Enjoy a cruise down the river Spaarne

Smidtje Cruise HaarlemTaking a boat cruise down the River Spaarne is undoubtedly one of the cosiest ways to get an introduction to the city. As your boat winds its way around the centre of Haarlem, you can take the time to relax, sit back and let the city’s welcoming atmosphere wash over you while of course, enjoying the chance to spot its most beguiling sights from the water.

Unwind in a lush park

Haarlemmerhout Park Haarlem

If you want to relax in one of Haarlem’s most picturesque green spaces, take your own food and enjoy a picnic in De Haarlemmerhout park, the oldest green monument in the Netherlands. Located at the park's edge, the beautiful neoclassical Paviljoen Welgelegen has been the seat of the provincial government since 1930. Walk around this 60-acre park and discover deer, a petting zoo and a pancake house.

Question everything you know at Het Dolhuys

 A former mental health institute and sick house now transformed into a fascinating museum, Museum van de Geest | Het Dolhuys aims to explore the people who lived on the fringes of society, whether they wanted to or not. Delving into the minds and motivations of artists, writers and scientists who dealt with disabilities or mental illness, such as Edvard Munch - painter of ‘The Scream’ - and Vincent van Gogh.

Rest your head

MAF Haarlem HotelThere are plenty of options for a comfortable and affordable overnight stay in Haarlem. From trendy hostels like Hello I'm Local or boutique hotels such as the MAF Haarlem, you’ll be spoilt for choice with places to rest your head.

Explore Haarlem’s hidden hofjes

Haarlem hofjesStart the next day with a tour of the hofjes. With 21 unique examples dotted around the city, these hidden gardens are surrounded by almshouses, where poor, unmarried and widowed women once lived. Be sure to visit Hofje van Bakenes which, founded in 1395, is the city’s oldest example. There are special guided walks through these gardens (available at the Visitor Information Centre A, Grote Markt 2). Most hofjes can be visited every day except Sundays and entrance is free.

Take in a show at Toneelschuur

End your day in Haarlem by catching a show at one of the city’s numerous cultural venues. No matter your proficiency in the Dutch language, Toneelschuur usually has something for everybody, including language-no-problem shows that focus on either dance, comedy, music or film.

Time for a final biertje

No trip to Haarlem is complete without a visit to former church-turned-brewery Jopenkerk, which brews and serves ‘real Haarlem’ beers on site. Try a beer tasting or simply sit back and relax with your favourite tipple. There’s no better spot to unwind as you’re waiting to catch your train home!

Pressed for time? Check out these 4 and 12-hour guides to maximise your time in the city.