• Take a 15-minute train ride from Amsterdam Central Station to Haarlem Station (platform 1 or 2, trains run every 10 mins).
  • With 21 unique examples, Haarlem is truly a city of hofjes. 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 hofje. There are special guided walks through these gardens (available at the Tourist Information Centre A, Grote Markt 2). Most hofjes can be visited every day except Sundays and entrance is free. 
  • Finish your morning with lunch or a cup of coffee at one of the many cafés and restaurants on the Grote Markt square in the city centre. 
  • 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. You can reach the park in minutes from Haarlem Station (buses 340/346/356 to the Tempeliersstraat stop). Located at the edge of the park, 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.
  • While you’re in Haarlem, take a canal cruise and sail down the River Spaarne and canals and waterways which weave between ancient monuments and sights. It’s a beautifully relaxed way to explore the city, and a great way to get your bearings before returning to explore the sights in more detail.
  • Haarlem has a wealth of great restaurants, so spend your evening in the city enjoying some delicious food.
  • No trip to Haarlem is complete without a visit to former church-turned brewery Jopenkerk, which brews and serves the best ‘real Haarlem’ beers on site. Don’t worry about the time: trains back to Amsterdam run till 01:00 (platform 1 or 3). If you decide to stay, the city offers plenty of affordable hotels. Jopenkerk