Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Europe (
-   -   Haarlem to Schipol? (

basingstoke2 Aug 15th, 2007 04:50 AM

Haarlem to Schipol?
We are thinking of ending our May trip in Haarlem rather than Amsterdam. Preliminary itinerary is: Paris - Brugge - Antwerp? - Delft - Amsterdam - Haarlem but we may want to modify that- any ideas? We have 15 full days. We are thinking to spend the bulk of time in Paris and Amsterdam and only a day or two in the other places since travel time between destinations beginning with Brugge seem minimal.

Our flight out of Schipol is at 9:30 AM. I know that Haarlem is about the same distance to the airport as Amsterdam and I would appreciate some guidance whether public transportion to Schipol from Haarlem is practical and direct. Also, we do not plan to have a car this time but might consider one on the Brugge - Amsterdam part- any thoughts on this?. Thanks in advance.

hetismij Aug 15th, 2007 05:23 AM

Haarlem to Schiphol by train takes about 30 minutes and you have to change once, at Amsterdam SLoterdijk. In order to be at Schiphol for the recommended 3 hour check-in you would need to catch either the 05.51 or the 06.19!
If you are spending the bulk of your time in Paris and Amsterdam I wouldn't bother with a car for the bit from Brugge to Amsterdam - you would have to pay a large drop off fee for leaving it in another country, and if you also want to go to Antwerp the train is a lot easier.

basingstoke2 Aug 15th, 2007 06:40 AM

hetismij- would you then suggest ending the trip in Amsterdam and either going to Haarlem first or as a day trip or two from Amsterdam? Our primary interest in Haarlem, other than it seems to be a charming city is the Franz Hals museum and hopefully, blooming fields. Are there other towns or cities that you would suggest visiting other than or in addition to the ones we listed? BTW, the hotel we are planning in Amsterdam is the Brouwer. Are you familiar with that hotel. We prefer local ambiance and of course cleanliness over luxury.

PalenQ Aug 15th, 2007 08:07 AM

The bus is quicker and more direct if going between Schiphol and haarlem v.v.

last jan i landed early got the direct bus right out front - this bus goes on a reserved right of way much like a tram but check how early the service begins at the bus station opposite Haarlem's NS rail station.

basingstoke2 Aug 15th, 2007 08:13 AM

Thanks PQ - what were your impressons of Haarlem?

PalenQ Aug 15th, 2007 08:25 AM

I stayed in Haarlem for several days, using it as a base to hop to Amsterdam and other Dutch cities.

I've been there several times and i love Haarlem - to me it's the best Dutch city outside Amsterdam.

very quiet at night so it depends what you like but it's a neat old-world looking city with a fine fine central square.

i'll stay there again this year - and i also get a hotel much cheaper than in Amsterdam. I enjoy taking the train to Amsterdam for that city which i hugely enjoy and now look forward to coming back to the quiet of old Haarlem.

Haarlem is also a real Dutch town, which i like - amsterdam is a cosmopolitan town but not typically Dutch.

MP07950 Aug 15th, 2007 08:31 AM

I went to Haarlem several years ago but just as a day trip out of Amsterdam. I was really a lovely city, easy to find your way around, and lots of interesting things to see. Next trip, I would definitely consider using this as my base (versus Amsterdam).

JoanneH Aug 15th, 2007 08:32 AM

Its a nice midsize city with a great museum and interesting streets to wander around. The main sq is small, museum is Fans Hals and the county sounding is lovely. I would stay in Amsterdam take the train (appx 12-15min) and visit for the day.

PalenQ Aug 15th, 2007 08:33 AM

Alkmaar is a short train ride from Haarlem or Amsterdam - not only another neat old town but of course on Friday mornings thie old-fashioned cheese markets (Apr-Sep) is Kitschy perhaps but oh so colorful as the traditionally clad porters haul the cheese boats to and from the Waag - Weighing place - grunting, etc.

Also Haarlem is a short train ride from Zaandvort (sp?) for a beach resort that in good weather absolutely hops - there is also a famous nude beach there.

Utrecht is often overlooked but also a fine fine city with several nice sights. The cathedral there is uniquely i think actually built on foundations of cow hides put in centuries ago (at least research i once did when writing an article on Utrecht told me that!) The Spielkok (sp?) Museum in an old church is a delight - museum on toys that play - playing pianos - automats is the word i'm searching for.

any regional town's shopping district is mobbed on Saturdays - the big shopping day - ubiquitous hurdy-gurdy men and perhaps their monkey playing for tips, etc.

So many other neat towns - Gouda, Hoorn, Enkhuizen in the Haarlem area - many only go to Amsterdam and miss the real Holland!

