"HAARLEM" Haarlem by swissfondue

Haarlem Travel Guide: 773 reviews and 1,802 photos


Haarlem is only 20 minutes by train from Amsterdam Centraal so there is no reason not to spend at least a day in this facinating city.

Historically one of the Netherlands major medieval cities it is now home to approximately 150,000 people and is the provincial capital of North Holland. In the compact city centre you will find the Grote Markt (or great central square). The square is surrounded by many beautiful buildings including the City Hall and Saint Bavo Cathedral (which I will review separately).

Haarlem is a thriving market town with some very beautiful historical architecture. In fact it has a high proportion of intact medieval buildings. It you want to experience the market atmosphere visit on a Monday or Saturday when a bustling market is held in the Grote Markt.

Every year in April there is a flower parade celebrating Haarlem's long association with tulip flower growing. Beer brewing has also been practiced for hundreds of years.

Haarlem is also a great place to do some shopping. There are numerous beautiful and often pedestrianised cobbled streets full of quirky boutiques interspersed with department stores and a variety of restaurants and cafes. Haarlem has the distinction of being voted as the best shopping precinct in the Netherlands. I must admit I have never left without buying something!!!

I really like the atmosphere and vibe of Haarlem. It is a beautiful Dutch city and a wonderful, but more relaxed alternative to Amsterdam.

  • Last visit to Haarlem: Sep 2009
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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