Netherlands. It began as JJ Molenaar’s dedication to teach the youth about animals. He began the zoo in a space in the garage box.

It is one of the fascinating Haarlem attractions for children. You will see Axolotl, Giant Path, Yellow-bellied Firepath, Bite Turtle, Bluetoung Kinks, Wall Lizard, Barn Owl, Polar Fox, Raccoon Dog, White-tailed Porcupine, and several others. You can easily spend an hour or so during Haarlem travel enjoying this place.

6. Burgemeester Reinaldapark

This park was built on the site of a garbage dump. It is now popular for top things to do in Haarlem, the Netherlands. The park has beautiful walking and bicycle trails.

You can also come here for a variety of outdoor activities such as skating, kite flying, canoe rides, sunbathing, and more. The park also has facilities for tennis, football, rugby, basketball, and several other sports. You can easily spend a couple of hours enjoying recreational time at this park.

Burgemeester Reinaldapark

7. Amsterdamse Poort

This old gate once used to be the entrance to the city. It welcomes travellers coming from Amsterdam to visit Haarlem. The gate dates back to 1355 and remains the only defensive structure of the period that still stands today.

It is one of the most beautifully architectured Haarlem attractions. You will need 20 to 30 minutes to explore this majestic historical structure.

Amsterdamse Poort

8. Teylers Museum

This museum exhibits focuses on various subjects including arts, natural history, and science. The collection includes historic paintings, coins, contemporary artworks, fossils, minerals, and so on.

The art collection of this museum is one of Haarlem’s top attractions. It explores the evolution of the Dutch Romantic school that originated from the region. You will see works of renowned artists including Barend Koekkoek, Cornelis Springer, Anton Mauve, Jan Willem Pieneman, and several others. You will need at least 2 hours to tour this entire museum.

I suggest you should get your Entry Ticket to Teylers Museum in advance.

Teylers Museum

9. Museum Haarlem

This museum focuses on the history and culture of Haarlem. The museum traces the story of the city from its prehistoric origins to the struggle of the people during the World Wars.

The collection includes numerous interesting artifacts old published newspapers, paintings, statues, pieces of old structures, maps, belongings of historical residents, and so on. It is one of the best places to get a deep perspective on Haarlem sightseeing. You will need 2 hours or so to tour it.

Museum Haarlem

10. Frans Hals Museum

This museum features a collection of the works of renowned Dutch artist Frans Hals. The museum takes a look at both his life and works. The collection includes paintings, drawings, sketches, personal belongings, texts, portraits, and more. It is one of the best things to do in Haarlem, NL for art admirers. You will need about 2 hours to tour this museum.

I suggest you should get your Entrance Ticket to the Frans Hals Museum in advance.

Frans Hals Museum

11. Grote Markt

This market is the historic heart of the city. The historic square is surrounded by several important Haarlem tourist attractions. It is also the best place in the city for shopping and dining.

You can enjoy the popular restaurants and cafes of the town at this square. However, it is best to visit this square during a festival. The market gets an entirely new life. The most popular among these is the Haarlem Culinair. You can easily spend a few minutes exploring this square.

If you like to know more about Grote Markt then I suggest you should go for a Guided Walking Tour of Old Town.

Grote Markt

12. Molen de Adriaan

This is a replica of a 1778 windmill and serves as a museum dedicated to the windmills of the Netherlands. It is one of the best places to visit in Haarlem to experience an integral part of Dutch history and culture.

The museum uses models to show the evolution of windmills at different periods. It also dives into how these agricultural structures influenced the local culture and traditions. You will need about 2 hours to tour this museum.

I suggest you should go for a Guided Tour of Molen de Adriaan.

Molen de Adriaan

13. Gouden Straatjes

Many people from the Netherlands visit Haarlem just to shop. It is considered one of the best shopping destinations in the country for its fashion streets. You will find streets lined with boutique stores, concept shops, traditional markets, and big brand showrooms.

Some of the most popular Haarlem attractions for shopping include Barteljorisstraat, Ziljstraat, Grote Houtstraat, Kleine Houtstraat, Gierstraat, Anegang, Warmoesstraat, and Schagchelstraat. You can easily spend a couple of hours exploring the fashion streets of the city.

Gouden Straatjes

14. Canal Cruise

A Canal cruise is one of the best ways to enjoy Haarlem sightseeing. The has two main routes: the river and the canal. Both of these routes have a unique vibe. The river routes take you through the older parts of the city to see historical Haarlem attractions.

The canal route uses smaller boats and passes by the happening shopping streets of the city. You will need about an hour from Haarlem travel to enjoy these rides.

I suggest you should book your Canal Cruise Trip in advance.

Canal Cruise

15. Beaches near Haarlem

If you are looking for fun things to do near Haarlem, you should head for the beaches. The coastline from IJmuiden to Zandvoort is easily accessible from Haarlem. Some people even take bicycle trails to get to the beaches.

The coastline has a variety of beaches. Some are secluded ones where you can enjoy quiet walks by the sea. While some are home to a carnival-like vibe and coastal facilities for watersports, entertainment, dining, and nightlife. You can easily spend 3 to 4 hours enjoying these beaches.

Beaches near Haarlem

16. Brederode Castle

This castle dates back to the 13th century, but now mostly lies in ruins. Despite its condition, the castle is still one of the most impressive things to see in Haarlem for its size.

