Exploring the Netherlands (secret) - town of Haarlem
Going to the Netherlands and being able to visit some different regions in and around Amsterdam has delightful for us. In particular the town we are staying in Haarlem will always be a fond memory for us… we know we will be back Haarlem – I celebrate my 27th birthday here and it was a fantastic time.
Haarlem is the capital of the North Province of Holland – this town has been established since 1245 and some of the archways and doorways still display the age of this ancient place. As shipping grew to be the areas largest industry – Amsterdam quickly became the true center of the Netherlands. During this time Haarlem took the lead as one of the areas top brewery spots of Holland – during the early 1900s the population of Haarlem really started to take off and much attention being brought back into this city. Haarlem never really fully recovered from World War II (as Wikipedia tell us) maybe that’s why we ended up liking it so much. The vibes here in Haarlem are simple, much quieter than Amsterdam and I get this feeling of easy living. The majority of people here are polite, friendly, English-speaking which is plus for those who don’t speak or understand any Dutch.
It was an amazing coincidence to stroll out on a Saturday and find one of Haarlem’s busiest and best weekly street markets. Tons of bakeries, flower shops, clothing boutiques, fisheries, butchers and more filled the streets of Haarlem each Saturday. Don’t miss this market if your staying here in Haarlem – grab yourself some sweet treats (Emily recommends a stroopwaffel), special blend coffees, some croissants for the morning or even some fresh made pasta noodles for dinner. We love finding farmers markets in other countries – this one in particular is fantastic for photographs or just taking in all the different smells, tastes and wonders of the Netherlands.
Why is this post titled Exploring Netherlands secret town of Haarlem – well because it’s a favorite of ours that we’ve discovered in Europe that has felt like a second home. It’s not overcrowded with tourists (unlike Amsterdam flooded with people) but low key, quiet, comfortable and at the same time still giving you the some of the same vibes that Amsterdam puts out. Don’t come to Haarlem if your looking for the red light district, or hard drugs/club scene – we enjoyed the quaint, simple feeling of Haarlem life and tried our best to experience this place maybe how a local would live. Day trips to Amsterdam are within reach as the train station was right out our front door – so we still got to experience the Dam just without having to stay there. I hear the same about a town similar to Haarlem called Rotterdam about thirty minutes the opposite direction from Haarlem on the other side of Amsterdam.
These villages located nearby to the action can be great for: getting the local feel for a country side, spending less on Air BnBs / accommodations, wandering the history outside of Amsterdam itself. We highly recommend looking at both Rotterdam and Haarlem for your next visit to the Netherlands. These are palces we promise to come back and visit for even more time – maybe we will meet you there. Need any advice on where to stay? What do in and around Amsterdam? Need the perfect Air Bnb? We’ve got you covered just drop us a comment below we would love to help you with a few suggestion on what to do in the Netherlands. ~MYT