Laidback Haarlem

If the crowds of Amsterdam gets you down, I would suggest a day trip out to quaint Haarlem which is only a 15-minute train ride away. The city is pretty small, perfect to be explored by foot. Lots of great shops and restaurants within the town center. There’s even a windmill that you can take a tour of. Haarlem is perfect for an afternoon spent walking along canals with an ice cream in hand.

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Grote Markt is the center of Haarlem and on Saturdays there is a street market where you can sample pickled herring and fine Dutch cheeses.
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Dutch architecture
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Haarlem has it all: windmill, canals, great shopping, nice restaurants and a laidback atmosphere.

My favorite site to visit is the Grote Kerk cathedral. It has a beautiful pipe organ that Mozart played on as a child and the floor of the cathedral is made of the graves of Haarlemmers.  Entrance fee is only €2.50.

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Calming interiors of Grote Kerk
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Closer look at the pretty ceiling
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It was a bit creepy and unsettling to walk over graves

We combined our day trip to Haarlem with a bus ride out to Bloemendaal beach. For those who want some exercise, it’s possible to rent bikes and cycle from Haarlem to Bloemendaal. There are bike rental shops close to the Haarlem train station.

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Our last beach day at Bloemendaal

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