If you are a first time visitor of Haarlem you might be uncertain on what is the best way to explore the city. Luckily, you have come to the right place.
Walk or ride a bike!
Best way to explore Haarlem? By foot, followed closely by riding a bike. Really, there is no need to buy expensive public transport cards during your stay in Haarlem. The centre of the city is small, so just get yourself a map on your first day and start walking whichever way feels right. All must sees and must do’s are easily reached by foot.
If you like to do as the locals do, you’ll need to get yourself a bike. You can rent a regular city bike here and if you want something more fancy (like a beach cruiser with basket and/or child seat) you can check out this place.
Haarlem has two train stations: Haarlem Central and Haarlem Spaarnwoude. The central station is of course the biggest and it is the station closest to the city centre. Station Haarlem Spaarnwoude is convenient for those staying in the Eastern part of the city. Trains run frequently and are a relatively fast and inexpensive way to explore the rest of the Netherlands (but I doubt you would want to, at least not before you know Haarlem by heart!). For timetables and prices check out www.ns.nl.
Besides trains, we have busses. There are local busses that connect different parts of the city and there are some regional busses that bring you to the beach and adjacent villages.
You really don’t need your car when you come to Haarlem. Like I said, the centre is small and some areas are even closed off for motorized traffic. If you are traveling to Haarlem by car, park it in one of the parking garages in the centre when you arrive and leave it there during your stay.
Getting to and from the airport.
The easiest way to get from Schiphol airport to Haarlem is by bus. Bus 300 brings you in 45 minutes from the airport to the city centre (24/7). A single ticket costs around €3,75 and can be bought in the bus (make sure you have some coins) or from the special machines in the train station. Timetables and stops can be found here.
Planning a day trip from Haarlem.
If you plan to do a day trip to Amsterdam (or any other city in the Netherlands), just take the train. Trains to Amsterdam run eight times an hour and take you there within 20 minutes (trains run from 6 AM to 1.30 PM). Connections to The Hague and/or Rotterdam are easy as well. Want to go to the beach? Same story: either grab a train to Zandvoort or a bus to Bloemendaal (or get some exercise and bike!).
Want to know more about Haarlem? Check out this post that tells you all you need to know about this city.
Not sure where you are going to sleep during your stay in Haarlem? Why don’t you use this post as a starting point?