Haarlem is the provincial capital of North Holland and sits on the River Spaarne. Known as the City of Flowers because it's at the heart of the world famous Dutch tulip fields, Haarlem is also a place of historical architecture and culture, and has been described as a smaller, more relaxed version of Amsterdam.



Haarlem is sometimes known as Holland’s best-kept secret. A small city just outside of Amsterdam which is like the capital in microcosm. Recently, however, Haarlem tourist attractions haves become more and more popular with tourists visitors as they can enjoy wonderful architecture and excellent shopping reminiscent of the capital, without the hustle and bustle of the big city.

Getting there with DFDS Seaways


It’s just 12 miles outside Amsterdam, and just 7 miles away from the DFDS port in IJmuiden, so it’s easy to travel to Haarlem after taking one of our Newcastle-Amsterdam sailings. Alternatively you can cross the Channel on either of our routes from Dover to France and drive up to Haarlem in under 4 hours, with Dunkirk being slightly closer.​

What to see in Haarlem

HaarlemDespite its compact size, there is plenty to do inare plenty of Haarlem attractions to keep you busy as you explore and a visit to Haarlem tourist information will send you away with lots of inspiration. The city has a rich history and plenty of cultural amenities, such as the Frans Hals Museum, which houses works by the eponymous portrait artist from the Dutch Golden Age, as well as a large collection of other Haarlem-based art.

The city’s compact centre is a maze of narrow winding streets and medieval buildings interspersed with canals and waterways. In fact, our Haarlem mini cruise is our 2nd most popular mini cruise break after Amsterdam. The Teylers Museum is the oldest museum in Holland, and also stocks an extensive collection of paintings from the Dutch Masters, as well as a range of fossils and minerals and fascinating scientific exhibitions. 

The Ten Boom Museum is a must for history buffsfans, as it tells the story of the Ten Boom family who saved the lives of a number of fugitives hiding from the Nazis during the holocaust. The museum is based in the original house, now restored, and entry is free, although donations are appreciated.

The city is based around Grote Markt, the pretty, central market square which hosts some of Haarlem's best architecture and most attractive buildings. When the weather allows, Grote Markt is lined with outdoor café and bar terraces, making it the perfect place to stop and people watch. 

The shopping in Haarlem is excellent, with traffic-free streets and walkways packed with everything from one-off, designer boutiques to popular chain stores. The city has been voted the best in Holland for shopping numerous times, so if you're after a city break with some retail therapy, then look no further! 

There are different events all year round to enjoy. At the end of April there’s a spectacular flower festival and all of October is “Children’s Month”. With fun and activities taking place all round the city it makes for a perfect half-term break. There’s also a famous Christmas market held in the middle of December where, as well as the usual stalls, you’ll also find singing choirs and have the chance to meet Santa himself.

Where to stay in Haarlem

Whether you'd like to take a day trip to from Amsterdam, or stay in the city itself, you can find a range of Haarlem hotels, B&Bs and other places to stay on our accommodation partner, booking.com.​​

​​​​​​Prices are subject to availability. Telephone booking fees apply. ​Terms & Conditions apply.


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