Duration: full day
- Take a 15-minute train ride from Amsterdam Central Station to Haarlem Station (platform 1 or 2, trains run every 10 mins). For centuries, Haarlem has been a centre of art and culture.
- The railway station is actually your first stop; it’s the only station built in the Jugendstil (art nouveau) style. Pick up a walking guide to Haarlem’s monuments at the Tourist Information Centre A (Grote Markt 2, a five-minute walk south of the station) and start your tour through this historic city.
- Don’t miss the Teylers Museum, (FREE entrance with your I amsterdam City Card), the country’s oldest museum, which feels like leafing through an antique encyclopaedia. Enjoy taking in its extensive collection of paintings (many of which from the Hague School and the Dutch Romantics), drawings – including beautiful specimens by Michelangelo and Raphael), fossils, minerals, instruments and books.
- A must-see for anyone interested in Dutch Masters is the Frans Hals Museum, (FREE entrance with your I amsterdam City Card), which focuses on the 17th-century Haarlem School and boasts the world’s largest collection of paintings by the artist after which it is named. The Frans Hals Museum is divided over two locations: Hof and Hal. They are within a short, scenic walk from each other.
- The Grote Markt square has plenty of cafés and restaurants or a short break and magnificent views of St. Bavo’s Church. The 50-metre steeple of this UNESCO protected monument still dominates Haarlem’s skyline and contains some beautiful Renaissance works of art.
- If you have time, head to the Corrie Ten Boom house. During World War II, the Ten Boom family provided a hiding place for Jewish people and members of the resistance in their home. The family was betrayed, imprisoned and deported to concentration camps – only Corrie survived. The house is now a museum, the majority of which recreates how it would have looked in the 1940s.
- 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.