While my husband and I were fortunate enough to live in Utrecht temporarily for six fantastic weeks, we did a few day trips to Haarlem and Den Haag aka The Hague (more blogs below). The first time round we visited on a Sunday to discover not much was open, and we couldn’t sightsee due to the rain. Not to worry we decided to return a few weeks later and we are so glad we did!
Here’s what we discovered….
Where we eat and drink in Haarlem
Both times we ate at Stempels because the food was delicious, fresh and we really enjoyed it. The staff are friendly and the view out the window of the church just adds a nice touch. You can get gluten free vegetarian options here and I also recommend their fresh mint tea. Although this is part of the hotel we ate in the café which is on the corner of the hotel building. If the food is anything to go by I’m sure the hotel would be a nice place to stay as well.
Saturday Market at Grote Markt square
Around the Grote Kerk is the place to be on Saturdays, it’s hard to miss this part of the city with all the action and people around. For all you foodie people out there this place is one you don’t want to miss. There is so much amazing fresh food here you will not know what to do with yourself. Well actually you can do what we did and that’s eat yourself silly! My husband ate a kabab there which he said was out of this world good, the family running the food stall really knew what they were doing.
We bought some food to take back to our apartment in Utrecht because it was so good. The cheese, berries, chocolate and other fresh produce we bought was fantastic, I truly was in Bio/organic heaven!
But there are also other things at the markets other than food. You will find clothes and flower stalls thought out the place as well. The Dutch love their flowers which is reflected all over the country. Just take a look at how beautiful these flowers are.
This beer brewery and café/restaurant was pumping when we arrived on a rainy Sunday afternoon. The beer was flowing, the music was playing and the food smelt great. We enjoyed a beer, or two (or three or four?!?) with a cheese platter. This was an old church which has been converted into a brewery and is very popular with the locals. There are many different beers here for you to choose from and/or you can get the beer tasting option. If you are going to come to Haarlem and you like beer, then I highly recommend you check this place out!
Shopping in Haarlem
Haarlem is known for being the shopping capital in The Netherlands and when you are there you can see why. The streets are filled with an array of beautiful shops, full of lovely things. There’s clothes, shoes, household items, furniture and more for all your shopping needs.
Brand Mission was the one store that grabbed my attention instantly, so naturally I had to go in. Here the concept is all about organic, sustainable and environmental friendly clothing which I love!
The lady that owns the store is really nice and is more than happy to tell you the story about their concept. I also love the fact the clothes are not mass produced therefore you can buy something a little more unique. Which means chances are you won’t run into other people in the street wearing the same clothes as you.
Both my husband and I bought an item each. He purchased an organic grey long sleeve zip up hoodie whilst I bought an organic stripped tee shirt. Both these items are so soft I can’t wait to wear my tee. My husband has become attached to his hoodie and wears it on weekends, says it’s so comfortable he just loves wearing it. So if you want to buy something that’s great for the environment, yourself, that’s comfortable and looks great then check out Brand Mission in Haarlem. It’s a win win situation no matter how you look at it!
My Overview of Haarlem
I recommend visiting on a Saturday when the markets are on because this smaller city comes alive, is full of energy and has a positive vide, making it an enjoyable travelling experience! This is another must see city when you are in The Netherlands, it’s just beautiful and welcoming.
Until next time I travel, I see, I share... This is Character 32 doing her best to help you!