Our day trip to Haarlem was a fantastic day mainly because of the variety of historic sights, the ease of using public transport from Amsterdam, walking the preserved waterfront along the Spaarne River and canal.
The small city of Haarlem (approx 180,000 people) is crammed packed with historic buildings, they are never out of sight within the Old Town.
We caught the metro train from Amsterdam Centraal, with only one stop along the way we arrived at Haarlem Railway Station within 30 minutes.
For more information on Haarlem visit my Haarlem page.
Sauna Van Egmond
Haarlem is just 20km West of Amsterdam. A short 15 minutes train ride will get you there for 8 euros or so.
It has an impressive church with a pipe organ but that`s not why you should go there.
I have only 3 words for you: Sauna Van Egmond.
26 euro per person will let you in and let you stay in for as long as you wish (up until midnight when it closes).
Reservation (by phone) is advised, but we were able to get in without one.
The website is in Dutch, but I`ll give the link anyway :)
Before you dial the number, have in mind that it`s mixed and nude. If you have a problem being naked in front of opposite sex, don`t go. But, please, try to go beyond your comfort zone, after 5 minutes it`ll feel normal and you`ll have a great time. I know we did. For 7 hours! :)
No need to bring anything with you. Shampoo/soap/salt scrubs are free. You can rent a robe, towels, slippers. And you can buy food/beverage in the restaurant there. It`s the only place where you should be dressed - in robe that is.
BUS: 3 or 5, from Haarlem train station. Ticket costs 1.60 euros one way.
TAXI: would be about 10 euros.
Many tourists unjustifiably miss out on sites outside of Amsterdam.
Haarlem is located very close to the West of Amsterdam. Actually, its exact distance from Amsterdam as Harlem in New York is from the tip of Manhattan.
It has a very lovely square, beautiful church and canals. I strongly recommend visiting it, as it is less touristy than Amsterdam. In fact, if you are staying for an extended period, I would recommend staying in Haarlem and commuting: it is probably cheaper, and the town is very friendly and tranquil.
Located just 15 minutes west of Amsterdam is a beautiful town called Haarlem. It is host to a number of museums, picturesque canals, a handful of coffeeshops, a small Red Light District and of course, a history of it's own.
The first thing noticable is there is no tram system in Haarlem, which makes walking the streets more peaceful with less noise and objects to look out for. The whole aura of Haarlem is much more relaxed than that in Amsterdam, I made a trip on a Tuesday morning till evening and it felt like a lazy Sunday afternoon all day long.
Make your way to the market in the centre of town and you could spend literally hours exploring all the roads spidering outwards.
Also known for the close by tulip fields, this small town holds regular flower festivals/events which add so much more colour and decoration to an already stunning setting.
A day return ticket on the train from Amsterdam will cost you a little over €6
I took a short train ride, about 10 miles outside of Amsterdam to Haarlem. My thought was that I needed to see a small town/village, in addition to the city.
It turned out to be just a mini version of Amsterdam. It still had the cafes and coffeeshops, only on a smaller scale. The architecture is the same, too.
If you're looking for something different than Amsterdam, this probably isn't it. But, if you're looking for something smaller and more quaint than Amsterdam but with the same charm, this is your place.
When you are in Amsterdam you should really pay a visit to the beautiful city of Haarlem. This 750 yeras old city is only 15 minutes by train from Amsterdam. Interesting things to see are the Netherland's oldest Museum, the Teyler's Museum. The windmill Adriaen, the Big Market Square with a huge church and the Amsterdam Gate, which is the only remaining gate left from the citywalls that used to surround the city of Haarlem. If you want to know what else to see when visiting Haarlem, please take a look at my Haarlem page, or contact me.
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