The cobbled streets and quaint churches of North Holland’s enchanting capital exude a gentle charm unique to this stunning city. Not to be confused with New York’s colourful Harlem neighbourhood (to which it couldn’t be more different!), Haarlem offers travellers quintessential Dutch culture, a vibrant atmosphere and a thriving gastronomic scene. The medieval maze of the Old Town reveals architectural and ancient delights during serene strolls, while visits to the city’s nearby beaches are worth the effort for the relaxing respite afforded.
Haarlem’s most iconic landmark is a sophisticated symbol of Holland’s rich industrial and historical heritage. Boasting a luscious location upon the river banks, the Windmill de Adriaan has recently been restored to its former glory after a disastrous fire in the early 20th century.
Immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant atmosphere with a visit to the Grote Markt main square, over which the stunning Saint Bravo Church reigns supreme. The ecclesiastical example of Gothic glory dates back to the 14th century and boasts an amazing antique interior and an organ that has been played by musical masters such as Mozart and Handel.
Haarlem is considered to be the flower growing capital of Holland, and this esteemed title is celebrated with the kaleidoscopic Keukenhof Garden, a remarkable rainbow of colour sprawled over 32 hectares of fertile land, Every spring, the gardens burst into blissful blooms and are categorised according to their intriguing themes; discover creepy crawlies in the insect garden; enjoy a serene stroll in the romantic rose garden; or submerge your senses in sublime scents in the herb garden.
Enjoy Holland’s culinary diversity with a visit to Vis and Ko, a sophisticated and special seafood restaurant that ensures a theatrical dining experience. Select your sea-based speciality from the live lobster tank or opt for one of the restaurant’s perfectly cooked signature dishes; eel terrine and roasted red snapper come highly recommended from the expert chefs. (Spaarne 96, Haarlem, the Netherlands)