Guide to the Perfect Amsterdam to Haarlem Day Trip

If you’re considering a day trip from Amsterdam to a delightful Dutch town I’ve got the perfect answer for you – take a Haarlem day trip!

This charming city is just a short train ride away from the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam. Haarlem boasts picturesque canals, historic architecture, and a vibrant cultural scene that makes it the perfect destination for a day trip.

As someone who has spent a couple of weeks in Amsterdam, I took a few day trips myself. I understand the allure of discovering hidden gems away from the vibrant capital.

Imagine cobblestone streets, canal-side cafés, and the unique Dutch charm. I’m no stranger when it comes to exploring these lesser-known destinations in Europe, and I was thrilled when I took my day trip to Haarlem from Amsterdam.

For those planning a trip to Amsterdam and seeking day trip inspiration, this blog post is your roadmap. I will tackle the practicalities of how to get to Haarlem from Amsterdam and other FAQs. Then I will delve into a curated list of experiences for your one day in Haarlem Netherlands.

How to Get to Haarlem from Amsterdam

church with clock tower in central city of how to get to haarlem from amsterdam

Travelling by train is the fastest and easiest way to get from Haarlem to Amsterdam.

I recommend taking the train from Amsterdam to Haarlem, and this is how I made the Haarlem-Amsterdam trek:

  • from Amsterdam’s main train station, take the train line called Amsterdam-Centraal to Haarlem
  • train ticket will cost €4.70 per person and tickets can be purchased at the kiosk
  • trains to Haarlem operate pretty frequently as it’s a popular route
  • the Amsterdam-Haarlem train ride is only 20 minutes

How to get from Amsterdam to Haarlem beyond the train:

  • By Car, Taxi or Uber: take the A200 highway and arrive in around 20-30 minutes, depending on traffic
  • By Bicycle: rent a bike and ride a distance of approximately 20 km
  • By Bus: take bus 80 to Haarlem and arrive in about 40 minutes

Is Haarlem Worth Visiting?

cobbled laneway in haarlem netherlands with plants, shops on a day trip to haarlem from amsterdam

Is Haarlem Netherlands worth visiting – absolutely! If you’re looking for authentic Dutch charm Haarlem is worth visiting.

Although it resembles Amsterdam with its picturesque canals, historic architecture, and cozy cafes, it has far fewer tourists.

Haarlem exudes a warm and welcoming vibe that will charm you from the moment you arrive. Whether you’re interested in exploring its world-renowned museums, wandering through its bustling markets, or simply taking a stroll through its quaint streets, it has it all!

Haarlem is the perfect size to explore in one day and on foot making it the perfect destination for a day trip. So, if you’re looking for a delightful Dutch adventure, Haarlem is not to be missed!

15 Things to Do in Haarlem Netherlands

1. Hang out in Grote Market

flower market stall in with person on bike on a day trip to haarlem from amsteram

The Grote Markt is a bustling and historic square right in the heart of Haarlem.

It’s here where 10 streets converge and the hub of daily life takes place from the market stalls selling flowers, fish, cheese, and bread. Watch locals crisscross through on foot or bike. And, where cafes and restaurants spill out their tables and chairs just waiting for the arrival of their customers.

This is the heart of Haarlem.

It has a certain quintessential European charm that I absolutely adore. If you enjoy people-watching, this is the perfect spot to sit, observe and enjoy a drink or meal. Many of the iconic Golden Age Dutch artists captured this very square and all its activity.

2. Visit St Bavo Church

gothic church when on a day trip from amsterdam to haarlem

Prepare to be awed by the stunning St. Bavo Church simply called the Grote Kerk or Great Church. And, great church it is!

This iconic Gothic cathedral is a true masterpiece of architecture, with soaring vaulted ceilings, intricate stained glass windows, and a magnificent organ that’s considered one of the finest in the world.

The church’s rich history dates back to the 14th century and it’s a true testament to the beauty and craftsmanship of the Dutch Golden Age.

But perhaps the most interesting tidbit I learned when visiting here is that the organ was played by Händel in 1740 and 1750, and in 1766 by ten-year-old Mozart. Making the things of what to see and do in Haarlem Netherlands, a must!

