Haarlem is often referred to as ‘Little Amsterdam’ so we wanted to visit to come to our own conclusions.
It took us about 40 minutes to cycle into Haarlem, the route was along dedicated cycle paths and most of the way was lovely scenery.
Haarlem was granted city status in 1245, although the first city walls weren’t built until 1270.
We headed to Grote Markt to find there was a large street market on. There was everything for sale from fruit and vegetables, flower stalls to nik naks.
There was also a food festival with about 20 different restaurant’s displaying their finest dishes and for some reason 3 velociraptors.
We wandered around the market stalls and then heard quite a lot of noise coming down the street. It was only the 3 velociraptors. It was a very unusual sight to see and we still aren’t any the wiser to why they were in Haarlem.
We had a good mooch around and admired the waterways.
You can take boats trips around Haarlem’s canals but we decided to save that for Amsterdam.
Located right on the bank of the river Spaarne is De Adriaan windmill. This windmill was built in 1778 and is a replica built on the original foundations of an ancient defensive tower by Adriaan de Boois. The windmill burnt down in 1932 and was only reopened on 23 April 2002 which was 70 years to the day it was destroyed.
Everybody cycles in Haarlem, its no wonder there are so many dedicated cycle paths. We stood out though from the locals as we wore our cycling helmets and the locals don’t.
We obviously built up quite a thirst so we didn’t have any choice but to stop and have a local beer before our cycle back to the motorhome.
Haarlem is very pretty and a lot quieter than Amsterdam with a great selection of hotels and Amsterdam is only 15 minutes away by train. We would definitely recommend it as a good alternative if you didn’t want to pay the inflated hotel prices associated with Amsterdam.