Haarlem In 1 Day

Haarlem is a picturesque city next to Amsterdam. In it you will walk through narrow cobblestone streets, you will cross bridges over rivers and canals and you will see a mill. No, we are not talking about Amsterdam. Although Haarlem is very similar to it, it is like its little sister but in a quiet version, far from crowded but with the same charm.

It is a city that you can travel perfectly in one day. It has a lot to show you, but everything is quite concentrated and the beauty of Dutch cities is to contemplate them and walk through their streets and canals. Choose well the time of year that you go to visit it, since the Bloemencorso Bollenstreek is celebrated in April, it is the largest flower float festival in the world and Haarlem is the place where it is celebrated. I recommend that you stay in Amsterdam itself and go to Haarlem for the day.

Everything you need to know for your trip to Haarlem:

  1. About Haarlem
  2. Key dates to visit Haarlem
  3. What to see in Haarlem in 1 day

About Haarlem

The history of Haarlem dates back to the 10th century, at that time a fortified city located in a perfect enclave. The situation of the town was very good: on the Spaarne river, and along an important road that linked the south to the north. This historically made the Dutch nobility located in Haarlem. It is currently a municipality with high purchasing power located just 4 km from the sea and 15 minutes from the capital.

In 1658 the Dutch gave the name of Nieuw Haarlem (“New Haarlem”) to the town of Manhattan, New York in honor of this municipality. Then, in 1664, when the British took control of the Dutch colony, they gave it its current name: New York (New York). Today a neighborhood in New York City is named after Harlem.

Like many other Dutch cities, the town is below sea level, 4 meters to be exact.

Key dates to visit Haarlem

Bloemencorso: Haarlem is the Dutch capital of flowers, where one of the largest flower festivals in the world takes place. Gigantic floats travel its streets and those of neighboring towns for more than 42 km. It is celebrated the last weekend of April. You can find more information in the following link.

Haarlem Jazz and more: It is one of the largest free Jazz festivals in Europe. Don’t miss the main stage at Grote Markt (Plaza Mayor) and the multiple stages scattered around the city in this sensational event. It is celebrated every year in August. You can find more information in the following link.

What to see in Haarlem in one day

You are probably staying in Amsterdam, so depending on where you are staying head to Centraal or Sloterdijk to catch a train in the direction of Den Haag. From Amsterdam Centraal it is only two stops and the journey costs around € 5 and takes about 15 minutes to reach Haarlem Centraal. From there we will start and finish the route that I propose.

When you leave the station you will find a large square, you must walk down the street that goes straight down to the right and go to the city center along the Kruisstraat. This charming street runs from the station to the main square. In it you can begin to distinguish the characteristic architecture of Amsterdam in the buildings, bicycles everywhere and cobbled streets.

Kruisstraat will take you through its main shopping streets past Hofje van Oorschot. This is one of the few Dutch courtyards that are currently preserved in the city. It was donated by the family that bears his name to social housing for the less favored.

Following our route we will find Grote Markt, the jewel of the city. It is its main square, on your right as soon as you arrive you will find the Stadhuis (town hall) and on your left in the background the imposing church of Sint Bavokerk.

Sint Bavokerk

Sint Bavokerk of Romanesque style, built as the main cathedral of the city in 1245 for the Catholic religion was later transformed to Protestantism. Currently, it has stopped serving the city of Haarlem as the main religious headquarters and has ceded that place to Sint Bavo, somewhat further from the center.

After your visit to the Grote Market, head south through the Grote Houtstraat, one of the main shopping streets in the city. If you want to go shopping, I recommend that you take a walk through its streets. Much quieter and with the same variety that you will find in Amsterdam. On your way to the Frans Hals Museum, you will walk through postcard streets for several minutes, stop and explore its small postcard alleys.

If you are an art lover you should not miss Frans Hals Museum, I did not make the visit so I will not be able to give you much more information about it. But here are four fun facts about the museum. It focuses on the Golden Age of Dutch painting and the museum is named after one of the city’s leading artists, Frans Hals, where the artist’s largest collection is concentrated. From this point I recommend that you deviate a little towards the west along the canal towards the Cathedral of Sint Bavo. Admission is free.

From here we can only walk and enjoy the city. So we will head to the iconic Adriaan Mill. To get there we will cross the Frederikspark, it does not have much to see, but you always have to add a little green to your visits and we will go up along the Spaarne river for approximately 25 minutes.

Adriaan’s windmill dates from 1779, at the time on the outskirts of the city. It was built on the foundations of one of the old towers that protected the city in previous centuries. Due to its height and the strong gusts of wind in the area, it became one of the main mills to grind grain in the area. Years later it was sold to a tobacco merchant.

If you have come to Haarlem by bike or have taken the train, I recommend that you travel the 25 minutes that separate Haarlem from the beach and head to Bloemendaal aan Zee or Zandvoort to admire the Atlantic.

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