  • 🕙Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm
  • €4, guided tours take place every Saturday at 2 pm and cost €7

3. Gaze upon the Haarlem Town Hall

cobbled street in square with market on a day trip to haarlem from amsterdam

The other historic building of interest that sits alongside the church on Grote Markt is the 14th-century Town Hall.

The site of Haarlem’s City Hall dates back to the 1100s when a wooden building once stood on this site. 

4. Stroll the Charming Streets

Venture out from the market square by taking any one of the small winding streets.

You will quickly discover the vast number of boutiques lining the streets full of unique specialty shops. Scattered throughout several streets you will find everything from antiques to small art galleries to big brands to local independent shops.

Even for those non-shoppers, it is a great place to wander and no doubt something is bound to pique your interest. Of all of what to see in Haarlem Netherlands, I always enjoy getting lost in these charming streets.

5. Go Shopping on de Gouden Straatjes Streets

For serious shoppers, be sure to check out the best-known streets of Grote Houtstraat, the Barteljorisstraat, and the Zijlstraat. As well as, the streets of Schagchelstraat, Kleine Houtstraat, Anegang, Warmoesstraat, Koningstraat and Gierstraat were among my favourites.

Locals call their shopping district de Gouden Straatjes or streets of gold. These notable streets have earned Haarlem as the Netherlands’ best shopping destination.

To my surprise, most shops don’t open until 11 am or 12 pm, so add this to your Haarlem things to do later in the day.  

6. Discover the Hidden Courtyards in Haarlem

Another way to explore the city is to stroll through Haarlem’s hidden courtyard gardens, known as Hofjes.

There are 21 of these Hofjes hidden gardens scattered around the town, some of them are marked on Google Maps, and others are a bit more secretive.

All of them are concealed behind large townhomes and are tucked away behind unassuming doorways or unassuming alleyways. It may require a bit of curiosity and luck to stumble upon all of them. Of all the Haarlem places to visit make sure you seek out a couple of these. 

Historically, these gardens were surrounded by charitable housing since the 17th century for poor, unmarried, or widowed women. The oldest Hofjes in Haarlem dates back to 1395.

Today, these quiet sanctuaries are open to the public and are the best Haarlem hidden gems. I could have spent all day seeking these out.

7. Admire the Art Nouveau Architecture of Teylers Museum

Lovers of architecture, especially Art Nouveau will want to come and admire the exterior of the Teylers Museum.

This stunning museum, the oldest in the Netherlands, is a true masterpiece of Art Nouveau architecture, with its ornate detailing and grand staircases.

Teylers houses the collection of art, science, and natural history.

8. Hangout in a Coffee Shop

laneway in haarlem with church and bike rider on one day in haarlem

You can’t miss the vibrant cafe culture that Haarlem has to offer.

From cozy and quaint to modern and sleek, you’ll find a coffee shop to match your taste and style. And speaking of taste, if you’re looking for an authentic coffee experience, look no further than Native Coffee Shop.

This hipster spot serves up some of the best coffee in town, with a warm and inviting atmosphere that’s perfect for catching up with friends or getting some work done. My husband loved the vibe and the coffee.

9. Take a Haarlem Canal Tour

Give your feet a break and enjoy a leisurely boat tour to see and hear about the local history and architecture.

The Spaarne River winds itself through the heart of the city and into various canals, the oldest being the Bakenessergracht, the Singels, and the Nieuwe Gracht.

It’s such a relaxing way to see some of the best Haarlem points of interest and get your bearings before setting off to explore more.

10. Admire some Art

Art lovers, get ready to be blown away by the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem!

This stunning museum is a true feast for the senses, with its vast collection of masterpieces by the legendary Dutch Golden Age painter, Frans Hals. Here you can admire his vivid colours and beautiful pieces that captured the essence of 17th-century Dutch society.

But the museum is not just about Hals – you’ll also find works by other famous artists from the era, as well as exhibitions that showcase contemporary art and design.

This happens to be the oldest art museum in the Netherlands and offers visitors a second location called Hof, which means it’s two museums for the price of one.

  • 📍Grote Markt, 16 (Hal) | 📍Groote Heiligland, 62 (Hof)
  • 🕙 Tuesday to Sunday 11 am to 5 pm
  • €16 includes both museums or free if you have the IAmsterdam Card

11. Visit a Windmill

windmill with canal on day trip from amsterdam to haarlem

Step back in time and experience the magic of Dutch history at the Windmill De Adriaan and its museum in Haarlem!

