Haarlem is a historic and pleasant city located 12 miles from Amsterdam. Haarlem is a medieval city with cobbled streets, historic buildings, and winding canals. The city is a delight for photographers and is one of the popular day trips from Amsterdam. Haarlem can be easily reached via train from Amsterdam Central Station. Here are the most popular things to do in Haarlem:
Visit the Grote Kerk
Grote Kerk is Haarlem’s majestic cathedral and most famous building. It dominates the Haarlem skyline and is easily recognizable in most of the city’s photographs. The cathedral was built in the 14th century and is a splendid example of the gothic style of architecture.
People watch at Grote Markt
Grote Markt is the town square of Haarlem. It is the hub of social life in the city and hosts concerts, festivals,and street markets. Grote Markt is home to performing artists and dancers. On Saturdays, the city square hosts the street market. It has abundant fresh produce, meats, cheeses, fresh cut flowers, and other produce.
Tour the Molen de Adriaan
Molen de Adriaan is Haarlem’s famous windmill. Built in 1778, It is located on the banks of the Spaarne River. This essentially Dutch windmill was historically used to crush a variety of grains and tobacco. Visitors can take guided tours of the windmill; the tours offer panoramic views of Haarlem.
See the art at Frans Hals Museum
This museum in Haarlem is a tribute to the famous painter Frans Hals, who was born in the city. The museum has a large collection of the artists Golden Age paintings and portraits.
Shop at the Golden streets
De GoudenStraatjes literally means the streets of gold and is Haarlem’s famous shopping area in the city center. Haarlem has been voted among Netherland’s best shopping destinations. The area has everything from independent boutiques to name brands as well as antique shops and concept stores.
Explore Haarlem’s Hidden Courtyard Parks
Hofje, or Harlem’s famous enclosed courtyard parks, are open to the public. The gardens were conceived in the early 18th century as communal spaces. Today, Haarlem has over 20 public Hofjes. Finding a Hofje or a delightful green urban space is a fun tourist activity. The trick to exploring the enclosed gardens is in discovering the entrance doors.
Take a Canal Cruise
Visitors can cruise down the Spaarne River and see Haarlem from the water. Many tours are available in Harlem. They usually last an hour and explain in detail about the city’s history and architecture. The tours also often go into side canals and offer interesting views of the city.
Visit the Corrie ten Boom House
The Corrie ten Boom House played a significant part in Haarlem’s World War II history. The house was owned by the Boom family who saved a lot of Jewish people and others from the Nazi regime during the war by offering their home as a hiding place. Today the house is converted into a museum and visitors can tour the house and learn about the Boom family’s sacrifice.