well if you want to get the teast of Haarlem you need to walk around of course if the weather lets you... there are alot fo coffe or tea shops with weed for those who are interested and the atomospher is different then in Amsterdam, more calm.
We rented bikes from the train station and headed west to Zaandvort on the coast. We took the bike path through the State Park and sand dunes. It was a bit chilly and rainy, but the bike ride wasn't bad. It was a little hilly. On the way back, using the bike map we got from the tourist office, we went a flatter way. Zaandvort was pretty quiet due to the weather, but there were lots of little shops and cafes. We took a nap on the beach after all of that biking.
More nice woods: The Hout (center of Haarlem), The Bokkedoorns (on the Searoad to Zandvoort), Kraantje Lek (in Bloemendaal / Santpoort), Duin en Kruidberg (at Lisse / Bennebroek), Groenendaal (Haarlem/Heemstede).
Dunewoods: Waterleiding Duinen (Near Lisse/Bennebroek/Bloemendaal), Panneland (near Vogelenzang), Koningshof (From Haarlem take the Zijlway in the direction of Overveen).
Here you can see the house of the woodwatcher of 'The Koningshof' (Kings Court Woods). This is one of the finest woods around. It's big and you can encounter American/German leghorn cow or the Shetlandhorse here.
The difference between cows: reddish cows are cows that are used for flesh. Black & White cows are used for milk and cheese. The center of Haarlem has two fine cheese stores (one in the Gierstreet and one in the Grote Houtstreet) where you can taste different kinds of cheese.
Birds like the 'Kievit', 'Sparrow', 'Blue Riger', 'Fuut', 'Kluut' , 'Silver Riger' and the 'Swan' are animals you will often get to see in the farmersarea.
In the farmersarea are lots of nice little villages to visit. You can visit Haarlemmerliede, Penningsveer and Spaarndam. Spaarndam is the prettiest and must lively village of the three. It has bridges and is surrounded by water. There is a little yacht harbour here and also big sailingships move around here. The village has old houses and old watersystems. It's worth going here!
In Spaarnwoude the reacreation area (you will get there if you cycling a long in the farmers area in the direction of Amsterdam and Halfweg) there are some farms open for the public. You can take a look here (especially nice when you have kids) at all the animals and watch the sheeps to be shaved and the cows to be milked. In Spaarnwoude you can also put up a tent for a day, go rowing in a boat, go kiteflying, go ultralightflying, go on a waterbike or have a barbeque.
Go and visit the farmersare on bike! Within fifteen minutes you will be there cycling on the paths between the cows, horses, sheep, grass, water, butterflies and birds. You can cycle as long as you like here.
When I went to visit family in Netherlands I never would have dreamed of seeing one of the nicest beaches I have ever see! White sand as far as the eye can see, Bars stretching for miles, I thought I was at a Beach resort!
IN BETWEEN AMSTERDAM AND HAARLEM lies DE ZAANSE SCHANS.
This is a typical residential area along the river ZAAN with green wooden houses and windmills dating from the 17th and 18th Century.
What makes de ZAANSE SCHANS so special is the fact that it is both a museum and a working and living area.
You will enjoy a visit there, I am sure!
Go for a walk in the woods in and around Haarlem. You might encounter a deer, fox, woodpecker or rabit.
You will get to see things like on the picture, when you take a closer look. You even can go fishing or have a picnic here.
ZAANSE SCHANS between HAARLEM AND AMSTERDAM....
such a pleasure sailing down the river.....having lunch or dinner on board.......pancakes for the children....