This iconic windmill is a true masterpiece of engineering, with its impressive sails and historic wooden structure that’s been lovingly preserved for over 250 years.

As you explore the mill and its museum, you’ll learn about the fascinating history of windmills in the Netherlands, from their use in grinding grain to powering sawmills and more.

The museum is filled with interactive exhibits, models, and artifacts that bring the history of windmills to life, making it an educational and enjoyable experience for all ages.

With its stunning views of the river and the city, the Windmill De Adriaan is one of the things to see in Haarlem, not to mention the perfect spot for a picturesque photo-op!

  • 📍Papentorenvest, 1A
  • 🕙 From March 1 to November 1 Monday to Friday from 1 pm to 5 pm, Weekends from 10:30 am to 5 pm | From November 1 to March 1 Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 1 pm to 4:30 pm, Weekends from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm
  • €7.50, book online or onsite

12. Enjoy a Beer at Jopenkerk

cobblestone street with table and chairs in haarlem day trip

Beer lovers, rejoice! The Jopenkerk in Haarlem is the perfect destination for those looking to indulge in some delicious local brews in a unique and inviting setting.

This former church has been transformed into a lively and welcoming brewery, where you can sip on some of the finest beers in the region while admiring the stunning stained glass windows and vaulted ceilings. The Jopenkerk is also a great place to grab a bite to eat, with a menu that features a mix of traditional Dutch and modern cuisine.

So whether you’re looking to relax with friends over a pint, or simply soak up the charming atmosphere of this historic building, a visit to the Jopenkerk is a must on your trip to Haarlem.

13. Cross the Gravestenenbrug Bridge

river with houses and bridge on one day in haarlem netherlands

This historic bridge has been a part of the city since the 17th century, and it’s a true gem of Amsterdam’s canal system.

As you stroll along the bridge, you’ll be transported back in time with its quaint, charming design and old-world feel. It’s the perfect spot to snap some photos and take in the stunning views of the canal, lined with traditional Dutch buildings.

And if you’re looking for a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, you can sit on the bench and watch the boats go by.

14. Tour the Ten Boom House

History buffs will want to visit the Ten Boom House. This unassuming building hides a remarkable story of bravery and compassion during the darkest times.

During WWII, the Ten Boom family used their home to shelter and protect Jewish people from the Nazi regime, risking their lives to do what was right.

Today, the house has been turned into a museum, where you can learn about the family’s heroic efforts and explore the rooms where they lived and worked.

From the hiding place in the attic to the humble kitchen, every inch of this house is a testament to the power of kindness and courage in the face of adversity. Much like visiting the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, this is a truly unforgettable experience that you won’t want to miss!

  • 📍Barteljorisstraat, 19 above the Ten Boom Jewellery shop with the entrance on Schoutensteeg
  • 🕙Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 3:30 pm
  • Free, accepts donation

15. Enjoy a Meal in Haarlem

No Haarlem visit is complete without enjoying amazing food. Foodies will be delighted with the restaurant scene in Haarlem.

If you’re looking for a standout dining experience, I highly recommend where we dined, Metzo. This trendy restaurant is the perfect spot for either lunch or dinner. I loved its stylish decor, warm, inviting atmosphere, and of course the food.

FAQ About Haarlem Day Trip

church, clock tower and buildings on day trip to haarlem from amsterdam

How far is Haarlem from Amsterdam?

The distance from Amsterdam to Haarlem is approximately 20 kilometres (12 miles) west of Amsterdam, making it easily accessible for a day trip.

How much time to spend in Haarlem Netherlands?

Spending a day in Haarlem Netherlands is enough time to see the city’s main sights like Grote Markt, Grote Kerk, find some Hofjes, stroll the streets, and visit a museum.

Is Haarlem better than Amsterdam?

Haarlem is a smaller version of Amsterdam with its canals, charming streets and interesting museums with far fewer tourists. Amsterdam has a larger variety to offer visitors.

As a Holidaymaker

If you think you will enjoy this day trip from Amsterdam to Haarlem as much as I do, I recommend:

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