From Haarlem you can bike thru the flower fields - go to the VVV tourist office by the train station, get a map and advice and rent a 'fiets' at the station rental and take off south.

basingstoke2 Aug 15th, 2007 09:51 AM

PQ - you are talking me into it, that is, using Haarlem as the base. Any hotel that you like in particular? Something on a canal would be nice.

PalenQ Aug 15th, 2007 10:03 AM

I'm not a good resource on hotels but i'm sure folks like Hopscotch who lived in Haarlem for a while would

I'd google the Haarlem VVV (tourist office) for a listing and locations.

I stayed in the Hotel Carlton, right on the main square - i had a single room with douche in it but shared WC for 35 euros in Jan 07 and a huge great breakfast buffet included. They have en-suite rooms and the place seemed clean and all but it's not a hotel i would blankly recommend unless i knew someone's specifications more. or some such site - prices and bookings on there. Prices are significantly higher in summer and fall i think.

friendly staff and in nice weather breakfast served in wickere chairs right on the square.

but do research on other places as i am very aloof to recommend any hotel.

Tot Ziens!

hopscotch Aug 15th, 2007 11:24 AM

Haarlem is an excellent choice for basing near Amsterdam.

The best and cheapest way from Schiphol to Haarlem is by Coxxexxion bus number 300. It is a big red reticulated bus which has its own private road for part of the journey.

It stops at the main train station in 41 minutes, and then 10 minutes later goes around to the V+D department store at Gedempte Oudegracht and Grote Houtstraat. You use 7 or 8 strips of a Strippenkaart for passage. See

Driving in Amsterdam is reserved for crazies, and Haarlem is not recommended either. The train system is excellent. Amstersdam has trams and a limited metro. Haarlem has buses. Strippenkaarten are valid on all. Both cites are small enough to hoof it 90% of the time.

Brugge can be reached by train via Antwerp. Antwerp is a nice city. Check it out.

The tulips only bloom in April and May.

I haven't stayed at the Hotel Brower. It seems to be a "one star" place but Holland does not have an official hotel star system. In Haarlem your choices in this category, € 60 to 90, are Joops, Amadeus, Raekse, and Carillon. They are all centrally located around the Grote Markt except that the Raekse is a few blocks away, and across the street from a small canal. There is also a huge parking structure across another street. I think that Joops would give you more space, and it has an elevator, and it would be quieter than Amadeus or Carillon. I understand that the Carillon has recently been remodeled. Joop is a nice guy. Have a beer with him.

hopscotch Aug 15th, 2007 11:28 AM

Oops, that is Connexxion bus system.

basingstoke2 Aug 15th, 2007 11:42 AM

Thanks hopscotch - do you have an opinion of Stempels?

hopscotch Aug 15th, 2007 05:46 PM

I never heard of Stempels until you wrote. I looked it up. It is a couple of blocks from where I lived, but it has only been open for a year and I haven't been in Haarlem for a a year and a half.

The location is perfect. This used to be the mint, or a portion of it. I walked past it often on my way home from the market. You are almost on top of the concert hall. The best cafes/bars are within shouting distance on the Riviervismarkt and Langeveerstraat. The ho market is a block north, if you need that.

For a new hotel the prices look good. I would chance it. And I'll check it out the next time I am in Haarlem, which I hope will be later this year.

basingstoke2 Aug 17th, 2007 07:33 AM

hopscotch and hetismij, you have been most helpful. I am leaning towards Stempels but since we will be in Haarlem 6 nights I am also thinking of an apartment and see that "Hotelsuites" has several that are available. They are rented through the Boulangerie at 13 Kliene Houtstraat. Do you know anything about them? Do you know of any other companies that renting short term apartments? Again, I would like to thank you for your insights. Since this a 40th anniverary trip, I want things to be perfect.

hopscotch Aug 17th, 2007 08:26 AM

I've walked or biked past hundreds of times but never went in. It appears that the owner of this place also owns the half dozen apartments in the neighborhood.

The apartment pictures look great. If you need an elevator I would ask before booking. Dutch stairs are steep and narrow.

Some of the apartments are on the Kleine Houtstraat. This is one of the smallest and busiest streets in Haarlem. There are loads of bars on it, including one of my favorites. If you get an apartment on this street I would recommend a rear view. There will be noise, shouting and bike bells, till late at night, especially in good weather.

Joop used to have apartments. I don't know if he still does.

There are also some B&Bs in Haarlem and some have kitchens. Do a search.

Sorry, nothing is "perfect" in Holland, or anywhere. But if something is obviously out of whack talk to the owner and ask if they can fix it.

basingstoke2 Aug 17th, 2007 05:23 PM

Thanks hopscotch - that is very useful info! I guess the word "perfect" was a bit of hyperbole. I travel to Europe more often than DW does so I really want this trip to be memorable for her for all of the right reasons.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:49 AM.