The guided tour shows what the castle once used to be and the royal residents that lived here. The castle also frequently hosts themed events and concerts. These are fun events and a must-see in Haarlem if you enjoy extravagant events. You will need about an hour or so to tour this castle.

Brederode Castle

If you are looking for more top attractions in Haarlem, check out the sections below. We have compiled a complete list of sites and activities that you can enjoy in the city and around it.

Things to do in Haarlem, the Netherlands

Monuments, Museums & Historical Places to Visit in Haarlem, the Netherlands

  1. Frans Hals Museum
  2. Windmill de Adriaan
  3. Teylers Museum
  4. St. Bavo Church
  5. Ten Boom Museum
  6. Amsterdamese Poort
  7. Barrel Organ Museum
  8. Zanvoorts Museum
  9. Archeological Museum of Haarlem
  10. Het Dolhuys Museum of the Mind
  11. Nieuwe Kirk
  12. Pavilion Welgelgen Museum
  13. NZH Transport Museum
  14. Brederode Castle
  15. Museum de Cruquius

Nature & Wildlife Tourist Spots in Haarlem, the Netherlands

  1. Vogelmeer Nature Reserve
  2. Midden Herenduin National Reserve
  3. Zuid Kennermerland National Park
  4. Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen Nature Preserve
  5. Buitenplaats Elswout Nature Preserve

Entertainment & Leisure Tourist Spots in Haarlem, the Netherlands

  1. Schuur Theatre
  2. Zandvoort Circuit
  3. Theehuis de Haarlemhout
  4. Jopen Brewery
  5. De Bolwerken
  6. Thalassa Beach Pavillion
  7. Tijn Akersloot Beach Pavillion
  8. Zaanenpark
  9. Haarlermer Kweektuin
  10. Spaarnwoude Park
  11. Overplaats Park
  12. Thijsse Hof Botanical Gardens
  13. Poelbroek Park

Shopping in Haarlem, the Netherlands

  1. Grote Markt
  2. Schalkwijk Shopping Center
  3. Grant Place
  4. Cronje Winkelstraat Shopping Mall
  5. Great Wood Street
  6. Winkelcentrum Shopping Mall
  7. Barteljoris Street
  8. Cross Street
  9. Zijls Street
  10. Kleine Hou Street
  11. Schagchel Street
  12. Anegang Street
  13. Koning Street

Beaches & Islands in Haarlem, the Netherlands

  1. Zandvoort Beach
  2. Bloemendaaal Beach
  3. IJmuiden Beach

Offbeat Places, Tours, & Adventures in Haarlem, the Netherlands

  1. Boat Cruise
  2. Watersports
  3. Hiking
  4. Wildlife Spotting
  5. Bicycle Tours

Sightseeing in Haarlem, the Netherlands

  1. Haarlem Town Hall
  2. Korte Anna
  3. Brouwershofje
  4. Lutherse Hofje
  5. Haarlem Joods Monument

Food, Dining, Restaurants, & Street Food in Haarlem, the Netherlands

  1. Ratatouille
  2. De Zeeuw
  3. Toujours
  4. Luca
  5. By Lima
  6. Native
  7. De Jopenkerk
  8. Brasserie Bruis
  9. Mica
  10. Ollivier Soul Kitchen & Bar
  11. De Dakkas
  12. Parck
  13. Meneer Frans
  14. Subliem
  15. Bar Wolkers
  16. Het Watchlocal
  17. Morris
  18. Bar Bistro Felien
  19. Cafe Colette
  20. De Volkslust
  21. Fortuyn
  22. PeperZout
  23. Bar Taru
  24. The Golden Bull

Where to Stay in Haarlem?

Here we have listed Top Rated Hotels in Haarlem. You can check below listed hotels for your perfect stay in Haarlem.

  1. Hotel Lion D’Or
  2. Carlton Square Hotel
  3. Van der Valk Hotel Haarlem
  4. Amrath Grand Hotel Frans Hals
  5. Hello I’m Local
  6. B&B Hotel Malts
  7. Ibis Styles Haarlem City
  8. Brasss Hotel Suites
  9. Ambassador City Centre Hotel
  10. Stayokay Hostel Haarlem


Custom Tours Package in Haarlem

How to Reach Haarlem, the Netherlands?

By Air

The Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport and the Rotterdam The Hague International Airport are the closest airports to reach Haarlem. They are located about 22 minutes and 54 minutes away from the town respectively. These airports receive flights from several destinations in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America. You can get buses, cabs, and trains to get to Haarlem from both these airports.

By Road

Haarlem is quite well connected with almost every major city and town in the Netherlands by train. You can get direct trains to visit Haarlem from Amsterdam, Alkmaar, Leiden, Hoorn, The Hague, and so on. You can get connecting trains to from other towns and cities in the Netherlands from Amsterdam or The Hague.

The bus network is also quite expansive in the Netherlands. You can use the R-net buses running on red and grey routes to travel to Haarlem. If you cannot get a direct route, it is best to first reach Amsterdam or The Hague and then take a train or bus to reach Haarlem.

If you are planning to drive to Haarlem, you should head for routes A9, A2000, N201, N205, N208, or N232.

By Water

There are no direct water routes to travel to Haarlem.

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